I always buy my books, it’s the one indulgence I have (besides food and travel) since I can’t really bring myself to splurge on technology, clothes, and other little trinkets.
And when I say I buy my books, I mean physical copies as opposed to e-books.
What can I say, I’m old fashioned like that.
I love owning them and I love collecting them. I never borrow because it isn’t the same and if I do borrow, I need to own a copy if I love the story.
I feel less guilt if I end up damaging my copy (but I rarely do since I’m fanatical about their conditions), I don’t have to worry about other people touching it, and I can re-read it anytime I want.
I love reminiscing on the memories of reading which I can only get by touching and feeling. I remember every crease, every stain, every mark. I remember what I was feeling when I was reading the book and what I felt afterwards. Was I stressed by work when I started it? Was I feeling light-hearted? Where was I when I was reading it? Did it cause me to miss my station?
It doesn’t matter to me if the book is new or second-hand. If it’s new, then I have the pleasure of making it my own. If it’s pre-owned (or, what I consider to be the most successful marketing term, pre-loved), I love thinking about what the previous owner got up to. My copy of ‘Life of Pi’ has the following note:
Because it is a beautiful book & because you have actually been to Pondicherry! this year
And there’s such an immense satisfaction in seeing everything that I’ve read up on the shelf. Like in my twenty something years on this earth, I have digested all these words, which to me, is an achievement I quietly relish. And if I want to romanticise it, I can bear witness to all the stories and books that have changed my way of thinking and has led me to the person I am today.
So do you buy your books?