Author Topic: How many books do you own?  (Read 20258 times)

CommonCents

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2014, 04:19:56 PM »
Yeah the sex fairy was not his best work.  Try Brent Weeks out.   Or any coming out on this list: http://fantasy-faction.com/2014/top-anticipated-fantasy-books-for-2014-readers-choice. I read the Emperor's Blades before I stumbled across the list.

Tyler

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #51 on: May 06, 2014, 04:55:31 PM »
I totally understand the desire to read lots of books, but I personally don't understand the urge to own lots of books.  Even when you pay for them rather than wait for them to show up at a library, why not sell or trade them when you're done?  It feels like a socially acceptable version of consumerism to me with aspects of hoarding, and I suspect that if everyone here posted what they've spent on books it may be received a bit differently.


CommonCents

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #52 on: May 06, 2014, 09:17:53 PM »
I totally understand the desire to read lots of books, but I personally don't understand the urge to own lots of books.  Even when you pay for them rather than wait for them to show up at a library, why not sell or trade them when you're done?  It feels like a socially acceptable version of consumerism to me with aspects of hoarding, and I suspect that if everyone here posted what they've spent on books it may be received a bit differently.

I already posted above reasons to own a book.

But I'll play your game. First I counted the non-textbooks. Turns out I overestimated. I have only 356 (or approximately, I counted quick) including cookbooks, travel guides, fiction, the Bible, strategy or how to guides for various games, and even two books on hand for a baby shower in readiness in general.

Next I counted how many were gotten in the past 7 years by me and 6 by my husband.
Tally: 8 free (from free bins or gifts), 6 from book sales of some kind (these were harder to remember so I may be undercounting a bit) and 17 purchased new (all paperbacks). The average book sale price was 50 cents, average full price $9.50 (I looked at 5 to calculate this), for a horrifying total of ...$164.50 or approximately $25 a year. The horror!  (We are debt free, income $200k now. Back 6 years ago when I worked at the law firm our total income was approximately $240k.). But I submit virtually anyone can afford a measly $25 on a hobby a year...

Jamesqf

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #53 on: May 06, 2014, 11:09:55 PM »
The face punchy thing was collecting recreational books because I liked them... As if I couldn't visit them at the library?

Well, often you can't revisit books at the library.  This may come as a shock, but libraries don't keep their books forever, and often not even until they wear out.  After a few years, they get sold off to used book stores and the like.  (Check out www.abebooks.com to find a bunch - I have ex-library books from a dozen states and a couple of Canadian provinces, and IIRC even one or two from Britain.)  So if you're like me, and 1) like re-reading the really good ones every few years; and 2) occasionally run across authors you like who have extensive backlists; then owning them is a practical option.

I've no idea just how many books I own.  Fiction probably at least a thousand volumes, maybe more. Then there are the books that I keep because they're references: everything from cookbooks and shop manuals for my vehicles to horticultural references to programming manuals to math & science texts.  Those are probably good for another 500 volumes or more - though I admit some of the Win32 books now prop up the corner of a desk, and perhaps are more useful there than they ever were when read :-). 

Tyler

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #54 on: May 07, 2014, 12:09:24 AM »
But I submit virtually anyone can afford a measly $25 on a hobby a year...


I hesitated making my previous post, as I assumed some people would take it the wrong way.

There's nothing at all wrong with spending even large amounts of money on things you really value, and clearly if you always get books on the cheap that's even better.  I just don't personally understand book collecting in the same way I don't understand movie collecting or figurine collecting.  And a book these days is the very definition of a fungible object that there's no need to own permanently as you can always acquire the same one later if you want to re-read it. 

But more power to each of you that truly enjoy reading to such a degree.

T-Rex

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #55 on: May 07, 2014, 01:18:22 AM »
Hundreds. Sometimes I wonder if I should sell them, but a lot are my favorites and many are hard to find.

smalllife

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #56 on: May 07, 2014, 04:57:59 AM »
I don't really fall into either camp:

I do find true satisfaction in owning books that really speak to me, to having a physical reference book on hand, and a small home library to satisfy nearly every reading itch.

At the same time, I don't want to spend my time caring for a huge collection of books, potentially having to box them up and move, and buying a slightly bigger house to have a library (in order to have a visually-open living room).

