It's a little bit like grocery stores... you can often get a better deal if you go to another neighborhood. But most people want to hang out with their peers in the nice grocery store. The savings isn't worth the trip either.
When your (cash-rich, time-poor) friends buy books on their Kindles instead of going to the library, it's most likely because they value the convenience of (a) not having to go to the library to get the book (b) not having to consider whether the book is stocked (c) not having to got to the library to return it (d) not having to keep track of when the book must be returned (e) not having to actually carry a physical book around -- more then they value their $10-15.
It's interesting to listen to the cascading excuses when bringing up books with friends. "Why not use a kindle?" "I like holding the physical book." "Oh, then why not go to the library?" "Well, I like owning the book too." "Oh."
I think you're right in that people like the "culture" around reading more than reading itself.
You can save a ton of money using your local library though. I really need to start doing that.
The usual price for a used book on Amazon is $.01, which with shipping comes out to still far less than the ebook.
There are other good sources of free books include this blog:
I don't like losing access to things. If it was "you can download one per month and keep access as long as you're a subscriber" sort of the way Playstation Plus works that would be OK with me.
But the rental program feels more like a cruddy crippled library than a real service.
I'd rather pay the $5-$10 for the eBook and not have to deal with it.
This new service is interesting. I don't read enough for it to be useful, but I could see it saving my dad quite a bit of money (or trips to the library) if they had enough books.
It's sort of a hidden link or a special way of narrowing search results with the criteria on the left side of the page. If you google I'm sure you can find instructions.
In the search box on the main amazon.com page, there's a drop-down list on the left hand side of the text entry. Click that and change it to "Books". Now just hit search (you can leave the text field blank). That will bring up a search results screen with a bunch of filter groups on the left. Scroll down and select "Kindle Edition" under "Format". After the page reloads, scroll down even further and you'll have a checkbox for "Prime Eligible". Select that, and you'll have only the books you can rent with Prime. You can then further refine by genre, search term, whatever.
The selection is generally pretty awful though.
Losing the sync ability basically killed the main utility I get from eBooks. If I have to carry the Kindle around, I can carry a library book around.
An appropriate term to use in a discussion that's literally about different media for books.
I'm quite specific about what I want to read. My local library (that happens to be just round the corner) never has what I want. I often don't even seem to be able to order in what I want. So I gave up and just buy books on a Kindle instead.
There's no catch. You order the book from whichever library has it, and they deliver it within a few days. Plus, the eBook loan program's collection gets bigger all the time. More states should adopt a system like this. The software behind PINES is free and open source: http://evergreen-ils.org/
There's an entire corpus of literature between 1920 and 2014 that is out-of-print for licensing or estate reasons, rather than quality, much of which can be found in libraries.
I mentor at a program at my library every week, and it's been really awesome.
They have budgets for things, and space, and a desire, they just need help figuring out where/how to spend things and how to then use the things they've gotten.
Once you're all there all the time anyway, then ease into the "now we want/need/demand permanent storage" And machine tools. And a pony.
The concept of a "Hackerspace-Lite" is interesting. No permanent stuff onsite. Carry in and carry out. The library is already full of meeting and presentation rooms and ours finally caved into to sell coffee and junk food for fundraising.
The biggest problem locally is the whole "A library is also a day care, right?" situation. Up to and including police taking abandoned kids into protective custody after a couple hours, which is weird.
There is a big cultural, uh, mismatch where the library requires more police intervention than any of the retail stores or bars or parks... liquor licenses have been lost for consuming far less police budget than the library. The library gets a free pass.
If all the policies were printed out from the web page it would be at least 100 printed pages. It is a very verbose CYA that boils down to anything you do that a librarian doesn't like will get you banned, and being there while banned is a legal trespassing offense, so one strike and you're out. If the librarians like you, you won't be banned no matter what you do. I can photocopy copyrighted materials, take pictures or videos of my kids, talk (whisper) on my phone, hang out for an hour while my kids take a class ... folks of a different race or economic group may have a somewhat different experience when they break any of those rules.
I was unable to find a minimum age, but I think you'd have to be at least upper grade school to survive not violating at least one of the hundreds of rules for more than a minute or two.
I did find that they define loitering as being in an area for longer than 15 minutes other than defined study desks, so no need for crayons or tagging. I've violated that rule a few dozen times, but I'm in no danger of being punished...
Given the sheer workload of homeless people and child day care, the librarians show quite a bit of restraint and can't enforce all the rules.
Did you complain to a librarian about the restrooms? That is a cleaning issue, same as a busy airport. The library belongs to all local residents, chip in and help make it the space where you would like to linger. Bathrooms can be cleaned. The rest of the building and books are wonderful.
Not to mention the, literally dozens, I get for my kids every month.
I use the library to sample books and because if I bought every book I read, despite my healthy income, I'd be broke. I am an information devourer.
I am pretty sure there are a lot of people like me, at least in the Austin area, because I have to wait on some of the books I'd like to read that I don't think very poor people would be interested in.
YMMV because my library is pretty awesome and well stocked, but I think libraries are a shamefully underutilized resource.
In some areas, it is definitely significant that libraries have bathrooms and shelter. But the Internet is always a big draw. With more and more of life moving online, libraries are providing an extremely valuable service by making Internet access freely available.
This is most likely true of any large city, but I don't have any first-hand experience beyond those three cities.
In the US, this might be the case. In Sweden, mostly you'll find kids, moms and people studying (depending on the city, if it has a university or not). A very small subset is there for computer access, but it's certainly not a majority.
In Bulgaria, no one seems to go to the library. They check your ID when you go in and it's not really a place to hang out.
Libraries aren't the same everywhere.