Consumerism and books : how much is too much?


Never have I thought that these two things might have anything in common, but after some research (just some small observations on people’s comments on social media) I found it very interesting how we perceive the need to have as many books as possible. Thus, this unnecessary article came to life. Are books beginning to create a new form of consumerism?

What is consumerism?

According to what area you prefer talking about, if you search up the word consumerism on the Cambridge Dictionary, you will find, for example, a political definition, or a rather disapproving one the situation in which too much attention is given to buying and owning things”. Thus, we can say that consumerism is about the market place, but why the second definition is a disapproving one?

If in the early beginnings of consumerism, when the industrial revolution has just settled in, it was one of the most important things, nowadays it is just overproducing endless goods that are advertised with the intention of manipulating people to buy as much as possible.

Consumerism led to…

A lot of garbage. Seriously. Let’s take the earliest example with the masks. Of course, considering the actual situation, they are necessary. But soon after finding out they need them, people started buying way too many masks. And then they threw them away anywhere but not in the garbage. Fortunately, now we are using more and more reusable ones. Another example we can give is with the antibacterial gel, which was bought in big quantities. Because the demand was so overwhelming, the prices exploded, and soon we had problems even with food. But we’ll discuss this phenomenon another time.

What about books?

Just as with normal goods, we produce books in mass. Anyone can write a book and publish it! Even though that’s not a bad thing, people started to notice some repetitive patterns in books that made them be sold immediately in thousands of pieces. The question here is: do we really need as many books as possible to seem intelligent to others? 

And another one. At what point can we say that anything we are reading will help in developing our vocabulary?

There are two types of people: the ones that read everything, and the ones that like to think they are reading only quality books. The first ones are eager to read, but sometimes they fall into the trap of consumerism, while the second ones tend to have a morbid satisfaction from judging the first ones. And then there’s me, who is constantly exploring these options and forgets to read.

How can we tell we consume too much?

Buying books that we don’t intend to read just for the sake of having a crammed, aesthetic library is consumerism. And let’s not forget what books are made of. Fortunately, we have alternatives; audiobooks, Kindle, and without even having to worry about our sight to damage.

So, are you a consumer or not?


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