Book hauls used to be pretty common on blogs. These days, I hardly see them anymore.
There could be a few reasons for this. Perhaps it’s just an “in the last year” thing. After all, with all the book events being virtual and with people not going to bookstores so much and impulse bying everything, there’s likely fewer hauls to share. Another possibility is that they’ve all gone to YouTube – I still see hauls frequently enough on BookTube.
Or perhaps folks have taken a good hard look at that kind of content and decided it’s time to move on.
For as long as I can remember, book hauls have been a controversial topic in the community. There are a few stigmas that have come along with them – the individual posting the haul has easy access to all these books, and the individual has lots of money to burn. I have a couple thoughts on both these things.
Number one: accessibility. Yeah, honestly, there’s really no way to “argue” this one. The big publishers are located in countries like the United States and the UK and the United States. It’s much easier to get ahold of books at reasonable prices in these locations. Even libraries – something folks in the States often take for granted – are largely no present in other countries. So, yes, if you’re posting HUGE book hauls, it is probably because you have access to books.
The second one, however, I think we can discuss. While I am so grateful to have a financially stable existence at the moment (unless myself or my partner lose their jobs, which, eek, not thinking about that!) that hasn’t always been the case. Even in harder times, though, books were a priority for me. I didn’t start traveling until five years ago (and every time I book something, I still shutter at the prices). I didn’t have a gym membership or makeup. I bought clothes primarily at thrift stores. And I bought books. Also secondhand, but the books were my top priority. Because of my privilege of living in the United States, I had access to secondhand purchasing opportunities that are not available elsewhere in the world and I used to haul so many books secondhand. To this day, 85% of my collection is made up of books I bought used. Bringing in large book hauls? Yeah, absolutely, I was for quite a while. But at a cost of about $4/book… not $20-30.
I used to be frustrated when the “book hauls are elitist” conversations used to pop up on Book Twitter. I never felt like I was making so much money to by all these special editions even if I was getting a reasonable amount of books, and I wanted the community to understand that not all people buying books were rich and soulless.
All that said, I do think that the time for book hauls as featured content has passed.
There are plenty of opportunities to talk about so many other things on blogs, more concrete topics than a showcase of new material possessions. While I remain happy for those who are so excited about their new books that they want to scream about them, it also feels a bit insensitive these days in particular when so many people are suffering because of the financial demands of the pandemic as well as the hardships they endured previously.
We all can put out any content we want. As readers, we can click and read any content we want. For my part, hauls – even as a part of my wrap ups – are a thing of the past. I don’t need to make anyone uncomfortable if they aren’t able to buy books, and at any rate, I don’t by as much as I used to myself.
Which stories would you like to see continued? Sometimes, it’s so hard to say goodbye! Let me know in the comments!