May 22, 2012

Book Shopping

You can just make out the bookshop in the background
Photo © Katherine Cox
It may surprise many of my readers that I own very few books. Libraries and GirleBooks have been my main resources, but there's this little independent bookshop I went into and bought To Kill a Mockingbird from last month.

It's just like a bookstore ought to be: small but well-selected stock, nice people, and that general aura that makes you feel comfortable and free to meander the shelves. The Classics are grouped together in a corner with a humble ottoman nearby and I found myself going in again.


This week I've added three more books to my collection: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Sherlock Holmes, and The Great Gatsby. I've made a promise to collect slowly and, going forward, only buy one after I've finished reading one. It's so nice to own a book you know you're going to read again, to have it in perfect condition, without the wrinkles or stains library books sometimes have, and in a small way help support a bookstore.

Happily there are still many beautiful printed books being made: I love Vintage's collections, Hesperus Press, Penguin's cloth-bound editions, and Persephone are all on my wish-list!

My collection
I love the different papers publishers use and the different fonts give each book their own stamp. When I pick up The Great Gatsby it has a lightly textured book cover, and my Vintage Keats is smooth with a whitish gray paper.

Does that mean I'll stop going to the library or buying eBooks? No, the library will be my 'second shelf'-- the one I go to when something new is out and maybe I just want to read it once.

And eBooks, sometimes there's a rare book that you can only find on GoogleBooks and even though the formatting isn't the best its better than not being able to read it at all! The internet has given us the largest library possible!

What are your book habits? Do you have a large collection? What kind of books? Do you buy them online or go into a store? Do you have a favorite book store?

12 comments

booksandreviews said...

I love buying books and having them, in fact, I expect to own my little own library one day. Meanwhile, I buy everything I can. Luckily, my family are highly supportive of this habit and buy me books all the time, they know they are a good investment and I need them for my English Literature studies.

Lisa May said...

I can't imagine not having books, and actual physical books at that. I recently got an e-reader, specifically to be able to read the older, out-of-print books that you mention, but I still prefer paper. On the other hand, I have far too many unread books, though, and I am trying to buy more carefully and thoughtfully, and to use the library more, even if it means waiting for books.

Heather said...

I have a large, varied collection of books. I use the library, too, but I buy far more than I borrow. Unfortunately, the only decent bookstore within 50 miles of where I live is a Barnes & Noble, and while I used to love spending hours there, they have since changed their layout and business model, and I don't enjoy spending more time there than I have to anymore. It's so unfortunate.

Katherine Cox said...

@booksandreviews: Studying Literature is the perfect excuse to get books. :) I love your blog btw. :)

@Lisa May: I prefer paper-books too! I love technology but eReaders still have a lot of things to work out (author royalties, pricing, standardized formatting/quality etc.)

@Heater: The eBook industry has really changed B&N. I have a friend that works there, so I feel a tiny bit guilty not buying my books there, but I just don't get the same warm feeling in the store.

Cat said...

I love your collection - it looks like mine! Books are very expensive in NZ so I've always relied on the library. But lately I've taken advantage of Book Depository and started buying a few classics for myself. I bought a Kindle last year which is great but still prefer a real book.

Debbie said...

I used to hoard books till I learnt to give them away; usually to charity shops. I've just bought two today actually - Cuckoo by Julia Crouch and The Apothecary's Daughter by Charlotte Betts. I also get books on my Kindle.

There are certain books that I keep, like my short story collection, and since doing your classics challenge I'll be collecting classics now. My grandmother reads a lot now, so she'll get most of my 'to give away' books.

Caroline Helstone said...

I love ordinary books. I take them with me to bed and read to sleep. There's the sense of familiarity, like an old friend, you can't get with kindles. Last year I didn't live near a comfortable bookshop, but I'm fortunate to live near a Waterstone's this year. Ironically the places I make the most purchases are the second-hand bookshops, which aren't comfortable but have many out-of-print things at slashed prices. I got an excellent biography of Keats and Tennyson there.

