15 February 2012

Do you suffer from book blackouts?

A "book blackout" is my friend D.'s term for when you buy books that you don't remember buying or owning later on. Certainly less medically concerning than a literal blackout, a book blackout can still cause duplicates, unsatisfying ogling of in-store shelves and further impulse purchases under the rationale of "There's nothing to read in here!"

This doesn't happen to me much any more, since I've been actively trying to remember the books I already own (and not get more). But I often find that when I forget I bought a book, it's because I bought it for the Kindle. I attribute this to two factors:

1. After two-plus years of use my Kindle is close to full -- I actually got a message over the weekend that I had too little space to leave notes or highlight within the book I was reading, and had to clear out some stuff. (Don't worry, it was all stuff I had already read.) A book I haven't paged past in a while can fade into the metaphoric background -- out of sight, out of mind. And one of the reasons I have so many is...

2. You can't "save" Kindle purchases to buy later, so it's easy to one-click your way into a full device. (I also have a lot of PDFs on there, to be fair.) Clearly, the impulse-buy structure is working out really well for them, but it makes me nostalgic for the times when I would leave all the books I wanted to buy on Amazon in the "save for later" section of the cart. Oh wait... this is still that time.

Am I just spoiled by book shopping frequently enough that I have this problem in the first place? Possibly! But I think this is more a question of the limits of the human memory and the desire to "read ALL the books." And as I always maintain... there are worse faults.


Emily said...

YES i totally do this, and the only way i've really found to fix it is to stop buying books.

Ellen said...

I can't go for that.

Wade Garrett said...

No can do