Consumerism in the Book Community

This is something a lot of people have been talking about lately, and I’ve been meaning to make a post on it for a while now. I just recently watched emmmabooks’s video on it, and that made me finally decide to write this.
So first, go watch her video. It’s really informative and she brings up a lot of great points!

Okay, done watching? Cool, now let’s talk.

I own a lot of books. Seriously. A lot. Over 1400.
I’ve been collecting books for over six years, and owning these books brings me a lot of happiness. Book collecting is a big part of my life, and I don’t know where I’d be without it.

That said, I want to talk about where it goes to far, and the issues it brings to the community.

The book community is a huge place, spanning so many different websites and taking different forms. Having used each major platform and participated in every area (that I know of), I’ve seen how they all are wrapped up in consumerism in their own ways.

With book blogging and book twitter, there’s this constant pressure to get each new release as it comes out. On tumblr and instagram, you not only have that pressure, but there’s an added need to get the rare editions, and the expensive subscription boxes that look oh so pretty in photos. Then there’s booktube, which emmmabooks talks about in her video. You feel pressured to fill your shelves and have physical copies to show off in your videos.

This pressure is set by the community unintentionally, and is effecting everyone, whether they’re aware of it or not.

I recognize that I am immensely privileged to be able to own the amount of books that I do. Right now, I have a good job and I don’t need to worry about rent because I live with my parents while I’m at school. This lets me put aside a some of my money for books, subscription boxes, and merch.

But not everyone has that ability. And if you can’t spend hundreds of dollars a month on books– which, lets face it, is what people are spending– then you feel like you need to work that much harder to fit in the community and be relevant. This can lead to people recklessly spending money on things they don’t really need, instead of on necessities. I know because I’ve done it.

Young Adult literature is supposed to be for teens. Yes, I know adults read it, and the most popular influencers in the community are adults, but this community and these books are supposed to be for teens first. And teens can’t afford all of this. Maybe some can, but I know that when I was in high school I couldn’t, and it made me feel like I couldn’t participate in the very community I spent all of my time in. That was a few years ago, and I can’t imagine what it’s like now.

I wish I could say I have a solution to this, but I don’t. All I hope is that more people will join this conversation, because that’s the only way I see anything changing. A lot of great bloggers, booktubers, and other members of the online book community have started this conversation, and now it’s just up to us to not let it die until changes are made.

I know, for me personally, I’m going to try and cut back on my book buying, and I’m going to try and be more aware of why I want a book or subscription box. Hopefully, by training this awareness in myself, I’ll be able to cut back on how much I spend on books and book-related things. I’ll also be more careful about what I say and post. It may not matter much, but I’ll feel better for trying.

I would love to know your thoughts on this! Is book consumerism an issue in the community? What do you think is the best way to combat it?

3 responses to “Consumerism in the Book Community”

  1. It is 100% consumerism but what isn’t. The way I see it if you want to spend all your money on books – kudos to you! Personally, I’d rather not. My physical library is pretty small and I prefer my kindle and library books.

    Consumerism is everywhere and in every hobby. I’m not sure why people thinks the book community would be any different.


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