Three months ago, I was going through my credit card statement and noted with alarm that I’d spent $400 on Kindle books that month. That’s more than $10 a day, which is too much. Books now cost more, especially new releases. I’ve seen them for $15.99! A big increase since I began buying books on Kindle in 2007. I don’t blame Amazon. The price is set by the publisher. I don’t blame them, either.
I blame my own out of control book reading habit. I often read a book in a day. I became a very fast reader when I was a book reviewer and an English teacher. Both those professions mean reading, reading, reading. Also, I like to read. I would rather read a good book than do just about anything else. Still. $400!!! I knew I was spending too much money on books. I decided to try to cut down. Maybe buy fewer new releases and more paperbacks. It worked! Last month I only spent $200 on books.
I even read a few of my old favorites plucked right from the many shelves of books in my house. This has been my plan all through my reading life, to read all my favorite books again. Now the time has come. Because even “only $200” is too much to spend on books. Although I don’t spend a lot of money on anything else.
I’d rather be reading than shopping. Reading a wonderful book is my happy place. But when you read as much as I do…not every book is going to be great. Lucky for me, every book on my shelves was a great read. Except. My reading tastes have changed.
There was a novel (it shall remain nameless) I used to read every year when I went back to school. It was about a college instructor who was smart and funny. She was single and went on dates that didn’t always work out. She loved her little house and somehow reading about her adventures set me up for the new school year.
I tried reading that novel again the other day and could not figure out what I ever saw in it. There was no conflict! No plot! It made me wonder how many of my 1000 books are going to disappoint me upon rereading. I’d estimate that I have started to read ten titles from my shelves and only one grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.
Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen. I’ve read it more than once, saw the movie, more than once, but still, young Jane just drew me in. Again. My Jane Austen collection is one of the oldest, although almost every writer I collect first pulled me into their orbit a long time ago.
This month, my book bill was $150. That is still too much, but it’s progress. I’m trying for $100 next month, which is only $25 a week. Hope I have not already spent that! It’s possible. I’ve purchased more than a thousand books on my various Kindles. They’re all stored in the Cloud. So I can re-read those too. But the difference is, I only kept the real books I loved. Kindle books, bad reads and all, are forever.
Kindle was invented for people like me. Book lovers with poor impulse control. But in other ways I’m a careful planner. I collected all my books with a specific goal in mind. When I was working, I’d look at my books and think “someday I’ll read you all again.” I looked forward to that time of my life, when I was retired, when life moved slower. And here it is.