Let’s Talk Bookish: Buying vs Borrowing Books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @Book Nook Bits, and it’s where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! If you want to join in the bookish discussion fun, check out the May 2022 prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

How do you decide what books to borrow or buy?

Prompts: Do you buy a lot of books? Do you borrow books from a library, or from friends? What do you look out for in books you buy? Are there any book genres you typically buy more of? Do the types of books that you buy differ from the types of books you typically borrow? Do you prefer to borrow or to buy books?

DO *i* buy a lot of books?

Well… *side-eyes the small stack of books I just bought earlier today* Sometimes, I guess? Hah, who am I kidding! Yes, I buy pretty much 95% of my books. The other 5% are ARCs or books I borrow from Kindle Unlimited, which is the only platform I use to borrow books from. I don’t have access to a library where I’m from (Indonesia) and so if I want to read anything, whether it’s old or new, I have to buy it myself.


The only borrowing of books that I do these days is through my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Most of the books I read on KU are romance and since it’s a genre that I’ve been reading more of over the last two years, it’s been a really great resource for me since I tend to read pretty quickly. If I had to buy all of the books that I read through KU I very likely wouldn’t read half the number of books that I do and I would also be a very very poor panda! 🥲


I never actually thought about the differences in genres of the books I buy vs the books I borrow. As I mentioned, most of the books I read on KU are romances, so that’s obviously the main genre of the books I borrow. That doesn’t mean I don’t borrow other kinds of books—I’ve found a few indie fantasies and some graphic novels on KU but they’re not as common finds for me. This also doesn’t mean I don’t buy any romances because I still very much do and there have been times when I’ve loved a book I read on KU so much that I went and bought myself a copy! I think for the genre of eBook I buy the most, it’s still gonna be romance because it’s just harder to find physical copies locally and most of the time I don’t have the patience to wait for international shipping (especially not with the panini).

Now that I’ve thought about the genres, I’ve noticed that most of the books that I buy physical copies of are contemporary fiction or fantasy (usually YA). I try to buy at my local store as much as possible and these are the genres that are most commonly found in store. When I buy special editions they also tend to be fantasy (either YA/Adult) but I think that’s mostly because they’re the ones that are offered through the sub boxes that I know of.


As it is, I don’t really have much of a choice whether I borrow or buy a book! I think if I had access to a library I would definitely prefer borrowing books over buying them because I do spend a significant amount of money on books—and I realise this is very much a privilege because I don’t have any other adulting responsibilities aside from a few monthly bills! Again, it’s a choice to buy books because it’s not like I don’t have any reading material or an empty existing TBR… 🙃 But I think being able to borrow books would also help me be more discerning with the ones that I add to my shelves because then the books I choose to buy would be the ones I know I love, would probably re-read and I want to keep forever.

So, what about you friends? Do you mostly borrow or buy your books? Do you notice a difference in the books you buy vs borrow? Do you prefer to buy or borrow?

27 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Buying vs Borrowing Books

  1. A Library is definitely a lifesaver for me. I have been buying less in the last year and only preorder/buy special editions of anticipated reads (which isn’t very many). I used to think quantity was important but I’ve slowed down and have at least managed to get through some of my physical tbr instead of adding to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, having had access to libraries before and not having access to one now, I know how amazing it is! I’ve also been buying less physical books in the last year and focusing mostly on SEs. Seeing all the hype for books on bookstagram made me feel fomo all the time I didn’t have my hands on ALL THE BOOKS but yeah, I totally agree, it’s now more quality than quantity for me (at least with physical books haha)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I find that when I’m really not sure about how I’ll feel about a book, I’ll borrow it rather than buy it. There are some times when I don’t care and will buy a book regardless, but I’ve been trying to be more mindful about that due to the expense and space I have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been trying to be more mindful of the books that I buy lately as well, although this does mostly apply to the physical books that I own. I’m a little less restrictive with ebooks even though I probably should be even more strict with myself cos it’s just so easy to “buy and forget” but I totally agree about borrowing first before buying if you’re unsure of a book, especially if it’s a new to you author!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s sooo sad that you don’t have a library!! I do a lot of my borrowing, if not all, from the library! I do have a temporary KU sub but my library ebook game has amped up after Covid. So a lot more options now. Although, the waitlist for items can be frustrating long, some like months long. I will buy books like crazy too with any sale. Especially, if it’s a very long wait list and I see it on BookOutlet or something. Also, I’m very pro- trophies on my shelf. Hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sad that I don’t have a library too, Leslie! 🥺 Super sad panda. How are you liking KU so far? Do you think you’ll stick with it or just stick to borrowing books from the library? Honestly, I think if I had library access I probably wouldn’t use my KU as much but I guess that also depends on the books the library has and waiting times too. I’ve heard BookOutlet has some great deals so that’s pretty awesome. Sometimes you just *need* to have those books on your shelf, ya know? Haha

