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I love to read. On a typical day, I read two different newspapers front to back, multiple financial blogs, and 30 minutes of leisure reading before I go to bed. My eyes are beat after a long day.
Sometimes, reading can actually be an expensive hobby. With the one-click button on Amazon, it’s easy to purchase the latest books. They are either delivered to your door in two days or even better, if you read ebooks, sent directly to your Kindle in a matter of seconds.
Quick side note: For those who don’t use Kindle readers, I totally get the allure of holding a paper book. However, for me, the convenience of reading with the app or Kindle reader far outweighs the feeling and texture of a book. I love that the Kindle allows me to have multiple books at my fingertips without having to physically lug around all of those books.
How Much I Could Have Spent…
Over this past year, I decided to start tracking all the books that I read through goodreads. On average, I have ripped through a book about every two weeks or so. At a price of $10-$20 per book, that could have costed me $250-500 per year.
However, I didn’t pay anything close to that since I no longer buy physical books anymore. In fact, I didn’t pay anything at all.
My Past Disdain for Reading
As a quick background, I hated reading as a kid. I never liked books and always preferred to be outside running around. The thought of being cooped up inside with a book was miserable.
The worst part was my Mom, an elementary school teacher, always made me read books during the summer breaks. Since I especially hated summer reading, I always picked the shortest books I could find. My Mom was never amused.
Changing for the Better
It wasn’t until I graduated from college that my enjoyment of reading began. I remember like it was yesterday. It all started on a summer beach vacation. The book was Freakonomics. It was love at first read. As I read it, I kept thinking that I wished I had taken a course like that in college.
Another side note: If you’re an introvert and haven’t read Quiet, I highly recommend it. I never felt more understood. If you’re an extrovert who deals with introverts, this book provides great insight into the mind of an introvert.
In some ways, I feel like my real education began after I graduated from college. My mind expanded exponentially once I began reading regularly.
I remember a few years back when I was spending quite a bit of money on books. My wife questioned why I wasn’t using the public library.
I didn’t have a good answer. And I had no excuse as the public library less than a mile from our home.
The game-changer though was our library’s e-book app. It allows me to check out up to 10 books at a time. To me, the best part is being able to start reading a book and having the ability to return it once I decide it’s not a book for me. In the past, if I had bought a book, I’d feel an obligation to finish reading it because I had spent money on it. The app grants me the freedom to immediately return any books that I’m not feeling without consequence.
Best of all, I don’t feel guilty knowing that I wasted money on something that I didn’t like or use. Plus, I feel like I can be more adventurous in my book selection since I have nothing to lose by doing so.
Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
Amazon is amazing.
I first signed up for a student membership while in grad school because I wanted the two-day shipping, specifically for class textbooks. However, over the years, I’ve also enjoyed the various features that they have rolled out, from Prime Now to Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
If you’re not familiar with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, this allows you the ability to borrow one book per month through Amazon. Oftentimes, these are some of the most popular books out there.
Admittedly, there have been some books that I would have never read if it weren’t for the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. One being A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers. It was one of the best fiction books I have read in a long time. If you’re looking for a book with tons of twists and turns, this is the book for you.
So, utilizing the free monthly Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is another great option to read books for free.
Multiple Library Cards
Our county library allows me the opportunity to check out up to 10 books at a time through Fairfax Overdrive. Additionally, I can put up to 10 books on hold at any given time and an infinite number to my wish list.
The best part is that our library system has reciprocity jurisdiction that allows individuals to obtain library cards from other counties.
Why would I need multiple library cards?
From the little bit of research that I’ve done, a specific ebook in one county may be super popular, while in another county, the ebook is not popular at all. Therefore, you would have a greater chance of obtaining a specific book quicker, instead of waiting in the hold queue.
For those of you who hate doing the two-step process of reading Amazon reviews and then checking the local library’s catalogue to check its availability, I have an amazing tool for you. On the Google Chrome browser, there is something called the Library Extension.
It’s freakin’ amazing.
The Library Extension will instantly tell you if your library has a physical copy of the book, an eBook version, or even an audiobook version of it. In addition, the extension can tell you whether or not the book is available and how many copies of the book the library has in total.
All in all, I’m grateful to be able to read so many books for free these days. Looking back, I wish I didn’t spend so much money on books. My wife recently reminded me of how much I spent in the past, while we were hauling out heaps of hardbacks in an attempt to declutter our house.
Now that I utilize the library and its resources through my Kindle, I can read even more, not pay a penny, and more importantly (to my wife in this moment) not accumulate more stuff.