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