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."