Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Why Should I Buy Books? by Denise Weeks

It's a reasonable question. With all the free e-books out there, not to mention the streaming video and computer gaming options, why should you ever buy a book? Why wouldn't you just download some video for free (or borrow it through one of the many programs)? People love video nowadays, and everything's on video, isn't it?

Consider this. If you read, you're improving your mind. You are co-creating the "vivid, continuous dream" of the story. A viewer is passive, while a reader is active. A written story can go so much deeper and resonate with readers. Reading can open the door to another world and stimulate all sorts of thoughts and ideas, rather than just showing you the dream of the director who made the movie or TV show. I always learn something when I read (even if it's wrong--LOL!) So that's why you want to read.

"Sure," you're saying. "But why should I buy a book when I can borrow it or get it from the Kindle Unlimited program or some such deal?"

Frankly, it makes me happy to hear someone is borrowing my books from a library, from a friend who's spreading the word, or from basically anywhere. I just want to be read. I'm not expecting to make lots of money (and that's a good thing, too, because most authors don't!) I know people read blogs and Facebook and tweets and all sorts of other material now, all free. It's not a given that someone who loves reading will need to purchase a novel.

But how will writers continue to afford to sit and write if no one buys the books? Where will more books come from if writers have to give up and get full-time day jobs or become TV pitchmen or whatever? The answer is that high-quality books will become scarce. You'll have to be independently wealthy in order to be a novelist. The only books out there eventually will be poor quality tomes dashed off by hopefuls. Some of those will be good--but what are the odds? Most of them, let's face it, will be lacking and won't feed your need for cadenced prose and a healthy storyline.

I know we're all moving the belt to the next tightest notch these days. Budgets are smaller. We don't know what will happen in the next election. So we can't spend a lot of money on books. I know I used to spend lots more money on books than I can now. But I try to support small presses and indie authors if I can by buying the books whenever possible. I am supporting one of my favorite addictions. And at $2-$6, most ebooks cost less than a fast-food taco and drink! Books are bargains that you can keep on your shelf (or electronic library shelf) and refer back to as often as you like, re-read whenever you please, and even lend out to people who'd appreciate them.

Surely there's something that you love to read. Mystery/suspense, fantasy, contemporary romance, or whatever. You can find a book that's right up your alley, probably right here at Oak Tree Press. I review books on both of my blogs, Denise Weeks Books and Shalanna Collins Books. Many online reviewers talk about worthwhile novels that might otherwise be under your radar. Make time this week to read a book. I promise you it's worth the effort. (And if you can buy the book, so much the better!)

If you can't purchase books, at least consider reviewing the good ones you read. That can help an author immeasurably. And if you watch for sales and special events, you can pick up many books at a discount. Every little bit helps. Improve your mind and improve the chances that books will go on. It's a win-win situation.

And thanks in advance for buying the next book you buy!


Billie Johnson said...

Thanks for your post, Denise!


Nancy LiPetri said...

Well put! Support your favorite authors :)

Carolyn Niethammer said...

So right. Consider what people are willing to spend for a fancy coffee or the new elegant cocktails that give pleasure for no longer than an hour -- and that's if you a really slow sipper. An e-book for $4.99 can give your hours of pleasure. Buy the paper book, and you can keep it if you love it alot, or pass it to a friend. If you divide the purchase price per hour of pleasure, a book is a great bargain.

Shalanna said...

Thank you for commenting, Carolyn, Nancy, and Billie! I agree that people will spend $50 on a dinner out that they forget in a few hours, but balk at paying $8 for a book that will give them hours of reading pleasure.

Some of my most prized possessions over the years have been books. My grandmother inscribed a lavishly illustrated copy of PETER PAN to me when I was around eight, and that was one of my beloved birthday presents. Mama got me Jean Kerr's PENNY CANDY around 1970 or so when I had just seen the film of PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES and signed it to me. Friends over the years have gotten me those "gift books," a Holly Hobbie one from elementary school years, several "Peanuts" gift books, the Prayer of Jabez when a family member died, and so on, and I've always treasured these. One of my regrets is that I carried the new interlinear NIV/Greek/King James Bible my mother-in-law and sister-in-law got me for Christmas years ago to church to show off, and it was misplaced or taken. Sigh! But anyway, books themselves can comfort and inspire, and will stay on your shelf waiting patiently for your return.

Get a book today. It's definitely a worthwhile investment!

Jeff Zwagerman said...

Buying books isn't an investment for the future, it's an investment for the here and now. I believe books should be spread around encouraging young things to grow. Give yours to the local library and you'll touch hundreds.

Stephen L. Brayton said...

It's also a good idea to buy from a small local book store when the opportunity arises. It helps support the community and the local authors who may have their books for sale.

Shalanna said...

I love the LITTLE FREE LIBRARIES that you'll see scattered around these days. People have them in their front yards near their mailboxes. You can take a book and leave a book. It's a really cool movement! There are three near me, and I re-seed them regularly with my own novels as well as other books I have read and am finished with. When we can afford it, we will get one for our own front yard.

If you can find a local bookstore, yes! Buy from them! They are growing fewer. We have Lucky Dog books here in Dallas, where you can get new OR used books. I can think of very few small bookstores that remain, alas.

I have tried to donate my books to the local library, but they go directly to the library sale rather than to the shelves. I am told that in larger cities, a committee decides what will go on the shelves, and you don't get to donate a book the way my dad always used to. (He donated books in honor of those friends of his who had passed. And for other reasons, too.) If you live where they will still take books, by all means donate! I kind of hate to see this come to pass in our town, but we're getting bigger and they're getting crazier all the time. . . .