Bookish Confessions: I buy books AFTER I’ve read them.

It’s not as bad as it sounds, really.

It’s not like buying a fancy dress, wearing it to prom, and then returning it after the weekend.

Nope. It’s actually much more innocuous than that.

Especially since I started blogging, I’ve become much more careful about spending my precious book dollars. The more I read, the more I’m tempted to buy… but because I read so damn much, my piggy bank could end up empty if I’m not careful!

book order pic

I’ve always been a library fan, and now I get totally excited when I get approved for an ARC that I really, really want to read. BUT — the problem arises when I read a book and end up loving it, and then I start feeling all mournful about the fact that I don’t have a nice copy of my new love sitting on my shelf, where I can pull it out and admire it, or just say hi when I walk by.

(Do I have an unhealthy relationship with my books? That’s a topic for another day.)

Book quote plato

So lately, I’ve mostly been reading borrowed books or ARCs… but then I end up falling in love, or else realize that the finished book is so gosh-darn pretty, or just can’t handle the fact that the book I just cried or laughed over lives on my Kindle, so it’s hard to pick up and hug.

Case(s) in point:

I fell in love with The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin — and couldn’t rest until I’d spent my Amazon gift card on a hardcover of my own.

I read an ARC of The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore, and really was feeling pretty satisfied about the whole thing… until my friend showed me her hardcover, with its maps and red letters and blue edges… and well, I was a goner. Bought. Done. On my shelf.

Is it a bit silly to buy a book I’ve already read? Well, maybe. Will I ever read it again? Why exactly do I need it on my shelf?

Well, it makes me happy. And yes, some I will read again. But mostly, it just warms my heart to know that the books I love are living in my house where I can see them whenever I want to.

*Humming with happiness* Why, hello there, Outlander. How’s your day going, Gone With The Wind? Wassup, The Sparrow? (Yes, my family does think I’m weird, to put it mildly.)

What about you? Do you have any odd habits when it comes to buying books? Do you ever buy books you’ve already read?

Share your bookish confessions in the comments!

21 thoughts on “Bookish Confessions: I buy books AFTER I’ve read them.

  1. This is actually worse for my piggy bank, but I typically buy an e-book first, and then if I really like it, I’ll buy a physical copy for the permanence and the experience of re-reading something that I can hold in my hands. Few books enjoy this rare privilege.

    • Ha, I can relate! I’ve definitely pounced on a price break on a Kindle book, and then after reading it, realized I really NEED to own a hard copy. Double pay for one book — you’re right, it’s a rare privilege, but some books are worth it.

    • I’ve moved more and more in this direction in recent years, although I make exceptions, especially for new books by authors I already love — although even then, there are some duds that make me sorry I’ve spent money on them.

  2. Snap! I just love having them all sitting on my shelf. Our library is a bit rubbish so I just buy all my New and used from amazon for a fraction of the price. Often they are library books so they come in their clear protective cases too!

  3. “Why, hello there, Outlander. How’s your day going?” <– I love this!

    I am really bad about doing the opposite actually — buying books I haven't read first because I am convinced I will love them and want to keep them. Obviously that doesn't always work out as I would hope! I like having the actual copy I first read when possible, so sometimes this means I've bought books that really probably would have been better as library borrows. I have occasionally bought books that I first borrowed from the library that really surprised me and then I was like "I MUST have a copy of this so I can read again and have it forever!" — I am a total book buying junkie…there needs to be a support group or something πŸ™‚

    • Oh, we definitely need a support group… or maybe a worldwide movement! I hate the feeling of spending $$ on a brand new hardcover because I’m sure I’ll love it… and then the letdown when it just wasn’t worth it. You’re right, some books are much better as library books! Less pressure to love them, too. πŸ™‚

  4. I buy books I’ve already read, too, for a variety of reasons. If I love them, I might read them again. Also, I can then lend the books I love to friends. And, I like seeing books on my shelves because they give me good memories. Seeing them reminds me of the things I learned from them, but also it reminds me in general of why I like to read, why books matter, etc. Also, I like to give back to an author whose work I really love by paying for the books.

    Buying books after you read them is also an incredibly effective way of limiting the books on your shelves to things you actually like, and of saving your money. Though I like to have a variety of books I haven’t read on hand, just in case I want to read something random in the middle of the night and can’t go to the library, bookstore, etc.

    • Yes, plenty of good reasons to buy books! And I agree with your point about supporting authors as well — particularly if I’ve loved a book, I want to help boost that author’s sales in my own small way, both as a thank you to the author and as a vote of confidence so hopefully they’ll have publisher support for more and more books.

  5. Ever since I started blogging, the majority of physical books I purchase are those that I’ve already read and loved, or those that I’m pretty darn sure I’ll love. I read more now and am aware of so many more books, so I need exercise some caution when buying books haha. I do like to think that books I buy after having already read them will be re-read. Eventually. Someday. πŸ™‚

  6. I don’t think it’s that weird to buy a book after you’ve already read it. I do it too…but not exclusively. It’s actually pretty rare. But sometimes I borrow a book from the library, read it, and just KNOW that I have to have this book for my own personal collection. But the vast majority of the books I buy are ones I haven’t read yet…although the longer I’ve been book blogging, the better I am at restraining myself and only buying books that I pretty much know for sure I’ll really like.

    • Definitely, sometimes you just NEED a book for your personal collection! I do see what you’ve said as an unexpected side effect of book blogging — I’m much more restrained about buying books that just catch my eye, and am much more selective about what I do spend my money on.

  7. Pingback: Weekly Wrap-Up (#31–32) |


    I do this all the time, but mostly only if I spot the book second-hand. My local charity shop sells books for 50p each, regardless of quality, so quite often I’ve borrowed something from the library, loved it and then found it in the charity shop – and naturally I’ve bought it, because 50p is basically nothing.

    I even bought one WHILST I was reading the library copy… πŸ˜‰

    • Ha ha, I’ve done that too — gotten halfway through a library book and realized I needed to own it NOW. I love used book sales, and especially if they benefit a good cause, it’s a win-win!

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