Hello My Name is Sarah and…

… I’m a compulsive book buyer. (Hi, Sarah.)

This is something I’ve suspected about myself for a while, mostly because I can’t walk by a bookstore without going inside. Or, if I really do have somewhere to be and don’t have time to go inside, I’ll slow down my pace so I can least linger in its aura.

This week, however, is when the label “addict” first entered my brain. You see, I was walking by the Strand and well, one thing led to another… I ended up finding Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles on their $1 rack and got VERY EXCITED. The cover was pretty awesome looking and it had that “old book” smell. I knew it had to be mine. So I bought it (along with a book that was more than $1…) and brought it home. Only, when I went over to the sci-fi section of my bookshelf, I found, exactly where Bradbury was supposed to go, a copy of that very same book.

The one I already owned also looked pretty beat up, but it had a different cover that wasn’t nearly as fun. Still, I imagine I once found it at a thrift store and had much of the same reaction go through my head. So, now I have two copies of The Martian Chronicles. This is not the first time this has happened to me.

My first accidental duplicate was Coming Up For Air by George Orwell. I bought a new copy at a Barnes and Noble about two years ago because I hadn’t read it yet (at the time), but then when I brought it home I found a small, ripped up, identically titled copy (the cover was literally hanging off of it) that I immediately liked 100 times more than my character-less new copy.

As far as compulsions go, buying books is hardly debilitating. It can get expensive, but that’s my problem, right? I’m not hurting anyone but me. I can quit any time I want. You’re not the boss of me!


Have “accidental duplicates” happened to anyone else? I can’t be the only bibliophile out there who buys so many books that I don’t even know what I have anymore. Please share with me.

We don’t have to go through this alone.

22 thoughts on “Hello My Name is Sarah and…

  1. Alas, I am yet another victim of the library book sale and those tempting $1 books. I've wound up with plenty of duplicate copies, even after taking time to quiz myself (think hard!) about whether or not it's a book I already have. I've collected an eclectic mix of duplicate titles, including (but not limited to): 1984, the complete plays of Sophocles, William Saroyan's “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze,” Bobbi Ann Mason's “Shiloh,” Reynolds Price's essays, and inexplicably: the Pushcart Prize volume 10.

    If anyone knows of a way to quickly catalog one's book collection electronically, please let me know before $20 a (giant) bag day at Half Price Books warehouse sale.


  2. I have two, but they weren't really accidents. The first was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I was in Florence, Italy for school and I didn't bring any books with me. I had an urge to re-read The Order of the Phoenix, so I picked it up. The second Was Left Behind. I bought the first book to see if I'd like the series. I did. But, it was cheaper to buy the 12 book set than to buy them one on one. So I ordered the 12 book set and got an extra copy of Left Behind. Other than that, I probably have more duplicates and just haven't realized it yet. I go married a little over a year ago and half of my books still reside at my parents house, so who knows. Lol.


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