[LET’S CHAT] Are Bookworms Too Materialistic?

 Will this be controversial? Hopefully not.

I feel like this is a weird discussion topic, but I did want to talk about it. Because, clearly, I like to talk about things I observe because I am weird. I can’t help myself. I find it funny how we as bookworms jokingly talk about how we don’t judge a book by its cover, when we totally do, and that got me thinking about how bookworms might be a bit materialistic in other areas, especially with the rise of bookstagram, and I thought it’d nice to talk about it!

Obsession W Merch

Usually, I’d put stuff like Funko Pops, t-shirts, pillowcases, candles, jewelry, laptop skins and stickers, etc. under merchandise. I’ll tell you right now that I’m not a huge fan of merch. I find most of it completely useless and a waste of money, and the only type of merch I’ll purchase are t-shirts because they’re clothes and I’ll eventually use them by, you know, WEARING them. 

I feel like fandom merchandise is definitely fun, but can be unnecessary, much like a lot of things that people enjoy. I feel like merchandise has definitely grown over the years with the rise of bookstagram – I’d literally never heard of Funko Pops or all these different candle companies or even pillowcases with quotes on them before I joined the community, and all of a sudden, I was completely bombarded with it. It always slightly annoyed me because I literally couldn’t care less about what candle companies the person was repping for – I came here for BOOKS – and those people who always feel the need to flood your feed for a million rep searches for a million different companies.

(Also, Funko Pops are completely useless and I don’t get the hype, sorry!)File_001 (60)

I definitely don’t think it’s a bad thing to buy a whole bunch of books a month. I mean, I wish I could do that! More power to you if you always have the ability to buy 20+ hardcovers a month because I only get to do that twice a year, and that’s only because it’s my birthday and Christmas in the same month.

But, I do see some people who are hardcore collectors, and by hardcore, I mean the people who have multiple editions of the same book because they need to collect all the collector’s editions, all the signed books because if one book is left unsigned by an author THEY CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IT, and all the foreign editions that they can’t even read but buy just because the cover is nice. It’s not a bad thing to be a collector – people can do whatever they want with their money – but I’ve seen people act like they’ll die if they don’t get the five-year old ARC of a book they already own a final copy of that will complete their collection via ARCs for Trade on Twitter, and it’s really not that big of a deal, in the end. 

I’ve also seen the whole rise of pre-order swag, where if somebody pre-orders a book before a certain date or shows proof that they did, they get some sort of swag, that, to me, looks totally useless, but it seems to really be working if publishing companies use the same tactics over and over again. 

Again, all of these things aren’t necessarily bad, but they’re also unnecessary – especially considering people who don’t have enough money or access to all the newest, hottest releases, whether it’s because of where they live or because of their library not having the ability to carry every single book under the sun (like my own small library).File_002 (45)

This really has zero to do with the fact that we like to look at pretty covers – that’s never a bad thing, and is really up to a matter of opinion on whether you really care about a book’s cover or not – but more on the whole obsession with keeping our books in pristine condition.

I know I’m one of those people who wants to buy my series in hardcover because it looks pretty, and I hate it when there’s a tear or rip on the spine or I accidentally close a book wrong and fold a page in, but I hate this weird sort of culture that bookworms have perpetuated where we jokingly say that people who dog-ear pages or mark up their books are “monsters.” Because, in the end, though we love books, it IS just a book, and we shouldn’t treat people who don’t keep their books in top condition as weird just because they don’t or demonize people who dog-ear pages.

Really, the only thing that truly matters is that we’re all reading, no matter what we do to our books or what we read!

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And those are all my weird observations!

Hopefully, the take-away from people reading this isn’t that I think people are terrible for doing any of these things, because nobody is – bookworms can do whatever they want with their time and money if they want to – but I did want to take a critical look at us because it’s always an interesting angle to look at things!

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Let's Chat

Do you think bookworms are becoming more materialistic? What are your opinions on any of these topics? Tell me all your thoughts!

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70 thoughts on “[LET’S CHAT] Are Bookworms Too Materialistic?

