Book Spending in 2014 and How I Plan To Change That

January 16, 2015 behind the blog, discussion, Lose Time Chatting 15

I knew I was awful at reading my TBR in 2014 when I was going through my books to make the end of year posts and realized that I read WAY more review copies than anything else. I also knew that I had purchased a ton of books this year (not even counting the books I got for review/library/gifts & giveaways) and that I read a small amount of them. I had to figure out how to change that somehow for 2015. My TBR bookshelf is so full that I actually had to start another one. That’s not good, I do have a lot of room for books and I love owning a lot of books but why am I buying them and not reading them?! It’s not even about the spending for me, because there is little else that I spend disposable income on besides books, it’s just the fact that it does seem like a waste to me if I’m just staring at their pretty covers without reading!

I always make charts at the end of the year to show myself fun statistics (because I’m weird like that and love stats haha) but this year I decided that I was going to share some of those stats to give a little bit of an idea of how bad this really is. Public embarrassment folks, I feel like it will work wonders for me 😛 I have seen a lot of other bloggers sharing their stats and charts and those are some of my favorite posts to read. I have also seen a big trend of cutting back for 2015 so I decided to share my plans with you as well!

Out of my incoming books (which will be in another post), I purchased 108 books. ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT. Well, my math skills are poor and I know that since I read 76 books in 2014 and over half of them were review copies, there is no way I even put a dent in this pile.


And yes… out of the books I purchased, I read 7%… which is 7 books. Umm… wow. That’s not even funny. 9% (10 books) of the ones I purchased I had already read so that’s fabulous, but I didn’t read 84% of the books I had purchased. Why am I purchasing more books when I have a load on my shelf?!

Those figures alone shocked me so I took it a bit further and wanted to see what the actual monetary figures were going to be.

Purchased Cost

So one thing that does thrill me, is that I am really good at purchased discount and used books. I think it’s some of the reason why I did get so many books, because they were there and on sale. I know when I place a Book Outlet order, it’s cheaper for me (with shipping) to order a bunch at once than order one or two, if I’m just going to do it again a short while later. But the part that really shocks me, is that I paid full price for 30% (32 books) of those books and do you know how many of those full-price-have-to-have-now books I read?

Full Price

That’s right. 9%. Which sounds like it might be ok, but it’s in fact 3 books. THREE. What the heck?! I didn’t count some of them as I had already owned them, they were speciality books that I probably won’t read (Harry Potter) and one was a cookbook but that only accounts for 4 books. The ones I didn’t read? 25 books. 25 full price books.

Full Price - Cost

I read 40$ of full price books… and I spent $359 on full price books that I didn’t even read! That is absolutely shocking.

So what am I going to do to change this?!

I know I spent WAYYYY more on discount books, but I will probably still do that this year. The reason being is that the books I pick out on discount, I am going to read but grab it when it’s on sale or I spot it used because it will eventually save me money in the long run. I don’t mind that, but I do want to curb that spending down a bit as well. The real issue I have, is the ones I am buying at full price, because those are ones it seems I need right away and should be reading them right away! If I’m not going to read them, why don’t I hold off to see if it goes on sale? As a matter of fact, some of the books I did spy on sale after the fact!

  • Only purchasing full-price books when I’m going to read it straight away. 
    • This includes books in the series. I live in a major city. There is no issue with me getting my hands on the next book in a series once I finish reading the previous one. There is no need for me to buy the first 4 books in a series until I’m certain I am going to read the next book.
    • New releases of books that I need to purchase, need to be read immediately.
  • Only purchasing discount books that are already on my TBR list
    • I know I won’t stop purchasing discount books, but it’s getting ridiculous that I hunt out NEW finds on the discount sites. I need to stick with ones that I have previously been wanting
  • Utilizing the library more
    • New releases from non auto-buy authors
    • Books from an author I haven’t read before (includes debut authors)
    • First book in a new series
    • Books I’m unsure about

I think utilizing the library more is going to be a huge help. I keep forgetting that if I love a book after reading it, and want to continue with the series/add it to my shelf, I can still purchase it. I have access to two huge library systems, and pretty much everything I want is at my fingertips (or at least a few weeks hold away) so I need to really focus on using them more.

