1. Anthem
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    Anthem Member

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    Buy or Borrow?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Anthem, Mar 16, 2009.

    How do you get your books?

    Do you buy them or do you borrow them from the library/friend?
    Why?

    If your buying them, how do you buy them?

    Bookstore?
    Online?
    New?
    Used?

    Is anyone out there reading ebooks?
    Does anyone out there pirate books off bittorrent or the like?

    Personally

    I buy books, I prefer it that way for a number of reasons. The number one reason is that someday I want to have my own (nerdy) library filled wall to wall with bookcases lined with books. The number two reason is for memory, if I were to borrow books from the Library, I'd read it then forget it forever - having all the books there I can go through my books one day, see a book and say "oh god I forgot I read that, that was a pretty good book" then pick it up and reread it. Rereading in my opinion is the key to being a good reader, once is never enough, no matter how shallow a book is. The third is that someday when I have kids I can have a library for them to hopefully enjoy for themselves and hopefully I can show them all the great books I've read over the years and they can read them and we'll bond that way. Probably not though, knowing most kids these days, they'll grow up ungrateful and hating me either way - I have no delusions. :p

    As to where I buy them, I get books almost exclusvely used. I used to buy things new at the outrageous book store prices ($14+ a book) then my reading habits out grew that. Now I go to a used bookstore a couple towns over and shop. It's like the salvation army of books - there's a lot of selection but you have to dig through a lot of crap to get to the gems but the gems are only pennies in price. I recently got Robert A. Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land", Gibson's "Nueromancer" and Huxley's "Island" for $3.50 total. If I can't find what I want there I usually order whatever I want used off Alibris.

    I buy used mainly because of the price but, it's also nice to see a book in one its earliest editions without the long introductions by another author or the million praises from papers. You get the see the book in it's original raw form the way the first reader's may of experienced it. Plus the retro cover art is neat especially if it's a science fiction or fantasy novel, there's nothing like a pulp drawing of a man in a retrofuture spacesuit. And I like how, especially if they're showing their age, they make me feeling like I'm some lovecraftian protagonist shifting through ancient tomes finding out dark secrets. Condition doesn't really matter to me - as long as it has every page in tact - coffee stains, yellowed pages, dog ear covers, bent covers, no covers - it doesnt matter as long as all the pages are there. A little black electric tape fixes anything up.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I too would like to have a collection of books, a sort of personal library. So, I tend to buy books although I also go to the library since it's free. I have to buy mostly used books because new ones are expensive, but there are plenty of used book stores around here so I'm happy. Besides, it's always fun to look at what the previous owner wrote in the margins. If I am insanely rich, my library is going to be full of first editions.
     
  3. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    Usually, I'm the one lending books not borrowing them. When possible I buy my books new- I want them to be in as good condition as possible especially for my favourite works and editions I put right on the shelf. For certain works I'll keep multiple copies- for example I have three editions of Dante's Divine Comedy, my favourite book- a Mark Musa I lend to friends because it's accessible, my Sayers edition that I read (though from wear it needs to be replaced) and a fancier edition for my shelf. Some of my rarer and older books I have to keep in storage to avoid (further) damage.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even if I only went to second-hand stores, and the sale cart at the library, I would never be able to afford to buy all the books I read. There also some books I love that I have never seen at the second hand stores and are too popular for the library to sell them. I'd also eventually run out of places to put all of them. Many of the books I read only take less than a week to finish, and then I start the next one right away. Using the library is also so much faster. I don't have to hunt them down. Some people may love that, not me. If there is a title I want, I know right away if I can get it by using the on-line catalogue, plus quickly find out all the other books they have by the same author.
     
  5. shanemitchell1
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    shanemitchell1 Member

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    If there is a lot of hype over a book, I will go ahead and buy it, but I have checked books from the library that I loved, and I will soon go out and buy at some point. I want a giant collection of books, and I hope over time I can get there.
     
  6. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I tend to buy a lot of books second hand, mainly because I just end up giving most of them away - my apartment is like a book store which is periodically looted - and I could never afford full price for so many. I don't have the space to keep them all either. I store them in boxes stacked to the ceiling, and my sister fears I'll die under an avalanche some day. I even got rid of my TV, and my entertainment center is presently packed with my prized collection of favourites.:D But it's not enough... I end up giving away or reselling 90% of my books.

    I read most in 1-2 sittings. I read Martin's 1400-page Storm of Swords in about 9 hours and forgot to eat or drink. Many go straight to the nearest 'recycle box' when I'm finished... but when I really love a book I'll buy it again brand new, so I have 2 copies. Sometimes I'll pick up even more copies to loan out to friends.

