Book Buying Bans and Me

The dreaded book-buying ban.


When your physical TBR pile is (much) taller than you, and you need to cut back on a few purchases, do you put yourself on a book-buying ban? I did. And I’m wondering just how effective it is…

I’m not sure how many unread books are lying around my house, I plan to count them soon (which will probably scare me senseless) but I do know it’s a lot. As for cheap eBooks, they destroy me. I checked my Kindle app recently and discovered so many books I forgot I had because I clicked that wee “autobuy” button when it was 49p (or something equally ridiculous), and I’ve never even read them.

So, when I’d made a few purchases and then saw just how many books I had yet to read, I put myself on a ban. The longest I’ve consciously gone is 6 weeks. It was hell. And while I was on the ban I set my shopping cart up with what I was yearning for anyways. Metaphorical shopping to ease the pain, if you will. So, what happened when I came off the ban? I instantly clicked through to the checkout, on the exact same DAY I became ban-free.

Hey! No judging.

During the 6 week ban there were a lot of offers on books that I wanted and “couldn’t” buy. I told myself not to panic, offers are on all the time, of course I could get those books again with 20% off my total order, free shipping and an additional 10% cash-back…

On the day my 6 week ban ended I bought 7 books from Amazon. Would I have bought more than 7 books in those 6 weeks if I hadn’t been on a ban? Probably. But I did notice when I came off the ban I was a little more careful about what I bought. I’ve noticed that in general since I started blogging, I’ve seen reviews and heard snippets so I don’t just reach for a new book and think, “Oh, pretty”. I have a (very long) list of books I want to read because I’ve seen or heard about them and think/know I’ll like them or I want to read them e.g. the Shatter Me trilogy, the Mistborn series, The Lunar Chronicles etc.

The moral of this story is that I tried to become a more conscious shopper in general and I kind of have the following deal with myself:

  1. I only buy books on great offers and I shop around (originally, I was meant to use library books more, but I like OWNING, so that hasn’t happened). I placed an order recently that totalled £18 for 10 books (new), including shipping.
  2. I try not to make a purchase unless it’s already on my radar. This works pretty well (except for cheap eBooks!). I try not to impulse buy because the list of books I know I already want to read is pretty huge.
  3. I don’t impose “bans” on myself, so I don’t go mad buying all the books when it’s over, and then feel guilty about it, I just try to reduce purchasing in general, and purchase smartly.
  4. I don’t feel guilty about purchasing books, because of points 1 and 2 above. Reading is a “good thing”, and as long as I’m not spending large amounts every month (which I don’t), and reading isn’t detrimental to my life (which it isn’t), then I refuse to feel guilty about a productive hobby.

I used to purchase at a greater rate than I could read, and I think this has definitely slowed down, but of course, I still have my backlog waiting for me on a rainy day. My purchasing choices are far more select and I’m getting the best price possible.

That’s the best I can do for now.

This post was inspired by the comments I left on The Looney Teen Writer and The Library Canary.

How do you feel about book-buying bans? Do they help you control your bookish buying ways? Or do you throw caution to the wind regarding your purchases? Let me know in the comments!

About Rachel

Avid reader & #bookblogger. Lover of all things business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

35 Responses

  1. thebookheap

    I don’t really do book buying bans. I’ve technically been on one all year, aside from things like birthdays, trips or super cheap offers- because of my job situation which has been up and down like a rollercoaster and I need to save my money. But I’ve not guilted myself over buying two or three books every now and then full price because I know I’ve held back quite a bit, and I buy most of mine new and used/second hand.
    My TBR pile is ridiculous (with about 15 books on my physical shelf, 12 kindle ebooks and about 20 netgalley books), but to blitz it I normally have about 4 books on the go haha!


  2. My book buying ban is pretty extreme and is the whole premise for my blog, but to be honest, I never thought I would stick at it. Here I am though, nearly 9 months on and not one book bought. It’s not been easy, but I’ve found that planning what I’m going to read over the next few months help me not think about what new stuff I could be reading!


      1. Oh Rachel, I’m afraid I’m going backwards 😉
        I don’t have a master list because I just didn’t have time! The day I counted them all was bad enough!


  3. I think if I put myself on a book buying ban I would end up buying more books in the long run. I tend to only buy books I’ve been looking at for a long time and really want to read, or if it’s a continuation of a series I’ve already started. Great post! 🙂


  4. Brandie

    I go in phases. I bought way too many books last month, and the past few weeks I haven’t even had the desire to buy any. I really shouldn’t buy any considering how many I have already, but ya know what – it makes me happy. It’s a small price to pay for my happiness. Plus I work hard so I can have money to buy books. Lol. That’s my justification. 🙂


      1. Brandie

        Finished it last night! It got WAY better. I can’t wait to chat with you about it when you finish!!


      2. Brandie

        That would be great! I was considering taking a chance on Throne of Glass – if you want to buddy with me on it. I hope you’re enjoying Come Back to Me. 🙂


      1. Brandie

        Hopeless – SO good. Can’t wait to see what you think. I think it’s good you’re working your way backwards with CoHo. Her newer books are always her best. I loved Slammed but it’s now my least fav or her books because her stuff just gets better every time!


      2. Brandie

        No, I can’t believe it. Her story is incredible but her personality just makes her more awesome. Her books are definite preorders for me now.


  5. My rules for book buying are simple:
    1. The book has to already be on my to-read list (granted, this is over 300 books and growing all the time).
    2. I only buy books for myself from second hand and charity shops, with the rare instance of buying a book for ~£3.99 new from a supermarket or such.

    I really don’t buy books all the time. I will occasionally go on a charity shop crawl and come home with four or five books.

    The exceptions to the rule are few:
    1. I really, really fucking need a book now. This is rare to never. The last was The Girl with All the Gifts, which i held off on until it came out in paperback and i saw it in Tesco, so.
    2. Birthdays and Christmas. Other people are allowed to buy me as many new books as they want on special occasions.


  6. I’ve never put myself on a book buying ban, mainly because I know it wouldn’t work. I know the amount of physical books that I own and haven’t read is at a number that’s over 200 books, and I even recently got rid of 50 books by giving them to my nan – I hadn’t read any of those either.

    I work at a library so, surprisingly, that helps my book buying problem. I still buy a lot though, I think I probably buy at least one book a week or every two weeks. I wonder how bad I would feel if I didn’t work in a library. I probably should work better at finding great deals on books, but I usually just end up using Book Depository because it’s so easy.

    Do you know any good sites?


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