Confessions of an Addict [#30]: The Evolution of a Book Hoarder

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I’ve been thinking about this lately. A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me how long have I been collecting books. I said years and years. Then she said, rather skeptically, “Really? I thought it’s only been going on since you started blogging.”  This gave me pause. I’ve been a reader for most of my life. I remember growing up in the Philippines and devouring as many books as I can that was available to me. Back home in the province, you can rent books for five pesos (equivalent to about $0.12 nowadays). That was all I could afford. Needless to say, I had a tiny collection of books. Fast forward to the present, and several bookshelves later, my house is now my personal playground. Even so, this didn’t happen overnight. But is there some truth to my friend’s observation that since I’ve started blogging, I’ve become more prone to book shopping?

Let’s go down the memory lane…

Before I started blogging, I was not a card-carrying member of our bookstore. I read the books I have on hand before even thinking about setting foot to the nearest bookstore. Even then, I didn’t buy new books – always, always, used. One fateful night in 2007, I found myself at Walmart. There, in a clearance bin advertising an additional 30% off the cover price, was a pile of new books that I thought I should check out. The first thing I picked up had these on the blurb:

“About three things I was absolutely positive:

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be – that thirsted for my blood.

And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”

For the next two years, I was wholly immersed in that fandom. After that, I found The Hunger Games. Then, The Mortal Instruments. Little by little, I kept going back to the bookstore in search of Young Adult books. So much so, that I was there at least three times a week in the hopes that there’ll be a new one that I have yet to own. In 2010, I discovered Goodreads.

I. Found. Books.

I found release dates for books.

I found series. Series!

Not long after that, I found bloggers. Then I became ambitious. I wanted to blog, too. So I did. Which, ultimately, brings me to the reason for the beginning of the end of my already porous self control:

In My Mailbox.

Book hauls, yo. Book hauls.

By the numbers.

My very first In My Mailbox  was posted on August 14th, 2011. I posted my 126th book haul post last weekend. Let’s average my hauls to a conservative 8 books per episode. So taking that number, I’ve amassed 1,008 books in the last three years. Tell me this: is there such a thing as an acceptable number of book purchases per week? If I’d been consistently bringing home 10 books every week, does that make me a hoarder? Or someone who is just so incredibly passionate about books? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, it’s a bit of both. My reasoning is this: the books you take home are yours until you give them up.

In Conclusion.

I guess the real, honest-to-goodness question I need to ask myself is, do I feel the need to visit the bookstore every week just because I have to write a book haul post? I know the answer to this, but I’m in denial. Mostly, I’m a little ashamed to admit that yes, I do feel the need to go to a bookstore because I need to write a weekend post. I am honest enough to admit that. But here’s the thing. It doesn’t even matter what your reasons are for going to the bookstore weekly. All that matters is that you’re keeping the love for the printed word alive. 

All that matters is that you’re reading.

My Confession:

I’ve become more susceptible to hoarding ever since I’ve started blogging.

But I regret nothing.

Regardless of when you decide to read them –  months, years from now – they’ll be there waiting for you. Remember that a book is wasted when it’s used as kindling. A book loses its magic when you use it to prop a lopsided table. A book dies when it doesn’t serve its purpose. So please, keep your books. Hold on to them. Treasure them. Collect them. Because one of these days, technology will die. But hey, at least you’ve got books to pass the time.

  • I give you two thumbs up for this! I am a self-confessed book hoarder! I don’t even have plans of going to another country to work because I can’t live my babies behind!

  • So I am extremely frugal and cannot justify spending massive amounts of money on books even though I love them dearly. I try to restrict myself to my favorites so I usually buy books after I read and love them or if they are the sequels to the former. That being said, I have definitely been more inclined to to buy books since I started blogging. But speaking of the weekly haul posts, what Ash and I do instead is highlight the books we recently started reading or are planning to read next and not necessarily books that we’ve recently acquired. This might not be the exact intent of the meme but whatever, it’s our interpretation, and saves me from feeling like I need to buy a book ever week (I totally get you – I would likely be inclined to do the same thing.) But I don’t think any book purchase is ever wasted. So what if you don’t read that book for 30 years, or ever, it’s still a precious item and at the very least it is a beautiful (and inexpensive) decorating piece because bookshelves are gorgeous sights.

  • I loved this post so much! I’ve also been reading throughout my life, but my book buying has definitely increased since I started blogging. I feel like buying books is one of the better things people can buy, though, and at least you’ll never run out of something to read 😉

  • I love this picture — seriously having some major book envy. I definitely have a book hoarding problem but every few weeks I make sure to donate some to friends/Goodwill so that way I can’t feel TOO bad about buying more books.

