I’ve been trying to clean out some of the clutter lately. Mostly I’m selling things I don’t need anymore, like video games I’ve never played, movies I’ve never watched, and books I either will never read or own digitally. My goal, even when I sell these things back to a place like Half Price Books or Play It Trade It, is to come home with less than I went out with. If I go out with a bookbag full of stuff, that bookbag better feel a lot lighter on the way home.
Last Sunday I failed.
I sold something like 7-8 video games, mostly war simulation shooters I was never gonna play. I came back with a graphic novel, a TV season, a PC game in a large box, and two books.
Like I said I kinda fell off the wagon.
The books were the toughest thing to bring in. Over the last year I’ve tried to be less sentimental about books, or rather, less general in my sentimentality. If I can have the book for cheap or free digitally, then so much the better for my shelf space. Keep nice books, not all books.
These two were the sequels to John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War a book I just started reading on my Kindle last week. Digitally the books are $7.99 apiece, but here they were only $3.99. So here was my question, is it worth paying twice as much to not have the books take up space?
This time anyway, the answer was no. But it highlighted the way in which I’ve changed my thinking about reading. I’m also reading Stephen King’s Under The Dome right now, and frankly I’m happy I’m not carrying around those 1000 pages. King’s books may be good, but they are also bulky and don’t trade in for much, so paying a few bucks for the digital copy just makes more sense.
I bought these books cause I’m cheap, but I also realize that by doing so I’ve probably decreased my likelihood of reading them soon. My Kindle is with me all the time, by virtue of putting together a book and trying to read more. These books are currently on a shelf, and probably won’t get riding time in my bookbag until I remember them six months from now, even with how much I’m enjoying Scalzi. The $7.99 Kindle book, on the other hand, would probably get read shortly after being purchased. And frankly, there’s still a decent chance I’ll buy the digital, maybe at a sale price, then sell back the physical when I can.
So by buying two books I was contemplating the nature of how I wanted to collect them (did I care if they were all in the same format or not), whether or not money was the only factor in their value, and thinking about frankly where the heck I was gonna put two more books.
I always loved carrying around a lot of books, and would read several at a time. The Kindle gives me the ability to carry those books, reference texts, and magazines all with me in a tablet. Much as I hate to admit it I’m a sucker for good technology. But I never used to think of books as an inconvenience, as something to be winnowed. They were/are a decoration as well as a reading resource.
But I think I have all the decorations I need. Just not all the books.
How are you buying your books now? Would you pay more for an eBook even if you could get the physical one for cheaper?