Let’s Talk: Owning multiple copies of the same book – materialistic or helpful?


We bookworms are collectors at heart. We spend years collecting stories, whether just to read and love or to fill our own bookshelves.

And yet when it comes to owning multiple copies of one book, people don’t seem to understand why some of us do it. Some people see it as materialistic. Or pointless. A waste of money.

So where do you stand on owning multiple copies of one book?


Personally, this is something I argue with myself a lot about. Not just about owning multiple copies of one book, but buying books in general.

Because when I’m telling myself I really NEED those books, and I’m willingly throwing the very little money I have at new books rather than saving it, I sometimes feel guilty. Sometimes I tell myself off for being greedy, because I have a huge amount of books at home waiting to be read so I have no reason to buy more yet. I simply want to own them.

So sometimes I feel even more materialistic when I consider buying another copy of a book I already own. Because I’ve read/bought that book already, why would I need another one? In fact – I don’t think I’ve ever bought a second copy. Not yet, at least.


Somehow, when I see other people own multiple copies of a book, my opinion changes completely. I have NO PROBLEM whatsoever with other people owning more than one copy of a book.

We’re readers, we love collecting stories. And with publishers constantly bringing out different editions – most of the time with gorgeous covers – it’s hard not to resist buying more. Especially if it’s a book you love.

When I see other people with more than one copy of a book, all I think is “wow they must love that book!” and then I’ll be more likely to read it. I’ll know what they’re a fan of. I’ll want to look through all their different editions and note the differences. Somehow, when other people do it, it’s fascinating to me.

So maybe it’s just myself I judge harshly? When I see other people with multiple copies, I assume they’re really passionate about reading. And yet when I do it myself, I feel greedy. It’s almost like double-standards, except towards myself.


Like I said before, I’ve never bought a second copy of a book I already own. And in the few occasions I ended up with two copies of one book, I’ve given the spare to my friend.


I DO own two copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone…because along with the normal books, I own the Illustrated Edition. I absolutely adore it, and plan to get all the illustrated versions.


I plan on buying quite a few copies of books I already own. Once I have a part-time job, and have some spare money that I’ve earned, I don’t think I’ll feel that bad about it.

One of the first things I plan on getting with my first payday is a new box set of the Harry Potter books. So yes, I will end up with three versions of that series. BUT the normal copies I have now I’ve owned for over 10 years, they’re battered beyond repair and they don’t match – the last two books have different covers from the rest. I’ve seen a box set of them that I absolutely adore, so why not treat myself to a shiny new matching series?

I also hope to start collecting the Penguin English Classics. I’ve gotten into classics a lot more lately, but always buy the Wordsworth Classics from Amazon because they’re really cheap. And they don’t look bad – actually some of them have really nice covers. But I’ve always fawned over the Penguin English Classics, and they look INCREDIBLE when on a bookshelf, so…maybe one day.

And finally, The Bone Season. This series has had a cover change two books into the seven book series. You CAN get the old cover as a collectors edition, but it’s only in hardback and I very VERY rarely buy hardbacks, so I’ll wait for the new cover paperback instead. But I want a matching series, and since it’s one of my favourite series EVER I think I’ll buy the first two books in the new covers too.

So now it’s your turn!

What do you think about owning multiple copies of one book?

Does your opinion change when thinking of yourself compared to other people?

Do you own multiple copies of any book?

What would make you buy another copy of your favourite books?

Join the discussion in the comments!

Until next time…

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54 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Owning multiple copies of the same book – materialistic or helpful?

  1. I’m like this! Especially with the Bone Season. Because I’m only going to be receiving hardbacks, I wanna get the paperback so I don’t damage my signed one (because NO ONE wants to damage a signed book) but like, I get proofs as well so do I really need 4 copies of every book? Probably not. Do I WANT 4 copies? Yes. I’m conflicted

    Liked by 1 person

        1. True. I don’t think I’d buy more if I were an advocate, but that’s partly because i have little money anyway. But maybe you won’t feel as bad if you consider it as supporting your favourite author?