  • I need to share this with everyone who tells me to get rid of my books! You’re so right! You might be on a larger scale than some of us, certainly myself included (though not by choice!), but I just can’t ever think of a love of reading–and by extension buying books to fuel that–as a bad thing.

  • Pingback: Sharing the Bloggy Love #4 |()

  • WOW…so many books!. I´ve also bought more books as a blogger than before but not as many as you.

  • Unless there is an electromagnetic impulse wiping off all the electrical devices (my personal nightmare!) I’ll be alright with my kindle, solar electricity and a collection of ebooks. Since I got my kindle I really can’t go through my small collection of unread paperbacks which is a shame! But I hear you with In My Mailbox madness – initially I got caught up in it, but now I really don’t care what anyone else thinks. I blog for myself and people either read me or not 🙂

  • “I regret nothing.” Truer words have never been spoken.

    LOVED this post and hey, I plan to pass on my collection of books as heirlooms 😀

  • I love this post. I love this post so much Joy. <3 Thank you so much for sharing about it all 😀 SO MANY BOOKS. So much love. <3 I also hoard books. But.. sad part. I cannot buy more in such a short time :'( Only room for about.. 50? more. Maybe. And then it must be over for me. I want to sell so many, but living in Norway means there probably aren't anyone who wants to buy my English books 🙁 HEARTBREAK. Not sure what to do then, lol. But ANYWAY. Your books. So jealous that you have room for them all 🙂 You are awesome. And I love your story about blogging. <3 Mine is pretty much exactly the same, hih 🙂

    • There is nothing worse than not being able to collect more. You need to make room, hun! 🙂

  • Wow, you have a pretty epic haul Joy, definitely something I can relate to lol! I think it’s safe to say that many of us have started to hoard books more after blogging, because of review copies plus we want the latest releases as well. My evolution into book blogging is similar to yours, in that before I started reading I used to just borrow from the library or see what I liked at the store and check out their bargain bin. Now we are in the know, we can order online, or swap with others and everything.

    • Exactly, i think it’s that being “in the know” part that is also one of the reasons why we’ve been going to the bookstore in hordes. Who wants to miss out on possible good reads?

  • Faye M.

    TAKE A LOOK AT THAT FORTRESS OF BOOKS. WOW. JUST WOW. I AM SO ENVIOUS OF YOU. O.O

    With that said, one should never be ashamed of the reasons why they are reading or collecting books. It may be selfless, it may be selfish, but who cares, when the most important is you are reading and spreading the love for the printed word, as you said. As for me, I definitely became a hoarder of sorts when I became a blogger. Before, it was practically nonexistent. I had a collection of James Patterson books but that was basically it. Now I have two shelves full of books and I am mighty proud of it! 😀

    Faye at The Social Potato

    • Isn’t though? When you look around your house, or your room to find the shelves full of books, don’t you feel the least bit heady with happiness because of all the pretty spines all lined up for your to ogle?

  • I love this! I still have all the books I loved as a teen and refused to get rid of them when my mom suggested it years ago (she doesn’t understand keeping books after you are done with them. O_O). And yes to Twilight! I obsessed over Harry Potter and read them over and over because I just didn’t know what else was out there, how to figure it out. But I went to see Twilight b/c CEDRIC and then I binge read those and same thing. I read over and over along with fanfiction b/c I just didn’t know what else was out there. It was through recs from fanfic authors that I found The Mercy Falls series, Hush Hush, The Mortal Instruments and The Hunger Games, and so on. My ‘hoarding’ of books really came from joining Goodreads when it became so easy to find books for me. I like to have them. I NEED to have them. I’ve slowed down in the past year b/c of financial reasons but I still long to own ALL THE BOOKS. And I regret nothing either. 🙂

    • You know what will help? If I pimp myself to publishers…

  • Oh man, Joy, we mirror image on book love progression! I’ve always loved reading, too. Didn’t have much money growing up so the library was my friend! Nancy Drews, and then Agatha Christie were my go to books. Thankfully, my grandma was a book hoarder and had just about every Agatha Christie in print! Later the seller at B & N pointed me to Preston/Child mystery/adventure, and then Lisa Gardner mysteries. Twilight introduced me to YA and I was OBSESSED with that series!! Then came VA, Mortal Instruments, & Goodreads in May of 2011. I have tons of books but I don’t feel pressure to obtain them for Book Haul posts. It’s more that I just can’t resist!! Also publishers offering books for review doesn’t help my TBR! I have tons of physical copies but I shudder to think how many e-copies I have.

