I don’t know about you all, but pretty much every single book (at least 98%) that I’m reading these days has been free, and I’m not going to the library all of the time to physically check out books.
I realize that this opening sounds infomercial-ish, and the rest of the post probably will too, but I wanted to make sure that everyone that I’m friends with knows—and is taking advantage of--the free eBook library downloads that you can get with your library card.
I think we can all agree that, as much as we love Leslie Knope and usually agree with everything she says, libraries (and other facilities which provide free books) are among the best things on the planet.
Dan and I have had the pleasure of living in multiple cities within the past six or so years, due to my transient life as a graduate student. We got a library card in each city (Louisville, Shelbyville, Allons, Columbia, and Knoxville*), and once we had that card we could check out physical books from the library, or go to the library’s website and follow procedures in order to check out eBooks.
In my experience—and keep in mind, I’m drawing from a pretty wide southeast range—these websites always offer TONS of books, from bestsellers in fiction and nonfiction to the lesser-known. If the book that you want isn’t currently available, you can place a “Hold” on the item and then you’ll receive notification when the book has been checked out to you. You can typically check these books out for as many as 21 days.
So far, the worst problem that I’ve run into with these eBook downloads is that five or more books that I’m really looking forward to reading are released to me at once, and I have to concentrate on one or two and send the rest back unread. Wah wah. Oh wait, that’s the best kind of problem to ever, ever have.
I’ve bought probably three to five books from Kindle this year, and that’s including my own. Every other book that I’ve read—and I’ve read at least 96—has been checked out for free. That’s pretty fantastic.
I’m not sure how advantageous this system is from the library’s perspective—and God bless you, librarians and other keepers of books—but it’s been a huge boon to my reading life these last several years. And it’s pretty cool to see how libraries and librarians are embracing new technologies without losing their focus on the very important physicality of books.
So if you don’t have a library card from the city where you live, seriously think about getting one. Besides the obvious pleasure of being able to go to the library, hold a book in your hands, and delicately sniff its pages, you can also check out eBooks galore and slowly cross off more items from your Master Book Recommendation List (which I know we’re all keeping).
*We don’t live in Knox County so I have to pay $40 a year for a library card, but it’s so worth it. Consider doing that if you can’t find the perfect library in your own city.
Give me that HEA, please.
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