How to Survive a Book Buying Ban

Empty Inside LolCat

It’s been 6 weeks since I went on a book buying ban. This is the longest I have ever stuck to one of these bans; I usually cave after one week at most.

During these past 6 weeks, I’ve been reading what I have, and I’m about to finish my eighth book. I’m focused on the book in my hands, and I’m even finding books in my stash that I’d forgotten I had. Kinda like getting new books without buying them.

It’s been nice. But not easy.

I’ve had to develop strategies and coping mechanisms. 

#1 Stick to the book bag.

I keep a bookstore bag next to my favorite reading spot, the couch. And I’ve filled this bag with books that are next up on my immediate To Read list. This keeps me from getting overwhelmed/bored with the choices in my home library.

#2 Maintain a Goodreads lists.

It sounds counterintuitive, but keeping up with my Goodreads lists has helped me keep my book-buying tick in check.

First, I get to keep track of how many books I’ve read, which feels like I’ve accomplished something.

Second, looking at my Want to Read shelf reminds myself that I already own 65 of the 100+ books on that list. And it squashes my powers of rationalization (which are mighty).


Seriously, if I have 65 books in my home that I still haven’t read, I cannot justify buying another. But I can add it to my Want to Read list. And that by itself helps scratch the itch.

#3 Reorder some bookshelves.

This is how I rediscovered 30+ books I forgot I had. They’d been tucked away in the corners of my home. (I also have a closed moving box that I suspect is full of books, but I’m leaving it closed for now. Have faced enough reality.)

Cleaning out and arranging my bookshelves so I could put them away in their proper homes made me tangibly face the reality that I have plenty to read for the love of all that’s literary.

“Hi, you. I remember you. You look so lovely. And you smell so good. What are you doing this weekend?”

Mind you, this is not a bad problem. This is actually a great problem. Still, my arms are a little stiff from hefting them around.

Forgot about those box sets, didn’t you? Feeling sore? Remember this next time you browse Book Depository.

#4 Get over needing to keep them in mint condition.

I do most of my reading while I’m on the train to commute back and forth to work. Which means that any book I’m currently reading faces living in the book blender that is my purse. I’ll often put off reading a book because I don’t want to wreck it by putting it through such wear and tear. Instead, I’ll wait until I can set aside a weekend and binge read it. Never happens, by the way.

Now I apologize to my book in advance, stuffed it in my purse and shoved my keys, phone and gloves in after it.

Dear book, I’m sorry for what you’re about to endure.
(*stuff stuff stuff, cram cram cram*)

By the end of the first day, the book’s edges are a chipped and the cover is starting to bend. Problem solved.


Not shown: Chocolate smears, pasta sauce and my blood from jamming my cuticle while reaching for my book. Yes, after only one day.

#5 Be accountable to someone more honest.

In a perfect world, we’d always act like responsible adults. Capable of making our own responsible, adult decisions. However, adults on book buying bans can be a little immature. Sometimes we need help.

I turned to my husband. He’s been instrumental in keeping me on the good ol’ straight and narrow.

Me: If it’s already on my e-reader, I can buy the paperback, right?

Him: No. It’s still book buying.

Me: But it’s such a good deal.

Him. No. It’s still book buying.

Me: But it’s only a few tiny paperbacks.

Him: No. It’s still book buying.

Me: But I don’t have these editions.

Him. You already have the entire Harry Potter series in paperback, hardback, e-reader and audio. Plus, all the movies and peripheral books. So no.

I could be jerk and find a way to smuggle them, but then I’d be disappointing him and setting him up to fail and I can’t do that when he’s trying to help me like I asked him to in the first place.

So no. Because it’s still book buying.

#6 Avoid Booktube.

This one’s easy because I’m still not sure exactly what Booktube is. But there are a number of bookish YouTube channels I follow that I’ve been avoiding.

Not because I’ll find something interesting to read. But because if I see one more Book Haul video, I will throw something at the smiling jerkface on the screen who has no idea how watching them hold up their latest acquisitions fills me with jealously and sadness.

This would be both expensive and immature. Would like to avoid both.

So, so far, so good.

I’m still on my book buying ban. I still have plenty to read. And I’m still adding to my TBR list. When I first posted about my book buying ban, several of you awesome people shared in the misery. How is your book buying ban going? How are you doing it? Or do you need a hug/rationalization because you fell of the wagon? Share in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “How to Survive a Book Buying Ban”

  1. You absolutely made my day with your post. I laughed myself silly, reading sections of it to my parents to prove to them that I wasn’t kidding about my book-buying addiction. I love your tips and will be trying several of them for myself. What makes it such a problem for me is how easy it is now to buy books with the click of a button.

    1. Yes! Thank you! It’s so easy. And you can find such great deals on the paperback version which leaves you (easily) convincing yourself that “one more won’t matter” and you believe it until your book haul comes in and then you’re left muttering to yourself “what have I done” but of course you don’t care because you just got a ton of books and the endorphins kick in as you rediscover what you bought.

      The struggle is real.

  2. My library card is my accountability buddy. Between Hoopla for audiobooks and the request option for hard copy titles I’m searching for, I haven’t really been tempted. Okay, that’s a lie. I have been tempted but force myself to add to my Amazon Wish List and search the library database. Luckily, so far, for me, I’ve either found what I wanted or found something else also tempting to borrow instead. I’m just now starting in on the piles of unread books I already own. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what good taste I have in reading material. 😉

  3. Ooh Erica, I admire your stamina! I caved after less than a week – someone in our BDC group sent me a link to BookBub (I promise that I will NOT share it with you!), which automagically links my Barnes&Noble account with new reads for my Nook. And I can’t resist b/c they’re only $1.99 each, LOL! Granted, more than half of them were on my wishlist and have now been moved to my TBR list, but still…You are much stronger than I am, and you should be proud of the progress you have made! P.S. I read the entire AGOT over the New Year’s weekend about 6 years ago, and was hooked. If you need to “borrow” any of the sequels, I have all 5 on Nook and can do the “Lend” thingie – that doesn’t count as buying any new books, does it? 😉

    1. You read the entire Game of Thrones series in a single weekend? #Respect, my fellow bookworm. #TotalRespect. It is addictive. Thank you for the offer of the lend, but I got the boxed set for Christmas. I’m almost through the first book, and I love it.

      Second, lending does not count as book buying. It’s like sharing a library. 🙂

      Third, no judgement for breaking your ban. And please don’t give me that link. It would ruin me. In the best of ways, but still… 😉

      1. Oh no my dear, I only read the first book, “A Game of Thrones” in an entire weekend. Even I am not a) THAT fast a reader; b) that good at understanding complex storylines, and c) that crazy to read all 5 books in A Song of Ice and Fire (the name of the entire series) at a single go. I did stay up all night New Year’s Eve 2011 though, so that I could finish the first book before ushering in 2012 and starting the second!

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