    I’m sure you’re right, someday tech will fail (you know the zombie apocalypse is coming! Lol!) and while we’re hiding from fresh brain seekers at least we’ll have something to pass the time. That reminds me, maybe we should add a few survival guides to the our list. 🙂

    • Lol! Book Hoarders’ Guide on How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.

      1. Barricade yourself with the books you own.
      2. If you find yourself face to face with the undead, grab your copy of War and Peace (hardback), and quickly decapitate said undead with Leo Tolstoy.
      3. Remember those Sherrilyn Kenyon series that you’re presently, 15 books behind on? Now would be the time to catch up!

      I’m sure I’ll think of some more… 🙂

  • haha I started hoarding books when I discovered goodreads and through goodreads I discovered blogging and through blogging I discovered people and more books and well…it’s not a good week if I don’t get at least a couple of them 😀

  • I was like you – who had money for books growing up? My parents did not support my reading addiction (well – my dad didn’t) and we didn’t have a lot of money. Most of my books – like 90% came from the library or the library used bookstore. Lovely collection!

    • Thank you! My parents couldn’t support my reading habits even if they wanted too. Back home, money is hard to come by. I’m so thankful that things are different here for us.

  • I don’t go to bookstores as such because around here, we don’t have many books in English, and those we have are expensive as hell. But I have that damn one-click-buy option and The Book Depository and Better World Books (and damn that Book Outlet for not shipping to Croatia) and although I’ve been buying books ever since I earned my first Euro, I have never, EVER bought more than I did since I started blogging. So all that crap about bloggers expecting everything for free and buying nothing is just that… crap.

    That is one impressive pile of books. If I were you, I’d put a blanket over it and sleep on it, to safeguard it like a dragon. Just a thought, but that’s totally what I’d do. It’s a treasure after all.

    • I haven’t discovered Book Outlet yet, but I’m guessing that’s a good thing. It might prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Ack. More and more, I’m realizing that this phenomena happens to everyone (blogging = book buying binges). I’m feeling a bit better now. 🙂

  • what an interesting post, it’s great to learn more about you. I bought books before, not as much I confess. My sister was hoarding books everywhere and it made me feel uneasy, so most of the books I had I didn’t keep them. I had the library as well while it was free so I used to read a lot there. But it’s true that since I know bloggers I buy a lot of more books, it’s difficult to give away books because I love so many and at the end I keep a lot of them too. But I’m trying. So I already have many but now I have more.

    • I wonder if it is the same for other bloggers as well. Not just book bloggers but fashion bloggers? Or food bloggers?

  • Alise (Readers in Wonderland)

    This is a really interesting post, Joy. Now that I think about it. I’ve definitely gotten into the habit of buying more books now that I am a blogger too. However, you do make a great point about the books always being there for the future, I like that 🙂

    • Thanks, Alise. If only I’m a popular blog to the publishers, then it wouldn’t be so bad. But then I’ll realize that I don’t do well with reading under a deadline, and everything goes back to normal. This way, I have all the time in the world to read them all. 🙂

  • You’re who I want to be. I want to have ALL THE BOOKS. I want to be able to take a picture like that one day. I just love the memories each book holds. I love the possibility of picking up a book at random and just reading it because I feel like it! I’m a book hoarder; eventually I’ll have as many books as you do 😉

    • Sometimes, I look at my daunting TBR pile, and start questioning the soundness of my mind. That perhaps, i need to talk to someone professional about my addiction. But then I wake up and think about the people who has worse addictions than me, then I feel a little better.

      I hope you’ll keep the love of the printed word alive!

  • Love this! You’ve been on a roll lately, woman! And that photo looks EXACTLY like my dining table at the minute as my bookcases aren’t built yet and there’s nothing else for it! I do a monthly haul rather than a weekly one, and I only bought one book last month, so I compensated this month… it was a flash sale… lol I am trying to curb my addiction slightly though (only slightly, I like reading and it isn’t putting me in debt in any way, so I’m doing what I want!) only because I have over 100 unread physical books and I can’t read as quickly as I can buy, so I’m just mindful of my purchases. I too would have reread more, and bought/read in a more realistic fashion before blogging. I think blogging enables us, because really so few people understand my hobby IRL. My dad is big into his hobbies (not books though) so we have a mutual understanding of no-judgement as we’re both passionate about different things, but to the same degree. Similarly though, I don’t regret any of my purchases, or the fact that I buy more now since blogging. I get great deals and shop around before buying, so many of my books don’t cost much, and because I buy them when they are cheap, it makes me feel better knowing they are waiting for me to read, and it won’t cost me loads when I do decide to pick it up… R x

    • I was just thinking to myself this morning that I did very well this week. Reading wise, that is. I read 5 books this week! So I keep at this momentum, I might put a dent on my TBR before the year is out. But that’s highly unlikely, because I bought another 5 books yesterday! Ack. Now that I’ve found used book stores, and have been leaning towards adult fiction, my collection is growing at an alarming rate.

