I’m a bibliophile. That in and of itself isn’t all that interesting, as many people love to read and collect books. Big whoop, right? Join the club, Annette.
But see, loving books is a bit of a problem for me, as I (sadly) don’t have as much time (or focus, or energy) to read as I once had. Add to that the fact that I’m always looking for a bargain, and have a very “I’ll get to it eventually” mindset, and it all ends up being a big unending cycle of acquisition, accumulation, and procrastination. And there’s a very unbalanced equation of “owned books” to “actually read books”.
This includes both printed and ebooks. I have dozens of books lining my bookshelves—most of which are unread. I have hundreds of books on my Kindle that I downloaded but have never opened. What drew me to them in the first place? Their blurbs sounded interesting, the cover looked cool, I was familiar with the author, I’d heard some good things about it . . .
Etc, etc, etc. There’s always a reason. Some better than others.
And what enables my seemingly incessant need—obsession, if you will—in collecting all these books?
Two things – bookstores, and the world wide web.
Whenever I pass a bookstore—any bookstore—I feel a pull on my very soul. “Come,” it beckons, like the call of a sexy siren. “Come and look. You don’t have to buy anything.”
Lies. Horrible, blasphemous lies.
Bargain bookstores like Half Price Books are like crack to me. Daily free ebook mailing lists, like OHFB, Pixel of Ink, Kindle Nation Daily, Freebooksy, BookGorilla, and BookBub, bring a plethora of free and bargain ebooks right to my inbox. I browse, skim, check reviews, and add the little darling to my ever-growing collection should it catch my fancy. Just a little click of a button and POOF! Another in my library.
Contrary to what it may seem, I’m not a hoarder. I’m really not. I have taken at least 8 boxes of books to Half Price Books to sell, and I’m constantly looking over my stash to thin out those that I have actually read and didn’t like, or, upon re-reading the blurb, realize my tastes have changed and I most likely won’t read it. I don’t typically form sentimental attachments to things like that, and usually have no problems saying buh-bye to those that no longer interest me. It feels good to purge and regain the space.
Problem is, this line of thinking doesn’t necessarily translate well to ebooks. Maybe “someday” I’ll be in the mood for that book I downloaded a year ago but can’t quite remember the premise of. What if I delete it from my Kindle and suddenly want to read it while I’m away from wifi and can’t download it again?? I couldn’t possibly read one of the OTHER hundred books still on my ereader! I (may) want THAT particular book!
Because, you know. That’s so very likely.
I’m trying to be better. I have been sorting through my library, paring it down to those that actually seem like something I may want to read. It’s hard, and time-consuming (I usually have to track the title down on Amazon and spend some time reading reviews and such to determine if it’s something worth saving), and I just can’t stop myself from continuing to buy new ones, but I’m trying to be realistic. A bargain’s not really a bargain if all it does is sit on your shelf (real or digital) for years at a time, right?
I keep waiting for the nuclear/zombie apocalypse that will render life as we know it a thing of the past. I’ll hole up with my family and have lots of opportunity to devour these books I’ve oh-so-carefully collected.
Because that was my plan all along. Yep. Just prepping for the end of civilization.
Then there’ll be time. Finally.