  2. This was such an interesting read! I do own multiple copies of some books, one is The Great Gatsby. I own a beautiful hardback edition which is gold and white and I keep it PRISTINE. Then, I found out that during my ALevels (back in good ol’ 2010), that we’d be studying it and I’d have to write and highlight all over it. So I bought a thin, green penguin version that cost a penny. So I feel that was just practical and I don’t feel bad about it.

    Another though is Sherlock Holmes. I own all the BBC cover versions, and have started finding old Reader Digest versions in charity shops. They’re so beautiful that I feel that if I keep them in good condition, I could sell them well into the future.

    I know what you mean about feeling guilty; I don’t even like buying books that I’ve already read but don’t even own! I felt terrible buying Nevernight, because I don’t reread books and I’d already read it on my Kindle. But I don’t regret it. My boss has so many multiples of books, and he told me he does because he’s a fan. Some he can dog ear and write in if he wants, and then others he can get signed and keep in good condition!

    It’s all about what you want to do and whether or not you’d feel happy about that decision. If it would be hard on your wallet then I wouldn’t; rent and food and bills need to be paid! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The Great Gatsby is completely understandable! Some of the classics I have are written in and completely battered, which is part of the reason I want to collect new pretty copies.
      And I’m the same with not wanting to buy books I read but don’t own! It’s part of the reason why I always buy books rather than borrow them from a library or friend. If I loved the story, I’d find it hard to get my own copy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish I had multiple copies of books! I love seeing other people who have a special collection. I’d absolutely love to own EVER EDITION OF EVER for the Harry Potter books because they’re all so beautiful. I also really, really want to buy all of the different editions of Fangirl because I swear they just kept bringing them out, there’s like 99275 different editions in my mind. Oh, if money were no object, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There are worst things that one could be obsessed with than books. People spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on alcohol every weekend at the bar and no one bats an eye. I don’t go to bars though, I read books. I have no regrets for the few books I do own multiple copies of… whether it be because they are different editions or one is signed or whatever. The only thing I feel when I see people with multiple copies of books is jealousy that I can’t buy more. lol Is it materialistic? Sure. Are there better things I could buy with my money? Definitely. I try to ease my guilt by keeping my book purchases super cheap. (Book Outlet is my best friend, and I never miss the opportunity to buy books used or at deep deep discounts if I can. I never shop at Barnes and Nobles.) Basically, if I’m a fan of an author or a particular book, I want as many beautiful editions/extras as I can reasonably afford or get my hands on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so bad for impulse control and I do buy multiple copies of certain books. I usually have a few conditions though, to try to stop spending frivolously on every edition of any given book:

    1. If there’s a really nicely packaged edition that I want and I know it will probably make me more inclined to read a book I wouldn’t pick up straight away. See: Penguin Clothbound, Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions, and Penguin English Library – yeah… Penguin are really good at making me waste my money 😉

    2. If it’s a limited/collector’s edition that I know won’t be around forever. At present moment I’m very tempted by this Waterstone’s exclusive hardback of The Night Manager by John le Carré, and also the recently released centenary hardback editions of Roald Dahl’s novels, particularly Matilda because it’s my favourite.

    3. If I loved the book a little too much and my edition is battered but I liked the book so I want a nice shiny edition I can place proudly on display. I did this with Les Misérables by Victor Hugo – I did my final dissertation on it at university so the copy I used was um ‘well loved’ by the time I was finished, so I ended up purchasing a second copy, this beautiful Penguin Clothbound of it.

    Mostly I’m a sucker for well designed books and, especially lately, publishing companies have been knocking it out of the park with their cover design. But I’m sure once I move out of home and have to pay bills and rent I’ll suddenly find the ‘do I really need another copy?’ voice will get louder. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I own so many multiples and a lot of them are from second hand stores or if gotten them really cheap 😊 I love having special edition and being able to collect and display all the different covers of my faves but I also have a full time job so I have the money to splurge on these types of thing 😊 Great post!


