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The cost of reading… and not reading

I love buying books. Though I have hundreds of them in the house queuing up to be read I just cannot resist the temptation to acquire yet more. Until today I never really thought about the cost of my magpie-like tendency. Then I saw a statistic which stopped me in my tracks.

This came from a survey of more than 2,000 followers of the Book Riot site. In the same survey 19 respondents reported spending more than $2,000 in one year on books.

I realised that I had no idea how much my own reading habits cost me. I didn’t think I was in the $2,000 category but I honestly didn’t know. So I did a quick calculation. Last year I bought 30 books (rather more than I was supposed to given that I had started the year with a declaration of imposing a book buying ban). Eleven of these came from a charity shop/second hand store so were roughly half the price of a pristine edition. I estimated  that I spent somewhere in the region of $260-300 on books in total in 2014. I started to feel calmer. It wasn’t a huge amount to spend on an interest I reasoned (just think how much I’d be spending if I was into surfing or horse riding).

The feeling didn’t last very long.

What about all those books that I’d bought and never read. How much had that cost me over the last few years? $3,000? $4,000? However much it was, I realised that if I didn’t read these books I’d be wasting a whole lot of money. Another good reason to seriously tackle to TBR pile don’t you think?

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