Where Do You Buy Your Books?

Today’s off the cuff stream of consciousness post is inspired by The Quintessential Editor’s rant against Barnes and Noble.

My last post notwithstanding, this blog is first and foremost dedicated to the joys of reading. The aforementioned link, coupled with the fact that my next book review will feature a book on the detrimental effects of technology on the quality of modern life, set my wheels to turning on the subject of not only what we read, but how we acquire the material we read.

Unlike the QE, I am not particularly offended by Barnes and Noble, but it is certainly not my first choice when I am looking for a book. I am extremely partial to the public library as a place to find books I seek and books to stumble upon and take home, without the commitment of wasting the money my Benevolent Dictator works so hard to provide. Books can be a heavy investment when you read as much as we do around here.

I have come to realize, since starting this blog has facilitated discussions with other bibliophiles in other parts of the country, that we are quite fortunate with regard to the number of branches and services our public library provides. It is at least worth the taxes we pay, my thoughts on the principle of property taxes not withstanding.  Not everyone is so blessed however, and a lot of people spend a small fortune on books because it is the most efficient way to get their hands on what they want when they want it.

I buy the occasional book as well, and when I do, I almost always buy it from a small independent book store. My first choice is a local used bookstore in my area which will graciously taken in titles from my home library which I no longer want, and generously offer me credit for those toward books in the store that I wish to buy. It’s a win win!

The atmosphere in a used bookstore is kind of exhilarating. I like not quite knowing exactly where something is, as it affords me the opportunity to discover hidden gems or even titles I forgot I wanted to read until I saw them there. There is always some attempt at categorization, even in the used bookstore, but it’s ragtag just enough to feel authentic. I can easily find myself spending an hour longer than the amount of time I budgeted to browse the shelves.

These days however, we are not limited to Barnes and Nobles, quaint independent bookstores, or even the local public library. I mentioned earlier the effect of technology on modern life and one of the most universal ways this is seen is in the way we read. Kindles, Nooks,  computers, and tablets have become the preferred way of reading for most today. You can load hundreds of books on one device, and take your reading with you wherever you go.

I own a Kindle, but I only use it to  read about 1/4 of all the books I read. I can even download titles from the library onto it, but I can’t seem to shake my desire to feel the paper in my hands, bookmark an actual page to return to later, and experience the sensation of turning the pages of a book. All of this randomness is actually leading up to a question for you all:

Where do you buy most of your books, and are you more likely to read electronically, or old school like me?

16 thoughts on “Where Do You Buy Your Books?

  1. Quintessential Editor says:

    I enjoyed this post, and absolutely love the feel of your blog page.

    “…I can’t seem to shake my desire to feel the paper in my hands, bookmark an actual page to return to later, and experience the sensation of turning the pages of a book.”

    I would encourage you to never shake the feeling. I’m just like you in this way. Plus, I can’t decimate the insect population (crush bugs) with an eReader. Well I could, but that’s an expensive thing to replace.

    On a more serious note, it’s easier for me to sink into words when they are printed. You get a feel for the amount of work that went into it when they are thicker. On the other hand, you can also appreciate the ability of an author who can deliver a smashing story in a small amount of pages.

    When I think about it, it’s the difference between an email and a handwritten letter from a friend. I appreciate them both. But a handwritten letter has more weight to it – emotionally and literally. You toss it up on the fridge, and it reminds you to touch bases with them. Much like a good book you treasured reading sits on the shelf and beckons you to return.

    That’s just my two cents. I will be sure to swing by your page more often, you’ve got some great content here!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elspeth says:

    I liked that; the comparison of a hand written letter versus an email. The difference in the weight. Very well put. Appreciate the comment, QE.

    I really like your blog as well. It sparks thought in this former aspiring writer turned homeschooling mommy who is feeling the itch return of late.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quintessential Editor says:

    Well I hope you do shake off the dust and pick up the pen again. I can only imagine how busy you are with homeschooling so it would be a challenge, no doubt.

    Regardless, I believe we all have stories bouncing around in our head. The good news is they usually aren’t going anywhere. They will wait until you have time. Just don’t wait too long! After all, I always need more stories to read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Practical Conservative says:

    Amazon gets all our book money, and once in a great while I’ll buy something directly off an author site because Amazon doesn’t have it. I don’t buy much in ebook form that isn’t free, but I sometimes get some stuff that I hear about from people I know. I can’t read ebooks much for health reasons, so I cut back on even the free downloads. And sometimes it’s just nicer to be able to flip to a scene or image you like in a deadtree book. So I’ve been buying hard copies of what I read in ebook anyhow.

    We want our kids raised on way less computer and screen-ness, so we’re building a library and it is hard, but it is easier than other options.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mrs ktc says:

    I buy a lot of our books from a local bookstore or from little bookstores on etsy. If I can’t find what I need there I go to amazon. I also browse thrift stores and library book sales frequently.

    I don’t have a kindle but the convenience of one (especially while traveling) is appealing.

