The Science Behind: Impulse Book Buying (We Have ALL Been There)

The Science Behind: Impulse Book Buying (We Have ALL Been There)

The Science Behind: Impulse Book Buying (We Have ALL Been There)

I committed this crime last week. Book buying spontaneously after a hard day when I wasn’t feeling the best and I’m sure you’ve committed this awful crime too before.

Whether it was in person at the bookshop smiling prettily at you or online when you saw something so beautiful or that had such a great bargain, you couldn’t resist.

“Eh, I’ll save money next week.”

“I totally deserve this. I did homework today”

“The cover looks so pretty.” 

“What if my store runs out of stock?!”

“This pre-order has so many goodies in it!”

“THE DISCOUNT THO.”

— trufflebooks 2019

 

It’s an interesting thought I had the other day though; why is it that we feel the need to buy things and books in particular (in our bookworm case) right here and right now?

So I did some digging and pulled out them fancy science articles to decode for you and the main reason why people impulse buy (to no surprise) is:

 

Instant Gratification

 

Ever heard of retail therapy? I practice it routinely whenever I can, and it involves buying things to make you feel better fast. Why do we feel instant gratification from buying a shiny new book, however, lies in our psyche of loving all things new since we were young. Conditioned by our very own parents, cause who doesn’t love getting a shiny new toy? That moment of happiness ingrains itself in your brain and releases the good healthy kind of drugs that are 100% totally addictive: dopamine.

What’s the other main reason we impulse buy? Well, this reason’s related to that conditioning of getting new things and why this is common:

 

The Desire to Save & Get That Bang For Your Buck

 

I know from personal experience that not being super-duper rich means that having new things doesn’t come by often – making impulse buying even sweeter but also more dangerous. What’s also associated with economic history in families is the desire to get as much stuff as you can for as little as possible, and it seriously does not help when my local bookstore has a 3 for 2 deal or 20% all stock waving at me in my peripheral vision. Of course, I’ll get my hands on those three new releases I’ve been eyeing for months when it’s only like $35 for only two of them!

Committing these crimes can also make you feel so guilty afterwards because perhaps you realised that whatever you bought didn’t bring you as much joy as you thought or you realised that you have a lot less money now – but it happens to everybody. Every store in the world uses tactics that shout and scream at your impulse buying senses and it’s how consumerism has ultimately evolved into.

Living a minimalistic lifestyle may help your buying habits because you can actually question whether you’ll really need something in your life rather than want it… unfortunately, not so helpful for some of us who are building a library 😉

 

Do you have any other theories as to why you impulse buy? Let me know in the comments,

 

Until next time,

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7 comments found

  1. Oh my gosh … best post ever. Now I’m just going to show people this post when they get at me for buying books 😉

    I can definitively say that living a minimalist style DOES help. I’ve been turning my place more minimalist (you should SEE the changes ha-ha). When i donated, I also donated books to help with space. It SUCKED at first, but it actually felt nice afterwards. But I’m not gonna lie … I plan to buy ONE more TALL bookshelf so I can have my last few spots for books 😉

    1. Hahaha thank you so much!!! And yes exactly, blame society and our parents and genetics lol

      I’m the same too! I’ve been trying to live super minimalistically and donating heaps which feels amazing and yes another bookshelf would be amazing 🥰

  2. Oof, I’m luckily good about not impulse buying books just because I’m used to borrowing from the library, but I definitely impulse buy other things (mostly food—but food is a necessity, right 😬?). Usually when I’m hesitating about making an impulse buy, the thing that ends up pushing me towards the purchase is that “Treat Yo Self” quote 😂. But, I’m trying to step away from that mindset by telling myself “I don’t need the thing because I’ve made it this far without it”. For books, it’s easier because (1) the library (2) I already have too many books on my TBR 😁.

  3. Ooh, this is such a lovely post! <3 I honestly don't impulse buy very often, but once or twice a year, I'll find myself reeling in a huge load of books. Having a minimalistic lifestyle definitely does help me maintain a reasonable amount of material goods, but as far as books are concerned, I tend to do most of my reading through digital library loans! This really helps me keep the cost down. 🙂

    1. Ah thank you!! Yes, I don’t either because money lol I usually use my library or try to read what I already own too, but I thought this post would still be pretty fun and interesting 🙂

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