  1. I’m one of those hardcore book buyers, whoops😅. I understand what you were saying, because I feel that having like 12 copies of the same book it’s too much, but I admit it, I but a lot of books 😂.
    I agree with you with the merchandasing. I think they look pretty good in the shelves or in a picture, but they are quite expensive and a bit unnecesary to me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t usually but merchandising because it’s pretty expensive with the shipping and all that stuff and to me it seems pretty pointless (even though I’d kill for some mugs and pillows!).
        Ahh that’s another excuse I’m adding to my book buying list (to take cute pictures!)😂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. SHIPPING IS TOO EXPENSIVE. I wanted to buy used books on Amazon because they’re super cheap, and I was so excited, until I realized that it adds SO MUCH MONEY to pay for people to ship those books to you. Like, I’ll just stick to buying books at slightly discounted prices with free Amazon Prime shipping thanks. 😂

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      3. I know! It’s so sad because there are certain books that are discontinued so you have to buy it somewhere else and the shipping is sooo expensive! Also etsy has amazing things I wanna have but again, the shipping is crazy! 😅

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  2. I don’t have a specific opinion on this. People do what they like to do.
    I don’t throw my money on those candles and t-shirts or a book goodie box. I’m money saving type. I buy once or twice a year and that is also my favorite author’s books. I live in rented house and have limited space to keep everything. I don’t even have bookshelf in the house I’m living in.
    I value books I have, so keep it in good condition. I have literally put all books in box with with courier covers. 😛 But I don’t think those who don’t keep books in good condition are monsters. Not everyone are same!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve noticed the rise in people who are collecting different editions of their favourite books and to be honest, I’d love to be able to do that for my favourite books, but ultimately it’s not very practical (money, space etc.) 😅

    As long as it doesn’t put people off joining the community because they think we all have to have the latest releases in hardback, loads of merch and perfectly kept books then it doesn’t bother me, but I know a few people who have quit bookstagram because they felt too under pressure to have the ‘perfect pictures’ with all of the things you mentioned in it, which is a shame 😕

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    1. Yeah, I definitely don’t have the space for that! 😂 Money’s an issue, but with all the books I’ll eventually buy, I can’t afford anymore.

      Yeah, I definitely know people like that too! I quit bookstagram once because I just hated the way my pictures looked! It’s hard to live up to some standards! 😩

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  4. WELL…this is probably the most interesting and UNIQUE discussion you’ve put out there. And that’s saying something
    Honestly, I think merch is pretty cool and for those ultimate fangirls but I’ve never really gotten into it. I don’t have much of an opinion or that, to be honest.

    But your book buying point…I HAVE A LOT TO SAY. So before blogging, book buying was cool and all but for me, it was the library. I usually got books second-hand or from charity shops. I rarely bought books from like actual book shops (gosh I sound like such a cheap skate) e-books worked too and I was living the bookworm life. Then book blogging entered my life and I saw people with these obsessions with buying books that I DID NOT UNDERSTAND. So I went out and bought some books after a while, trying to understand this, and it felt REALLY good.So, I kind of understand it now but I don’t think it’s necessary. Like book buying is great but what about broke bookworms like me? I feel like there’s a pressure that if you don’t BUY books you’re not a true bookworm. And like buying books is a requirement to be a book blogger. BUT IT SHOULDN’T BE LIKE THAT. nevertheless, i feel that way.

    I dog ear books. And have jokingly have been called a monster. BUT ITS ALL GOOD, I honestly don’t mind, it’s great humour. Like I think that’s understandable people want to keep their books in good condition. LIKE THAT’s THEM. I like keeping my books pristine though I do occasionaly crack a spine *hides*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, thank you! 😘

      Yeah, I wish I could have huge hardcover book hauls BUT I CANNOT! I’m a poor teenager! It’s probably easier since I follow most adult book bloggers to buy books since they have jobs and those things, but since I don’t, I’m just all alone! 😭 Yeah, I wouldn’t want anyone to be shamed because they don’t buy their author’s fave books. I LOVE Adam Silvera, but I literally haven’t bought one single physical copy of his books. I still consider myself a huge fan though!

