Do you share or borrow books?

I’ve just finished reading Boy Swallows Universe. I loved this coming-of-age book on so many levels. The story was fast paced and riveting. Characters were realistic, varied and often quirky. Dalton’s writing style was different to any other book I’d read. It pushed boundaries and as a writer, myself, it challenged me to consider other styles of writing.

But best of all for me, it was set in Brisbane where I grew up, so it was a sentimental journey back to my childhood. Suburbs, street names, product brands, expressions and descriptions evoked a past time.

Then I got to wondering, How many people read a book compared to the number of people who actually buy it?

Boy Swallows Universe, written by Trent Dalton, was published by HarperCollins in June 2018. It is now May, 2019 and so in less than a year it has sold in excess of 129,000 copies in Australia and has been published overseas in more than 28 languages.

It’s an amazing read and deserves all the acclaim it has received.

Susie (1) bought Boy Swallows Universe, read it and then gifted it to me. I was reading another book at the time so held it up at the Ubud Writers’ Group and asked if anyone wanted it before me. Jeanie (2) grabbed it, devoured it and passed it onto Lucy (3). She read it and handed it over to Sherry (4). Sherry finished it, passed it back to me (5) and now I’ve read it.

I went for a coffee and raved about the book to Muriel (6) and now she has it. She’s agreed to pass it onto Kristi (7) as soon as she’s finished. Nina (8), Geoff (9) and Nola (10) will have to stay in the queue for a couple more weeks.

And so it goes for any really good book. People wait for you to finish so they can borrow it and enjoy the printed words. The reader in me loves to share and borrow books. But as I writer, I also wonder how many more books would be sold if everyone bought their own?

But there’s an upside to this tale of stolen royalties. We’ve all got to know Trent Dalton and his writing style. We may not have bought Boy Swallows Universe, but I bet many of us will rush the bookstores to buy his next novel when it comes out.

Have you read Boy Swallows Universe? If you haven’t rush out and buy a copy or better yet find a friend with one and borrow it.

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