Mar 25 2010

Public Libraries: The Free Book Shopping Experience

Step back Barnes & Noble and Amazon, you can never beat the free book shopping experience of a public library. You may have the hottest new bestseller but it will end up in the public library within weeks for everyone else to borrow.

I’m a fan of the public library lately because I just don’t feel like I need to buy something that I would only use for a few days and probably never open again – while it collects dust. With advancement in technology, borrowing is so much easier and convenient now that it has morphed into a shopping experience that we are normally accustomed to when buying stuff online.

Clutterless reading
Many novels and “bestsellers” provide a one-time, page-turning, must-keep-reading story experience and that’s just what it was – “it was a good book but I won’t open it again”. And because we paid for them, we keep them assuming that we’d reopen it once again but fail to actually do so. Too many people amass shelves of books that often ended up there because they chose to buy books rather than borrow them. Clutter accumulates as we think, “I paid for this, so I must keep it” – repeated multiple times thanks to impulse purchases.

When borrowing a book from the library, we get it, read it, and return it at no cost. No bookcases. No books. No clutter.

For the sake of having
Let’s face it. Looking at the high credit card balances, we can’t but feel regret when many of the purchases got little use or attention and only added to the already cluttered lifestyle. For the guys, it’s the set of power tools in the garage. For the ladies, it’s the wardrobe of dresses and shoes.

We tend to buy for the sake of having “things” and wind up selling them for a loss or simply tossing it away – the equivalent of throwing away money. The public library is a cure (at least for books) for our materialistic tendencies. Borrow the book and it doesn’t matter whether you read it 10 times or not even once, you’ve satisfied the need to own it – without costing you a dime (unless you don’t return it in time).

Reserve it
Out of stock? The public library has it on backorder! Let them know what book you are interested in and just place a hold on it. Once it becomes available, the book will be shipped to your local branch for pickup. Browse through the entire system’s catalog and find what you want and reserve them.

This is the exact same shopping experience you have when you order stuff from any other shopping site, except you have to pick it up yourself.

P.S. Public libraries also lend out DVDs!

(Photo credit: vlasta2)

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2 Comments on this post


  1. The Roth IRA: In Terms You’ll Understand | Realm of Prosperity wrote:

    [...] as your wallet. You have the choice of putting cash, credit cards, debit card, membership cards, a library card, receipts, identification, and the handy BandAid in it. It is nothing more than a place to put [...]

    April 14th, 2010 at 9:06 am
  1. Eric said:

    Thanks for sharing. Libraries are awesome. They are frugal and they are “green”.
    But have you noticed there is a kind of class warfare going on with bookstores and libraries. For the most part, they both carry the same thing. However, the people that really shop at a bookstore would not be caught dead in a library (as if).
    Oh, it might be the smell of the expensive coffee that allures shoppers to spend their money for something they could get for free at a library. Great post.

    Keep up the good work,

    April 16th, 2010 at 3:56 pm


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