      Liked by 1 person

      • I totally think I’m going to cancel when my 6 months is up. I haven’t used it once this month and only twice last month. So, I might just stick to the library! Yes!! I tend to wait until books show up on BookOutlet anymore to buy them! Unless it’s a pre-order!! 🙂


  4. Since the panini saw me move back in with my parents, I’ve been using the library SO MUCH and would be pretty lost without it. It’s really helped me realise that I don’t actually need to buy every single book I want to read, which is great when there’s a book I’m in the mood for but I’m not sure I’m going to like it. I also love borrowing thrillers from the library because I don’t tend to re-read thrillers–once I know whodunit, I don’t feel the need to read it again. I’m very lucky to have such a good library service, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I remember you mentioning how much you use the library and it’s awesome that they can get you books you request if they don’t have it! Oh yeah, great point about thrillers—I don’t know if I’ve ever re-read a thriller before but definitely sounds like a great borrow option. 😃


  5. Great post and questions! When it comes to physical books i prefer to buy them and i am reluctant to borrow or lend books because you never know how another person will treat them which is a sensitive topic for me. As for ebooks I buy a lot of them, especially because in my country it’s expensive to ship physical books from amazon. And i borrow a lot of ebooks from my friends as well. I suppose i haven’t been to a library in a very long time, though i like to explore secondhand bookstores. Sometimes you can find old gems in there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oof, I’ve had some horror stories myself of books I’ve lent out to friends/colleagues only for them to return the book (which was pretty pristine when they got it) looking like it’d been trampled across all the freaking land. I would be so embarrassed to return a book in that condition of someone lent me something 🙈 Oh, that’s cool about borrowing ebooks from friends! I’m not sure how you go about doing that but if I had that option I think I’d definitely hop on that. Now, I buy way more ebooks than I do physical books just because it’s instant access and usually much cheaper than buying physical books even with free shipping. And yes, secondhand bookstores really do have some great hidden gems if you can find them—I miss scavenging through secondhand stores 😍

      Liked by 1 person

      • I feel you! I had the same experience when the book I lended someone was returned to me as if it went through war( Oh, I think my friend has a special software that removes protection from ebooks and then you can share it. Also, I think you can send a book to a specific kindle address if you want, but I am not sure how it works. I second that for me it’s easier to buy an ebook than a physical book and more convenient as well. Technology of the 21st century, lol


  6. When I hear that people don’t have access to a library, I am ever more thankful for mine. I only borrow electronic resources, but I borrow a lot. If I had to buy all the books I read, I would have to sell a kidney or something. KU is great for romance. I had a subscription when it first started, and I discovered a lot of great romance authors. Like I said, I am lucky, and between ARCs and my library, I really don’t buy a lot of books. Oddly enough, most of the books I buy are romance and they are usually KU books. My library will never get those. They get the big press, so I purchase more indie/self published books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, having to sell a kidney is pretty accurate. That’s why I’m glad that I have KU now that I’ve started reading a lot more romances although I do still buy a lot of those 😂 But it is really is great for finding and supporting indie/self-pubbed authors! I find that even though I don’t have the same access to ARCs as many others because of being international, I find that I’ve actually cut down a lot on buying books cos I have so many ARCs to read. It’s weird how that works for my brain but I’m glad for it! Can you request for your library to get some of the books by indies or is that a long complicated process? I don’t know if all libraries allow you to request books they don’t have.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, that’s interesting! Is that because it’s just easier or cheaper for them to get big press books? Or there’s more of an audience for that? Haha, sorry for all the questions. I never considered that libraries wouldn’t or don’t often support indies.

          Liked by 1 person

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