I think it’s a very common statement in our community that we sometimes have trouble with impulse control. We see a book we want and we find it very hard not to buy it. When it comes to buying retail, I usually don’t have a problem with controlling my buying habits. When it comes to bargain shopping and sales though, well those sort of things are pretty much my kryptonite. So every once in a while I consider the infamous book buying ban.
There are many kinds of book buying bans. You can cut out buying all together, cut down on your buying a little, only buy in person, or only buy online. I find my biggest problem is online buying. With sites like Book Outlet and Better World Books I find it hard to justify NOT buying some of the things I want so badly. The prices are just so good! I just don’t have the space for them all.
The thing about formal book buying bans is that I’ll always break them. I can’t just go cold turkey on book buying, it doesn’t work. I browse and when I see something cool I just have to get it. Impulse control? What is that? Where can I buy it?
I find the best way to cut down on my buying habits is to not look at my go to sites online. It I don’t pay visits to BookOutlet and Better World Books I can’t buy anything from them. Obviously, this isn’t a continuous policy. I only do this when I think I REALLY need to cut down a little bit. I still go to my usual places in the real world (Half Price Books, Goodwill, thrift stores, used book stores, retail bargain sections, etc) but by not buying online I cut my hauls in half for the duration of my “ban”.
The other thing about bans are the after effects. Once I give myself the go ahead to buy online again, I really go for it. I’ve heard many others say the same thing, that they reward themselves for staying on their bans. I’m not sure if that defeats the purpose of the ban or not. I think it may depend.
I’ve taken to using a new tactic: I’m either reading a bunch of books I already own or pulling them from my shelves before I buy new ones. If I pull them from my shelves they may be donated or sold at Half Price. Then I can use the profits to buy what I want. Reading from my backlog does a few different things: it distracts me from buying new things and it determines if that book will stay in my collection or go to a new home. This way, I’m cutting down on my insane collection without needing impulse control (I’m pretty sure mine is broken, anyone know a good mechanic?).
How do you feel about book buying bans, formal or informal? Share in the comments!