Where My Books Come From

This challenge Laura (Reading in Bed) posted the other day is just too fun for me to pass up, plus it allows me to get a jump on my 2017 statistics. The idea is to look at the last 30 books you’ve read and note where you got hold of each one – whether from the publisher, the library, new or secondhand at a bookshop, etc. If you wish, you can also look at the whole year’s books and work out percentages. Leave a comment to let me know what you figure out about your own books’ provenance.

My bedside table (and environs): always a mix of secondhand, library and review copies.


Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man’s Voice from the Silence of Autism, Naoki Higashida: Public library

A Girl Walks into a Book: What the Brontës Taught Me about Life, Love, and Women’s Work, Miranda K. Pennington: E-book from Edelweiss

The Great Profundo and Other Stories, Bernard MacLaverty: Secondhand copy from Book-Cycle, Exeter

Dakota: A Spiritual Geography, Kathleen Norris: Free from the Book Thing of Baltimore

Finding Myself in Britain: Our Search for Faith, Home and True Identity, Amy Boucher Pye: Christmas gift from my Amazon wish list last year

No Apparent Distress: A Doctor’s Coming-of-Age on the Front Lines of American Medicine, Rachel Pearson: PDF from publisher

At Seventy: A Journal, May Sarton: Secondhand copy from Wonder Book and Video

A Wood of One’s Own, Ruth Pavey: Free from publisher

A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, Aldo Leopold: University library

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary Vol. II, M.R. James: Free from publisher

This Little Art, Kate Briggs: Free from publisher

Reputations, Juan Gabriel Vásquez: Gift from a Goodreads friend

The Rector’s Daughter, F.M. Mayor: Secondhand copy from a charity shop

An English Guide to Birdwatching, Nicholas Royle: Gift from a Goodreads friend

The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir, Alexandria Marzano-Lesnovich: E-book from Edelweiss

Unruly Creatures: Stories, Jennifer Caloyeras: PDF from author

One Year Wiser: An Illustrated Guide to Mindfulness, Mike Medaglia: Free from publisher

A Glorious Freedom: Older Women Leading Extraordinary Lives, Lisa Congdon: PDF from publisher

Dreadful Wind and Rain: A Lyrical Fairy Tale, Diane Gilliam: Won in Twitter giveaway

As a God Might Be, Neil Griffiths: Free from publisher

Devil’s Day, Andrew Michael Hurley: E-book from NetGalley

Interlibrary Loan Sharks and Seedy Roms: Cartoons from Libraryland, Benita L. Epstein: University library

Skating at the Vertical: Stories, Jan English Leary: E-book from NetGalley

Master Georgie, Beryl Bainbridge: Free from work staff room years ago

The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin: Free proof copy for Bookbag review

Jacob’s Room Is Full of Books, Susan Hill: Free from publisher

Slade House, David Mitchell: Public library

The Lauras, Sara Taylor: Free for Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shadow panel reading

Survival Lessons, Alice Hoffman: Birthday gift from my Amazon wish list

 A Field Guide to the North American Family, Garth Risk Hallberg: Free from publisher



And the statistics for 2017 so far:

  • Free print or e-copy from publisher: 30.11% (Wow – how lucky am I?!)
  • Downloaded from NetGalley or Edelweiss: 22.3%
  • Public library: 18.22%
  • Secondhand purchase: 15.24%
  • Free (other) = from giveaways or Book Thing of Baltimore: 6.69%
  • Gifts: 6.32%
  • University library: 1.12%

25 responses

  1. Great to see how much you read from the library!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting — very.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  3. What’s the book all wrapped up in red ribbon, she asked nosily.


    1. Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak — a Goodreads giveaway win. It’s set around Christmastime, so I guess that’s why they’ve packaged it that way. Unfortunately, there are no identifying words on the book itself!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. (One of my pet peeves — nondescript proof covers!)


      1. I never understand it. Not sent out by anyone who’s ever had a zillion jiffy bags to open and many reviews to commission!


  4. My book provenance breakdown is about 80 percent local public library, 10 percent bookstore, and 10 percent the Little Free Library in my neighborhood (started by a retired librarian).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you for using your library so much! I think I recall you’re in MD? That’s where I’m from, and when I lived there I took very good advantage of free state-wide interlibrary loans. I love Little Free Libraries and would love to start one someday.


