Monday, January 26, 2015

To Borrow or To Buy? - That is the Question

When I discover a new book that I'd like to read, I am often faced with the dilemma of deciding whether I want to buy the book or borrow it from the library.

Here are a few ways I decide what to do:

I borrow from the library if....
  • I think the book is a one-time read
  • the book is fiction (see below for exceptions)
  • I'm not sure I'll like it
  • its not a favorite genre
  • its written by a brand new author
  • its a cookbook that I only want a few recipes from
Once I decide a book is worth buying, then I choose between the paper or digital version. Since I discovered that readers absorb less on Kindles than on paper (and I find this to be true for myself), it's usually easy to determine which format I want.

I buy the "real" book if....
  • I know I'm going to underline, write and highlight all over it
  • I'm going to want to read it again
  • I want Ryan to read it
  • I'm using it for a Bible or book study
  • I want to save it for my kids to read one day
  • its a favorite from my own childhood and I want to give them to my kids so they can give them to their kids (like Nancy Drew, Pippi Longstocking, or the Beverly Cleary books)
  • its a great series and I want to own the complete set (like The Mitford series by Jan Karon or the Fairacre series by Miss Read)
  • its a cookbook with lots of great recipes
  • I just want to own it for some reason (some books just speak to me that way)
I buy the e-book if it meets the following criteria...
  • If I know I like the author 
  • its the next book in a series 
  • its cheaper than the hardcover/paperback
  • the library hold list is way too long and I just can't wait
  • if its on sale for $5 or less  
What about you? Do you have a preference for borrowing or buying books and how do you choose? 


  1. Hello, my name is Joanna and I am a book-a-holic. I always buy and if I love the book, I even get the Nook version so I can have it during ferry rides, waits at doc apps. and hospital stays. If I don't end up loving it, I donate it to our local friends of the library used books store (the money goes toward supporting our local library) so I can at least not feel like I totally wasted the money. :)

    1. I love it, Joanna! :) Anytime I can buy something under the guise of "it's for a good cause", I totally run with it - Girl Scout cookies, using my Target Red Card almost daily just so Lily's school gets a donation, jewelry from Noonday Collection, Toms shoes.... Come on, we really are just selfless people, aren't we? :)

  2. You pretty much nailed it for me. We are totally reading soul mates. (Just finished the new Jan Karon. Dooley's and Lace's engagement totally gave me hope for another one around the corner.)

    1. I'm so happy to be your reading soul mate. :)

      I have the Jan Karon one on my nightstand! :) I'm excited to read it but I'm also dreading it because she just keeps taunting us - "Will I write more Mitford books? Will I start something new? Will I write a book every 5 years or so?". I just can't take the pressure!

  3. We borrow almost all of our books-our city has a great library plus we can get them on the kindles as well. We have some at home but a 2 bedroom apt doesn't have much storage space. I do try to buy the kids(7(has epilepsy) and 10(has hearing loss)) books I know they will like or that I loved as a kid at least a few times a year.

    1. You're so fortunate to have a great local library. The one in Katy is pretty good but my former library was really homey and just felt more like a nice bookstore where you wanted to linger a while. And you're right - books do take up a lot of space so being choosy about what to buy is a necessity for sure. :)

  4. Reading book is a healthy trend for your mind. But you need not to spend huge amounts for purchasing new books. I like the tips given for deciding whether to buy or borrow a book.


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