A big post which is generating a lot of discussion this week is Gail Carriger's instructions/suggestions to her readers on how they can help out authors. You might know Gail's name because it was all over the blogs when she wrote Heartless. (PS. If you follow that link, don't buy the book at Amazon because Gail wants you shopping local and at indie stores if possible. If you have a good indie bookstore near you, congrats. I, a suburbia living stay at home mom, do not have the time nor inclination to drive to my closest one in the city.)
This post appears to have driven Jane at Dear Author half-mad. I mostly don't blame her. What I found condescending and slightly aggravating, Jane found to be full of untruths. I know little of best seller lists or royalties, but I suspect that my lack of reading her novels won't affect Carriger at all.
See, if you look at all the books I'm reviewing and the fact that I'm an unknown reviewer, you might wonder how I'm getting the funds to get all these books. I'm a relentless library supporter. I love my library. I always have. This does not mean I do not buy books. The groaning bookshelves at my mom's house would give light to that lie. (A good portion of the income I had in my twenties went to both clothing and books. I really should have saved more.) However, I have a child who will need to go to school in the future now and a mortgage and car payments and a need to eat something healthier than ramen and I need to save money in case my child's asthma flares up again. This means that I library reserve a lot or I buy at used book stores. On rare occasions when I feel like splurging, I order willy-nilly from Amazon or I pick up a few books and magazines at Barnes and Noble.
I would hate to think this makes me a bad reader. I do what I can to be a good reader. I tell people about books I've read here and I've almost always been a relentless loaner of books. Perhaps this is bad also since I should buy people their own copies. If it make Carriger feel better, I've lost so many books through loaning that when I loan a book I almost inevitably buy a second copy for myself. I do own two copies of some books just because. I'm possibly trying to solely support Robin McKinley's life style with my love for her books. (How many copies of Sunshine or Hero and the Crown does one girl need? Clearly both a hardback and a paperback and maybe a copy for my nook.)
Either way, however, do I feel guilt for the way I read? No. I know exactly how much of my money goes to books versus things like clothing or hobbies. If I quit buying books completely, I could probably buy myself a few new designer purses each year (even when you factor in my library borrowing). Or I could upgrade my son's schooling to something fancier. I could get that fancy sewing machine I want. But I don't. I read and I buy books the way I want to buy books.