  7. I don’t own multiple copies of books and I don’t think I am going to do it. One reason I can see for buying a second copy is if you want to make notes on a book and still want to own a copy that is very easy to read and isn’t full of scribbles. I think all reasons to buy a second copy of a book are very valid if you have the money for it.
    What i find hard is wanting to read books I own in Finnish, my first language, in English. I have this with both the mortal instruments and all the Rick Riordan books. With The mortanl instruments i own the first two books in Finnish and i could never really get into it, so i feel a huge urge to buy them in English and see if i could get into them. On the other hand, it kinda feels like a waste because with that money I could buy a book that I don’t already own. With riordan books I absolutely adore them in Finnish but I feel like I could get more out of his briliant humour in English. This also has the same problem tho, I have already read them so it feels like a waste.
    Geez this turned into a mini essay, sorry about that :p

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t apologise! 🙂
      I hadn’t thought of having books in different languages! (Probably because I can only speak the one). Somehow I feel like that’s different, because translation can change a story somehow. But yeah, it can feel like a waste of money, especially when there’s other books you want and haven’t read yet!


  8. My best friend owns multiple copies of most of the books in her favorite series. She likes the trade paperback covers the best and even I’m not allowed to borrow those. The last few books she didn’t want to wait to read so she bought hardcover copies and she buys the mass market paperbacks of the first few books whenever she sees a good deal. She lends those paperbacks to everyone she convinces to read the series.

    I have a couple books that are on my bookshelf and on my Kindle, but all of the duplicate physical copies came from combining libraries with my boyfriend. We ran into the same problem with movies and games, but at least we have interests in common!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Owning a physical copy of a book rather than a digital copy is so much better though – I’d never feel guilty about buying another copy! Though I can’t read from ereaders so I don’t have that issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m in a similar position with Harry Potter. My first six books match, but the seventh doesn’t so I want to buy properly matching ones. Plus, Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix aren’t in great condition, especially the former which has had lots of pages be taped back in. And my copy of Philosopher’s Stone was originally my brothers and he wrote his name right on Chapter One! However, I do also plan on buying all the illustrated editions too. I don’t know whether to get new editions to replace the original, mismatched set, or just have three copies? I can justify having two copies of the same book (I have two copies of the Iliad and plan on getting another copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower), but three?!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, yes. I definitely have multiple copies of Harry Potter. I have the set of hardbacks I got when they first came out, a set of paperbacks on my desk at work (to loan to people who have never read the series– the blasphemers!), and a few special edition copies.
    Other than that, there is a handful of books I own as both Audiobooks and physical books, such as Yes Please! by Amy Poehler.
    I don’t think owning multiple copies of books is particularly greedy, though. What if you have to lend your favorite books out to people? What if you need to read it when it’s on loan? What if if NEVER COMES BACK?!!?!?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting read. I personally think people should do whatever they want with their money. Plus there are worse ways to spend it. I own two copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and A Court of Mist and Fury simply because they are my favourite books ever. And they are both in hardback since I want them to last as long as possible.
    What bothers me at times is people I know think that having two copies of your favourite book is wasting money, but having seven red lipsticks is perfectly acceptable. Or going out to drink/party. As long as you are not looking down on people who can’t afford to buy one copy, let alone multiple copies, do what you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always think this! If I’m feeling particularly guilty about buying books, I’d think “well there’s worse things to spend my money on and I’ll treasure this for years. It’ll cheer me up to no end”.


