Is there a 12 step program for Bibliophiles?

Today’s Booking Through Thursday prompt is quite timely:

Book Gluttony! Are your eyes bigger than your book belly? Do you have a habit of buying up books far quicker than you could possibly read them? Have you had to curb your book buying habits until you can catch up with yourself? Or are you a controlled buyer, only purchasing books when you have run out of things to read?

I was just discussing this very topic with a good friend of mine. While I have always enjoyed reading, I have been able to curb my book buying sprees to perhaps 3-4 times a year. I always had a few books on the shelves that were waiting to be read, but mostly I purchased books that I knew I was going to read immediately.

That was the past. That was before discovering book blogs. Now, I have a voracious appetite to not only read more – and more variety – but I want to own more. I want to have a personal library where I have choices – LOTS of choices.

In the past my book buying decisions were based on one of three possibilities: it was a classic that I wanted/needed to read for school; it was prominently displayed in the bookstore as either an end-cap book or new release; OR it was available on the bargain table (buy one get one half price — buy 2 get one free etc). NOW I have excel spreadsheet, which currently includes over 100 books and I continue to add to it each and every day. I take it with me everywhere I go (I just never know when I might pass a bookstore and I MUST venture inside). The list is organized by author, title, and genre so I can easily match my wish list to the store’s layout. My real weakness is the Clearance section of Half-Price Books. In that small corner of the store my two obsessions are found: books and bargains. If I can find a book that is on my list for under $3.00, I feel as though I have hit the jackpot.

At this point I have far more books on my shelves than I can read in the next 5 years. Does that stop me from buying more? NO!! I figure that I have at least 25 good years left to read (and maybe more than that) — so by my (rationalizing) calculations I can buy at least 5 times more books and still expect to read them all – eventually 🙂

And, if I ever want to relieve any guilt I have about buying too many books, I can always visit this video at Barnes and Noble.com and know that as “out of control” I think I might be in this book-buying obsession, I have a long a way to go to catch up with Joe Perlman:


  • farmlanebooks

    I’ve just watched the video – it’s great! I love his recommendations -I’m tempted to buy that Gunter Grass book right now!

    He must have a massive house though. 35, 000 books normally needs a warehouse to be able to fit them in.

  • Kim

    Oh My! After watching that video I don’t feel quite as obsessive as I did before. 😉

    You are such a systematic person Molly–an excell spread sheet?
    That is what I call organized. My book buying habits are way more random and spontaneous at times.

    Great post and thanks for the video!

  • Ti

    I’ve been a bit out of control lately with the book buying but I was trying to support the bookstores 🙂 Really.

    My shelves are all filled up now and overflowing in some spots so I am hitting the brakes for now.

  • Vasilly

    We are book twins!! I just found some great books at a thrift store for about $1.50 and I felt like I hit the lottery! =)I love finding bargains and I love using my passion to give back to others when I donate the ones I’ve read. I think Pearlman is right when he says that once you read a book and love it, you want that text near you for when you need it. I’m slowly building my dream library one book at a time.

  • Anonymous

    Proud to be a glutton, but I try not to buy. I grab the ones that I’m most desperate to read and leave the rest on a list.

    Count me in your club! The main reason that I purchase my books is to build a personal library that reflects my reading history.

  • Florinda

    I’m sure I’d be a candidate for this program, but I’m not sure I want to be cured. I can stop whenever I want to. I just don’t want to :-).

  • Rebecca :)

    Molly! I did not know until today I wasn’t following your blog! I don’t know how that happened. But mistake corrected! lol

    What a crazy video that is! I have to show it to my sisters who think my 200 books are excessive. What does he do for a living? Did it say? How does he make enough money for that kind of a collection??? I am just blown away by that.

    If we can find a 12-step program, do you think we will even sign up? Do you think we can give our addictions up? I wonder sometimes. I have probably 1000 books on my TBR list and add all the time. I’m out of control!

  • Susan @ Reading Upside Down

    I sought out this post in the hope that you were actually offering a 12-step program for my book addiction. Oh well, I guess I will have to simply continue to indulge my book cravings. *sigh*

    I love that you have a spreadsheet. Am I allowed to confess that I have my books listed in a book database? I was offered a Collectorz.com book database program to review and now I am busy adding my collection and books that I still “need”.

    I would love a library room in my home. I guess I will just have to wait for one of the kids to leave home so that I can convert their bedroom (they are still in primary school, so I could be waiting a while).

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