Saturday, August 22, 2015

Too Many Books, Too Few Hours to Read?

Book Questions*: Bad Book Habits

I think most bibliophiles or book nerds can probably identify with this one: buying too many books at one time, or even, checking out too many books at once from the library.

During a recent visit to the library I saw a woman hauling a canvas shopping bag on a wheeled cart, and the bag was full of books. Now, maybe she had a family to feed with books, but that looked suspiciously to me like reading overload.

When I worked at a bookstore, one of the benefits was a 33 percent discount on all book purchases. Plus, at the end of each month we received a certificate for so much value toward the purchase of books based on how many hours we worked that month: example, $10 or $30 or so. You can imagine how many books employees bought there every month - too many.

In addition, publishers sent representatives to the bookstore to present upcoming releases who brought samples, of which we could take our pick.

I was never for want of books, and I usually had too many books and never enough time to read them all, especially when you consider that bookselling was a part-time job for me and that I spent the rest of my professional time writing, editing, and trying to run an editorial business.

Most people I know who are readers suffer from the same malady: They see far more books they want to read than they can possibly consume in a reasonable amount of time. Thousands of books are published every month! (Forbes said there are between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books published ever year.)

Now that I'm retired and don't have the money to spend on books, I don't buy books like I used to. I occasionally put holds on library books that arrive at the same time and suffer a rushed read, but that's rare. When I do buy books, I buy ones that are special to me. And that saves a lot of shelf space.

There is something about books that encourages a kind of readers' gluttony. Do you suffer this tendency as well? What do you do about it?

*One more inspiration from "55 questions about reading."

(c) 2015. Alan Eggleston. All Rights Reserved.

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