In the digital age, many have turned to reading books on Kindles, iPads, and Nook devices among others. Others (including myself) like the feel and smell of reading physical books, folding the corners of meaningful pages to refer back to at a later date, which I often do. However there are several practical challenges when doing so: a) the first is that books have gotten increasingly more expensive (unless you buy them on Amazon and/or used, both of which I often do); b) the second is that you’ve got to have room to store those you want to keep, and c) they’re heavy to carry when you travel, especially if you don’t check bags, which I haven’t done for 20 years.

A recent article on Boing Boing showed that if you’re an avid reader like myself (I read two books per week), you can save an astonishing amount of money by borrowing books from your local library vs buying them — and ultimately having to store them. Note the library receipt shown in this article which showed that one borrower saved over $25k within one year by doing so; just wow (!). So far this year, the highest dollar amount saved by a customer was $65k, and the highest since this tracking feature was implemented is $196k for just one customer. These are mind-blowing numbers to contemplate (!). Here’s a handy Library Value Calculator that allows you to see first-hand what your savings could amount to based on what you use at your local library; check it out!

For those on a budget, no price works better than free — courtesy of your local library. You may or may not be aware of all you can do through your library; you can simply borrow books (or audiobooks) for free to read on your e-reader or tablet. And some libraries are getting more progressive with the range of what they are making available to their communities — some have 3-D printers, operate Internet cafes, and even have video-game rooms and recording studios (!). You can also borrow music CDs even have access to digital music through an app called Freegal Music which provides you free access to over 7 million digital songs just by providing your library card number; it also offers music videos. Likewise, there’s a special service called Hoopla Digital which is a library media streaming platform for movies and TV shows as well (particularly appealing for cord-cutters).

There’s some great additional info in both of these other articles to dig into if you want to learn more:

So, while I have yet to transition to this system myself — or even to purely digital — I’m growing increasingly motivated to adjust my habits for ALL of these reasons. Though as a trend, doing so clearly has implications for book authors and publishers in terms of lost book sales. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this trend — and what you’re doing along these lines to modify your habits to save money and space; let me know!

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