I don’t know what got into me, but I thought it would be a fun little experiment to track how many books I acquired over the course of this year. My books come from many sources – I buy them (of course), but I’m also gifted many by wonderful friends, and sent copies for review by publishers and authors (I am very, very lucky). Now that the end of the year has (almost) rolled around, it’s time to take a look at the results. Obviously, anything Santa brings me won’t be included – but it’s still a pretty good overview of my book acquisition habits.
How many books I acquired
Alright, let’s get the obvious out of the way. How many books did I acquire this year?
That’s roughly twelve a month, or just under three a week – not bad at all! Not the crisis situation I was imagining. Especially when you consider that I’ve already read well over 100 books this year, so it’s practically almost parity.
How many books I bought
I wasn’t foolish enough to track how much money I spent on books (sometimes, ignorance really is bliss), but I did keep track of where the books came from. Of the 142 books I acquired, I only actually spent money on 57 of them! That’s barely one a week – not too shabby!
The remaining 85 books were gifts from friends, review copies sent by authors and publishers, and – on the rare, lucky occasion – opportunistic finds on hard rubbish days.
Books on my wishlist vs impulse purchases
Of the books that I bought, I also kept track of which ones were actually on my wishlist (yes, that’s a real document that actually exists), and which ones were bought on impulse.
I’m proud to report that 33 of the books I bought this year were actually on my wishlist! That means that more than half the time, I wasn’t just being an impulsive book buyer – I was buying with purpose.
Month(s) with most books acquired
I would have assumed that I would have acquired the most books in April (the month of my birthday), but I was wrong!
I acquired the most books in February and October, 18 each. There weren’t even big book fairs those months or anything, so I’m not sure how to explain it.
Month(s) with fewest books acquired
Another surprise: I acquired the fewest books in November and December, with 6 each. I suppose that’s explained by spending the end of November isolating at home and comatose with COVID, and the fact that December isn’t technically over yet. Or maybe I just saw the number on my tracker creeping up towards the end of the year, and subconsciously decided to rein it in…
Many of my favourite acquisitions were those super-lucky wishlist finds. I found The Librarian (Sally Vickers), Here In The After (Marion Firth), The Know-It-All (A.J. Jacobs), and The Lost Apothecary (Sarah Penner) – all on my wishlist – at op shops and book fairs, for spare change.
I also had a particularly impressive haul from one hard rubbish day, where a house across the street had put out a box of amazing books – that’s where I picked up Something Wicked This Way Comes (Ray Bradbury) and The Lottery (Shirley Jackson), among others!
Of all the books that were sent to me by authors, DeadStar was definitely a winner. Nick Griffiths made such a charming pitch, and it was a great read! Special shout-out also to Bronwyn Birdsall, who arranged for her publisher to send me a copy of her brilliant debut, Time And Tide In Sarajevo.
And some of my best reads of the year – like 56 Days (Catherine Ryan Howard), Sadvertising (Ennis Ćehić), Weather Girl (Rachel Lynn Solomon), and Demon Copperhead (Barbara Kingsolver) – were all sent to me by their publishers for review. I feel so privileged and honoured to get to read these books and share them with you all.
And that’s a wrap! How many books did you pick up this year? Let me know in the comments!
Edited to add: After I put this post together, I remembered where I got this idea! It was from Hannah, at Read The Best Books First, who kept a similar tracker for her 2021 book acquisitions. Cheers, Hannah! This was fun!
December 16, 2022 at 9:53 AM
I love the idea of tracking book acquisitions like this! Might try it next year. I keep tabs on how many I read in a year. Some are audiobooks and I mostly borrow physical books from my fantastic local library – otherwise I’d probably be spending all my money on them (is that a bad thing? I’m not so sure).
People in my local area seem to be avid readers with good taste, so there’s usually some great books in the free libraries. And I have an independent bookstore at the end of my street… so dangerous…
December 16, 2022 at 11:20 PM
Oooh, you’re lucky to have a great LFL! I haven’t got a solid one in my area, just a few that seem to come and go and rarely come through with a gem. Maybe because we have such a strong hard rubbish culture, my neighbours don’t want to take the extra step? It’s also great to hear you’re using your traditional library so much, that’s the kind of support they need 👍 And that adds a fun interesting layer to a book acquisition tracker for you – if you buy a book, there must be a GOOD reason for it! Would love to check it out this time next year if you do it! 😍
December 17, 2022 at 3:27 AM
Thanks for the shout-out, and the book nerd in me loved this post! You may have re-inspired me to track my acquisitions again next year and be a bit more detailed about it. Loved your additions of favorite acquisitions and where they came from. Cheers to a great year of reading, Sheree!
December 19, 2022 at 11:46 AM
Ahahaha my absolute pleasure Hannah, thank you for the inspiration and cheers right back! 😍
December 18, 2022 at 4:54 PM
Thinking of doing this next year!
December 19, 2022 at 11:45 AM
Yessss do it! I’m so curious!!!
December 21, 2022 at 1:57 PM
Nice list, Sheree! I love this list vibe. I can’t track something like this, I don’t think.. my owned books spreadsheet is enough! I was considering building my own street library, but my husband isn’t a fan of this idea (I’d better not rant). I have many many bags to give away. I buy lots from second hand (or take bags for free this year!) and receive a few from publishers, a couple from authors. If I had a blog I think it would be dangerous indeed! I hope you had an amazing book year, and may next year be just as rewarding Sheree!
December 26, 2022 at 12:57 PM
Awww thank you Suzanne! And I say set up your little free library anyway – easier to ask for forgiveness than permission 😉 Hope you read some wonderful books in 2023!
December 23, 2022 at 5:48 PM
Great idea , I wouldn’t know where to start. I have a long wish list but I mainly buy on impulse. Do you use an app. to track your acquisitions?
December 26, 2022 at 12:56 PM
Hi Maria! No app, just an old-school list (that I keep in a spreadsheet, for convenience). I note down the book’s title, author, and where I got it, and at the end of the year it’s a little treasure trove of data 😁 Easy peasy!