Do you ever feel guilty for buying books?

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I am a man on a mission.

While in the USA I am trying to buy books for the next 4 years. I have spent almost 400USD in the last 3 months.

Now, I feel guilty.

These are theological books and commentaries, but WOW, that's a lot of change!

I was even trying to figure out how to buy a cheaper present for my son's birthday next month in order to add an extra volume, no kidding, yesterday (of course, he likes bugs the best, which are FREE, so thank God for cheap kids).

Do any of you agonize over spending decisions on books?
 

regener8ed

Puritan Board Freshman
When lying on our deathbeds, the last thing we will feel guilty for are our efforts to get closer to God. Good books, by godly authors are an essential part of our relationship with our Lord and Savior, and our understanding of His word. Without understanding, how can we be a blessing to those that we were called to bless? God has unlimted resources. If He has chosen to give you the resources to bless others, why feel guilty? Jesus loves you Perg. Stop trippin.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Okay, I'll stop tripping and buy that commentary set. And I just bought my son an ant farm and caught him a turtle, so he's covered too.
 

regener8ed

Puritan Board Freshman
My wife and I have a Turtle. Actually, she's a russian tortoise We named her Shelly. She likes to eat broccoli. :)
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
My turtle is less refined. We scooped him from a river during a canoe trip. His name is Mr. Turtle, and he eats detritus and bugs.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
I am a man on a mission.

For a man on a mission you seem to spend a lot of time asking questions...

While in the USA I am trying to buy books for the next 4 years. I have spent almost 400USD in the last 3 months.

Now, I feel guilty.

These are theological books and commentaries, but WOW, that's a lot of change!

Not really.

I was even trying to figure out how to buy a cheaper present for my son's birthday next month in order to add an extra volume, no kidding, yesterday (of course, he likes bugs the best, which are FREE, so thank God for cheap kids).

Ok... maybe you are cheap.

Do any of you agonize over spending decisions on books?

Yes. Because books aren't everything.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
Ben, how many questions SHOULD I ask?

Being "on a mission" is a term we use to refer to being of singular focus with an urgent and intense sense of accomplishing "the mission" in as expeditious a manner as possible.

In that case, you should be asking none because spending time coming up with questions about everything under the sun seems to imply that your mind and energy are not singularly focused, as it would be if you were - as you say - a "man on a mission."

Less time talking, more time doing.

Now, hut hut!
 

ewenlin

Puritan Board Junior
Lol I'm still laughing at the fact you called your little N a cheap kid. :p

So long as it's read, the more the better. That's my rule.

Actually have you considered buying digital formats? If you have the solars set up you should be able to use a notebook? This will save you a TON of change
 

Igor

Puritan Board Freshman
I have spent almost 400USD in the last 3 months.
And that's all? Approx. $130 a month? No reason to feel guilty, I think!
Remember the poor Scholar from the Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales:

But upon books and learning he would spend
All he was able to obtain from friends.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Perhaps you could look for other ways to get the books or even the knowledge without actually purchasing the books? For myself, my budget does not allow me to purchase all the books I would want. I have responsibility first to provide for my household, and secondly I have some obligations to debts (student loans from myself and wife). Thirdly, my wife is in currently in grad school so extra monies are rather tight.
My solution is to check out many books from my library. I realize that for some of the older works, the library may not have them but you can always try interlibrary loan.
Another solution is to try to find free books online. Obviously these may not be as handy as having the physical hard copy in hand, but to be able to read some is better than nothing! Finally, could you borrow or set up some type of trading system with another friend or colleague? Just some suggestions as to how to maybe defray the cost a little.

Finally, to answer your question, I think you should only feel guilty if your book budget is taking away from other financial obligations, such as providing for your family. this does not seem to be your case, so you are okay in my opinion! Happy reading!
 

Michael Doyle

Puritan Board Junior
Sometimes I do. I have spent a good chunk of change the last two years on books and it seems a bit habitual. Maybe I need a book on my behavior?! Hmmm:think::lol:

Seriously, I agree with the thought of, If I havent read all I have then perhaps some guilt and I have not read all the volumes to date.
 

Joseph Scibbe

Puritan Board Junior
Here is my thing: I could NEVER actually spend $150 on a Bible when knowing that I could buy a $20 one and spend the rest on others to pass out. Now the question is, do you really need those books. That's a question I am asking myself about some of the books I have purchased. I bought them with full intention to read them and never did. But if you are going to, shop around for the cheapest price. What is the point of spending $50 dollars more on a commentary set simply because it is a "50th anniversary edition" which usually only changes the look not the content. In my humble opinion, that is being poor steward of Gods money.

-----Added 8/29/2009 at 07:47:25 EST-----

Final Example: I purchased Finally Alive in print even after owning it in a digital copy just to have it to put on my bookshelf (pride and folly I know). I am going to give that copy away though because, someone needs 1 more than I need 2
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
400 bucks in 3 months? How little do you read?

3 months x 4 weeks x one book a week x $30 per book = $360 spent on books that you have already read. I thought that you were trying to get stuff for the next 4 years?

:book2:
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
I discovered that I spent around $250 last month alone. That is probably too much. It was certainly frivolous spending of course (a good chunk of that was commentaries for a new preaching series, which is a year or more investment; some was for a class in October), but it occurred to me that my shelf is sufficiently stocked and I probably need to cut back the rest of the year.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
There is room for sin with regard to purchasing books as much as with anything else. Self-denial, discipline, realism, a mortification of pride, of idle curiosity, of the desire to strive about vain words, of the desire to be fashionable and up-to-date and of possessiveness are all necessary. Many times we say that we need to know or be up on this or that, and it isn't true at all. We have no such need.

