I think we can all agree that going ANYWHERE in public while still wearing pajamas is unacceptable. Whether it’s Wal-Mart (I’m looking at YOU, people of Wal-Mart) or the movies or Starbucks, you should at least put on something that you didn’t sleep in before stepping out on the town. Even if you’re really comfortable in those baggy sweat pants and ratty t-shirt from college but you want to go to the library, either get dressed or skip the library.
Or consider this alternative.
As the owner of an iPad, which supports both Kindle and Nook apps, I’ve been known to purchase a few eBooks when they’re on sale for $.99. And as I’ve stated in a previous post, having books available on an eReader is pretty convenient, especially when you’re traveling and you want to take more than one book with you. But I’m not one to typically buy the books I read unless, of course, I find them for dirt cheap on Amazon or at a library sale. Which is why libraries are so awesome, right?
Of course there are some downsides to libraries: Their hours can be somewhat limited. Some aren’t open on Sundays, and most close early on Fridays and Saturdays. I usually find that the time I want to go to the library the most is when they’re closed.
Also, when you have an active, somewhat stubborn four-year-old like I do, it’s hard to get in the book-browsing that you really want to get done. I try to sneak in the Teen Fiction aisle only to get dragged away to the children’s section, leaving no chance for me to find anything for myself.
Fortunately I have recently discovered an alternative to both of those problems:
If you have an awesome county library system like I do, then they probably have an online eBooks section on their website where you can check out eBooks and have them sent to your eReader INSTANTLY. Seriously! All you need is a library card and a Kindle or iPad, and you can spend your nights in your pajamas searching through thousands of books to check out and read thirty seconds later. You know how sometimes you think of a book you want to check out the next time you go to the library, only to completely forget about it while you’re there? Well, now you can check it out (given it’s available) the moment you think of it. I’ve spent many late nights and lunch hours doing this, and I tell you, it is BRILLIANT. You still get three weeks to keep the book, and instead of the stress of having to return it on time without any late fees, the eBook simply disappears from your eReader as soon as the three weeks are up. EASY PEASY.
Of course, as with brick-and-mortar libraries, the eLibrary has its downsides as well. They don’t have as much selection as regular libraries. They have a lot, but not always what I’m looking for. Popular books have long waiting lists. For example – and this in no way implies that I actually want to read this book; I was simply CURIOUS – the book Fifty Shades of Grey currently has about 1000 people on the waiting list. Yes, you read that correctly. ONE-THOUSAND. At that point you’d think that if someone wanted to read it that badly on their Kindle, they’ll just pay the $9.99 and get it on Amazon that day.
It also takes a while for new books to become available to check out. You’ll probably have much better luck just going to the actual library and getting it there a few of months after it’s released in stores. And again, the waiting list for new-ish books is really long. It just all depends on how badly you want to read it.
But if you’re just looking for books to read and don’t have anything specific in mind, this is definitely a convenient way to do it. I’ve found a lot of books I had never heard of by just browsing on the website, and because I’m not losing anything by checking it out right then, I can do it. If I start reading it and decide I don’t want to continue (which happens sometimes), then I can just go to Amazon’s website where is says “Manage Your Kindle” and return the book. Bam. Gone. This comes in handy because through my library system I can only check out 15 items at a time. If I find a book I really want but I’ve already maxed out my items, I can quickly return one of them at that moment and check out the new one. No running to the library involved.
Now, I’m only excited about this new discovery because of its convenience. It will never replace going to the actual library, and I don’t think it ever will. There’s still something about walking through aisles and opening books to read the inside flap and flip through the pages. But if it’s late on a Friday night and you decide you want something new to read besides the books on your shelves that you see everyday, then you know where to go.