  12. I’m excluding my multiple copies of HP because I too plan on buying all the illustrated editions.
    All of my multiple copies have actually been purchased by mistake. I went to a Sarah J Maas signing that was a ticketed event, I didn’t realize that a copy of ACOMAF came with each ticket, so not only did my preorder come in but I received two extra copies because my bf came with me to the event. I feel so ridiculous owning 3 copies.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I don’t really have multiple editions of books. The only reason I’d personally buy some are if there’s different language editions. I’m using Harry Potter to practice reading in French outside of school so I’ve started buying the series in French as I go through it. I have some of the English editions, but I plan on eventually collecting French, Spanish, and English editions of Harry Potter. Other than that unless I hated a cover or really preferred a different edition I’d stick to one copy. If it ends up happening that I have multiple usually I give it away to a friend I think will like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m not going to lie: I judge books by their covers and want my series to match. Therefore, I own multiple copies of some books. And if I really love a book, I will probably buy multiple copies too. I already own three compete Harry Potter sets, am also collecting the illustrated editions and US hardcovers and have some other editions too. I know this seems insane to some people, but it’s my favourite series and I can’t make up my mind which edition I like best. But recently, I’ve started to buy more used books instead if I already owned another copy. My paperbacks of ASOIAF don’t look perfect anymore, so I started to collect used hardcovers. I really can’t afford to buy multiple copies of every book I love, even though I really want to 🙊 Honestly, reading books is as addiction, but so is collecting them!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I see nothing wrong with buying multiples of books, especially if they’re your favourite for whatever reason. I definitely think that cover changes plays a big part in whether I’d get more than one copy of a book. I love my Neil Gaiman books immensely but they all have different covers, between two different runs and some covers are illustrations too. Although I’ve recently been buying eBooks, it’s mainly due to convenience in my current situation. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I have two copies of some books – A Song of Ice and Fire, Harry Potter, Fangirl – because I have my reading copy and then my ‘shelf copy’, which have nicer covers (or in the case of Fangirl, is a signed collector’s edition) and remain in perfect condition. I don’t see anything wrong with having a reading copy and then other, but I do think it’s a bit excessive to have more than two. I knew someone who had 50+ copies of Lord of the Rings and I couldn’t get my head around it. Sure, you collect books and want all the different editions, but do you really need that many? Because you won’t read them all. Personally, I’d rather keep room for new books rather than get multiple copies, but for my favourites – like Harry Potter – I’ll make exceptions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, 50 does seem a bit excessive. But each to their own! Even if I owned multiple copies, I feel like I’d have to reread the book so I could at least read each copy once…so 50 Lord of the Rings? Ahahaha can you imagine 😆


  17. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it…especially if the copies are different. With me, if I ever get a double of the same book, I keep the one in better condition. But it makes more sense if the copies are different and you love the book: if that’s the case, then I keep both.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fair point. If the copies are exactly the same then it’s pretty pointless (unless one is really damaged or written in or something). Different copies are tempting though 😆


  18. My sisuation is a little different, as I’m older (26) and have been working full time for many years, which means my hesitation about multiple copies is not really down to budget, but more about space! I have moved house multiple times (the joys of renting) and I have literally hundreds of books, which makes moving heavy, hard and expensive. So I tend to judge myself very harshly if I want an additional copy of a book. That said I DO own multiple copies of favourite books. Some were gifts (About 5 or 6 Alice in Wonderland editions), and some were special editions of books I loved that I couldn’t resist (Neverwhere, 1984, The Sleeper & the Spindle, Great Expectations). These are all books that I ADORE and plan to read multiple times in my life, so those I feel ok about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaaah yes I forget about the issue of space! There was a time when I didn’t own any bookshelves, just three wall shelves which really weren’t enough, and had nearly 200 books just stacked around my room ahaha!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I don’t think it really matters if someone owns more than one copy of a book. I own multiple copies of The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia and Peter Rabbit. Just because. No reason really. I just want them. On an economic level, it helps the economy? hahah You are putting money into businesses (even small businesses if it’s a small bookshop or something). I don’t really see the harm in having a collection. That’s basically what it is. I collect quite a few random ass shit (like mini animal figures haha).

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a thing for collecting too. It kind of bothers me when people ask “why do you have another copy of that?” when really my only answer is “because it’s different and I want it” 🙂 It doesn’t surprise me that you have multiple copies of The Hobbit and LotR ahaha


  20. Yes. I’m crazy about multiple copies. My rationale is I want to “preserve”
    a copy in case things go helter skelter. Another reason is I want a copy to loan out. Some books are such a part of me, and some being rare and out of print, I wouldn’t mind just buying a copy to loan out. As long as I don’t go deep into debt over it. If it’s something that goes on the top shelf it’s something I plan on hanging onto for a long time, then I’m “compelled” To buy another. This also applies to cds dvds and games, in my case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really interesting! I know a few people like to buy extra copies to loan out, but I’ve never really thought of doing so myself (I don’t know many people who would want to borrow them). But it definitely makes sense to treat them that way if they mean so much!


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