Feeding the Book Habit

I love to read, and I read all kinds of materials on all kinds of topics. I used to be more attached to my books, requesting the latest must-reads as presents so I could keep them on my shelves. I have always used and appreciated my local public library to support my habit, but as my tastes changed and I completed a few moves with my extensive collection of books, I began to really appreciate the library.

My library provides a variety of free services—yours probably does too. The online catalog is a convenient way for me to reserve my copy of the latest bestseller from home. The online research areas provide access to hundreds of professional journals and periodicals that give me higher quality information than the basic internet search. I can even compare dishwashers in the latest issue of Consumer Reports. The reference desk offers book club kits for book groups. Select a title from the list of kits and tell them how many copies you need. A few weeks later, pick up a bag of books and accompanying author information and discussion questions. The books are checked out to one person and for several weeks, to allow your group enough time to read and discuss the selection.

I do buy books occasionally. There are reference books I like to have on hand and some favorites I like to read again and again. Sometimes my library doesn’t have a book club kit, so I purchase the month’s selection. I hate to pay full price, so here are some of my best sources for buying new and used books at discount prices.

  • Used Bookstores—I recently got a half-price copy of The Great Gatsby on audio book for a long car ride at my local used bookstore. You can get credit by turning in books you no longer need.
  • Community Book Sales—The annual book sale put on by the library system near me takes donations and also sells books it no longer needs in the collection.
  • Thrift Stores—There are several in my town that have a wide selection of hardbacks and paperbacks for low, low prices. This is a great place for the books on the school reading lists in your town.
  • Discount Online Sites—Some of my favorites are half.com, alibris.com, and thriftbooks.com.
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