Fanda said...

I only collect books that I really love, and I'd like to read again in the future, so my collection is very limited. Since I live in Indonesia, where imported books are quite expensive and the choices are limited, I usually buy online from book depository.

Elisa said...

I own very few books too as I frequent the library for mine. I only buy the ones that I love. I plan on purchasing A TALE OF TWO CITIES next week.

Cassandra said...

Great choices, these books are certainly worth spending money on them! Sherlock Holmes is one of my latest acquisitions too, it's on its way from Amazon to me at the moment.
Although I much prefer buying my books in real shops, unfortunately 99% of them come from Amazon, since most of them are English classics which it is almost impossible to lay hands on in Austria.

JaneGS said...

I love my books, though I don't hang on to everything I've ever read or owned. I keep classics and favorite authors/books, or ones that I think I might want to reread or lend out, but I'm not complusive...anymore!

Our town only has used bookstores these days, so I either buy from Amazon or go into Boulder if I need a copy of something right away. Boulder Bookstore is a wonderful place--great for browsing, and lots of author signings/readings. Denver has the Tattered Cover, which is incredible and worth visiting Denver to visit.

>I've made a promise to collect slowly and, going forward, only buy one after I've finished reading one.

Good luck with that!

Enjoy your books.

Vikk Simmons said...

I grew up surrounded by books so it's only natural that I live in a similar environment. Last count I think I have about 17 bookcases with at least 3,000 books. I have about 2K listed in GoodReads and LibraryThing. One of my bosses said, after I got lost in the book stacks at the medical museum, that I was a true bibliophile.

I've been an avid reader all my life and have an eclectic taste that ranges far and wide. It doesn't help that I have a lot of books for research, too.

Love your blog. These days I mostly buy from Amazon because I'm pretty much house bound. I still buy more physical books than digital ones but I have both.

Found you through The Classics Club.

May 22, 2012

Book Shopping

You can just make out the bookshop in the background
Photo © Katherine Cox
It may surprise many of my readers that I own very few books. Libraries and GirleBooks have been my main resources, but there's this little independent bookshop I went into and bought To Kill a Mockingbird from last month.

It's just like a bookstore ought to be: small but well-selected stock, nice people, and that general aura that makes you feel comfortable and free to meander the shelves. The Classics are grouped together in a corner with a humble ottoman nearby and I found myself going in again.


This week I've added three more books to my collection: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Sherlock Holmes, and The Great Gatsby. I've made a promise to collect slowly and, going forward, only buy one after I've finished reading one. It's so nice to own a book you know you're going to read again, to have it in perfect condition, without the wrinkles or stains library books sometimes have, and in a small way help support a bookstore.

Happily there are still many beautiful printed books being made: I love Vintage's collections, Hesperus Press, Penguin's cloth-bound editions, and Persephone are all on my wish-list!

My collection
I love the different papers publishers use and the different fonts give each book their own stamp. When I pick up The Great Gatsby it has a lightly textured book cover, and my Vintage Keats is smooth with a whitish gray paper.

Does that mean I'll stop going to the library or buying eBooks? No, the library will be my 'second shelf'-- the one I go to when something new is out and maybe I just want to read it once.

And eBooks, sometimes there's a rare book that you can only find on GoogleBooks and even though the formatting isn't the best its better than not being able to read it at all! The internet has given us the largest library possible!

What are your book habits? Do you have a large collection? What kind of books? Do you buy them online or go into a store? Do you have a favorite book store?

12 comments:

booksandreviews said...

I love buying books and having them, in fact, I expect to own my little own library one day. Meanwhile, I buy everything I can. Luckily, my family are highly supportive of this habit and buy me books all the time, they know they are a good investment and I need them for my English Literature studies.

Lisa May said...

