Why You Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Not Owning Tons Of Books: A Discussion

I recently watched a few videos about the pros and cons of BookTube, one of which openly talked about not being able to afford BookTube (video linked at the bottom). Not sure exactly what that means or where I’m going with this? Keep on reading, it gets interesting.


What Is BookTube?

For those who are unaware or haven’t yet discovered the world of BookTube, it is a community on YouTube where book lovers from all over the world (it’s pretty diverse!) upload videos to their respective YouTube channels and talk about what you and I love to pieces: all things books and literature.

I began to really get into and subscribe to more BookTube-esque channels about a year ago and I haven’t looked back. Not all of my YouTube feed is comprised of book-related content, though I’ll admit a good chunk of it is.


Source: Plot Hopes

Pros Of BookTube

There are a bunch of more pros than cons, in my humble opinion, in regards to the BookTube community including:

  • learning about new books
  • viewing and learning about other bookworm’s opinions of books
  • book hauls (where people talk about what new books they got while shopping, books they were sent, etc.)
  • getting to know and discover new authors (some BookTubers have the awesome opportunity to interview authors across all genre types and promptly film their interview and upload it for fellow book lovers to tune in and watch
  • being able to join online book clubs
  • getting to know bookworms from all across the globe=making new book loving friends!
Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

Cons Of BookTube

Few as they may be, there are some downsides to BookTube (based on my own opinions and opinions of those whose videos I watched) I’ll go a tad more in depth with these since it’s the focal point of this article.

Reading Peer Pressure:

Yes, even in the book community there is peer pressure. With just about any kind of group, whether official, organized, or the like, there is going to be some kind of peer pressure. It may be minimal, but it’s there; it may be a large elephant in the room type of pressure that no one wants to speak up and talk about, but it’s there.

I would define reading pressure as: feeling like you, as a reader, are obliged to read a book or book series just because everyone else is and they’ve been encouraging you to do so. 

Of course, I’m sure more than a majority of these folks recommending you these books have good intentions and, ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not you want to read that particular book or series. On the other hand, sometimes we may feel like if we don’t read a specific book that everyone has been raving about, we’ll be the ‘outsider’ and not get the inside jokes, and not be considered ‘cool’ anymore among our bookworm friends.

What? Look, life is too short to read what you don’t want to read. I don’t care if it’s a classic (Jane Austen, even), a very popular series (Ala Harry Potter), or a book that’s won every award in the history of man (Example: All The Light We Cannot See). If you don’t want to read it, if it doesn’t strike your interest, if you just don’t care about the characters or what happens to them, it is okay to pass it up and not read. Just a well-needed reminder.


Source: Malia Writer

Book Hauls (The Negative Side)

Book hauls are great. Those videos are among the most popular with subscribers, and I click on many of these types of videos myself. However, do these types of videos put pressure on readers to constantly buy books? Maybe, maybe not.

Personally, 98% of the books I buy are second-hand. I have no problem buying used books, (in fact, I often buy books from my local thrift store, dollar stores, and random garage sales) and I don’t think there’s anything shameful about that. I know that some people prefer to buy their books new and don’t like shopping at used bookstores and that’s their prerogative, though, for me, being a bookworm isn’t about how many books you own or how stunning your rainbow bookshelf is with its adorable trinkets and lights. It’s about the content and beauty of the story.

So, to say that book hauls have a negative effect on readers is a pretty long stretch and accusation, though I think that some readers do see these videos and feel less than because they can’t afford to buy $100 worth of books each month. Times are hard and money is a topic people don’t often feel all that comfortable discussing but it is okay to not buy a huge stack of books every time you go out. You’re a bookworm whether you buy books every month, week, day (so lucky!), or every 6 months. Don’t allow yourself to be defined by how many books you own or buy. Just enjoy your fellow bookworm’s lovely haul and promptly add the books you like onto your TBR list and read them when you have the opportunity.

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

So, You Love To Read But Don’t Physically Own The Books You Read

I cannot stress enough: You’re not ‘cooler’ or ‘better’ or more of a bookworm if you have more books. I honestly think most of the book loving population is aware of this and understands this but it needs to be said anyway.

You don’t need to own every single book that’s listed on Goodreads. Yeah, it’s wonderful to have a favorite story curled up in your hands, and sniff the pages without embarrassment, and enjoy all the other attributes that come along with loving a good story, but, at the end of the day, are you buying these books for you, or are you buying them to prove to the world (and BookTube community if you happen to have your own channel) how much of a ‘devoted’ reader you are?

You should be buying them for you. You should be reading what you want for you. No one else. I repeat: no one else.

Make use of your local library without shame; shop at used bookstores (once you start, you’ll be hooked because you can almost always score a great deal), search around at yard sales.

My point being: it’s very cool if you have your own personal library and it’s equally cool if you own 10 books.

Source: Giphy

Source: Giphy

So, the next time you catch yourself feeling a little down for not owning as many books as your favorite BookTuber, just remember that you’re a book lover not because you spend $174387597 on books every time you go out. You’re a bookworm because you simply love books.

How do you feel about owning or not owning tons of books? Please join in the discussion in the comments!

A Few Of My Favorite BookTubers:

*Warning, the following video contains mature language (just in case you don’t like too much cursing and such)*

YouTube Channel: BooksandBullshit


Featured image via Tumblr