How has the economy impacted your book buying? Do you think it’ll change the reading and book-buying habits of the country? Will it increase your library visits? Will it make you wait for the paperback edition instead of buying the hardcover?
Although the current state of U.S. reading habits are embarrassing, I think it will likely have some impact. Readers are readers and if funds are tight, they will not give up books but more likely rely on libraries than bookstores. The concern then becomes whether governments reduce library funding due to budgetary constraints. I think it’s also likely sales of used books will increase for the same reason.
I don’t foresee a great deal of impact on my personal habits, though. I’m already a very heavy library user because my local library is excellent, going beyond what’s on the mass market bestseller lists. I also view the library as the literary equivalent of video recordings. As interesting as a book may sound, there are times when you finish one that you say, “I’m glad I didn’t spend $24.95 for that.”
Several other things likely reduce the impact of the economy on my book buying habits. One is the opportunity to receive and read review copies. In addition, I already tend to put more books I’ve read in the box headed for the used book store than on my bookshelves because of lack of shelf space.
I also am such a book geek/addict that rather than have credit cards that give frequent flier miles or the like, I have Amazon and Barnes & Noble cards that earn gift cards. I would wager the majority of the books I purchased at the local B&N this year were with gift cards earned from purchases elsewhere. After all, doesn’t it make sense to use the cost of food, clothing and gasoline to help fund another of life’s essentials?
But if we have a dollar to spend on some wild excess, we shall spend it on a book, not on asparagus out of season. .
Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Modes and Morals