So that’s my book spending plan of attack for 2015. I really want to focus on this a lot, and I think by resisting the urge to BUY BUY BUY, it will subsequently help me whittle down my TBR in the process!

Are you changing your book buying habits in 2015? Did you spend also spend too much on books you didn’t read? Please, tell me your thoughts too!


15 Responses to “Book Spending in 2014 and How I Plan To Change That”

  1. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    What an interesting post! I would be so scared to run my stats… It’s probably out of control. Actually I feel like I don’t actually buy that many books. Most are review copies. But then again, I did discover Book Outlet this year…and I’m sure that was out of control. And I went to several events where I bought books. And I know I preordered a bunch… Yeah. It’s probably more out of control than I would like to think. Maybe I should run my stats and publicly shame myself too. Maybe that would help? I think though what I really need to do is to cut back on my review copies. Because they are the real reason that I don’t read the books I purchase. I feel guilty not reading those review copies and put off the books that I had to have the second they came out.
    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted..Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly BlackMy Profile

  2. Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections

    I think you’ve got some good ideas as to how to change your reading and buying habits in the new year, and I like how you added some graphs to this post! Visual representation very often helps to truly hit home. I’m also going to try to make a dent in my tbr-pile. I have about 60 books, physical or ebook, that I still need to read. I don’t really buy a lot of books, and some of them are review requests. I also make use of the library. But I could still do better, because some of those books I have owned for years, so I really need to give them some love!
    Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted..Book vs Movie: The Fault In Our StarsMy Profile

  3. Lauren at Bookmark Lit

    Yes! Agreed! I love this post. I am sooo bad with buying books and not reading ever. I am DYING to read a certain book and I buy it, then it just sits on my shelf. I’m trying a TBR Jar this year. Whenever I don’t know what to read or want to work through the books on my shelf, I pick a title from the jar and read that. I’m also pretty proud of myself because just yesterday I decided I desperately wanted to buy these two books and I STOPPED MYSELF. I stepped away from Amazon. (So much willpower)
    Lauren at Bookmark Lit recently posted..Book to Movie Review: The Maze RunnerMy Profile

  4. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    I love that you’ve had to do this as well! Except you included amazing pie charts and graphs and other fabulousness 😀 I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it, but there’s an event going on at Chapter Break called ShelfLove (or something like that). It’s basically a year long accountability group with the intent on buying zero books, or for people who can’t/don’t want to do that, put a limit on their spending. It looks pretty fun, and it’ll be a great way to clear off your shelves!
    Kayla @ The Thousand Lives recently posted..Review: Magnolia by Kristi CookMy Profile

  5. Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads

    I love this, and I love your graphs! I made a spreadsheet of my 2014 reads with the intent to see if I could make graphs, but I can’t figure out Excel — sigh. Suffice to say that my numbers would probably look just as dire, but I’ve resolved to be better in 2015. Similar to you, I also buy books right away when they’re released, and it always KILLS me when I see that the book has now been released in paperback and I STILL haven’t read my copy!!! Which means that a) I could have waited and bought a bargain hardcover or b) I could have waited and bought the freakin’ book in softcover. I just saw Clockwork Princess in paperback the other day, and realized that I have not read either Clockwork Prince OR Princess, yet I own both in hardcover. Yeesh! But we can improve, right? We CAN BE BETTER!! Huzzah!
    Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads recently posted..Friday Favourite – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeMy Profile

  6. Alexa

    I recently had to buy another bookshelf for all of my books to fit and I started to separate them out and I have so many rows and rows of unread books on my shelves. I really want to work on getting that down this year and not spending as much as well. So far it is 18 days into the new year and I have yet to buy a book so that is working for me so far. 🙂
    Good luck on buying less and reading more of that TBR in 2015
    Alexa recently posted..Working It by Kendall Ryan *Alexa’s Review*My Profile

  7. Chrystal

    I read a lot of review books last year too. I didn’t buy nearly as many as you did, but most of what I bought are still sitting on my shelves unread. I have big plans to get through my books that are not read yet are sitting there. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on books this year since I have so many unread books.

