Book traffic report #1

We here in this book-crammed household have launched a year-long look at how books make their way into (and out of) this place. We’re one month into the exercise and learning some interesting things about our book acquisition and sharing behaviours.

At the end of January, the two columns on my home office whiteboard tallied up as follows:

Incoming: 8

  • 6 paper books / 2 digital books
  • 4 purchased / 4 received or received as gifts
  • Of the 4 books purchased, all were purchased online. (Hmm …)
  • 3 of the 4 received books were complementary copies from publishers or authors.

In light of the recently announced closing of another beloved bookstore here in Toronto, I’d like to see more of our purchases taking place in physical bookstores, where possible. Just so happens that on the very last day of January, my husband came home and mentioned that he stopped in a bookstore on the way home from work, looked for but didn’t find a desired book … and took the bookstore up on their offer to order it for him, rather than coming home and plunking down in front of to purchase it.

Outgoing: 15

Getting an assist with the outgoing book traffic …

Making a delivery at a Little Free Library box

Twitter book friend Regina Marler commented on our outgoing book traffic:

The exercise so far has made us very conscious of the books we’re contributing and sharing as much as what we’re acquiring and consuming. It’ll be interesting to see how this changes as we continue monitoring our book traffic. I do find myself deliberately taking extra books when I go out to run errands or go somewhere on public transit, so I can drop books off in local Little Free Library boxes.

I am keeping track of the titles coming in and going out, but wasn’t sure if I should specifically list them in my reports here. (Do you think I should mention them?) With outgoing books in particular, I wonder if mentioning the titles might make it look like we’re rejecting or kicking perfectly fine books out of our house. I note that some of the books we’ve taken to Little Free Library boxes are reading and/or paperback copies of books we’ve since purchased in hardcover and/or in first editions. In some cases, the books were on specific subject matter and have grown out of date or usefulness. In some cases, admittedly, there are books we’ve relinquished that we don’t expect to revisit, to put it carefully. That doesn’t mean that someone else might not happily welcome them and add them to the “incoming” column in their households.

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