      Haha, I do like keeping my books pristine! In general, I like keeping things pristine. It’s just my thing. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An interesting topic! I for one love stupid book merch, I am a horder and I like silly little trinkets, so that’s why I probably. I LOVE Funko pops, but I only have one, because I don’t have that kind of money to spend. Money doesn’t care if you like book merch 😂 I am definitely like you, I buy books in bulk maybe once or twice a year. I currently have about 10 unread books on my shelves and it’s stressing me out haha. I don’t know how people deal with like 300 unread books. I also don’t keep my books in mint condition; I don’t abuse them but I don’t care if I crack the spines or whatever. I like a visual representation of the fact that the book has been read. My Harry Potter series is completely battered and I love them for it! Great post, obviously!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I can’t hoard anymore! I feel like I have too much stuff already that I really don’t need more! 😂 Yeah, I still have books I got back in December they haven’t been read whatsoever and I hate it! 😬 Yeah, my Harry Potter books are best up as well! Even if I get the new editions, I’ll still keep the old ones since they have nostalgia! 😄

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  6. I totally agree M, and I think (like mentioned above) that the key is the word obsession and what type we have. For example, I’ve never really gotten into the book merch craze or the multiple editions of the same book thing, or freaking out if my books aren’t in mint condition. My obsession definitely falls in the book buying/library hauling category, but typically mine is an obsession with thrift book buying! I love going to various used bookstores or finding that bargain clearance section that happens to have the book I’ve been searching for. It gives me a high like no other! 😂 I have bought some new books, more so recently, of authors that I am trying to personally support because they have been good to me, so I need to work on reigning that in. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, I have no good thrift stores! Most of the used bookstores within distance sell old books that I don’t read, so I’m always jealous of people who easily have that access to better thrift stores than I do! 😂 Yeah, I definitely love buying books to support people! I can’t do it often, but I try when I can! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with you. Books are fun to buy and to read, and it’s also fun to buy some merchandise once in a while, but you shouldn’t make it such a big deal if you can’t buy a hardcover book, or if the cover slightly tears.

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  8. I don’t know. I quite like bookish merch and don’t really see any harm in it. I suppose it depends on why you’re buying it and whether you can really afford it. Is it just so you can take pictures of it and show it off or does it give you genuine pleasure.

    I do probably spend more than I should on books & stuff but my monthly spend is generally less than others spend on a night out or a single concert ticket and I get much more enjoyment out of them so why not.

    I do see quite a few people on bookstagram who seem to spend a fortune on books and props purely to take photos but I suppose that’s up to them (I am however horrified when people destroy books in the quest for a good pic).

    As far as dog earing pages goes, as long as it’s their book and not one of my special edition signed copies I couldn’t care less 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s definitely true! It also depends on if bookstagram is your life or not. I would sort of get it if I had 50k+ followers, but if I don’t, then I don’t feel like I really need it. I just can’t dedicate my life to bookstagram (which is probably why I quit). 😂

      I don’t mind people buying books! I was talking more about people who feel the need to buy every single edition of a book there is just because it looks pretty or has special content.

      I’ve only ever seen book Burning type photos, and I’ve never really cared about those. I guess it depends on the person!

      Yeah, I’d probably be annoyed if it was my book, but if it’s not, I don’t care!

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  9. I admit that I buy more books than are probably necessary, but I don’t buy all that other stuff. Periodically I get a piece of bookish swag because it’s something I’m really interested (I mostly just have a couple of Harry Potter things, because I adore Harry Potter), otherwise I don’t bother. I already know I don’t have the room for it. The books are really what matters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I want more books! I don’t mind people buying a lot of books – I live vicariously through them. 😂 Yeah, all my bookish swag or merch is just Harry Potter and that’s it. It’s a combo of going to Orlando that one year and my parents giving me something Harry Potter related every Christmas! Yeah, I don’t have room for more stuff; I have WAY too much stuff. 😬

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  10. I completely agree about the merch. I constantly see youtube videos and pictures of various subscription boxes and I *always* consider caving into the pressure and buying one, but then I’m just like… I literally do not want anything in this box except the book and maybe the signature. I hate collecting junk and the plethora of keychains and other knickknacks from those boxes would all proudly sit accruing dust somewhere. I also don’t really like when characters from books are given drawings and action figures. The most fun part about reading is imagining everything for yourself, ya know? I will admit to my obsession with keeping books in pristine condition, though. I’m just a neat freak in general. I got a single stain on my Crooked Kingdom book and honestly considered buying another one… lol!

