Monday, September 3, 2012

Borrowing ebooks from the library

Reading with Scooter (Credit: AMSmith)
I'm sure that you all have noticed by now that I love to read, which is a good thing considering I'm an academic and reading is a major part of what I do.  However, when one reads as much as I do the cost of reading quickly starts adding up.

Earlier this summer, my classes were winding down and I had a little more free time, my fun reading went into overdrive.  I managed to read the entire Dune series (six books) in about six weeks.  At one point, I actually said to hubby, "I don't think I can afford my reading habit."  Thinking back on that, I should probably have entered a program for my addiction to reading.  The rate that I can churn through fiction amazes me because I'm able to remember most of the plot lines and characters (probably a skill I picked up from all of the non-fiction reading that I do).  So what is one to do when new books are expensive?  The easy answer is to go to the public library.  However, I love reading on my kindle because I can read in bed without needing a light on.  Also, I can take notes and annotate the book without being hunted down by a librarian later.

In a stroke of genius, I remembered that my local library lends ebooks.  When I first tried the service two years ago, they only lent out epub ebooks (Adobe ebooks) that could only be used on a computer or a compatible device.  Sadly, the kindle is not compatible with the epub format and since it is DRM protected I cannot convert it to a usable kindle format.  Since reading on my laptop is not nearly as comfortable as reading on my kindle, I stopped borrowing books this way.  About six months ago, Amazon began partnering with libraries across the nation in an effort to increase access to kindle ebooks.  My libraries was one of those to participate which made me very happy.  I do wish that I had realized this before purchasing the entire Dune series, but lesson learned.  I was able to catch up on the Dragonriders of Pern series for free (and I'm even on the waiting list for the most recent book published).

This is not to say that borrowing ebooks is all kittens and rainbows.  Often, there are waiting lists for the books that I want to read and sometimes the book is only available as an audiobook.  However, beggars cannot be choosers -- or so the saying goes.  To be perfectly honest, I would rather read a book than listen to it, but it's free and still well within my priorities of being able to relax in bed with a book.  Also, while many fiction books are available for checkout as ebooks, finding any of my academic books in this format has been next to impossible.  Even though many of my non-fiction books are available as kindle books from Amazon, my guess is that the demand does not exist for my local public library.  Somehow, I'm not surprised.

I'm glad that I remembered to check out this free resource because now I can afford my book habit and feel a little less guilty about all of the time that I spend reading.  Feel free to drop me an email if you want to know more about checking out ebooks from your local library.

6 comments :

  1. And I'm glad you wrote about this because I forgot all about it after I got home! I'm gonna check it out today with my library!

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    1. Fantastic! I was thinking about you when I wrote the post. :)

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  2. I do the library on talking books. They go into my mp3 player but you have to make sure you have a bookmark on it. I love it. and when you put them into the mp3 they dont expire I found out.

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    1. I have an app on my smartphone that let's me check out audiobooks and returns them for me when they expire. That way I don't have to keep track of the due dates and stay in compliance with the terms of the library lending rules. I'm very conscious of the fact that I don't own the book and am careful to delete them at the end of the lending period.

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    2. mine just go poof here on the computer. I like that so dont even have to think.

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  3. I tried doing this with my local library but I owe a fine on the last books I borrowed and didn't return on time. :-( So, going to the library to pay up is on my errand list today. I can hardly wait to try borrowing on my Kindle.

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