8 Reasons to buy more books
In previous posts I’ve covered some of my justifications for book shopping, which like an alcoholic topping up everyone else’s drink, or a sugar junkie that buys donuts for the “the office”, I use to make myself feel better. So apologies for repeating myself, but I thought I’d put them all here in a handy cut-out-and-keep list.
# 1. To have a collection of un-read books is important as when we finish one book, the next book to read could be one we aren’t in the mood for. It could be Wodehouse, Tolstoy, Hardy, Austen, Sebald or Self, it doesn’t matter, if you’re not in the mood, it will you from picking up the book. That’s bad. A selection is necessary.
# 2. Books are investments, not only could they be worth money some day (you may not be alive by then, but still, think of the great-grandkids), but if there is ever some kind of zombie/weather/nuclear apocalypse, you will have a TBR pile to make your final days less traumatic and something to distract you when your neighbour is sat on your lawn chewing the leg of the postman. And when the temperature drops, they will be something to burn, and cook over (Source: The Day After Tomorrow)
# 3. With so much competition for our incomes, and so many big companies out there trying to get us to buy another piece of electrical plastic for our homes, publishers need our money. And if publishers don’t have money, they can’t give any to authors, and for people to not be paid for their work leaves us with all those cheap Kindle books that people self-publish, and the quality of literature in the world goes down, reversing our intellectual evolution. No offence intended to people who self-publish, and if your work is good and has been overlooked by agents it but the people vote with their pennies, it can be a good way to be noticed, but my, there is a lot of poorly-edited multi-font garishly-covered work out there, and only mainstream or mass-appeal ebooks will make it big. Writers like Sebald and Self need someone with an office and some money to believe in them for the public to be made aware.
# 4. In an age where high street chains are going out of business, and every second shop is a £1 shop selling poor-quality crap, we need to protect our book shops. Alternatively, if you buy books from a charity shop, you are supporting worthy causes and people in need. If you buy books (or ‘puppies’ as I like to call them) from second-hand books shops (or ‘Book Shelters’), you are supporting small local business, and importantly, giving a home book (or ‘adopting’), and stopping it from ending up in a landfill site (soggy cardboard box in a dark alley).
# 5. If you spent all your disposable income on X-Boxes and iPads, you’d be a target for burglars. Aint nobody breaking in to steal the copy of James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ you got off eBay. And if you’ve ever moved house, you’ll know any burglar with plans to make off with your library would need strong boxes, and an even stronger back.
# 6. We have it drummed into us as children that reading is good for us. Like eating vegetables and planting trees, it falls into the category of limitless activities. No one’s doctor ever told them that their blood work shows high levels of book consumption, and the police will never pull you over as they suspect you’ve read one chapter too many.
# 7. While it’s important that your book purchasing does not result in your children wearing Jiffy bags on their feet to school, your cats have food, and there aren’t bailiffs at the door, it is a far less expensive habit or addiction than many. I recently spent £9.70 on a cinema ticket (I could easily get four second-hand books for that) and the last time I looked, a packet of cigarettes cost nearly £8 ($11.53 US, $16.58 Australian, €10.58 Euro). A cup of tea in Starbucks is around £2. Modern life is expensive, but even new books, which are often around £7, are in comparison, incrfdibly good value. Life is short, self-deprivation of a beneficial item won’t win you any prizes if there’s an afterlife.
# 8. If you read lots, you can answer questions on game shows and in pub quizzes, and impress your friends and family. This can actually win you prizes in this life.