(Or, How Can You Afford To?)

Every so often I get asked this question, mostly because my collection grows at quite an insane rate. But about 90% of the time I am not buying these books full price. I price stalk all stores and wait for coupons until I can get the best deals. Honestly, most of my books that are new come from Book Boxes (Owlcrate previously, Fairyloot, Litjoy previously) and the occasional preorder for preorder goodies or a signed edition. That’s when I buy new books. I also tend to buy through either Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million (depending on which one I am a cardholder for currently).

So…where do I get my used books?

  1. The top place I get my used books is my “local” (see: hour away) used bookstore. They’ve recently started putting everything online. I create a wishlist with all the books I want, and watch until they come into stock then I nab them! Alternatively, since they don’t ship, sometimes some books don’t get put online and I happen to browse and score amazing books. (Star Touched Queen, signed copy of Blood Heir). This is my number one place to acquire used books.
  2. My Local Library is another place I have gotten used books. Sometimes they’re withdrawn library copies, and other times they’re donated. If they’re withdrawn library copies I dissemble them and make them pretty again. I remove the barcode and spine labels on them all. You never know what you’ll find!
  3. Amazon Marketplace is where I also locate used books. HPB and several other large services use Amazon as a way to sell used or gently used books. I have obtained quite a few this way.
  4. E-Bay may be surprising, but I’ve gotten one or two good books this way!
  5. Thriftbooks has been hit and miss for me, but I do like them. I got a good deal on some old mass market paperbacks that I was looking for.

Those are the five ways I’ve picked up most of my used books. What about books that are overstock?

  1. Formerly, Book Outlet. I’ve gotten quite a few good deals from them. There were some very insensitive incidents with them earlier this year and they did issue an apology as well, so be aware of that if you would like to purchase with them.
  2. Books-A-Million bargain bin. Yep. BAM has an amazing bargain bin. I have found many one off books I’ve been looking for both online and in store. Honestly, I love it.
  3. Local Used Bookstore has some as well. They’re more expensive than their used copies, but I’ve found some good bargain books there as well.

So when I’m averaging $3-$10 a book, it makes a huge difference. I can buy double the amount of books.

Hello my friends! Today I am going to take you on a journey over a years time…a long journey…a journey of discovery…mostly. You don’t have to go anywhere, you just have to put up with pictures. And some text. But this is a blog post talking about how quickly I got out of control in terms of book collecting in a little over a year! (And how I’m attempting to reign it in.)

July 2019…I was just beginning this journey. It was a small shelf then. I had a few books, but not many.

August 2019 wasn’t much different, still only a few books. It wouldn’t be until I got my first OwlCrate that I developed a collecting bug.

September 2019…I painted a new shelf. I loved it! It was bigger and better than my old one! I was also prepared for Spooky season! I could not wait!

October 2019 had A LOT of changes in it. Far too many, but part one looked thus! Two full shelves! Lots of great books! All rainbow ordered (when it was easy!)

Part 2 turned into this…more books, but just a few.

Then came a little later in October…and all the shelves were full! I was making use of my local used bookstore and of BAM’s bargain bin! Love them both!

Then this was the last change in October of 2019…I got myself a target shelf. And some more books. So my collection had drown! It was still looking lovely and had plenty of room to grow.

November came and I got myself a second shelf. YALLfest had been good to me, and I had more books than ever before. It was lovely to feel that my collection was growing. I was starting to feel like a part of the community.

January 2020. No pictures for December as I apparently didn’t take many? Also, apparently it didn’t change a lot. We then move onto having moreeee books. I was getting addicted to book buying. But it was fun!!!

February came, and again, very little changes other than some more books. It wasn’t anything hugely different to be honest.

March I started actually decorating the shelves more. The HP set (and funkos) gifted to me moved to make room for my sign. I added more shelf decorations. At this point they were still organized by color.

When Covid hit in March we were only working Mon-Thurs. So one weekend late March we repainted my room, and I moved my 2 shelves together and stacked all the books up. No longer by color. I loved the corner shelves!

April 2020 I went and got a third shelf. I was really enjoying the look of them together. It really appealed to me.

June 2020. No May pictures as nothing changed. In June I added a fourth shelf! It was starting to look really good and I was happy with it!

July 2020. In which I acquire a fifth shelf. They are slowly taking over my room — the only space I have for bookshelves.

August 2020 I added a sixth shelf. Lots more space! Lots of good books!

Right now, I have space for one more shelf and that’s it. But it is all good because I can stack books on the shelves I have, and take up unused space. I have started buying less books in general, and buying more used.

It’s really interesting to see how my shelves evolved over a year. In another year they probably won’t have changed much, except for maybe order. Recently, I started thinking about arranging them by rainbow again, which I may do.

(a.k.a. the ones I was sobbing during)

So, I decided not too long ago that there are some sad books that I absolutely adore, and now I feel the need to inflict them upon you all. So here are my top four books that made me cry.

Most of these are last books in the series, but I promise I will not give any spoilers!

#4: Clockwork Princess

We all know Clare is hit and miss for me, but this book made me cry! I enjoyed this series, and felt the ending was satisfying. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t sad for a few days after though.