When I graduated I had a couple hundred books - most that I had been assigned in liberal arts world, some fiction, but all had been read at least once.  When I moved out, I took 15 books with me: the books I went back to time and time again as well as a few sentimental ones I wouldn't mind revisiting.  That number has expanded to about 20 personal books as a few cookbooks and reference books have been added, but the "collection" stays front and center in the living room.  I have the world of classics available at the click of a button through the Kindle and a plethora of exploration at the library.

The SO however, moved in with a couple of dozen books from series he may or may not have finished from a favorite author or two and hasn't touched them since.  But if they aren't displayed and he do

 . . . . speaking of Kindle, I think I have another two-three dozen on mine.

Rural

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #57 on: May 07, 2014, 06:12:43 AM »
And a book these days is the very definition of a fungible object that there's no need to own permanently as you can always acquire the same one later if you want to re-read it. 


I wish this were true, but it just isn't. Books go out of print. Most books go out of print. Libraries cycle through their entire collections in just a few years. For the older stuff that's in the public domain (published before 1925) almost everything can be found online.


But for the time period between 1925 and, say, 4-6 years ago, those books are virtually unavailable in libraries, unavailable online except for the very few that are popular enough to be pirated (bad idea, that), and are expensive to purchase or repurchase if you discover you need them again. This is because once they're out of print, assuming you need a particular book, you have to go to the specialty sellers if you don't get lucky on eBay. And on eBay, if several other people need the book as well, chances are you'll lose the auction. I consider paying too much to be losing the auction as surely as not buying the book. :-)


The solution? Kind of keep an eye out at the thrift stores and yard sales for stuff in your field that might be useful. Put it in your library. Have it there when you need it. For new stuff that's just come out, assuming you're a college professor like me ;-), request a desk copy from the publisher (perfectly legit if you're legitimately considering it for a class), or request a review copy and write a review. Put it in your library. You get the idea. I also keep a running list of expensive classics in the field and keep an eye out for opportunities to get them cheaply or for free. I hit the motherlode when one colleague  at another institution retired, and so did my university library.

Editing to add: if you live near a truly good university library, much of this doesn't apply. The information about libraries cycling through books was for public libraries. However, if you don't live near a good university library (and living in a big city with a large university or two does not guarantee a good university library), then you have to manage on your own or finance frequent travel and pay for access.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 06:25:32 AM by Rural »

GuitarStv

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #58 on: May 07, 2014, 06:18:28 AM »
I have hundreds of books.  I'm an avid reader, and started buying books at about ten or so.  Two years ago when reading this blog I realized how stupid this habit was, and since then I've not purchased a book.  We get all the books you could want during my weekly library runs now.

former player

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #59 on: May 07, 2014, 06:34:54 AM »
My understanding of the tenets of mustachianism are about living well within the financial resources you have and not unnecessarily trashing the planet.  A good book collection assembled over many years and frequently used doesn't seem to me to be in conflict with those tenets.  For a frequently referred to book, it should be less environmentally damaging to keep re-using an existing hard copy than to be constantly using electronic media to read it.

Particularly if there are children in the house, having plenty of "dead tree" books around is a big help to their education and general understanding of the world.

If I mention that I wouldn't want to drop a e-reader in the bath, am I going to get told that baths are unmustachian?

fallstoclimb

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #60 on: May 07, 2014, 07:16:06 AM »
Is anybody else on Good Reads to track their reading? I mostly get blank looks when I ask other friends but the sort of people who meticulously track budgets might be the sort to track other things with the same vigor!

I am!  I love goodreads.  Otherwise I'd never remember which books I want to read.  It's also a great way to get recommendations from friends / see what your friends are reading, etc.

CommonCents

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #61 on: May 07, 2014, 07:48:34 AM »
I totally understand the desire to read lots of books, but I personally don't understand the urge to own lots of books.  Even when you pay for them rather than wait for them to show up at a library, why not sell or trade them when you're done?  It feels like a socially acceptable version of consumerism to me with aspects of hoarding, and I suspect that if everyone here posted what they've spent on books it may be received a bit differently.

For the second: This side gets positive, not negative feelings from seeing the books around the house and often has, or would have in a dream home, a library just dedicated to books.  While these people may (and often do) check books out from the library, they are happy to own books.  Some reasons include:
  • Need for immediate (and irregular) access to textbooks in oneís career.
  • Desire to reread books on oneís own schedule, not dependent on waiting to get it from the library (particularly if waitlisted), library hours (e.g. deciding to read in the evening), or library lending timeframes (e.g. want to travel Asia for 6 weeks, or a slower reader).
  • Desire to financially support authors by purchasing their books.