    I did get a library card the other week so we could check out some audio books for our vacation which involved 15 hr car ride. No late fees yet!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. hearthie says:

    My reading habits are in flux, as I change from reading fiction to more and more nonfiction, and get progressively pickier about my fiction consumption. On the one hand, when I find a fiction series that I like, instantly getting it on my nook is very, very nice. On the other, I can’t take a bath with my nook (and yes, that’s a problem!!) and I don’t like study materials in eform (annoying, they’re so much cheaper that way).

    If I buy Christian books, I try to buy them from my church bookstore, I want to support them. Um, of course I mean any books that I don’t buy online. I sometimes go physically to the B&N, but honestly the selection is much better online, and I pony up for the free shipping, so why not?

    The used book stores in my area have mostly been eaten by Amazon et al, except for one very high-end store (I saw the Well-Dressed Wife for $45) so that’s not a thing anymore – but I rarely bought anything except light fiction there anyway, and am, as I said, transitioning out of that. I do go to the library, but it’s for randomness, not great selection. They moved the good library to the richer part of town, which is a ways away, and basically I don’t want to drive that far.

    So, um…. B&N online. Sometimes paper, sometimes nook, depending on what I get.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Elspeth says:

    Best thing about our library is that if the book you need
    is at a branch in another part of the county you can go online and request it and they will bring it to your door. For free.


  8. Stingray says:

    I’ve been getting into a lot reading lately. I hadn’t been reading much for far too long. I thought that I would take a look at what we’ve already got in the house and I was amazed at the wealth of good books we already own, that I never had the desire to read, that now I do want to read. This is a good thing and an overwhelming thing. We have a lot of books. Most of these are from B & N because we bought then 10-15 years ago. These days, when we want a book we don’t have, we use the library. If the library doesn’t have it, we get it on Amazon. Occasionally, we will use Abe Books for books we want that are out of print. This sometimes happens with homeschooling, but Amazon has a good choice of out of print books these days.

    I am this close to finishing a biography on Padre Pio and before that I read an historical fiction on Saint Luke (fantastic by the way. I highly recommend it. It is called Dear and Glorious Physician). I would like to find some more good fiction to read that isn’t fun trash (recommendations welcome). Back to our book shelves I will go.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Robyn says:

    It’s a split for me between amazon for my kindle, which is almost all of my reading and researching. For hard books i prefer used. i find the greatest gems in “vintage” bookstores. I do buy some new from indigo but only when i can mix orders with my kids for free shipping.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Elspeth says:

    Yeah, we have a pretty sweet set up. I keep waiting every year for the announcement that the service is being cut to save money but it hasn’t’ happened yet. We can return to the closest branch as well. Very convenient.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Bike Bubba says:

    Love Amazon and CBD, and even B&N, but there is something beautiful about an antiquarian bookstore to me….most of my favorite books were purchased in hole in the wall antiquariats, actually. You find something that almost nobody in this country understands, and you look up with puppy dog eyes when the clerk comes by to ask if she/he can help you, and ask if they take Mastercard. :^)

    (real story from when I picked up two of my favorite volumes, the Torah and the History from the Berlenberg Bibel, printed 1726/1728)

    More or less, I find that there are a lot of places that have a far better trash/treasure ratio than B&N. Amazon is cool because you don’t have to look at their trash….

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Elspeth says:

    We just bought a large, wall sized bookshelf (well, 6 ft high by 6 ft wide) from a couple off Craigslist for $50 yesterday. A really good one. It is going to replace a couple of not so good bookshelves.

    I’m looking forward to seeing our books reclaimed from every nook and cranny and arranged as a neat library. Then I can start deciding which books we need to purchase as a part of a permanent library.

    It is a big undertaking, I agree.


  13. Elspeth says:

    Kindles make it much easier to take your reading with you. Mine is very basic one, which didn’t cost very much. Which is a good thin considering how seldom I use it.


  14. Eavan says:

    I have a Kindle that I keep with me for reading when I end up sitting around and waiting and for travel, but I prefer paper books for the smell and the feel and ease of notation. The biggest frustration with an e-reader is the inability to flip back to find a passage – you can page back in a reader, but if you remember where the passage was by what side of the page it was on, like I do, a reader doesn’t offer any memory helps – every “page” looks exactly the same.

    I do use my Kindle for free books off gutenberg.org. For homeschoolers who like old stories this site is a gold mine of free books. They have all the Henty books, all Austen’s books, Chesterton, Belloc, the church fathers, etc.


  15. joanna says:

    We buy most of our books off Amazon. Our library system kinda bites so we don’t go there often. I’ve more often than not been unable to find the title I’m looking for. I always look for used books on Amazon before I buy a new copy. Our favorite thing to do is go to Mojo. It’s a used book and record shop with a coffee bar. They could use more seats but otherwise it’s like heaven.

    I buy books almost exclusively in hard copy. I cannot abide e-books. They don’t feel like books, read like books, smell like books, or get beat up like a good book should. I do make exceptions for books that I feel like I have to have with me 100% of the time. There are several of these: the Bible, The Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice. That way everywhere I go I have the current book I’m reading and books that have changed my life and I get the urge to read at random moments, but they don’t take up any more space than my iPad does.

    Liked by 1 person

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