And there is no fixed sum up to which is OK and beyond which is indulgence.

That said, though, for anyone who is engaged in intellectual pursuits for their vocation, or enjoys intellectual pursuits as their primary recreation, or is convinced that gaining a certain kind of knowledge is necessary and profitable for their personal growth, books are tools. There are many people, of course, who are like a dilettante craftsman with a lavish workshop and no completed projects: they buy things that would be really useful to someone who had the background and commitment to profit from them, and then they just sit and moulder. It's absurd to buy a grand piano so your kid can take one year of lessons and decide he has no musical talent whatever: if you are a concert pianist, however, a grand piano is quite a reasonable investment. Now your vocation does require you to use your intellect constantly, and so you need to be equipped with the appropriate instruments, as long as you will use them. So if they will be of profit and enjoyment to you personally, to your family through you, and will help you in the ministry, then you should not feel guilty for paying what they cost (as long as you have the funds available). Of course, you should be doing your best to make sure you get the best tools, the ones that will last and perform their job well for many years to come (and that's where asking questions comes in). You may not need to understand the economic background of Aquinas' Summa, but you do need books that will help in opening the Scriptures for your own instruction, edification and profit, and to assist you to make things as plain as possible to those whom you will have to teach. And this is your providential opportunity to acquire those tools, so go for it with zest:
Westminster Bookstore - Reformed Books - Low Prices - Flat Fee UPS Shipping
Reformation Heritage Books
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Mechanics, Doctors, and Carpenters all need their tools. Pretty much every profession or job requires some sort of tools. Pastors need their books. Nothing to feel guilty about. My only struggle is deciding if I really need the particular book. :2cents:
 

Rich Koster

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
We govern our household spending by a line item budget. In that budget, we each get $20/week pocket money. If I sock that away for a few weeks/months, I can get whatever I want, books included. There is no regret that it could be used for ____________, because that was covered under a different line item.:)
 

wmc1982

Puritan Board Freshman
You could use paperbackswap.com if you have some books you have already read and don't mind getting rid of.
 

Theoretical

Puritan Board Professor
I am a man on a mission.

While in the USA I am trying to buy books for the next 4 years. I have spent almost 400USD in the last 3 months.

Now, I feel guilty.

These are theological books and commentaries, but WOW, that's a lot of change!

I was even trying to figure out how to buy a cheaper present for my son's birthday next month in order to add an extra volume, no kidding, yesterday (of course, he likes bugs the best, which are FREE, so thank God for cheap kids).

Do any of you agonize over spending decisions on books?
No, because a good portion of them I'll give to someone or let them borrow.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Do you actually read them, Perg, or do you buy them just to make a good-looking shelf?

$400 for a jungle-dweller doesn't seem like much for 4 years. Just no more Osteen, OK?
 

Curt

Puritan Board Graduate
Yes, I still feel somewhat guilty when I spend money on books. What causes more guilt, however, is taking time to read them. After all these years in ministry, and with the intellectual understanding that reading is part of my job, I still get those feelings when I settle in to read, instead of....
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
400 bucks in 3 months? How little do you read?

3 months x 4 weeks x one book a week x $30 per book = $360 spent on books that you have already read. I thought that you were trying to get stuff for the next 4 years?

:book2:

I usually buy 10 dollar books, so that makes me slightly more literate than your initial equation. Although, most are for shipping overseas. I have only been reading about 1 book per week, and buying many more than that.

-----Added 8/29/2009 at 01:33:42 EST-----

Do you actually read them, Perg, or do you buy them just to make a good-looking shelf?

$400 for a jungle-dweller doesn't seem like much for 4 years. Just no more Osteen, OK?

Actually, I like to look smart, so I buy the biggest books and leave them all on the shelves. Appearances is half the battle, right?

I just bought 400 more USD in books, for 800 USD within 4 months. Does that change your opinion?

-----Added 8/29/2009 at 01:35:17 EST-----

We govern our household spending by a line item budget. In that budget, we each get $20/week pocket money. If I sock that away for a few weeks/months, I can get whatever I want, books included. There is no regret that it could be used for ____________, because that was covered under a different line item.:)

I haven't had a successful budget in 4 years. Overseas, all my "line items" would vanish if sick people were at my door. But this occurs less here, and so now I have more pocket money.

-----Added 8/29/2009 at 01:36:26 EST-----

p.s. also, remember that I live off of "support" and working people give generously to help me get by. Thus, I have to give a greater account for the use of my money.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
I only feel guilty when I don't read the books that I buy.

That reminds me of an issue of Banner of Truth some years back, in which some remarkable woman's letter to the editor, wherein she said she never allowed herself to buy a book until she had read her previous purchase.

I marvelled at such discipline!
 

Igor

Puritan Board Freshman
As for me, I buy for myself a lot of books, but don't necessarily read them all from cover to cover - sometimes I just read a particular chapter (or a few chapters) I am interested in right now (it is a novel that you must read from the beginning to the end) and then put it off for a while and get to another book. Or just use it as a reference.
 

CNJ

Puritan Board Senior
Here is an idea for your next purchase. :) You can buy it for your wife and mother for Christmas so you don't feel so guilty about the $400.

I am taking preorders for my new book Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill during the month of September only. The cost is $10 plus shipping. Books will be a limited run and will be distributed at the end of November. After September the price will be higher, and you may need to wait for the book to be reprinted. My pastor edited it for Reformed theology.

Check it out and PM me if interested. Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill
 
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