Book Buying Resistance: Slice of Life #17


Book Buying Resistance #sol16

This post is all about how I resist spending a lot of money on picture books.

Run far and hide your eyes if you think this will help you save money. It won’t.

Confession #1 I am terrible at not buying books.

Confession #2 I will actually likely use this post to try to influence your book spending (costing you, not saving you money, to be clear)

Confession #3 I have absolutely no advice on how to not buy books.

Confession #4 I lured you here under false pretenses with that title

Confession #5 This post isn’t about that at all

Is this where I should be having people sign a waiver?

I will now stop numbering the confessions as I reveal a lot of things about my relationship with book ownership. You might start to think about some particular adjectives: compulsive, addicted, hopeless, done for. That’s okay. I am not in any kind of denial about this.

To begin, I often dream about books. There are days where I wake up and think, I really need a bookstore visit. The craving gets worse if I ignore it. It is often fuelled by strong coffee. There is a bookstore that takes me 14 minutes to walk to and I pass a number of coffee places along the way. I am sure you know how that ends.

There is also a dedicated children’s book store in Vancouver called Kidsbooks. As you might imagine, I love it. It takes me longer to get to than 14 minutes. Thankfully, I can’t walk. Well, at least not walk home with a bag full of newly acquired books. When I enter this bookstore, I walk around the store a few times before I let myself touch any book. I need to absorb it all. I will be here for a while. This circling lets me plan my browsing. Then I begin to gather a pile. Before I sit to read and make choices, I consult a list (of course I have a list – I have a book of lists!) to make sure I haven’t missed anything. Then I begin to read. Usually, I get up many more times because I have remembered some other “must look at” title. Yes, a visit here always takes a while. A wonderful while.

Certain book lists and blogs do me in. Travis Jonker (of 100 Scope Notes) does preview posts by publishers and seasons. I resist opening these emails. To call my resistance futile, big understatement. Dylan Teut (who blogs at Mile High Reading) just completed Part 5 of 2016 picture book releases. You realize that means there are four other lists! He actually alerts me on twitter every time he publishes a new part! It is rare that I can read reviews by Margie Myers-Culver of Librarian’s Quest or Donna McKinnon of 32 pages and not come away wanting at least one book. Minh Le of Bottom Shelf Books shares a best of the year post every year. I always check to see what I might have missed. His lists are amazing! Alyson Beecher sends me “Have you see this one?” tweets – usually beautiful new or soon to be released nonfiction titles. Almost always, I am convinced that they should soon be mine.

I also have specific rationales which I use to collect more books. These seem absolutely convincing. At least, they convince me every time. I am doing a Mock Caldecott unit? I really should own most of the titles. Books that make us laugh? Every classroom library needs more of these. Friendship themes? My students constantly ask for more. A title that gently tackles an important issue? Irresistable. Nonfiction is the worst. Sadly, too many of these books go out of print too quickly. If I like it and imagine using it with a class, I buy it. I am at a conference where the author or illustrator is signing? Do I really even need to explain this one?

Yes, yes, I do try all of those things others suggest. Those money saving things. They all backfire.

There is this one: Go to the public library. After all, those books are free. I do. I bring home stacks and stacks of books. I stalk the new releases display. I don’t even feel guilty when I empty most of it into my bag. We bring library books back after all. The thing is, when certain books are in my house for a while, I become certain, that I actually need them to reside there permanently. This means book shopping ahead.

How about: Read a number of titles while at the bookstore. It isn’t necessary to buy them all. This too, I do. And yes, of course, it helps shrink the list of “books that should probably be mine” but. . . Some books, when I leave them at the bookstore, call to me. I shouldn’t have left them. My advice on this is firm: when you fall in love, take them home or they will haunt you. Marilyn’s Monster did this to me. So did Sidewalk Flowers, Herman and Rosie, The Dog that Nino Didn’t Have, The Tea Party in the Woods . . . I remember the pull. I couldn’t fight it.

The “for the price of that book, you could have bought . . . ” strategy is completely ridiculous to me. Most things I might buy instead will be gone or wear out: coffee, dinner, new shoes, another pair of black jeans . . . Not much has the staying power of a picture book.

Sometimes, publishers send me books. This should mean I shop less. Books into my classroom = less shopping. Nope. I soon manipulate the logic. My thinking goes something like this: “I didn’t have to spend the time or money getting those books so I have more time or money to get these other books.” Books + more books = lots of books! See? Hopeless.

But this is the thing: every book that comes into my collection is shared. Sometimes, multiple times. I own each one because I love it. I have multiple reasons to read it or put it in the hands of a reader. I use each one to grow readers, to spread book love, to share an incredible story, to wow with a beautiful illustration, to create community. Books, in my world, the world of children, change everything. Picture books don’t cost me. They enrich my life and the life of my students in countless ways.

Book buying resistance? Thankfully, I have none.

Bad Irony: Slice of Life

I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.

Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.

