I love clothes. I love browsing online stores, imagining how new trends in fashion will look on me. Before each trip – business or personal, I have a tradition of buying at least one piece of clothing as a symbol of a new adventure. Some call it shopping addiction, and I do feel guilty when I buy more clothes than I have a budget for. I hate the feeling of guilt – it takes away the pleasure of shopping. Recently I contemplated: is there something I buy often without feeling regret? Do I ever have a “non-guilty” pleasure from shopping?
The answer came instantly as I took my eyes off this screen and glanced at our hand-built bookshelves in the living room. Books. Lots of books. Buying them, smelling freshly printed pages, browsing the bookstores, reading the reviews online before placing the books in the shopping cart, holding them tightly in hands after getting the receipt, bringing them home, looking through pages before committing to read, devouring them, and finally placing them permanently on the bookshelves. The addiction has been always there, but it is the one I will never feel guilty about.
And maybe I should. Environmentalists are warning us about the damage of print and deforestation as ecological disaster. Many are switching for digital books, preferring the ease of storage and a considerably lower price. It is a win-win situation – you save yourself money and you save the earth. The future will all be digital. I often compare it to a car industry and the necessary shift towards electric cars. Yet, despite their popularity and the obvious need to lower gas emissions, some car enthusiasts are still obsessed with finding the classic models, the limited editions, the manual cars, the best performance vehicles. I get them. I have the same story with books.
I don’t get as much pleasure of reading a digital book than holding a physical copy in my hands and seeing words on a paper, feeling the pages on my fingers. I cannot leave a bookstore without buying at least one book. When I visit someones’s place, bookshelves drive my attention more than decor or served food and drinks. I can spend hours choosing the next book to read or buy. It sounds like addiction, but I don’t find it as a negative one. I buy books because it gives me joy, and not a material one. I buy and read books to understand the world deeper. To connect with more people around the planet. To support art and be part of it. I buy books to find answers. To seek the truth.
I buy books not because I want to look better. I buy books to BE better.