  5. Annabel (gaskella) | Reply

    I should be writing reviews! But here’s mine for the books I’ve read this year (114)….
    53% Review copies
    30% from the TBR (acquired before 1.1.17)
    13% new bought from a bookshop this year
    4% bought SH from charity shop
    0% from the library – I ought, but don’t.
    I’ve started a little free library at work – great way of passing on ARCs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fun! So you get even more review copies than I do…but, you’ll notice one glaring gap on my list, which is that I don’t ever buy new books. Some might say that means I’m not supporting authors. Hmm.

      Good for you! I took in a big pile of ARCs just before I left my job (4+ years ago), and there was generally a coffee table in the staff area with a take a book, leave a book pile. I do fancy making a proper LFL, though, maybe out of an old birdhouse.


  6. This is fascinating! I’ve read 104 books so far this year, of which:

    32% were purchased e-books
    20% were proofs
    16% were borrowed from the library
    15% were paper copies purchased this year
    9% were borrowed from a friend
    6% were presents
    4% were bought from a charity shop
    3% were paper copies bought before January 2017

    Library numbers are distorted by not having lived in a place with a full-scale public library until September this year! Otherwise, I’m not surprised by this – I’ve been reading more and more on my Kindle, and some of the proofs were e-copies as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, borrowing from friends — that’s another one that’s at 0 for me; I’m leery of borrowing because I feel that I don’t give the books back in a timely fashion (even if the other person has forgotten all about it, I think of how nervous I’d get about someone not returning my books). I’ve also only ever paid for a Kindle book once, and that was still only £1 or so. I mostly get them free as e-ARCs via NetGalley and Edelweiss.


      1. I mostly buy Kindle books for 99p, hence the numbers. I don’t use NetGallery very much because I always worry about getting the reviews done on time; it’s so much easier to stack up e-proofs than paper proofs! But I should probably make more use of it.


    2. Oh, I am terrible about letting NetGalley and Edelweiss downloads pile up on my Kindle. I have 330+ books on it at the moment and most of those are downloads I’ve not given feedback on.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Retired librarian here. Fascinating to see where everyone gets their reading material. My breakdown: 26% charity shop; 42% new; 6% public library ( never has anything I want in stock and quite hefty loan charges); 4% loans from friends; 22% Kindle. I really enjoy your blog. I want to keep up with new fiction – but this is impossible from the public library service ( which is starved of resources).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting, Morag! I’m guessing you’re based in the UK? It must be distressing to you to see how public libraries have been gutted.


  8. I love finding out where everyone gets their books. And I especially appreciate seeing the pictures of your books!
    I’ll probably do my own post like this… sooner rather than later, I hope. I’m curious to know about myself – I can guess, but I really don’t know for sure what the percentages will be like. Were you surprised by anything?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was surprised, and humbled, that quite so many came direct from publishers. I might have expected more of my reading to be e-books — I’ll have to check up on that in my final stats. It seems like I’ve turned back towards print books this year.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Because of course I have time to spend doing this, I did it, checking the last 100 books on my blog …

    23% second-hand (5 Amazon / 18 charity shops and second-hand bookshops)
    21% new (2 bookshop at full price / 12 Amazon / 7 The Works – some of the gifts were New, too)
    20% NetGalley, read on Kindle
    19% gifts (this time span included me reading all my Christmas and birthday books, so probably a little skewed)
    7% from the publisher (5 for me / 2 for Shiny New Books review)
    5% BookCrossing
    2% already owned
    2% borrowed from a friend
    1% purchased Kindle books

    This seems about standard. Interesting stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can see I’m going to have to refine my categories so they reflect print vs. e-books properly. I also haven’t looked at when I acquired the books; some of the secondhand ones had been sitting around for ages. Nor have I distinguished proof copies from finished copies. So many options!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Interesting! I don’t keep stats on this, but I went over my last 30 books read on Goodreads. Of those, 24 were from the library. Four were bought new, and two were bought used. That seems pretty on par for my reading!


    1. I would certainly expect you to read lots from the library 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m away from home with only by tablet, so find it difficult to get a complete list of my recent reads from Goodreads. However, I’d say I’m using my library more, and charity shops less than say two years ago. A few second hand bookshop purchases, and very little new fiction. Really, only the novels I buy for our bookgroup. This is run by our local independent bookshop, and part of the deal is to buy the book from them, albeit at a massive discount. In my case, no Kindle or similar. Only real books need apply! I’ve stopped using Bookcrossing. I was never successful at either finding or leaving books, but I do leave and obtain books from the swapping service run on our local Leeds to Ripon bus service.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. […] idea started at Pickle Me This, then I saw it on Reading in Bed and Bookish Beck. If I’m missing someone, let me know in the […]


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: