As you can probably tell, I love to read. It has always been one of my favorite hobbies and will most likely continue to be one of my favorite hobbies. Unfortunately, books are expensive. With the way I like to read, I’d be spending a small fortune in books each year. That’s not exactly a wise use of money when you’re trying to pay off a home equity loan and a car.
That’s why I use my library. I love the library for so many reasons. I often have an extensive list of books on reserve. That list is culled from a master list I keep in a notebook of books I want to read (I’m also a huge dork and write down all of the books I have read). Since I live in a small state, I have access to every library in the state; this greatly expands the amount of books available to me. There are some books with only 1 or 2 copies available in the state. By being able to access the whole state’s library system, I have access to copies that may be housed downstate only.. We can also buy a membership to our state’s major university’s library for approximately $20/year. I haven’t done this yet. I just can’t see the benefit.
My library lets me reserve and renew books online and is also kind enough to send me email reminders when I have books available to pick up and when they’re due. This is perfect for someone like me. I have a terrible tendency to forget to renew my books (yes, even though I can do it online) and the email reminders have greatly decreased the amount I pay in late fees. Even saving that $.25 or $1 adds up.
My library also now offers ebooks. For free. Since I’m still undecided as to whether or not to get an e-reader, this is a great way to try out some ebooks for free, as well as see what kind of selection is available. There are also eAudiobooks, which I can play through my iPod (or something like that. They still confuse me a bit). I plan to start using this feature as soon as possible.
There are times when I can’t get a book through the library. These times make me sad. It is on these rare occasions that I buy the book; even then, I’ll wait until it’s in paperback or if paperback is not possible, I’ll buy it used from Amazon. But the one source for books I have not tried is online book swap sites. They make me a little nervous. They shouldn’t because a)they’re free; b)have lots of books; and c)I know plenty of people, whom I trust, who sing their praises. I just can’t get there yet.
Have you used these sites? If so, which ones? Would you recommend them?