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    1. I totally agree! The only subscription box I have is Book of the Month, and that’s because they give you a book and you have a choice about which book to pick, so it’s the perfect subscription for me! Yeah, I have a lot of stuff already, so I definitely don’t need to clutter my room with more of it. There’s so much stuff shoved into my closet. 😂 I do the same! I get so annoyed when I accidentally fold a page and it’s stuck like that forever! 😩

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  11. While I think book lovers have always been materialistic in terms of collecting books, I totally agree that there is an increase in book merch, which I think is largely due to monthly subscription boxs! I’m the same as you in that I totally don’t get the appeal of funko pops — and I don’t need a bookish candle – i just need my watermelon candle feom Bath and Body Works!

    And while I do really care about having my hardcovers in pristine condition I generally look at all the editions of a book out there and just buy my fav. I think the only time I’ve considered multiple copies of a book is when I have a series that doesn’t match (like some paperback and some hardcover) — mind you, I would end up selling or donating my older copy – i only need one!

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    1. Yeah, I’ve never been a huge fan of YA subscription boxes! Maybe a post for another day??? But it’s mainly because all I want is the book and I’m also picky with the books I read, so it’d be a waste of money if I got a year long subscription and only two books I genuinely want to read. 😬 Yeah, idiot get the appeal of those things or fairy lights, which are also pretty popular!

      Yeah, I have a lot of mismatched or unfinished series lol. I usually give away a copy of a book if I have double of it, unless they’re both super special to me, so I totally agree with that! 😄

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  12. I agree and disagree to some degree. I’m a lover of book boxes and the good ‘ol merch item WHEN the item is useful. My life as a bookworm and an introvert tends to revolve around my fandoms so when the items are useful I’m more inclined to purchase it. I didn’t get into bookstagram or the true book community until I was already in my 20s and had a house. Now I have a library to decorate, but my book and fandom obsessions do not leave the library. I may purchase a pillow with a book quote on it but only if it matches and it’s for my reading chair. I only keep prints if it’s pretty enough to become a decor piece.

    I admit I do have a few odd candles and you’ll see Funko pops grace my shelves here and there, but I do not understand the obsession to have every single candle that is in a shop, just a good smelling one that will expand on my reading experience. It doesn’t bother me when people overload their shelves, they can do whatever they want, but I do judge them a little for how driven they are by having the next best thing or ALL the things for that matter.

    In regard to books, I have a lot of books and I’m able to purchase books whenever I please. I will never take that for granted, but I realize not everyone can do that. Honestly, I think it’s embarrassing how people act over ARCs when I’m happy with my U.K. cover. I do judge books by their covers and the ONLY books I double up on is Harry Potter and that’s because I reread them so much my books fall apart easily. I guess I’m part book snob, but I also realize when I’m getting to be a bit extra and need to slow my roll. I’m no longer posting to bookstagram because of this. It’s a bit of a toxic place to be quite honest. I’m not buying and collecting for me and me alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think if I did get merch when I’m older and have my own money, I’d only get it if it’s useful! As someone who can barley buy books three times a year, I’m certainly not wasting it on merch when I do get it. Pretty much all the merch I’ve gotten is from my parents via Christmas!

      Yeah, I agree with the last sentence! I don’t really judge any of the people I talk about in the post since they can do whatever they want, but I do sort of sit there and think about how unnecessary it is. Like, there are some foreign editions that are STUNNING, but I’m not going to buy a book in a language I can’t speak for a pretty cover vs a new book in my language that I can read.

      Oh, gosh, my Harry Potter editions are actually the worst! They’re super old, and I want the new boxset because all the spines are cracked and some of the pages are yellowing. I’ll probably still keep them since they feel nostalgic though! 😄 Yeah, I think it can be a toxic place and put you in a “YOU NEED ALL THE THINGS” mindset.

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  13. I really agree with you. Sometimes lolking at bookstagram makes me upset that they can afford all this. I’m lucky I have had 4 review copies through my blog and I don’t want to brag about it as I am only 4 months in to book blogging. I really appreciate it as most of my books come from my small community village library and I am happy with buying second hand from charity shops too!

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    1. I definitely wouldn’t be! I went through that phase as well; I thought my bookstagram wouldn’t be worth checking out since it was nothing like popular ones – because even though we tell people they don’t need those things, the super large bookstagram accounts DO have those things, so it sort of sucks. 😩 That’s great! I don’t have many options at my library or charity shops, so that’s not fun. 😝

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  14. This is such an interesting topic, Mikaela and I completely agree with much of what you’ve said! I buy a LOT of books – not that this is a bad thing at all, I love to support authors. I don’t have many books that I collect editions of but I have one or two that I have a very special place in my heart for. Great discussion!