I can't imagine not having books, and actual physical books at that. I recently got an e-reader, specifically to be able to read the older, out-of-print books that you mention, but I still prefer paper. On the other hand, I have far too many unread books, though, and I am trying to buy more carefully and thoughtfully, and to use the library more, even if it means waiting for books.

Heather said...

I have a large, varied collection of books. I use the library, too, but I buy far more than I borrow. Unfortunately, the only decent bookstore within 50 miles of where I live is a Barnes & Noble, and while I used to love spending hours there, they have since changed their layout and business model, and I don't enjoy spending more time there than I have to anymore. It's so unfortunate.

Katherine Cox said...

@booksandreviews: Studying Literature is the perfect excuse to get books. :) I love your blog btw. :)

@Lisa May: I prefer paper-books too! I love technology but eReaders still have a lot of things to work out (author royalties, pricing, standardized formatting/quality etc.)

@Heater: The eBook industry has really changed B&N. I have a friend that works there, so I feel a tiny bit guilty not buying my books there, but I just don't get the same warm feeling in the store.

Cat said...

I love your collection - it looks like mine! Books are very expensive in NZ so I've always relied on the library. But lately I've taken advantage of Book Depository and started buying a few classics for myself. I bought a Kindle last year which is great but still prefer a real book.

Debbie said...

I used to hoard books till I learnt to give them away; usually to charity shops. I've just bought two today actually - Cuckoo by Julia Crouch and The Apothecary's Daughter by Charlotte Betts. I also get books on my Kindle.

There are certain books that I keep, like my short story collection, and since doing your classics challenge I'll be collecting classics now. My grandmother reads a lot now, so she'll get most of my 'to give away' books.

Caroline Helstone said...

I love ordinary books. I take them with me to bed and read to sleep. There's the sense of familiarity, like an old friend, you can't get with kindles. Last year I didn't live near a comfortable bookshop, but I'm fortunate to live near a Waterstone's this year. Ironically the places I make the most purchases are the second-hand bookshops, which aren't comfortable but have many out-of-print things at slashed prices. I got an excellent biography of Keats and Tennyson there.

Fanda said...

I only collect books that I really love, and I'd like to read again in the future, so my collection is very limited. Since I live in Indonesia, where imported books are quite expensive and the choices are limited, I usually buy online from book depository.

Elisa said...

I own very few books too as I frequent the library for mine. I only buy the ones that I love. I plan on purchasing A TALE OF TWO CITIES next week.

Cassandra said...

Great choices, these books are certainly worth spending money on them! Sherlock Holmes is one of my latest acquisitions too, it's on its way from Amazon to me at the moment.
Although I much prefer buying my books in real shops, unfortunately 99% of them come from Amazon, since most of them are English classics which it is almost impossible to lay hands on in Austria.

JaneGS said...

I love my books, though I don't hang on to everything I've ever read or owned. I keep classics and favorite authors/books, or ones that I think I might want to reread or lend out, but I'm not complusive...anymore!

Our town only has used bookstores these days, so I either buy from Amazon or go into Boulder if I need a copy of something right away. Boulder Bookstore is a wonderful place--great for browsing, and lots of author signings/readings. Denver has the Tattered Cover, which is incredible and worth visiting Denver to visit.

>I've made a promise to collect slowly and, going forward, only buy one after I've finished reading one.

Good luck with that!

Enjoy your books.

Vikk Simmons said...

I grew up surrounded by books so it's only natural that I live in a similar environment. Last count I think I have about 17 bookcases with at least 3,000 books. I have about 2K listed in GoodReads and LibraryThing. One of my bosses said, after I got lost in the book stacks at the medical museum, that I was a true bibliophile.

I've been an avid reader all my life and have an eclectic taste that ranges far and wide. It doesn't help that I have a lot of books for research, too.

Love your blog. These days I mostly buy from Amazon because I'm pretty much house bound. I still buy more physical books than digital ones but I have both.

Found you through The Classics Club.

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Maira Gall