| Busting a book buying myth


There’s a dangerous myth I keep hearing amongst Christians. And the place I hear it most is when I’m standing at a conference bookstall trying to interest people in Matthias Media’s books and resources.

It’s the myth that we really ought to finish reading all the books on our bookshelves before we buy more.

Such a sentiment seems almost godly and prudent.And I suppose in some ways it could be viewed that way.

But—and with the caveat that you need to bear in mind that I work in marketing for a book publishing company—I want to suggest it’s nonsense. Here are three reasons why:

(1) It’s not all about you!

Of course, one of the main reasons to buy a book is to benefit you. But it’s not the only reason. Books can help other people too, right?

So you see a good book at a good price. Broaden your purchase criteria. Don’t just think “Would I like to read this book?”. Ask yourself “Would this book help anyone I know?” or even “Would this be a good book to have on my shelf in case it would be helpful to someone including me in the future?”

Bookshelves shouldn’t just be an archive of our past reading. They should be a rich resource stockpile for future ministry. Including multiple copies of some books that we know we will give away or lend frequently.

(2) It’s not about finishing.

I also want to defend the practice of starting books and not finishing them.

Of course authors want you to read their whole book. But if their work is not compelling, and you’re not getting a lot out of reading it, give up! Cut your losses. Honestly, you haven’t invested that much cash in the book—probably less than the average starter or main course at your local Chinese restaurant where you might also wisely decide not to finish what you pay for. Personally, I find it hard to persevere with a book when I find the argument of the first part weak. So I confess to having quite a few books with a bookmark placed about one-third of the way through. But that’s okay. That’s not a reason to give up on books. It’s a reason to try a different one.

(3) Impulse buy ≠ bad.

For many of us who like books, when we stand looking at a shiny new title, with its alluring cover that seductively calls out to us “buy me! read me!”, it is very tempting. And tempting equals bad, right? Well, no. Not necessarily.

By all means, take your time to look carefully beyond the cover because you can’t judge a book… yada yada. Read the chapter titles; flick through and get a feel for what the author’s big idea and trajectory is; check if the writing is engaging; think about the reputation of the author and publisher; if you’re really desperate, you might even read the ‘celebrity pastor’ endorsements.

In other words, don’t ‘impulse buy’ without checking out whether this book seems like a good investment. But on the other hand, the book is there in front of you. It looks helpful. It’s a reasonable price. If you don’t buy it now are you ever likely to buy it and add it to your “resource stockpile for future ministry”?

So, there you have it, bibliophiles: your very own DIY rationalization starter kit.

You’re welcome.

Author: Ian Carmichael

via | Busting a book buying myth.

Bogged (and Blogged) Down

I had some pretty lofty reading goals for this year.  I joined a Southern Reading Challenge, an Adoption Reading Challenge, a Read Your Own Books from Your Own Bookshelf…Mostly…and Don’t Buy (or Try Not to Buy) New Books Challenge, a Back to the Classics Challenge, and a What’s In a Name Challenge.

Then I went and lost my mind and joined the 150 Book Challenge in 2012.  Lost my mind because I have never (I repeat, never) read 150 books in one year…in my life.  And I reada lot!  But the closest I’ve ever gotten to that is 84 in one year, and that was a banner year for me.  Apparently that was not a deterrent when I had my brief moment of insanity, and I signed up for a guaranteed failure.  Yay, me.

Now, if you are familiar with my reading habits, you will understand instantly that these are ALL doable challenges for me.  Well, almost all…because I’ve gotten bogged down.  And blogged down.

I’m at a WHOPPING fifteen(ish) books for the year, and half of those are audiobooks.  Further, I am at a complete standstill on realreading.  Every book I start gets set aside after a few pages.  I am completely without motivation to pick it up again.  No, that’s not true.  I am motivated to pick it up again, but I’ve been hard pressed these days to find a book so riveting to read that I carve out chunks of time wherever I can in order to finish it.  This has not been a problem with listening.

Granted, my eyes are not what they used to be, and they get tired quicker.  But this is an excuse.  Beyond the fact that I’ve been involved in a blogging challenge that has been time consuming (and great fun), I am unsure how to explain it.  It’s also true that I’ve been reading blogs a lot more (part of the challenge), and I’ve run across a few new blogs that are on my regular rotation.  Nevertheless, this is still not an adequate explanation for a near cessation of reading.  I LOVE to read.  What is wrong with me??

It has happened in the past.  I don’t know why.  And…of all the crazy things…it does not stop me from buying more books to read.  HAH!

I knew it.

I really have gone insane.