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    1. Yeah, I don’t mind people who buy a lot of books! That’s not really an issue to me; I think it’s more the collecting of multiple editions that I’m just like, “Well, do you really need them?” I mean, I definitely want the Ravenclaw edition of Harry Potter, so I’m not immune! 😂 Thank you! 😘

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  15. I don’t really have a problem with bookish merch, but I do worry that newer bloggers will feel pressured to buy merch or even lots of physical books because thats what a lot of other (and bigger) bloggers seemingly have. I don’t bother with merch and physical books anymore because it either ends up in the trash or being sold on.

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  16. I love books, and it seems like every time I turn around, I’ve bought like ten more from somewhere. (I finally started keeping track on Goodreads, and I have over 590 books that I own, just by myself. And I buy more every week. Whoops.) It’s a comfort thing to me. I have to collect them and have to have them. I need to buy another bookcase because all five of mine (three at my parents’ and two at my apartment) are absolutely double-stuffed. I like buying my books because then I can always go back and look at them again.

    I own a few different versions of the LOTR books, because their covers are so amazing. Sometimes I end up with doubles of books. I have two copies of The Book Thief, because it’s my favorite book so I have a paperback for everyday reading and a hardback for looking pretty on the shelf/being collectible. (Yes, I’m one of those.) Aside from those, though, I don’t have any duplicates.

    As far as book merch goes, I do have a few book-related t-shirts, because I love graphic tees and I love sharing my love for books. They’ve been great conversation starters. I have a few necklaces (my Evenstar necklace and my Alice in Wonderland one come to mind), but that’s about it. I have some posters, but most of those come from the same sites I buy the t-shirts from.

    As far as Funkos go, I don’t collect book-related ones. I collect ones related to video games and comics. (Well, I guess that does technically count as books.) And my favorites are the ones from the Robin Hood Disney animated film. They’re collectibles. Like action figures. I absolutely love them, but haven’t bought any in a while because I haven’t found any good ones I wanted. They’re there to decorate your space.

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    1. I can’t buy books all the time! I’m a teenager with no job and parents who pay for pretty much everything, so I just can’t buy books all the time, even if I wanted to. I only have two shelves, and the second shelf isn’t even filled up, and it’s probably gotten smaller since I’m giving away four boxes of books soon enough! It’s also why I don’t have duplicates or collector’s, and if I do, I usually give a copy away because I really just don’t need two of the same book (unless there’s something super precise, like one is signed and one is collector’s).

      I love t-shirts! I don’t like jewelry or wear it, but I do like looking at some of it (it’s still way too expensive though lol). I’m not really a huge fan of collectibles, so that probably makes sense. I just don’t see the point in buying something that doesn’t really do anything, but that’s just me. When I have money to buy something on those rare occasions, I’m going for books and books only!

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      1. I live by myself and have two part time jobs, and honestly if I cut out book buying I could save so much money. But it’s a bad collector’s habit. Probably came from moving around so much as a kid (military family). I need something that’s mine and that nobody can touch and that keeps me grounded.

        And I completely understand that! I love jewelry and I never buy things full-price, so if I can’t get it on sale I don’t buy it. I guess the action figures comes back to the collecting thing. I enjoy displaying things alongside my books. You can’t show off video games like you can books (or at least I can’t), so I buy amiibos, funkos, and posters and decorate my room like that. I’ve got a fear of blank walls, ya see.

        I hope my first comment didn’t come off as rude, because that’s not what i was intending!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I definitely agree with a lot of the things you said. Like you said, I don’t care what people do with their money – if they want to spend their money making sure they have all the available merch for their favorite book, then go ahead – but people can get so intense about it when really it’s not the end of the world if they don’t have one candle or something. And it can suck for people who don’t have a lot of money to spend on stuff like that because I think there can be a lot of pressure to have things like bookish candles or posters or whatever and it can make you feel like “less” of a book lover if you can’t afford it. I completely agree with you that it’s soooo annoying when people’s bookstagram accounts have more posts trying to become a rep for a company than they do actual book pics. I end up unfollowing accounts that post too many of those rep search posts because it annoys me so much.