Iíll add to that list from above, including a few ideas mentions by myself and others in thread:
  • Desire to read books that may go out of print
  • Inability to get a library to order your book (their budgets arenít unlimited)
  • Desire to reread books frequently
  • Concern over using ereaders near water (baths, sailing, etc)

I also want to elaborate on one above, namely financially supporting authors.  Please remember that without people buying books, those authors cannot continue to support themselves/their families by writing.  And that means fewer stories for you to read in the library if authors quit trying to make it a career.  Supporting authors by buying books is particularly important for new authors, who will have great difficulty selling a second book if the first one doesnít sell enough copies.

YES, you can ethically and legally borrow books from libraries, but you may also consider whether buying a few favorite authors (new or established) might have some value.  If you agree with a recent post by someone advocating to save on Starbucks by regularly sitting in their coffeehouse, using their internet, accepting their free hot water, but not purchasing anything, then you likely wonít agree with the above.  But for everyone else, those who might choose to donate a few bucks on a free museum day to support the museum even if you donít have to do so, I urge you to think about this one carefully.  Itís a problem of the commons.

Again, I really think this comes down to what vibe you get looking at a book: negative clutter vibe, or postive activity vibe.  If you get the negative clutter vibe and the reasons above don't fit you then absolutely, you shouldn't get/keep books.  A friend of mine never rereads books so it's silly for her to keep many around.  I do, and frequently, so it makes sense for me to keep them, albeit attractively displayed in bookcases and not piled up on the floor cluttering my home and evoking hoarding images.

MrsPete

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #62 on: May 07, 2014, 08:29:28 AM »
I have had thousands of books -- they're something I enjoy, something that's easy to find for less than a dollar, and something everyone in my house enjoys receiving as gifts.  At one point we had so many that my husband was talking about possibly reinforcing the corner of the house that held or biggest bookshelves /most of the weight.

I have since given away quite a few of my books: 

- Most fiction books I'm not particularly likely to re-read, and if I do want to read them again, it's easy to get them from the library.  Most books do not go out of print, though libraries are changing with the digital age; I suspect this will make it easier to obtain books, not harder.  I personally have had to wait for a book from the library, but I have never been unable to obtain something specific that I wanted. 
- I now much prefer to read electronic versions, which require no bookshelf, no dusting, and are easier to find.  I would actually pay more for an e-book.
- I do have too many cookbooks -- many of them I'm saving for the sake of 2-3 recipes.  I'm working on copying them over to my computer, so I can get rid of the book itself.  I will be working on this project for years to come. 
- I will keep reference books; i.e., gardening books, home repair books.  They photographs, etc. are not so good electronically.
- My kids are teens now, so we don't have the plethora of children's books that we used to have (not that I regret having had them for so many years -- my kids turned out to be readers, and that was no accident).  However, I did save some books in anticipation of grandchildren. 
« Last Edit: May 07, 2014, 08:31:50 AM by MrsPete »

BikerSaver

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #63 on: May 07, 2014, 03:04:41 PM »
My 2014 goal is to read at least 26 books that I already have.
Only 26? I average more than three books a day including library books. However, I am currently weeding out our books, and I find I am reading at least two from the shelves at home each day (mostly culls), so my reading has gone up!

Yes, only 26.  I also read books for book club which either come from the library or my friend who is in the club too.  That is another 10 books.  Some years I'll average a book a week, but I'm also studying Spanish now which takes time every day.   Between Spanish, exercise and the albatross (my job), 26 seems like a reasonable number.

BikerSaver

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #64 on: May 07, 2014, 03:16:14 PM »
My 2014 goal is to read at least 26 books that I already have.
Only 26? I average more than three books a day including library books. However, I am currently weeding out our books, and I find I am reading at least two from the shelves at home each day (mostly culls), so my reading has gone up!

I think reading 26 books in a year (1 every 2 weeks) is an admirable and sensible goal. Obviously, reading 3 books in one day is insanely outside casual reading speed. Reading is not a contest.

Why do you feel the need to put down what someone obviously enjoys doing?  Some folks read faster than others or are introverted.  I'm not up to 3 a day, but if it's something they enjoy, more power to them.  It's better than vegging out in front of the tv.