      I have learned that in life, I will be happier if I didn’t care about what people think of me. So even if they make fun of my book-buying binges, it doesn’t bother me one bit. They will judge me no matter what anyway, so heck. I’ll just do what makes me happy!

  • WOAH!!!! That’s a lot of books, but I should be saying that…cuz I think we all have as much as you do….*Moth ties away from wallet* we shouldn’t be proud hahaha my parents want me to stop going to the bookstore already. In a span of 2 months I got 30+ books haha LOLOL

    wwww.lite-rate-ture.com

    • I hear ya. I can’t even begin to imagine now ever going to a bookstore in a month! Oh the horror. The only one who can tell me to stop buying books will be my husband. And it hasn’t happened yet. *fingers crossed*

  • Dude, Joy, 1000 books in the last 3 years. Can I get some of those? Hahahahh! No but seriously I aim to be like you! I’m pretty frugal, and my blog’s not that popular, so I tend to borrow books from the library instead of actually buying them. I’m trying to buy more books, but I never have time to! And I actually need to finish reading the books before buying new ones, or else.

    Also, it doesn’t help that my bookcase is small. I want a new bookcase.

    • Ah. I commend you for your self control. I used to finish the books I have before going to the bookstore, but nowadays, books are coming out faster than I can read them. Gah!

  • Love all your pretty books! That’s quite the collection! Not sure if I’ll ever get that many but I say the more the merrier 😀

  • I have always loved collecting books (see, not hoarding, Lol) as long as I remember. My mom loved to read, and took me to the library where I would come back with a stack of books. It later turned to book buying when I got older. But – I love books, and like you mentioned, I can’t resist going to the bookstore once a week for my fix or library. Both know me too well. It’s SO hard to part with them as well, but with the YA I can pass them on to my daughters and romance/paranormal to my mom. Goodreads and book blogging has made the world of release dates open up even more. Danger! Too many choices.
    Great post – love it!! 🙂

    • Hahah! Okay, “collecting”. That sounds infinitely better than hoarding.

      Precisely! My book collection consists of 60% YA, 40% adult fiction. I have a teen whom I can’t wait until she discovers the love for these books so I can pass it on to her. Right now, she’s into manga and anime. I hope she’ll inherit my love for reading, too.

  • If I sit here and think about it then my answer is probably the same. I have always had books in the house but never the extent of what I do now on my Kindle. So maybe it didn’t start with me blogging but rather when I purchased my kindle which was a good two years before I ever started my blog. I guess it was the convenience of shopping from home and that pesky one click button not to mention all the great indie deals that just aren’t in book stores.

    • I haven’t been victimized by the one-click button, but that’s probably because I prefer reading physical books. I guess we all have our own starts, don’t we? 🙂

  • I didn’t know you’re from the PH and wow, you were able to rent books back in your province? So it was Twilight that started it all, then? I remember reading Twilight before and it was like the best thing that happened to me after Harry Potter.

    I used Shelfari before I transfer to Goodreads. These sites are like a haven for us and I thank these people for creating it for us. Then, my credit card for making easy for me to shop books online. If I depend on my local bookstores, I don’t think I will get the chance to read the other books that are not that popular.

    There’s nothing wrong about book hoarding. We love buying books. We love to read them.

    • I was born there. I left when I was 19. 🙂 And yes, Twilight started it all.

      I haven’t checked out Shelfari; I’ve always been a Goodreads girl, and yes. It was god-send, and at the same time my downfall. But I’m thankful for it because otherwise, I’ll never know which book to read first!

  • OHMIGHAD. 1000+ BOOKS?! ERMERGERD. LET ME LIVE AT YOUR PLACE. HHAHAHAHA

    I’m actually hoping to get there someday, I’m in UNI so saving money to buy books is hard (Especially when I get stressed, because if that happens, I end up stress eating)

    I hope I could get to that point Joy. I have to say, even my parents are not understanding why I want so many books, most I haven’t read yet, but books are like my pride and joy. They’re my babies, and I’m so proud to see them all put together. 😀

    YES. AS BOOKWORMS, WE REGRET NOTHING

    • I think if i were at your age, my parents wouldn’t be so supportive of this addiction to hoarding books. It’s the best thing about being an adult, I suppose. But sooner or later, my husband is going to have to put a stop to this madness!