44 thoughts on “Book Buying Resistance: Slice of Life #17

  1. Absolutely love this post! Your book posts are one of my all-time favorite indulgences. I always begin with checking the books out from the library, but like you, certain books call to me and I simply MUST own them. Loved looking through the pile at the top of the post . . . my favorites: Me…Jane, Hank Finds an Egg, The Invisible Boy, and Rosie Revere Engineer! Can’t wait until you read Badger’s Parting Gifts! Love the circling in the bookstore and the “wonderful while” spent there.

  2. Lovely to hear your addiction and how you cope. I’m a big fan of finding titles online, and then ordering them from the library. I buy books weekly at Goodwill too,.79 for a brand new book is just too delicious! Thank you also for sharing your blog list resources! Precious!

  3. This was purely evil. Those blogs, those lists!!

    The fact that you can WALK to a bookstore with coffee shops on the way.

    No worries. You make me feel better.

    Obsessives love company!

  4. This is a riot! I love your confessions! oh my goodness…if I allowed myself to go this route, it would be dangerous. I keep myself from visiting book stores for this very reason. Clearly, I have not succumbed to “the pull” but I am actually more convinced that I should do so more often!!! Thank you so much for this post today!

  5. I should show this to my husband! 🙂 I say this is a pretty great addiction. I mean, it could be so much worse right? You always have to look for the bright side!

  6. I’ve found someone who has it worse than I do! Book fair is next week. My weakest moments because I am also helping the school library, right?

  7. I think you will find you are talking to your book buying tribe. When I retired from teaching, I had a “going out of business” sale of my multitude of books. Then I started doing PD on balanced literacy and needed my books back for mentor texts. Some I have purchased again, but many others have replaced them. I haunt the children’s section at the library and bookstores. You are a kindred soul. I understand every emotion and thought expressed, and I agree with every word. Fun post today!

  8. Thank you for sharing with us! I must confess that I too am an addict, HAPPILY! Great post and I salute all those book buying addicts out there, what would we do without you! Happy Reading!

  9. I love this. Book Buying Tribe indeed. I cannot walk into a book store, etc. without coming home with Something to read. This year, I find I’m definitely spending lots on picture books, because my students want to read Everything. And I mean, all.the.books. I have to support this love, right?!?!?

  10. I absolutely love everything about this post! I especially appreciate your reflection on how you share the books with others–that’s the real power of a book addiction! Happy Reading! Thanks for the fun post today!

  11. This is the funniest post I’ve read in awhile! Of course I could relate to EVERY SINGLE WORD. This is EXACTLY how I use my public library! Exactly what happens to me at the bookstore! I find it especially easy to purchase all the prizewinners, because hey, I have to have them to share with my students. I believe I have a moral imperative to buy books by authors and illustrators of color, so those always go into my cart. Books that might get my son reading? Buy, buy, buy. And also, you are the WORST when it comes to book pushing. Any kind of resolve I might have is totally destroyed every time I visit your blog!

  12. I absolutely love this post and everything about your blog. Your words describing your current class articulate a lot of what I think and observe about my Grade 2/3 class as readers this year. They are not there . . . yet.

    Thank you for expanding my literary world so far in such a short time. I always thought I had a great book collection but the titles I have added (or at least borrowed) based on your recommendations have never failed me. I left for March Break with my kids’ book bins bursting with new finds – many of which were unknown to me until I found your blog. On behalf of my students, thank you for taking the time to share these gems.

    I will never feel guilty about buying a book to read to my class because it just might be the one that finally sparks their love of reading. So glad I’m not the only one who feels that way!

  13. Carrie, I deeply share your addiction. I’ve taken the “buy with one click” button off of my Amazon account because it was so dangerous, but found I was killing myself by not having this available to me, so I added it again. I’d so much have a box of new books arrive than a new pair of shoes. :-))

  14. I really thought I was nearly done except for the best books. After all I don’t have a class to read to or share with anymore, but now I have growing granddaughters, and an almost grown grandson, so I can’t quit. Wonderful post, Carrie,but I am not surprised in any way. Keep stopping by the bookstore so you can share more!

  15. I am a confessed book addict. When I read a book to my class they beg me to buy the sequel! I read my books on my iPad but buy them used afterwards so I can lend them out! Thanks for your post, it’s nice to hear three cheers for books!

  16. Love your post! I was wondering if there was a support group for people who have this book buying problem. Since I have been purchasing on Amazon, it is a little harder to hide the evidence from my husband. He sometimes gets home before me and brings the package in from outside. But, I still buy local and used too. I now have two grandchildren to buy for….heaven!

  17. You lured me in because I had a feeling we had the same problem 🙂 When I got married, I didn’t go on a food diet, my husband and I went on a book diet – for over a year! No new books! Thankfully, I am back to my old, comfortable book-buying habits.

  18. I love your confessions & your love of books! I’ve always had a shopping problem when it came to books…though it sounds like you’ve got me beat! You’ve shared some great resources and inspirations. Thank you for sharing…happy shopping & reading =)

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