    I really like the solutions you’ve come up with. Good luck with your goals and I like that you made graphics to see if all for yourself. I’m wondering if I made graphics for my read vs. unread books on my shelves what they would look like? Maybe I don’t want to know. LOL
    Chrystal recently posted..2014 End of Year Book SurevyMy Profile

  8. Leigh @ Little Book Star

    My goal is to buy lesser books too and read those freakin to be read books that has been way overdue! For me, I’m not even going to buy full-priced books anymore. I’m not impatient with books so I can wait all the way till the book is out in paperback. What I’ll do is when there’s a book I need to buy (i.e. a sequel so I can binge read a series) I’ll wait for B&N / Amazon / Book Outlet to have a sale and THEN buy the book. If there’s no sale = no book for me! So far I’m doing really good with my goal. I’ve bought 0 books since the new year and I hope to keep it that way.

  9. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    I also spent WAY too much on books in 2014, and I don’t even really want to try and count how many books I bought and how much I spent because it would terrify me, and I would have to seriously look at myself and evaluate my priorities and lack of self control!

    So this year, I have decided that I am only going to buy ONE book per month. Which I think is good, because (like you), I buy these books that i think I NEED, and then I never end up reading them. They just sit in a pile while I go out and get even more books that I never get around to. So I want to read some of the books I spent so much on last year, and each month I can get a new release, or a sequel in a series I started, or something else entirely. I really hope I can stick to it because I was very disappointed in my spending + not reading of bought books last year.

    Good luck with your goals, Lauren!
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted..Books for Mail + Simply Sunday (#11)My Profile

  10. Kathryn@Book Date

    I love the way you have gone in and analysed all the book buying and what you did and didn’t read! Love the graphs. I didn’t record what I spent or bought in 2014, but might look a little like yours if I did.
    However noticing others around the blogosphere where talking about what they buy or not, I decided I wasn’t going to ban myself from buying but just monitor it. I like the way you then recorded what you read and didn’t read. So I am going to pick up that tip from you.
    Like you when I go to second hand book buys – we have a big fundraising fair once a year- and I pick up books I know I will want to read. Now I even look at books in the shop and think hmmm, I’ll wait – I don’t need to read that now and I might pick it up cheaper. The only thing I feel a little bad about is that the author misses out then, but I guess most of us talk about the books we read on our blogs and we contribute in that way!
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  11. Cee

    I don’t really spend too much on books, but when I do buy them, it’s probably the worst idea because I end up not reading it or I don’t really need the book. (I get distracted by cheap prices!) There are sooo many books lying around my room, waiting for me to pick it up and read it.

    I need to try not to spend money unless it’s food and responsibilities. You have a really good plan, so I hope you manage to do that. If you don’t, just know I’m wagging my finger at you. ;D
    Cee recently posted..FROM PANEL TO PANEL | Why You Need To Read The Wicked + The DivineMy Profile

  12. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Pie charts make me happy. Even when they’re illustrating how much money someone is spending (hmmmm … does that sound rude?). 🙂

    It’s good to take stock of your habits and curtail them where necessary. I don’t have a huge book buying habit, but there are plenty of other things like this I could track …
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted..Let’s Discuss – Why Authors Write Insta-Love (No, Really – I Think I Know)My Profile

  13. Hannah @ So Obsessed With

    I love this post! Alexa (Alexa Loves Books) and I recently had the same realizations. I knew I’d bought a lot of books in 2014, but I had no idea just how many. And while I frequently cull books (so they aren’t just piled up everywhere), I’m still barely making a dent in my TBR.

    “It’s not even about the spending for me, because there is little else that I spend disposable income on besides books, it’s just the fact that it does seem like a waste to me if I’m just staring at their pretty covers without reading!” —> This is totally true for me, too! While I spent a lot (and do want to be more intentional with my money in 2015), it’s more about the fact that it’s a waste to have so many books just sitting around. I want to put more thought into what I purchase. Like you, I’ll look up new-to-me books I see on discount websites instead of just using those websites to buy books I’m already interested in. I’ll buy an entire series at once instead of just the first book. I’ll buy things that I barely know anything about just because they’re there. And I don’t want to go on a book ban, but I am making lots of changes this year to help address my baaaaaad book buying ways. I hope we’re both successful and look back on 2015 and feel proud of our progress!
    Hannah @ So Obsessed With recently posted..Think Your Own ThoughtsMy Profile

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