Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Judith Levine decides to drastically curtail her purchases for a year, to only buy what is necessary, and to write a book about it. She joins a Voluntary Simplicity group where one of the members, who has been out of work for two years, says she buys only used books.

My stomach lurches. When I first talked to my agent about Not Buying It, she registered alarm over this one consumer item. "But you have to buy books, Judith," Joy ordered. "You have to support the industry." I often ask myself if a business that hasn't figured out how to sell about 80 percent of what it produces can claim the name "industry." Still, it's my industry, the only industry I've got, so I should stand by it.

This year, though, I am limiting my book-buying to work-related volumes that are unavailable at the library, in the process realizing a savings of about 75 percent. I am also buying used books when possible (
Mea maxima culpa, Joy!) Now I hear these proud words from Gail, and the economic impact of lower consumption hits me directly in the royalty statement. Call me a hypocrite, but I resolve right there that I will not market Not Buying It with the slogan "Don't Buy This Book."


  1. I've made the pledge "not to buy" so many times only to break the pledge faster than a New Year's resolution!

  2. I have read a similar article in a financial magazine of a young couple who took some pretty drastic measures to get out of debt early in their marriage. This should be very interesting. I imagine I could make a really big impact simply by cutting back a little bit. I applaud the idea and look forward to reading what she has to say about the experience.

  3. I used to only buy books that I had started reading from the library and then decided I wanted to own it so I could mark in them. The last couple of years I have bought lots & lots of books online and most are used. I guess I need to 'check this book out' and read it. I definitely need some restraint.


"I don't believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time."

Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.