Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Borrowing Books in the Digital Day

Once upon a time ... I loved to collect books. As a teen, I stumbled upon a used bookseller closing up shop, selling books for 10¢ each. I stocked up, picking up tons of classics. I loved to collect the books I loved from my childhood, to share with my kids someday. As I grew up, married and had a family of my own, my library grew. 

My boys (unlike me) are NOT avid readers. It's almost necessary to own the books they are reading, because the three-week library lending time isn't enough time for them to finish. I wanted to have every possibility on hand, so that just in case they were excited about a certain series, they could grab the book immediately from our home library.

Hubs is more of an "open space" kind of guy. Doesn't like a lot of clutter. My book shelves, filled with books of every size and shape imaginable weren't terribly tidy. And dusty ... admittedly, the books were more for show at this point.

It was in 2012, when I discovered digital. I was late to the party, I know. Digital books had been around a while, but I always thought I preferred the physical books. 

I don't.

I LOVE digital. 

I love being able to carry multiple books with me where ever I go, always having one on hand (because I always have my phone with me). I love being able to highlight sections and lookup words with a touch. I love the screen light, freeing me from needing a lamp. I love that my phone weighs so little in my hand as I hold it.

One thing I had worried about when going digital, was borrowing books from my local library. I'm cheap. Books are expensive. Most of the time, I'm only planning on reading a book one time anyway (once upon a time, I did re-read books,  but that was before they were SO plentiful and easy to keep at my fingertips. Now, I'm not going to read something again when there are billions of books out there just waiting for me.) But it's all okay, because borrowing books from the library is just as easy (or easier, because you don't have to drive to pick them up or return them!) as with physical books. My library's digital selection grows all the time. I have a ton of books on my wishlist just waiting for me. 

Find the book you want, place a hold. When the hold comes in, I follow the link to open in Amazon and add the title to my Kindle(app). Another great thing, is NO late fees. You can't return a book late! It automatically goes back when it's due (you can renew if no one is waiting on it). I'll admit to being a bit lazy on returning titles early when I finish them (it's just polite, especially if there are holds, people anxiously awaiting their turn). A manual return does require a couple extra steps  ...

Logging into Amazon, following the link to manage content, then finding the book, bringing up the options, and hitting return. If you are using other apps (Overdrive, etc) they have their own return methods.  I do wish it was a little easier (just finish reading and a "do you wish to return this title?" option). Maybe someday ... of course I do like to hang onto it until I get my review up at GoodReads.

As an Amazon Kindle Prime member - with a Kindle device, I can borrow one book a month from Amazon's Lending Library. This is just another "Prime" perk that I try to use.

If you do buy books digitally ... or your friends do, you can often lend books to each other. This isn't something I have a lot of experience with (okay, any experience). I have noticed that some of my purchases (free or cheap) have a lending option.

So even with my switch to digital ... I love my local library. I love my personal library ... now, it's just kept in my Kindle Cloud, not on a bookshelf in my home. Just as I used to lovingly stare at the bookends on my shelves ... I now flip through all the covers of the books in my digital library. 

Books... Buying. Borrowing. Reading!

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