#3: Night of the Dragon

We just aren’t talking about this one — I did cry. However, I love the aspects of hope Kagawa inserts into this series, and overall, I did (mostly) appreciate the end. I went into shock with this one. I still haven’t recovered.

#2: Magic’s Price

This is an older series, but is still really good. I mean the whole series was fairly dark and sad. The final book, this one…was heart wrenching. I wanted to scream reading it. *cue ugly crying* The first time I read this I just lost it and screamed and threw my pillow across the room.

#1: Song of Achilles

Is it really any surprise what is number one on this list? I have repeatedly talked about how this one crushed and stomped on my heart DESPITE my knowing the actual myth. I mean, really, how hard could it actually hit? Hard. I still ugly sob every time I read this book. I pretty much end up in this ball on my bed bawling my eyes out.

So…what books make you sad/cry? I want to know!

After talking with some of my friends, I realized a bookstagram blog post all about my adventures with it might be useful – and I’ll start from the very beginning. My journey started last July, when I suddenly got an urge for a new creative outlet, and to start collecting books again.

My very first few posts looked like this:

Grave Mercy was the first photo I ever took, and it was taken on my desk at work. I was excited, there was a thrill to posting it, and the rush of it was intense. I LOVED the idea of talking about books I’d been reading. The second photo was on my bed, for a book I was excited to read.

They’re not great. But I was just starting out. I was figuring out what worked for me, and what didn’t in terms of hashtags and captions as well. All of it takes time to learn. I had no idea what to do. I was flinging things around and hoping something would stick. I hadn’t quite gotten to the bookstagram aesthetic desire yet.

Once I was comfortable with how to post things, I started expanding a bit more. A lot of what I did was experimental. This is where I about clued into aesthetic accounts but was still doing my own thing. Sometimes I miss these days, just where I took things depending on my mood.

It’s older, but the picture with my kindle remains one of my favorite pictures. It’s so simple, but I love the colors and composition of it. (also, that succulent? is dead. very dead. I have issues keeping plants alive.)

I also featured a series I really loved — again, I was trying out a different background. There was no cohesiveness to it. And yet, I was doing what I loved.

My next step was a bit more experimentation with props. We had a lot of fake flowers, so I started with those. My mother willingly gave me all her old craft supplies for my new adventure. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate her support and delight over each new milestone or new thing I try.

Totally different, but both used flowers. I tried one on a wood background (which I still love!) and one on my desk. (Yes, my desk is purple) Nice, but nothing special honestly. Framing was another issue. Both are centered (like a lot of my photos are) but you can see stems everywhere on them.

My next move was to use more props. As much as possible! At this point I had a great desire to just throw everything I could find into the photo.

Thus, you got things like the above. I don’t mind it, but I feel like there are a lot of items without being cohesive. There are some amazing aesthetic accounts with tons of props that look amazing.

I then went simpler for some photos…

I used an old item, which was my red cloak. And just had three things in the photo total: the cloak, the book and the black velvet background.

From there I got a little better at figuring out things. I wanted to try some different things. I decided I did want to try aesthetic.

I went with hand on book, then all out with flower petals, and learned how to put book covers onto kindles (I mean, I know how to graphic edit, but didn’t think about doing it to kindle books until about then). The second photo was the end of October, so I was still figuring out myself. This was also when I clued into the fact that I maybe needed to think about book budgeting at some point…

I then switched back to the hardwood floor look along with some others.

Right around December I started catching onto theming my bookstagram fully. It resulted in December + January and a more cohesive theme. It was simple, but it helped me figure out what I wanted to do.

This is also where I started to use pinecones more. As we edged into February I went with a consistent look for all my photos using similar items in them all. These were busier, but I felt more cohesive than my earlier busy ones.

I will admit I got bored of it pretty quick. I went through this phase of using lots of pinecones, petals and flowers for a few months. It was nice, but I didn’t love it. For me, they were too similar. I love change and different views, so this wasn’t working for me personally. I like it when other people do it, just not me!

Then, once more…you get a bit of a filter on the first, and the second actually has one too, but it didn’t show up as much. Very different styles, but all sticking with pinecones.

From there I made my way into a new filter.

It’s brighter and has more natural tones to it so I don’t deplete the gorgeous covers. Finally, my most recent iteration is the same filter as above, but instead of using just white backing, I changed it to wood again. (Although I do have shelves and other things mixed in as well)

So, here are my newest additions:

I’m loving the new wood and the filter. I also have pictures of my shelves, so all in all it fits what I want.

The biggest thing I miss about my earliest days is all the fun I had trying new things, and just enjoying taking photos. I got to the point where I was so obsessed with it, that I started to hate it. Now that I’ve backed off and am taking photos I like, or photos that are spontaneous, I’ve started to enjoy myself again.

There is no shame in not having a cohesive theme or whatever seems important. The biggest thing is having fun and sharing your love of books with others. I lost sight of that, but now that is is back, I really, truly, love what I’m doing.

Do you have questions? Suggestions? Comments? Want to talk IG?