For Book Addicts: steps to recovery

I know that the blog title sounds cheesy, like something from a self-help book. Are you a book addict? Is your hobby buying too many books? I think that's good as long as you have the time, space, and it's something you genuinely enjoy and you can manage it well. But as with all sorts of hobbies and activities, too much of something is not always good.

However, I'm one of the worst kinds of 'book addict' and I'm on my way to recovery. I was addicted to buying books. I loved the thrill of finding a book, getting it, unpacking it, smelling it, and then it's just added to the unread pile, forgotten. It was not so much about the love of reading anymore but acquiring more stuff. Years passed and I was living in a dust-covered book fortress. In an attempt at minimalism, I started organizing my books and decided to get my act together. I want to go back to reading, not merely acquiring. I realized that so much money went into these books and I don't want to waste anymore just to feed an irrational and materialistic obsession.

Thanks to eReaders, eBooks, and reading apps, I have reduced buying physical books. I organized my collection, got rid of most, and made goals for what to get in the future. If you are like me, who struggles with buying more than reading the books, I suggest that we first enjoy and read the books we already own before going out to get more. Here are things that I am also trying to do:

Join a reading challenge.
I have a Goodreads page to keep track of the books I'm reading. They have book challenges like 'Read 30 books a year!' and I've surpassed that goal for 2018. I also have my own challenge to myself: #ProjectShelf. I will try to read those in my shelf that I haven't opened yet.

Have a no-buy.
Set a period of time to not buy books. When I do a no-buy, I don't even want to go inside bookstores because of the risk of being tempted to buy. I'm trying to not buy books until the year ends and I plan a whole year of not buying next year. Good luck to me!

Organize and clean your shelf and books.
Sometimes all it takes to motivate you to read your own books is to clean them and arrange them in a new way. Look at those neat shelves and straight spines! Next thing you know you've picked up an interesting book you've forgotten you had.

Donate books.
If you have books you want to get rid of, someone else or an organization might want your books. Schools and libraries often have book donation drives for outreach activities. Reach out to them and look out for those who are willing to receive books.

Join a Book Swap. 
Last year, I joined a book swap in the local cafe Book Latte. I traded some of my books and got amazing books in return. This is great if you have some books you're not really into, someone else might love them.

Sell books.
Looking for a little extra income? You might have books that you don't really love but are still in good condition. Thanks to technology, there are now many avenues to buy & sell. There's Facebook Marketplace, Carousell, and almost every social network is an opportunity to sell and it's easier for people looking for specific books to find a seller. I have a Carousell page for preloved books. It's also easier to receive payments and ship books. I usually receive payment through Palawan Express Pera Padala and ship through JRS (when I can, I use JRS since it's cheaper than LBC though LBC is much widely accessible).

Read samples before buying.
Also, thanks to technology, samples and excerpts of books are available for you to read before you decide to purchase a book. I usually search for books on Amazon and read the samples on the Kindle app. Sometimes the premise sounded good, but then the book doesn't suit your preferences in writing, story, and characters.

Use your library.
The best way to get books for free without busting your wallet is the local library. It may be your local public library or university library. I like libraries because they usually have catalogs where you can search by author or topic. You can browse the library shelves and get a great book by chance. You can return the books if you don't like them. Many great books I read, I borrowed from the library. Make good use of your library card!

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