I need your help today. I am mulling over a mystery in my head and just CANNOT for the life of me figure it out.


I have recently had a few conversations with 20-something women who talk about how many books they own. Like, they actually purchase EVERY book they read. (And in particular, I was talking to people about real, physical books, but this can also apply to Kindle/other purchased eBooks or audiobooks)


WHY is this? Why do so many people still buy books?


I grew up with a mother who works in the library system, and even before she started working there I have MANY memories of going to the library and excitedly picking out books. I can't even remember a time in my childhood when we bought an actual book*. So I'm enlisting your help because maybe I'm too far in love with the library system to see an outside point of view?


* OH, okay, wait, that's a lie. There was a brief period in my teens when I decided I wanted to collect all the Janet Evanovich paperbacks in the Stephanie Plum series- I think I just had a lot of disposable income and thought I "needed" a collection of something? And we definitely bought all the Harry Potter books. Other than those... no book purchases.



Possible reasons why people still buy books:


1. Waiting list for books at the library is too long.

I commiserate with this reason. I do get bummed when I hear about a new book, and then I go to put it on hold and I'm number, like, 3 million on the waiting list. (I am currently waiting for 'The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck'... I think I'm approximately number 50 on the list) I've accepted the fact that whenever there is a popular new book, it's going to be awhile before I read it. Mostly I read books that are a few years older so there's little to no waiting list.



2. Library doesn't have the desired book.

I have also run into this issue with a few books that I wanted to read. So far, I haven't quite figured out how to solve this problem. I know that you can often request an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) if another library in your area has the book. But I tried that once and they said that no one had the book. So, so far, I'm just skipping any books that aren't at the library.



3. Checkout period is too short.

Most libraries I have experience with had a 3 week checkout period. I'm a fast reader, so that's usually enough time for me, but I know that's not long enough for some people. But if you're reading books with no waiting list, you can usually renew the book a few more times which will buy you some extra weeks. If there is a waiting list and you can't renew the book, just return it and immediately put it on hold again. Hopefully you'll get it back kinda soon!



4. Not aware of library features (eBooks, audiobooks, etc)

Maybe people (especially those who don't have a librarian mom) don't know about all the awesome features that libraries nowadays have? All four of the library systems I've belonged to have an app where you can download eBooks and audiobooks for FREE. Do people not know about that stuff?



5. Want to be able to re-read the book at any time.

I used to think that I needed to own a book if I wanted to be able to re-read it. But then I realized 2 things: 1) I almost never re-read a book, and 2) if I want to re-read a book... I can just check it out again.



6. Library isn't in a convenient place.

My coworker mentioned that her library is in a weird part of town that she doesn't really like going into. So I guess that's a reason. (although you could maybe just pick a different branch that's in a better area?) I know in the northern VA area, you can sign up for other neighboring counties' library systems even if you don't live in that county because they have a reciprocity thing going on. So maybe look into whether you can start using a library in a different county (one that's close to your work or something?). Or if your library system has eBooks and audiobooks, just use those online services so you never have to go to a library branch! :)



7. Late fees.

Maybe people are bad at returning books on time, and therefore get charged a lot of late fees, and so they conclude that it's just cheaper to buy books. Uhhhh... NO. Just return your stuff on time, bro! I enabled email reminders from my library so that they email to remind me 3 days before and again 1 day before a book is due. Sure, sometimes it's annoying to have to go to the library to return something but it's still infinitely better than BUYING books.




If you're a book buyer (or a reformed book buyer)... can you share your reasons of why you buy books? I really just want to understand!!

(okay, fine, full disclosure: I want to know this information so that I can convince people to STOP buying books)