When you love new books but your wallet does not

Buying books feels wonderful, but borrowing them from a library is a great way to save money

Gabriela Wieckowska
22nd March 2022
Newcastle City Library, image: Geograph
Looking at shiny new book covers, browsing through shelf mazes looking for whatever seems interesting, spending unaccountable amounts of money on books… It is a kind of satisfaction many book lovers are very familiar with.

Books. I love books. Reading them, holding them, looking at shelves filled with book after book, looking for a new thing to read, and of course – buying new books. Going to a bookstore was one of the greatest joys of my childhood, my mom never said no to buying a new book. I remember leaving the bookstore with handfuls of new books to read. When I was older, with my own money to spend, I discovered second-hand books. I like bookstores, but what I like even more are second-hand bookstores.

In the past three years living in Newcastle, I spent many afternoons scavenging through all the different second-hand book-buying locations in the city, buying quite frankly more books than I could read and ending up with quite a big collection in my tiny student room. Add ebooks that are often cheaper than physical books and… Let’s say I spent a large portion of my modest budget on books, more books than I can read and yet the desire to acquire more, just to have my hands on that interesting title I found was unrelenting.

"Girl, you need to stop spending money you don’t have on new (second-hand) books", I told myself, echoing sentiments of my friends looking at my ever-growing collection and shaking their heads.

And then I saw a hero appearing on the horizon, a hero I could not believe I forgot about in my excitement of living so close to multiple bookstores. The Public Library stood proud and welcoming, with its arms open and shelves full of books for me to browse and take home. I once again remembered how much I loved libraries, and how the calming process of browsing bookshelves and that desire to discover and hold new titles can be fulfilled there.

I once again remembered how much I loved libraries, and how the calming process of browsing bookshelves and that desire to discover and hold new titles can be fulfilled there.

I also learned that the library has ebooks and audiobooks I could borrow straight to my phone, that I can order new books to be collected from other libraries or even bought. I keep browsing the shelves and the online catalogue and find so many titles that have been on my ‘to-read’ list forever and not just crusty old classics! The Newcastle Library is full of new books from all sorts of genres. They really put in the work to keep up with what people want to read.

My fierce love for libraries reignited. What’s better than books? Cheap books, but what is even better than that? Books you can read for free. I have been borrowing the books from the library for the past few months and my bookworm heart is happy. My wallet is thankful too.

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