First Words: What Was the First Book You Bought With Your Hard-Earned Dollars?

Devouring any book you can get your hands on is a common shared train among fans of any genre, but we tend to think science fiction and fantasy fans have an edge.’s patron saint of prolific reading skills has to be Jo Walton, who is on a life-long quest to read every single science fiction book every published. And from our Indie and B&N Bookseller Picks, to Genre in the Mainstream, we’re always trying to find you new books to read. But how did this all begin? What was the first book you bought with your own money?

We asked our Facebook and Twitter peeps and we got some fantastic answers!

Not surprisingly, many of you mentioned science fiction or fantasy titles, with the bias seemingly in favor of fantasy. Here are some selections:

Ali Yamaan Saleem said “The Elfstones of Shannara, over 9 years ago…” You’re a young one Ali!

Kelly Gran said “Jeremy Thatcher: Dragon Hatcher from the school book fair!”

Nicholle Fair bought several of “the original OZ books in second grade.”

Karen Jacobs recalled buying Edgar Rice Burroughs—”Either in the Tarzan or John Carter series. My older brother had several, and I remember riding my bike to the local bookstore so that I could fill in the missing books to complete the sets.”

Robert Jordan made a fair showing, here, as did Anne McCaffrey, R.A. Salvatore, C.S. Lewis and Stephen King.

While not as many entries as Fantasy, Science Fiction made a decent showing with Sean Dorman telling us “The Caves of Steel” by Isaac Asimov. Meanwhile more than one Facebook and Twitter friend mentioned A Wrinkle in Time. If we could only teseract back and buy that book over and over again!

Books designed for young readers are a natural choice for a first purchase; after all not all of us can buy James Michener’s Hawaii as our very first book. (Like reader Yulande Lindsay!)  Anyway, several “kid’s books” were mentioned including:

The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine (Laura Koumos and Leetah Begallie).

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell from Katie Weathers (she thinks anyway).

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (from Pamela Tajmaer)

And our personal favorite in terms of books aimed at young readers: Jonathan Abbot said: “I’m guessing a Boxcar Children book.”

Media Tie-in books had a few shout-outs, and its perhaps here where science fiction made its comeback. If you can imagine it, there was book version of Tron. (Thanks, Owen Lucas!) Really, what would a novel version of Tron offer that wasn’t captured in that oh-so-specific screenplay? Kenneth Lee McDaniel also reminded us that Alan Dean Foster wrote several adaptations of animated Star Trek episodes! Bruno Lucena pointed out that there was once a series of X-Files novels, noting the first purchase of Kevin J. Anderson’s X-Files: Ruins.

Finally, the type of book, which seems to trump all in the world of first books is a mystery! Everyone loves a good mystery, and many of you seemed to be on the case with your very first book purchase! Here were some highlights:

  • A Clue in the Ivy: Dana Girls Mystery
  • A Three Investigators Mystery
  • Hardy Boys
  • Encyclopedia Brown
  • And more Boxcar Children!

What about you readers? Can you remember the first books you purchased? Tell us about it below!


Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of The very first book Stubby bought with its own money was, sadly, a Hanes Rocketship Repair Manual.


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