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    1. Yeah, I definitely agree! I’m sure new bookstagrammers feel that pressure as well; I know I did when I first joined because I just don’t have THAT many physical books (definitely not like some people who have an entire library in their house) and because there was so much stuff I didn’t have that I was like, “How am I going to get noticed???” Yeah, when I was on there, I got so annoyed by the amount of people who would try to be on EVERY REP SEARCH. Once or twice is fine, but all of them is so unnecessary. 😩

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      1. For me, I was always nervous about using library books in my bookstagram photos. There always seems to be this expectation that the books in the pictures will be in perfect shape and a lot of library books are FAR from it, haha. It can definitely be intimidating for people just starting out.

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  18. This is such an interesting post! I’m guilty of calling people who dog ear books “monsters”, but while I personally don’t believe in marking up books or… folding pages, I do recognize that we’re all just here to read! And if dog-earing and annotating is how you read, then do it. ☺

    I don’t obsess over bookish merch because 1) I don’t have the money, and 2) I just want the BOOK. And if I don’t have enough money for book merch, I definitely don’t have enough money for books! 😂

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    1. Yeah, I’ve probably done the same thing! I’m just as guilty! I know I read a post last year on Books Amino where someone who dog ears pages talked about it, and it was a fantastic post that gave me great insight!

      Yeah, I don’t have the money to buy books let alone bookish merch, so I can’t even be bothered to care about it! 😂

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    2. I didn’t annotate books until I hit my junior year of college. (Second year grad student now.) And even then it was only textbooks (English major so they were all normal books). I did it to help me focus in class and just in case my sister needed those books in her future studies.

      I could never annotate normal fiction books though, i.e., ones that aren’t for school. It makes me shudder to think about it.

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  19. This is such a great discussion!
    I’ve noticed this too. I do not understand book merch. I mean, I’ve bought a bookish mug before to use in my pictures (and obviously to like, drink out of xD), but I don’t get the point of candles and funko pops etc. especially because they’re so expensive! I also get sick of all the bookstagrammers repping the same companies. Like, I don’t want to see the same picture all throughout my feed. LIke, i’m here for the books, not the weird funko pops. (I’m with you. I hate them and think they’re ugly and useless xD.)
    I think it’s a little sad, but it seems like bloggers who use libraries are a lot less “sucessful” than the bloggers who can afford a ton of hardcover books every month. I definitely use my library a lot less now, but it’s interesting that library use seems to be looked down on a little.

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    1. Yes, I think I’d be less baffled by it if it wasn’t SUPER expensive. Like, it’s just too much for something that literally doesn’t move and just stands there. And I’ve seen so many people make Funko Pops at home, so why even buy from companies? 😂

      Yeah, it definitely does get annoying, because when I was on bookstagram, it seemed like the same popular bookstagramers were picked by the reps EVERY SINGLE TIME. Which good for you, but I’m never using the affiliate link. 😂

      Yeah, I definitely can’t afford hardcovers every month, so I hope those who can are grateful, because I’m jealous! 😩

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  20. I’m getting so annoyed with Bookstagram and seeing nothing but posts for rep searches and just promotional things, I want to see pictures of books. Another thing that annoys me about Bookstagram too is when captions have nothing to do with the photo. The only bookish merch I really buy is bookmarks, I love bookmarks, but I’m not into all the candles and pillows and stuff.

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    1. Yeah, I think that definitely annoyed me about bookstagram – seeing all these people like, “Look at this awesome candle company!” Like, no, I’m just here to look at books. 😂 I actually don’t use bookmarks often! I’ve only just started using one, and that was only because it was a Barnes & Noble gift card I got for Christmas!

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  21. I don’t know if readers are becoming more materialistic, or if it’s just more visible because of platforms like Instagram and Youtube. In most of these cases, though, I think we’re still seeing just a subset of readers who get boosted because their photos and collections are legitimately pretty or interesting. I mean, of course someone who has a rainbow bookshelf with 2000 books is going to get noticed; that photo is interesting precisely because it shows something that most of us don’t have. And I have no problem with that. Frankly, people buying books can only be good for authors and the publishing industry!

    I like merchandise, but only for my very favorite books. I’m not someone who is going to own 300 Funko Pops because, I agree, I generally like to own things that have more use than that. But I’ll take some LotR ones because LotR is my favorite book.

