A little while ago, Terri from Starlight Book Reviews shared this awesome post in which she detailed exactly how much money she saved by borrowing books from the library. So I thought that I’d do a similar post and show you guys how freaking awesome the library is and how much money you can save by borrowing books instead of buying them!
Using the Library
I live in Rhode Island, and my RI library system is pretty cool. Basically, I do all of my library-ing online. They have a website that you just sign into, and you can order all of the books you want from there. Then, they will ship all of those books from the different libraries across the state to your “home” library, and then email you when they’re ready to be picked up!
Sometimes there’s a wait, but after using the system for a while now, I’ve gotten pretty used to it and can usually time my ordering of the books to match up with when I want to read them. Once they get to the library, you have a week to pick them up, and then three weeks before they’re due! As long as they don’t have holds on them, you can also renew them a couple more times, too. My library even has a drive-through book return. It can’t get any easier than that!
When you’re searching for books online, you can also choose which type of book you’d like to get. In most cases, there are four options — regular paperback/hardcover, large print, ebook, and audiobook. Sometimes there’s also “playaway,” which is when they let you borrow an MP3 player that already has an audiobook loaded onto to, or there’s a similar option for loaning out Kindle e-readers.
With the ebooks, you can just go right ahead and download most of them off of their website whenever you want them, but occasionally there’s a wait. They have some downloadable audiobooks as well.
My library even has a little used book sale section right when you walk in the door, so I always peruse that when I go to pick up my books and usually end up buying at least one book.
Why I Choose Library Books Over Buying/Downloading My Own
Let’s be clear…not all of the books that I read are from the library. As you can easily see in this bookshelf tour post, I own quite a few books — plenty of both physical copies and ebooks, most of which I got from a used bookstore, a closeout site, or from an ebook sale. In order to start working down my TBR pile, I made a 2014 reading resolution to read 5 books that I already own each month. But I read a lot more than 5 books a month, so the rest of them are either more from the TBR pile or I get them from the library.
Usually I choose to borrow a book from the library if I don’t already own it, but it’s on my reading schedule for that month. Unless it’s a book that’s exclusively only in ebook format and/or my library doesn’t have it (i.e. a lot of NA titles), I won’t buy a book that I’m planning to read immediately. Occasionally I’ll pre-order books that I really really want likerightnow and read them as soon as I get them, as I did with Ignite Me, but that’s maybe one book a month, and I order those way in advance.
Even if it’s a book that I know I one day want to own, I’ll still get it from the library. I’m not going to just randomly purchase a book that I want to read this month just because I’m going to be reading it. No…I get it from the library and then wait to buy it until it goes on sale on a site like BookOutlet.com or I see it in my local used bookstore. Who cares if I didn’t actually read that specific copy?
And, finally, here’s what you all want to see! Let’s talk money. In 2013, I borrowed 27 books from the library. So that’s 27 books all for FREE!
If I had purchased all of those 27 books as ebooks, I would’ve paid $242.73!
If I had purchased all of them as physical copies, I would’ve had to shell out a cool $330.14!
That’s crazy, right? I’m so glad that I use the library! And I bet that I’m going to save even more money in 2014.
So, what about you… Do you use the library? Why or why not? Does your library have any cool features like mine? How much money do you think you save by using the library?