I have shelves full of gaming books, but there are a lot of them that I don’t use — even for the games I play regularly. That doesn’t bother me, because I enjoy reading them in their own right, and I like having a lot of ideas on hand.
How about you? Do you buy every book for the games you like, or do you buy the core rules and leave it at that? In short: more books, or fewer books?
I see the appeal of both approaches, though I tend to swing more towards having lots of books. Apart from just getting enjoyment out of reading them, more books = more ideas, as well as more options for my players.
Even though I can’t possibly act on every idea that comes up, sometimes they take root and grow into entire campaigns, and sometimes they bubble back to the surface just in time to get used in an ongoing game. I’ve also found that books I bought, read (or skimmed) and then shelved for a few years tend to become useful later on, often unexpectedly.
Particularly with D&D, players also like to have a lot of options for their characters (sometimes to the point of being intimidated by character creation) — and having a shelf full of books lets me provide those options.
On the “fewer books” side of things, it can be really refreshing to get into games with very low buy-in, like Amber (2 books) or Burning Wheel (3 books). Part of that comes from the fact that there aren’t many books available for those games — if there were more, I’d probably buy them!
Given your druthers, do you prefer to have a lot of books for the games you play, or just a couple? Have you always had the same preference, or has it changed over time?