I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?
Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?
If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?
I've always been a book buyer; even as a child I owned a lot of books. If I like a book, I want to own my own copy of it, to re-read anytime I please. As I'm getting older and busier, I tend to re-read fiction less than I used to, but still I like the feeling of knowing that if I want to look up a favorite passage, the book I want is just a few steps away.
Since I started writing historical fiction, it's become important that I have a good collection of nonfiction for research purposes. Though the university library I frequent is excellent, it's a 45-minute drive away, and there's always the risk that some professor might have the book I want checked out and hang on to it for months. So unless the cost is prohibitive, I like to own my research books as well. (And it saves gas!)
Another reason I'm a book buyer is that my tastes are somewhat arcane. I tend to focus more on certain eras and personages than on particular authors, and strangely enough, my local library has the idea that there's no reason for it to have every novel ever written, say, on Edward II. So to find what I'm looking for, I either have to go through inter-library loan or buy it, and if a book I'm interested in can be got for a few dollars, I'd as soon buy it and take a chance on hating it rather than go through the time-consuming process of inter-library loan.
Finally, there's just nothing that matches the sheer sex appeal of a shelf covered in luscious, lovely books. Unless, say, it's Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy standing next to a shelf covered in luscious, lovely books. But you still have to have the books.