If you take a look at my Goodreads Owned Shelf, you'll see that I have a slight book hoarding problem. At present, there are 261 books on there.
I said "slight" problem, only because at the start of the year, there were over 300 books on my shelves that I owned and had not read yet. I managed to read or get rid of about 140 books since January 1st.
We just won't tell anyone that I added 65 new books too.
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Hello, my name is Carrie and I am a book hoarder.
As you can see from the numbers above, I have a slight book buying problem. Coupled with the fact that 2015 was The Year Of The Moves, and you can start to understand why I have so many unread books.
According to the numbers, I have 10 owned series that I am working on catching up with. Whether or not this seems like a lot to you, I am exceptionally proud of this number.
- 20 out of the 88 books are part of J.D. Robb's In Death series. That is a huge percentage of my total owned and unread. I'm also gearing up towards a binge read of the series, which is something I have been craving for a while now.
- 24 out of the 88 books will finish several series I have been stalling to end.
- 44 out of the 88 books will catch me up on a large number (most) of series I am currently reading.
110 books belonging to a new series is where things start to get rough for me.
- 25 out of 110 books make up several completed series. Most of these are Nora Roberts books though, and her books tend to fly by pretty fast.
- 62 out of 110 books are by new to me authors.
- 23 out of 110 books are new series by already read authors.
The 65 standalones belong mostly to only a few authors.
- 33 out of 65 books are written by Stephen King.
- 6 out of 65 books are written by Dean Koontz.
- 2 out of 65 books are written by Sarah Dessen.
- 2 out of 65 books are written by Nora Roberts.
- The remaining books are written by a handful of authors.
So you can see that while the numbers are pretty high, when you break it down I am left with an owned TBR full of books that I still want to read.
How do your numbers compare to mine? Do they shout "I have a problem"?
Is being a book hoarder a bad thing?
Truthfully, I think the overall answer to this depends on how you answer a few questions.
- Are your books stacked neatly on shelves or do you have to run the gauntlet and dodge precariously stacked piles to make your way through your house?
- Can you afford your book buying habit? Or do you sacrifice basic necessities to buy books?
- How many years have your unread books sat on your shelves untouched? Dusting/rearranging does not count.
- If the answer to the previous question makes you cry, are you able to part with your books?
- Do you ever reread your owned books? Do you reference previous books in a series while reading the latest installment?
- Do you collect mediocre series just because you've already bought one book in the series?
- Can you buy and read used books, in various conditions, or can you only have new books on your shelves?
Sounds simply to decide it if it is a bad thing, right?
Maybe not. I think there is a lot of grey area where one person might be fine and another person could be in a mess.
Excessively buying books can be all in your head.
Is that a bad thing?
Maybe. Again, I think it all depends on the person.
When you look at my numbers above or if you've ever seen a book haul photo I've posted on Instagram then you might have realized I binge buy books. I can go weeks, maybe even a month or two without buying anything. But then I have a bad day, get anxious that I'm going to miss out on a hardcover version for a series I am collecting, or just feel that it 'is time,' and it's off to the bookstore I go.
((Before books, my addiction of choice was video games. Prior to that it was DVDs, both movies and TV shows. So I have always been like this.))
I like to tag my photos on Instagram #bookaholic or #bookaddict but I'm not entirely using the tags in a fun way. Because I think there is a hidden layer of truth in those phrases that can be a danger zone for a lot of readers.
To answer the questions above, my honest responses would be:
- Now that I have all my furniture from storage, mostly. I'm not tripping over piles or anything. But I still need to purge another 25-50 books, and/or buy a mini bookcase to fit in between my tall bookshelves since I gave mine away before I realized I needed them.
- At the levels I used to buy books at? No. Now? Yes. Over the last few years I have come to embrace the concepts of used books and book purges. My local used book store gives me credit which I in turn use to buy used books. Now I only buy new books when there is a good deal, I get a gift card, it is a series I am reading and want to own, a new series by an author I love, or a preorder I "must" have. While that might seem like a lot, and it is, this new mentality has helped me eliminate a lot of potential random book buying issues.
- OMG, this on hurts. I went though all my photos for my Instagram: Then and Now post, and I have a large number of books from 2014 to present that I have not read. But at the same time, knowing this has helped me decide if I was holding on to the book because "one day I might read it" or if it was a book I honestly still wanted to read.
- I am getting better at parting with my books. Some I practically tossed out of my room saying "why the hell do I still have you?" or "wait, where did you even come from? I don't remember buying you." Others, I couldn't even consider it. But there was a shockingly large number of books where I was undecided, which pushed me to do further Goodreads research on them.
- This right here is the reason I have this NEED to own a series. I can remember all the tiny details or I remember nothing and have to struggle to remember names and characters. When the latter happens, it usually all comes back to me pretty quickly or a talent author will help fill in the gaps of my memories. But sometimes I have this vague notion a certain thing happened or what not and NEED to go look the information up. Or it will drive me crazy and I won't be able to focus on the book at all.
- I used to obsessively buy series of books. Now, my shelves are a little more picky about what gets to stay on them. Did I seriously buy all the Daughter of Smoke and Bone books by Laini Taylor simply because I'd heard good things and the books were all in the clearance rack? Yes. But that is a rare occurrence nowadays.
- Used books are the main reason why my book buying expenses have decreased over the years. Won't lie, using credit for old books on used books is the main reason I can buy the first book in a lot of series I own later books to. It's also the reason I was able to cross off a lot of series from my TBR, which in turned allowed me to purge multiple books from each series off my shelves. The shift towards allowing used books on my bookshelves helped my fight my need to own all the pretty new books in series I haven't read yet. Which allowed me to slow my new series books down to just a few preorders I have been highly anticipating.
What would your answers be?
Why I Buy Books:
- Reading makes me happy.
- Reading helps me to escape from a bad day.
- Reading allows me to pass the time in an interesting way.
- Reading gives me something to talk about.
- Because books allow me to experience things I will otherwise never get to or want to.
- Because I can live multiple lives.
- Because books are reliable friends.
- Because books make me feel better.
Why do you buy books?
RELATED: The Big Book Purge In 10 Easy Steps (2015)
Sometimes I like to say I'm a functional bookaholic.
Will I ever stop buying books?
Who knows what the future will bring?
I've been an avid reader since mid 2000s but I never really collected books until 2012. Prior to becoming an avid reader, I read somewhere between 0 and 5 books a year. Now I typically read between 200 and 250 books a year.
My crazy unread owned TBR never really came into being until the end of 2014, at the start of my packing phase for the multiple moves. Yes, that means I added like 300 books in about 2 years. Most of those books were series I was in the middle of reading or by authors I love. About half of the 300 came from massive library book sale hauls.
Yes. I have a book buying problem.
There is a danger zone, and I'd honestly say I'm not too far from falling into it completely. But as long as I'm aware of that fact, and actively working to push myself away from it, I'll say I'm the path to recovery.
Do you consider yourself a book collector or a book hoarder?