No put down intended, just defending those that read slower than others. I interpreted the 'Only 26?' feedback as sort of a put down on BikerSaver's reading goal. I think it's cool that some people can read that fast - it sounds like a handy skill, but it's not a reason to judge those that read slower, or less volume. 

[edit: in hindsight i'm probably projecting a bit. it's been known to happen.]
Sorry, it definitely wasn't meant as a put down, or even a boast. It certainly sounds like both. I was just surprised - I couldn't imagine reading only one book every 2 weeks - it would seem like book deprivation! Even when I worked, I read at least one book a day. Maybe I am an addict. However, we have a happy household because we both read a lot.

No offense taken.  :-)   I should have read the whole thread before explaining in my other post. I set the 26 more as a de cluttering goal rather than a reading goal. I love to read too but I do better if I set reasonable expectations.

Happy reading!

cdttmm

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #65 on: May 07, 2014, 04:01:54 PM »
Between 3000-4000, I think. One day I'll finish reading all of them.

Jamesqf

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #66 on: May 07, 2014, 05:03:03 PM »
I also want to elaborate on one above, namely financially supporting authors.  Please remember that without people buying books, those authors cannot continue to support themselves/their families by writing.  And that means fewer stories for you to read in the library if authors quit trying to make it a career. 

OTOH, a lot of authors get a significant fraction of their sales from libraries, especially when starting out.  It's also marketing: you might not be willing to spend $7-10 on a book by an unknown author, but if you've borrowed a couple from the library and found them good, you might.  And if you really like them, you'll pre-order their next hardcover from Amazon :-)


higgins2013

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #67 on: May 07, 2014, 05:09:46 PM »
Probably 1500, but likely about 6000 have passed through our house.  We buy good books at thrift stores, and then sell them if they're not sure "keepers".

momo5

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #68 on: May 07, 2014, 05:47:14 PM »
we own hundreds of books. I like having a home library that my kids have access to 24/7. we're serious readers here, and we love rereading our favorites. there are certain books that I really want my kids to have childhood memories of, some of which are out of print (or the versions I like are) so I hunt them down and buy them used. I buy most of our books used. we have shelves full of non fiction titles, just waiting for a rainy day and a bored child. I am not always able to get to the library and hang out while my kids wander about looking for something that speaks to them and the library has the problem of 'too many books' which is sometimes overwhelming. dont get me wrong, we use the library all the time! we go weekly and usually borrow about 30 books each visit. My kids are already laying claim to some of their favorites, some are from my dh's childhood which makes them feel like a cuddly blanket. we really love books here. when I was a kid my parents didnt have much (any) extra money for books, I remember someone gave me three books when I was about 10 and oh how I treasured them. read them over and over, they were my most prized possessions.
I have been selling off those books that I dont love or feel the need to own (I used to buy much more impulsively). as a homeschooler, I also have tons of curricula which I bought when I was new to homeschooling but now I recognize the error of my ways, much of it has gone unused and now I find loads of free stuff online and only when I am convinced I need a specific book do I buy it, and even then I buy used. I did just buy a set of encyclopedias from my local library for $25, my kids love it even though you can find all that information (and more) online. they are more likely to look stuff up in print, especially since I limit their screen time.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #69 on: May 07, 2014, 05:59:00 PM »
I've gone from about 1000 to about 100.  I just took a couple boxes of books to Half-Price-Books yesterday and came back with $20.00

I realized that there are relatively few books that I re-read; I kept a lot of them cause they remind me of a time in my life that I like to think about (college, etc.)  I'm gradually learning to let go and use the library.

SIS


deborah

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #70 on: May 07, 2014, 07:28:00 PM »
About 90% of my books were bought second hand. There are some authors I read and reread. Once I decide they fit in that category, I generally look up booko.com.au (this site looks up a lot of places and adds the shipping to Australia) to find the cheapest second hand copies of their other books. Sometimes new is cheaper than old. For a few years I did a course, and read a lot of books from the university library - when I found one I wanted in my reference section, I bought it if I could find it at a reasonable price, generally second hand. I have just about finished getting rid of the books that won't be reread, or are obtainable from the library.

It is amazing how cheap some books are - for instance there is a book about "knitting a royal wedding" that cost $3 including postage (I got that for my mother who knits and loves the royals).