    I also make good use of the library, sometimes borrow from friends etc. And yes, I've got a few thousand on a HD as well, but that's mainly for easy reference, pulling up quotes and such. When I want to actually read a book I will obtain it physically.

    My father used to keep a huge library in the basement when I lived with him. He lined every wall with bookcases until he ran out of space.. Then he piled them up in boxes, stacked them into heaps and ponderous towers on the floor and tables. There were so many books lying around that you could hardly see the floor. Finally I suggested stacking the bookcases, and the next thing I knew I was helping him add a whole new level. We nailed up to three of them together to make these absurd 14-foot cases lol. That place was heaven! But then he moved to China and was forced to get rid of them all.:(

    I dream of having my own library some day, but... I would mourn the loss of it like nothing else. It's hard enough for me to part with a hundred here and there. My dad had to give up several thousand at once. That hurt like the death of a loved one, and they weren't even mine.:p
     
  7. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    I almost exclusively buy mine new from either Waterstones, Borders or Amazon. There's just something about going into a bookshop and smelling that odour of fresh print on new paper which you just can't get from anywhere else, and Amazon helps me to find those impossible-to-find-elsewhere tomes which I occasionally like to read. (And it's cheaper than normal bookshops, great for finding that bargain everyone loves.)

    Whenever I go on holiday (normally to the east coast, Whitby and the like) I like going into certain local second-hand bookshops which are around and about and picking up half-a-dozen well-loved books for a tenner, which I find is an excellent way to find out about writers and books you wouldn't normally shell out on in a relatively risk-free (and cost-effective) way.

    I would like to use the library, but I don't. In the last five years I've borrowed one book (2001: A Space Odyssey), and, although I loved it, I haven't been back. I need to go more, if only because two of my best friends staff my local library on Mondays and Fridays.
     
  8. Benska
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    Benska Member

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    I agree that the key to becoming a good reader is rereading. Which is why I usually, not always, borrow the books from the library, or a fried, and if I enjoyed the book, I will go ahead and buy it. I usually go to bookstores, though if I'm looking for a particular book, and can't find it I'll go online and look for it.

    I will buy books spontaneously sometimes, too. For example if there is a book kart at a newsagent or something, selling books at very low prices; $1, $5, around that, and I see one that looks decent, why not?

    I still think try before you buy is a good strategy, though.
     
  9. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Tehehehe, we live in waterstones bubbs! I'm so glad you liked that book x I'm still reading the one you bought me the other day, it's brilliant! xxx :redface:
     
  10. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    I rent them, and if I like them a lot, I may eventually buy them to read them again.
     
  11. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I borrow from the library. (Especially my many audio books)

    I buy some books new (at the bookstore.)

    I buy some books new (online.)

    I buy many books at used book stores, garage & yard sales and online, including auction sites (Ebay) and sites like Abebooks.com.

    Online purchases & libraries are best for finding a specific book you can't find elsewhere. Yard sales and garage sales are great for the spur-of-the-moment "this looks good, and it's only a quarter" book.

    And many books are given to me as gifts, from friends and family who bought and read them themselves and know that I read.

    I also sometimes get the ever-valuable book store gift card from someone on Christmas or my birthday, which allows me to buy new.
     
  12. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    I always buy books, there's a degree of satisfaction in knowing that it will always be there should I ever want to read it again (and most books I buy get at least two readings). I've had an ever-expanding library since I was around eight and I couldn't bear to part with most of the books that I have. I buy new and secondhand books - op shopping is brilliant for all sorts of things - but I have a loose rule that if I buy a secondhand book that I also purchase at least one by the same author brand new (I do the same thing for CD's :redface:). For the most part, I buy books brand new but greatly discounted. :D

    I'm not a fan of digital media in general - hard copy is always preferable. Plus, I can't read for any great length of time from the computer screen without starting to feel woozy...

    I'm also highly protective of my books. I wish I could say I'd lend anything to all and sundry, but experience tells me that most people do not respect my books the same way I do or as much as they respect their own. If what I have loaned actually gets returned (an uncommon occurence, I've lost a few rare and expensive books), they're almost never treated how I wish, so now I am considerably reluctant to loan books to anyone. Ever. >_>
     
  13. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    I buy my books, so that I can lend them out to friends and maybe one day re-read them. I go to Borders, Barnes & Noble, and a hole in the wall second-hand bookstore called Amy's.
     
  14. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    You read Clive Barker!? :D He's my favorite author!
     
