Buying vs Borrowing

Which is better? Buying or Borrowing?

As a fellow book nerd and addict, I want to address the issue of buying and borrowing books. I found that I talked with everyone about my situation about purchasing my favourite novels versus just going to the library and taking books out. In these conversations, I just talk about it but I never really took the time to write the pros and cons of each situation, buying or borrowing. So, in the end, which is better?

Let’s find out, here are the pros and cons that I’ve come up with about buying versus borrowing books.


You actually have the physical copy of the book, so that means it’s easier to reread. There’s no loaning period and it will always be on your bookshelf, ready to be opened again whenever you want. It’s a bonus when you buy your favourite book so you can reread a scene or just enjoy the novel all over again.

Borrowing from the library means bringing it back and when you love that book, you just don’t want to let it go! You want to be able to reread it over and over again. This is where I think buying is better.

Buying Con – YOU DON’T LIKE IT!

When you’re deciding to buy a book without having read it before, there’s always that hesitation where you don’t know whether you’ll like it so is it worth buying it? If you don’t end up liking it, you just invested your time and money (mostly money) on a book that you’ll probably never read again. It’ll just sit there on your shelf, collecting dust, whereas you could’ve had another book that you love in its place.

This is where borrowing books from the library is so much better because it’s like a Get Out of Jail Free Card.


If you don’t like it, you can bring it right back; no harm, no foul and no money wasted. Libraries are great for experimenting new authors, series and genres. This brings me to a Pro about borrowing books.


Local libraries are gold mines for books of all kinds. Good libraries have every book you can ever imagine. Whenever I wanted to read a specific book, I’d go to the library and it would be there! If it wasn’t, thank god that they created Inter-Library Loans. Inter-Library Loans are books that can be shipped to your local library through another neighbouring library. This is the perfect solution to get the books that your library doesn’t offer.


Borrowing Con – WAITING LISTS

Waiting Lists. Gosh, I hate waiting lists. It means you have to wait longer to read the book you’ve absolutely been waiting for. Usually, you put yourself on a waiting list because you want to read it enough that you’ll wait for it. You are that desperate.

It usually goes something like this:

*Book Nerd going to the library*
Book Nerd: I'm going to get that book today! I'm so excited! 
           I finally get to read it!
*arrives and searches the catalog for the book*
Desired Book: OUT ON LOAN

Book Nerd: Hello, excuse me? I'm looking for this book. 
Kind Librarian: What's the title and the author?
Book Nerd: [insert book title and author here]
King Librarian: Oh! I'm sorry, it's currently unavailable. 
                Would you like to go on the waiting list?
Book Nerd: *sighs* Yea, sure. 

*few clicky noises*

Librarian: Okay, so you're fifth on the waiting list. 
           Anything else I can do for you?
Book Nerd: No it's okay thanks!

*Book Nerd walks away*

Book Nerd: FIVE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF ME??! *grumbles* This book better 
           be worth it.*starts crying* I wanted to read that book 
           so badly! 


And once you’re on the waiting list, you get anxious for a call or an email saying your book is in, and you routinely check your phone or email every five minutes. Seriously, all you guys have experienced this, and with no doubt, we can say waiting lists are torture. My point is: WAITING LISTS SUCK.


Now buying books, you don’t need to wait. You can usually walk into a bookstore like Chapters, Indigo, or Barnes and Noble and walk out with a book in five minutes. It’s even better when the bookstore is close and convenient. My nearest bookstore is 20-30mins away. It’s a far drive but I love going there. Another plus of buying is when a book you’ve been waiting for finally gets released, you can immediately go to your local bookstore and buy it! Only takes a day or two and you are reading that damn book you’ve been dying to read!! *dreamy sigh*

The Boulder Bookstore located on the West end of the Pearl Street Mall Nov. 11, 2008. (CU Independent file/ Sam Hall)


The thing is, books are expensive. And I don’t have money. Buying is faster but it definitely costs money. The disadvantage of buying books is that eventually over time, a lot of your money is being spent on books and you won’t have money left to buy other things. Worse case scenario, you get bankrupted from buying loads of books. (very unlikely for adult, but to a teen? IT’S POSSIBLE. 😥 HA. Bankruptcy by buying too much books! 🙄 ) Everyone is obviously self-aware of their budget and wouldn’t just walk into a bookstore and say, “I’m gonna buy all your books!” with a hundred dollars in their wallet.