    I use library books for the vast majority of my Instagram photos, for what it’s worth, and I’m pretty sure most people can’t even tell.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, I think it’s definitely more visible! I love seeing people’s libraries; they’re always so pretty! 😍

      I only have a couple of Harry Potter t-shirts and one Throne of Glass t-shirt, so that’s basically the extent of bookish merch I have! 😂 I’ve never understood Funko Pops, but I usually don’t find worth in things that just do nothing, I guess? As a teenager, I don’t get paid and I have to rely on my parents for buying me things, so even if I were into them, I’d choose books every time!

      I read ebooks most of the time, and most of the time I was on bookstagram, I only shot a couple of those! I always felt like they were less exciting to look compared to my pics of my physical copies, though one of my ebook pics was super popular so who knows? 😂

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  22. hehe I’m totally guilty of all of this. I mean yeah, it is all totally unnecessary and useless. I could live without all the merch, preorder swag, and multiple editions of books – but I love it all and it makes me happy. I don’t buy A LOT of stuff (partly because I have my own store so I can get whatever I want through there but also because it’s a lot of money). Some people go crazy with merch and books and my jaw just drops because I’d rather put my money elsewhere – but I still spoil myself every now and then. It’s like a hobby and I am totally a collector.

    With all of that said, I do kind of see the competition in all of it, especially on bookstagram. Having my own store, I see it even more. It is kind of new, though. I remember when I first joined and there wasn’t as much of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t! I would totally splurge on all the books if I wasn’t a teenager and I had money, but neither of those things are true, so I have to suffer! 😂 Yeah, I guess it’s because of bookstagram that it’s risen! I wasn’t around for old Instagram, so I can’t really compare the two, but it’d be interesting!

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  23. Interesting post! I must admit I’ve stopped posting/looking on Bookstagram because of it felt like all I was seeing was ads for various book boxes and book merchandise, which I don’t buy. I’ll go on every so often, but I don’t spend a lot of time there any longer. It seems to be a “look at me, look at what I have” type of environment, and that just feels so fake to me. But, I do miss all of the pretty pictures! 🙂 I think book merchandise is fine, I just don’t have any use for it except for maybe a coffee mug or a tote bag. Before I joined Bookstagram I had never heard of a Funco. I think they’re cute, and I’d like to have one or two of my favorite characters to place amongst my books, but don’t have any yet. Maybe someday!

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  24. Hmmm you make some really good points. I’m the first to admit that I am 100% superficial when it comes to book covers, but I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. It’s not that I won’t buy a book if I don’t like the cover, but it’s a huge bonus if I do!
    Plus, I didn’t know about any of the merchandise that was out there before bookstagram, and now I am hopelessly obsessed with candles. Not all the candles, but I am a sucker for a pretty label, same as the book covers AND it has to do with my favorite series! If the candle smells nice it’s an even bigger plus!
    I definitely would not say that all this merch is useless or unnecessary. Technically you could say any hobby is unnecessary, like gaming or collecting (no matter what it is). People have passions! I say live and let live. I don’t get the point of funko pops either and I think they are butt ugly hahaha but if someone else likes them, great! If the people you follow on bookstagram are posting content you don’t like, my policy is always just to unfollow and move on. So we don’t have the same interests, and that’s okay!
    But all of that merch out there is also art, and I know a lot of the artists personally, they are such great people just trying to do what they love, and as an artist myself I respect that so hard, even if I don’t have to have every single art print or bookmark or whatever.
    I do agree it is a bit childish to be down on people who dog ear books or do other things to their books (wow that sounded dirty hahaha)
    BUT. In the end (at least for me) I have always known that people meant it jokingly, and they wouldn’t REALLY hate you if you did any of those things. Some people like their books to look pristine and unused, others love the look of an extremely well loved book. It all comes down to preference but in the end what does it matter as long as we are sharing what we love!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never understood candles! They’re like air fresheners to me, and I don’t own those either. I just don’t have a dying need for my room to smell like anything, especially when it’s usually imagined anyway because books don’t really have smell-o-vision. And I can’t stand strong scents. My nose hates it with a passion. 😝

      Haha, I don’t know if I think they’re ugly (someone else said that in the comments section as well), but I just don’t see the point in spending money on something that just stands there! I’m only getting money twice a year in one month, so I’m definitely not going to spend it on merch when I can spend it on all the books I haven’t bought that year. Merch is definitely for people who can afford it – and I can’t, even if I wanted to.