  15. Addicted2aa
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    Addicted2aa Senior Member

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    I guess I'm the exception. I almost never buy books. My bookshelf is too full with books I need to read for me to justify paying money for more books. I don't use the library but only because I'm trying to get through the books I have right now. I also torrent a large number of books, because I'm cheap.
    After I finish a book I almost never reread it. It's just never seemed interesting to me. I'm planning on rereading my first book, The Hitchhikers Guide, after I finish the three I have going right now. Its been 10 years since I read it.
     
  16. Rabid Fox
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    Rabid Fox Member

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    I buy, and almost exclusively from used book stores. I'm poor ... whattaya gonna do?

    It started out years ago when I was given a box of paperbacks from an aunt. She said what I didn't read, I could trade in for credit at one of the used book stores in the valley. "What's that now?" I muttered. There are actual places where I don't have to spend a penny to get books, just give them books I don't want anymore? Sign. Me. Up.

    There have been a few titles--more than a few, really--I just can't find in those shops, and will likely end up seeking them out in a library or the "real" book store, like finishing out my collection of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series. I visit three stores on a fairly regular basis, and have subsequently amassed a fire hazard in books to read. :)
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I should answew with photos of my six overloaded and sagging full height bookshelves, and the piles of books stacked around my place, and the cartons of books piled in my basement.

    I like to re-read books I like, to see what makes them tick. So I am much more likely to buy a book than to borrow one.
     
  18. rory
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    rory Contributing Member

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    You sound like my sister and I. We both treat our books a lot like glass, and while I will lend one of my books to trusted friends, I always warn them that if they break the spine I will break their head. And they'll still owe me a new book. :p

    I mostly buy my books new, from Chapters or Indigo, but I've found a few treasures at library sales or second hand shops. The books I buy I've always already read. I can't justify spending money one something I'm not guaranteed to like. As a result, my book shelf is made up completely of books I'm in love with and frequently re-read.
    And I exploit the library. I have a library card that works in any library in the province, but it has a five book limit which is very hard to abide by.
     
  19. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    Nobody is allowed to touch my treasured new books. I have many that I've kept in perfect condition for 10 years or more, and they're going to stay that way!

    Sometimes I'll have some extra second hand copies to loan out. They always come back with fresh wounds - broken spines, stains, dog-ears, you know how it goes. Some I've had to throw away... I don't know anyone who can guarantee that my books will come back safe.:( If they have kids (which most of my friends and family do) such promises are nearly impossible to keep.

    I tend to agree... I read some to see what the hype is about, but never buy them without reading first. Friends always provide...
     
  20. Kas
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    Kas Contributing Member

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    I do read them, Banzai. Some I've read up to 7 or 8 times. But they've been with me for a long time, and for some silly reason I get very attached my favourite books. If someone spilled grape juice on one (happened before with a loaned book) I'd be very upset. I suppose they are like mementos. I have a lot of good memories tied to those books, specifically. It wouldn't be the same if I had to replace one.

    I usually only buy books brand new when I've already read them, or from an author I love. Immediately, that book is special to me. So I hoard those special volumes like a miserly dragon.:p
     
  21. Anthem
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    Anthem Member

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    Agreed. Books are one of the only things you can say this about: each mark of abuse is a mark of love (in most cases). Try saying that about your children or animals!
     
  22. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't obsessively worry about keeping the few books I do buy in perfect condition, but I do think there is value is preserving books. There is a library downtown that is dedicated to preserving sci-fi and fanasty books. They keep them in a room where they stay dry and all that. The librarian will take one out of the shelves for you to read, though you have to stay in the library
     
  23. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    Personally, I prefer to buy my books used (but in great condition!) for as little money as possible. I don't really like borrowing books because I like being able to just reach onto my shelf when something comes up in a conversation (online usually) where all I have to do is flip to a page and reference it. I also prefer buying secondhand because it minimizes the impact to the environment (maybe that's lame, but it's true).
     
  24. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    I buy books.

    Before senior year of high school, I used to just check them out from the library if they weren't something I really was into (like Harry Potter lol). But then for AP Lit, my teacher wanted us to buy all of the novels we read, not just borrow them. So I started doing that, and then sort of got into the habit of purchasing my books, for better or for worse.

    I usually do research on a book first, though, before buying. I just want to make sure I am going to probably enjoy it; books can be expensive! I do like owning them, though, it's just nice to be able to know it's yours. I don't write in my books, but it's nice to know I could if I wanted to! Heh.
     
  25. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I mainly borrow books...and often I'm the first one to get a new, hot book that's arrived at our library, which makes me happy. :D

    I buy books using my amazon gift certificates I get at Christmas or on my birthday. Those books are ones that I've already read and know I love and will want to re-read.
     

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