CommonCents

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #71 on: May 07, 2014, 08:35:00 PM »
I also want to elaborate on one above, namely financially supporting authors.  Please remember that without people buying books, those authors cannot continue to support themselves/their families by writing.  And that means fewer stories for you to read in the library if authors quit trying to make it a career. 

OTOH, a lot of authors get a significant fraction of their sales from libraries, especially when starting out.  It's also marketing: you might not be willing to spend $7-10 on a book by an unknown author, but if you've borrowed a couple from the library and found them good, you might.  And if you really like them, you'll pre-order their next hardcover from Amazon :-)

The one doesn't preclude the other.  Buying a copy just means two copies sold, not one.  Or, you can do as we have done, and if we truly love a book we read in the library, buy it for our own collection afterwards.

Kepler

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #72 on: May 07, 2014, 08:40:40 PM »
I totally understand the desire to read lots of books, but I personally don't understand the urge to own lots of books.  Even when you pay for them rather than wait for them to show up at a library, why not sell or trade them when you're done?  It feels like a socially acceptable version of consumerism to me with aspects of hoarding, and I suspect that if everyone here posted what they've spent on books it may be received a bit differently.

It depends a lot on whether the books are tools of trade, or forms of entertainment (and, if forms of entertainment, whether they'll be used again and again, or their presence creates a sense of home, etc.).

I own no "entertainment" books (except a couple given as gifts, which are still hanging around because I haven't yet read them, and feel guilty disposing of them without being able to discuss their contents with the givers...).  I own several hundred books - close to a thousand- as 'tools of trade', because they aren't easily available in other ways, or I need to refer to them often enough that it would seriously impact my productivity to need to reference them at an institutional library.  If I just need to find a half-remembered quote somewhere, Google Books is pretty good.  Once I've found that half-remembered quote, and need to review the context to make sure I'm not misrepresenting it, I need the whole text, and it can take months to obtain things stored at an overseas institution - sometimes with a heftier price tag than just owning the thing (my library told me recently that, because a work I need isn't at an institution with which they have a reciprocal lending arrangement, it would be 3000 euro to get a copy!).

I've just designed a sweeping postgraduate course that covers an unusual amount of ground: almost every book came off the shelf for that, either to help me choose readings for my students, or as background research for lectures.  I'll be writing a book next term, and I expect to ransack the shelves again while doing that.

That said, some of this depends on the kind of institutional access you have.  I'm in a minority any my current university, in terms of how my research fits with the research of others.  It just doesn't make financial sense for this university to stock, or maintain subscriptions, to a lot if what I need.  They also cap the number of works (electronic or print, local or inter library loan) anyone can have out, at 50 works, and require everything to be returned every few months.  They also occasionally tell me I've exceeded their inter library loan cap, so that I can't make further requests until the following year...

By contrast, at a previous university, I could check out infinite works, and didn't need to return them until someone else recalled them - at which point I had to have them back in 48 hours or face punishing fines.  I kept around 500 books out at any given time while I was researching.  And I was just an undergraduate student! 

That's not possible where I am now, so I'll buy anything that I need for long-term course design or research purposes.

MrsPete

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #73 on: May 08, 2014, 08:44:44 PM »
My 2014 goal is to read at least 26 books that I already have.
Only 26? I average more than three books a day including library books. However, I am currently weeding out our books, and I find I am reading at least two from the shelves at home each day (mostly culls), so my reading has gone up!
I read like the wind, but if I read three books a day I don't know that I'd genuinely take in the material and remember it, much less have time to enjoy it -- of course, some of my favorite recent reads include Game of Thrones and the Outlander series, tomes of 800+ pages.  I think I gravitate towards books the size of the Guttenberg Bible.

Between 3000-4000, I think. One day I'll finish reading all of them.
Oh, I'll never, never manage to read all the books I own.  I constantly find another one here or there -- both DTBs and ebooks.  For example, just this weekend I happened upon a copy of Ken Follett's Fall of Giants, something I've wanted to read for some time now (well, ever since I read his medieval series, which were among the best books I've ever read in my whole life), for $2.  I know I'm not going to get to it for a while . . . but I had to buy it!  I don't think I'll ever stop buying books when I happen upon them . . .and as a result I'll never read everything I have. 

The Money Monk

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Re: How many books do you own?
« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2014, 07:47:40 AM »
I haven't counted, but it's somewhere in the 200 to 500 range. Although I have paid for probably less than 10. Most of the others were gifts from my dad, or I got for free somehow.