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:
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,