      I like my books to look pretty (even though some of them are battered up because they’re old, like my Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series lol) and I hate when they’re not! 😝 But, I do know there are people who hate it even if it’s used in a joking matter – as if their books mean less if they don’t look like they haven’t been read? So, I definitely do feel there’s a stigma in there somewhere. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m the same way, I don’t like strong scents. That’s why I usually go for candles that have natural scents and most of mine are subtle but if we are being honest here I pretty much never burn mine hahaha I literally just like the way they look XD. Plus most of the candles I have were actually either gifts, or I have received them by repping for bookish candle companies! I am a very poor student right now haha so I can’t afford that much merch anyways.

        Yeah, I guess that’s a good point. Funkos aer pretty useless haha. I wouldn’t spend my money on them either.

        There are of course people who are more ‘snobby’ than others but I feel like it doesn’t really do to dwell on it. At least, it’s not doing me any good so I usually just brush it off and do my thing! I do love to have my books look clean and presentable though!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Lol, I’m a poor student as well, just in high school, so I rely on my parents and their money, and nine times out of ten, they’re not buying me anything I don’t NEED (even though I totally need books lol).

        Yeah, I think book snobs in any form just need to be ignored. No one needs to pay attention to them! 😝

        Liked by 1 person

  25. I sooo don’t get the Funko Pop thing. For the longest time I didn’t even know what they were. I just saw them in photos and was like, “Why does everyone have these same weird looking toy things?” And actually, it may have even been this post that finally taught me what they were called lol. But yeah, I don’t even think they look cool; I guess collecting toys/models like that just isn’t my thing. Same with all other kinds of merch. In my view, it just adds up to a bunch of junk/clutter that I’d never use. Plus, some people go SO INSANE over certain kinds of merch (i.e. the Throne of Glass tote bags at BEA) and I always just think… What’s the big deal? If I really wanted one (which I don’t anyway) I wouldn’t need to push and shove and bite people just to get it. I could literally make my own so easily. The ToG one was literally just black with white text. Not exactly hard to make. People at BEA went insane over trying to get them though.

    Anyway, of course people can buy whatever they want. I just personally don’t see the appeal at all. I also don’t even like the aesthetic of Funko Pop things sitting on bookshelves. I think it makes it look more like clutter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I only found out what they were called because I was on bookstagram when they became popular! And I agree; we’re so similar! I just don’t get the point in collecting stuff I know I’m not going to use ever. I was at Bookcon this year, and I just never understood people waiting in line for tote bags and merch. I only used the tote bags to carry all the ARCs I got, and that was basically it. 😂

      Yeah, I agree! I just like only books on my bookshelves, and that’s it.

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  26. Yeah, I honestly really do! There are so many jokes about buying too many books, and I never really noticed this until I saw a Tweet about it a while ago, but… we really encourage over-using money to buy tons of books. We joke that “it’s okay to starve” as long as “you have books” and other things, and although it’s fine that it’s a joke- it’s wrong and I WOULD NOT starve to buy books. :/ I hardly buy expensive-r books now tbh, and I usually use sites like Book Outlet or the library. LIBRARIES ARE UNDERRATED OMG.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s true! I’ve been reading discussions lately about how some bloggers feel like there’s this pressure to BUY books because we all want to support bloggers and it seems like the book blogger thing to do, so I definitely think we push book buying a lot more than we think we do! Yeah, I usually shop online when it comes to books because they’re cheaper. Don’t have the money to be buying all the hardcovers in B&N. 🙈

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  27. I’m somewhat torn on this. I do identify as a minimalist. So, I probably do have some basis. I love stories. I love books that hold the stories. But when I started tripping over books I knew I had to do something (This was after I started decluttering too. lol) I agree with you that it’s a personal preference thing, I’ve found the middle ground by purchasing a kindle (not that same as a paperback or hard cover. I’ll be the first to admit that) and only keeping hard covers of books I can’t live without. I still buy books though. I just donate/giveaway the ones I end up realizing I don’t need to keep forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, yes, I recently started packing up some books that I didn’t enjoy reading or series I hated. My bookshelf isn’t even that crowded, but I did it anyway. 😂 I also usually read ebooks, and I don’t like to re-buy the same books (usually like to get new ones), so I agree on really only buying copies of books I haven’t read yet or loved.

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