(A weird image popped in my head of a person going into a bookstore and demanding all the books like someone robbing a bank… You getting my drift here? no… okay…)

At 16, I work at my parent’s restaurant and I do have money coming in. I save most of my money and I limit myself to a certain amount for spending, but I use my money for buying other things instead of books. Why? Because the money that I would have saved up, would all be used to buy one book. Okay, one book is better than no book but back to one of the other cons of buying. Is it worth it? Is it worth buying this one book? Whether it be a favourite book or a to-be-read, money is always in the question. Nothing is free in this world. (Other than hugs and oxygen. =^-^=)

I guess this Con is from a teenager’s point of view but it still doesn’t hide the fact that books are expensive.

Borrowing Pro – SPACE

Now, going to the library saves loads of money and is convenient when saving money, so when you can and want to buy books, you can do so, all while saving space on your bookshelf. For book nerds everywhere, our bookshelf is probably our most sacred, cherished place on earth next to our bed and libraries. Borrowing books will take up your space for eh, 10 days, then you can just bring ’em back and get new books. Never-ending amount of books without taking up space. Heaven.

This definitely helps when you got a messy room like moi. ^^’

Borrowing Con – NO OWNERSHIP

It gives you more space for other books, but borrowing still means you gotta being ’em back. Kinda like temporary custody…It is temporary custody. Even libraries have an endless supply of books, you still want to own books. My dream is to have my own personal library; a library in my closet or something like that. Borrowing is just not the same as owning. I think it’s a pride thing. I know for me, I want to own all my favourite books, so I can see them and hold them whenever I want. It’s there and will always be there. No waiting lists, no other people touching them. They are MINE. Even uttering the words, “Mine” when referring to books sounds and feels euphoric. It’s just a good feeling to own books.


Buying and borrowing books have their pros and cons, but if you noticed, I’ve been contradicting myself the whole time. Like everything in life, you gotta find the balance, in this case between buying and borrowing.

Buy enough books to keep yourself satisfied. Buy the ones you know you’re going to read again. Borrowing is a great way to experiment and it’s free and local, and you can always go back and borrow the book again. Further, you’re supporting your local library! I say, spend money when it feels right and fall back on the library cause its your best friend. I love going to the library and loaning books and I’ll keep doing it for a long time, but it’s still nice to own your favourite books. Ultimately, it depends on you and the book.

Which do you prefer? Buying or Borrowing?



7 thoughts on “Buying vs Borrowing

  1. This is a great post! I almost never buy books I’ve not read, unless they’re nonfiction (I write historical fiction, so I buy a lot of history/reference books for research). So I’ll usually borrow a book, and if I love it, I’ll buy it. I’m not adventurous enough (usually) to take a chance and buy a novel before I’ve read it.

    But I do love to own books because I want to be able to write in them and underline and stuff. Plus, sometimes I’ll be lying awake at night and remember a scene I loved from a book, and if I own the book I can get up and pull it off the shelf and read it.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, both!


    • Thank you! When I own a book I love, I get this prideful moment of “I own you. You are mine”, and I love that feeling. I get to reread scenes whenever I want and itch that itch when I remember that one scene. (I get them so much!) But leaving the library with a piles of books is something that is so…FUN to do that I can’t not borrow books! I was feeling the same way when I was writing this post! For me, concluding it with both seemed like the right way to go. 😛 It’s so hard to choose!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a great topic!! Haha, I loved the waiting list script – it’s so true.

    I tend to only buy books if the ratings on Goodreads are really high, which will indicate that I’ll like it. I mean, this isn’t always accurate, but it comes pretty close. I’ve gotten really frustrated with borrowing books, so I try to buy E-Book copies when I’m feeling unsure about a book because that way I get to support the author, and also not have to go out of my way and potentially wait to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so lucky!! Goodreads and I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to ratings. I’ve bought books based on their ratings and ended up not liking the book very much. Some have been DNFs too. 😦 Maybe that is why I have trust issues. 😛 Yes, supporting our authors is a very good point when buying too. Saving up enough money to buy your favourite book is the best feeling in world, and there’s no wait!

      Liked by 1 person

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