With library lending and services like Kindle Unlimited and Scribd, it’s possible to literally read all day every day without ever purchasing a book.
I guess that’s not much different then borrowing paper books from the library, but with ebooks you don’t have to leave the house to check them out or return them.
That’s one advantage with ebooks compared to paper books, but not all books are available in library lending programs like OverDrive and through all-you-can-read services like Kindle Unlimited and Scribd.
However, some people are willing to accept this limitation, and can get along just fine only borrowing books instead of buying them. Some think people are crazy for buying ebooks they can read for free through the library, but others would rather own ebooks instead of borrowing them.
What about you? Do you prefer to use the library or a subscription service to get ebooks or would you rather buy ebooks instead?
I used to think borrowing ebooks was the way to go, because after finishing a book I usually don’t have any interest in going back to it for a long time, but ultimately I think I’d rather buy ebooks that are reasonably priced at a few bucks. Unfortunately that’s seldom the case with many authors and publishers, but sometimes you can find some good sales if you’re patient.
I guess a lot of it depends on how much you read. If you’re a heavy reader you can get a lot more out of subscription services and library lending; if you only read one or two books a month you might be better off buying them instead.
You can borrow ebooks from local public libraries for free, but that’s not something that’s available to everyone everywhere. Kindle Unlimited costs $9.99 per month and a Scribd membership costs $11.99 per month.
I think subscription services would be more popular if the selection wasn’t so limited. If all ebooks were available to borrow through a subscription service then I think a lot more people would be onboard with borrowing over buying.
The first company to strike a deal with all the publishing companies to offer a subscription service that includes every book they have on their platform in the same way Apple Music or Spotify have done music will be printing money. I think a vast majority of readers would gladly pay $15 a month as long as the content isn’t limited like it is with Kindle Unlimited or Scribd. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple working on this with the Books app
They’d have to figure out a way to offer this subscription on dedicated eink readers. You can’t install an app on a Kindle or a Kobo, for example. Personally I won’t read any book on anything other than eink.
piracy would dissolve that service in no time. A publisher’s entire catalog zipped up would be the size of one 4k movie. the drm currently used on ebooks is easy to circumvent and making the DRM any more stringent would be too detrimental to the user experience.
I either borrow or get ebooks for free. I retired from a library after 34 years. I’ve always read a LOT. Ebooks were especially great during quarantine. What I love is finding a new series. I also find Kindle Unlimited free trials. When I’m not in a free trial, I save books available in KU to my wish list; if I got to the point where I couldn’t find a trial but wanted to read my wish list – and the books weren’t available through the library – I might pay to subscribe for a month because the $10 is cheaper than buying the books. I probably read at minimum 5-6 books/week. (also, I read all night, in bed)
I find plenty to read. And, best sellers WILL be purchased by a library. I just put it on reserve and I’ll get it eventually.
I use Scribd, and buy the books Scribd doesn’t offer.
I have cards at 2 libraries. Between the two, I can always find something to read. Even new books rarely have a wait time of more than a month from release. Given that, I use the library almost exclusively. I bought an ebook 2 weeks ago which I couldn’t find at a library, but that was the first one I’ve purchased in probably 2 years or more.
If you don’t know about Hoopla, it is connected to libraries but has many things I can’t find in the libraries. It’s an app, and you borrow books or audio. I’ve found books in the middle of the series I’m reading that the library doesn’t have.
Borrowing when they’re full price and buying when they’re on sale.
I don’t read a lot of books.
Some of them I get from the library (Cloud Library), and others I simply buy out of convenience.
With e-books it has become a lot more convenient to get them from a library, because you are not limited to opening hours, and you don’t have to physically go there to lend out a book.
I am one of those people who read almost exclusively from the library. On occasion a book comes out that I want to keep but not very often. I use Libby to access my libraries and search for books. I usually have a couple of newer books on hold. My libraries gives me three weeks to read the book which is more than enough time. During COVID accessing the library through Libby was a godsend. I can read most books directly on Libby, Kindle or Kobo.
Fergus Duniho says
I frequently buy ebooks at sale prices but rarely at full price. I borrow from KU, Prime Reading, or the library when I can. I usually read the books I buy at a more leisurely pace, and I have a huge backlog of them to get through. I try to finish borrowed books before the due date or before my KU subscription expires. Since I like to dip in and out of some books at a slow pace, it is good to buy them. It is also good to own non-fiction books I may want to cite later. But I also like to save money, and I’ll borrow fiction books in series, because I expect to read each one once and move on to the next one.
Charles Kemp says
Amazon Unlimited when ever possible but I do buy some books.
Mixture of both.
* For new to me authors I often will check if the library has it first.
* For books I know I will only read once, it’s a library ebook read.
* For books from favorite authors I will buy on sale when possible because I do re-read favorites.
* If a book is on sale I will sometimes buy it even if the library has it because they have to pay more (to lease) than I would to purchase.
* There are books I know I want to keep for reference, etc. so put on a wish list to purchase hopefully on sale.
For example, I checked out the ebook “Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow because I was unfamiliar with the author. Loved the book but since it is over 900 pages I decided to buy it when it was on sale so I could both finish reading it and to keep as reference.
FYI: Ron Chernow’s books are very good. Have read both Washington and Grant bios but not Hamilton yet.
I prefer to borrow. But I will buy books that I know I am likely to want to read again. Or on occasion where my library does not have the ebook. Although, even then, I’ll sometimes just go ahead and borrow the print copy.
I’ve found that even if my library doesn’t have the ebook, recommending that they get it has often had good results and I end up being able to borrow it, though it’s not a fast process. But there’s so much to read that I won’t run out and I do like to re-read and have enough purchased ebooks to keep me busy.
And then there’s Gutenberg and Standardebooks.org. GREAT reading there, if you like classics, which I definitely do!
I buy everything. KU and Overdrive aren’t available in my country, and as I like to reread, I’m not particularly interested in borrowing anyway. Plus, I correct the formatting of ebooks according to my preferences. Can’t do that with loans, unless you remove the DRM, which some consider unethical.
I purchase a lot of eBooks, usually on sale.
I check out eBooks from my library as well.
I mostly get my books from Kindle Unlimited. Occasionally I might buy a digital version of a cookbook and then buy the printed version (or vice versa). I’ve also borrowed from the library using Libby.
I would rather borrow the ebook than to purchase it. Unless it is a reference book, I really don’t need to hold on to the files since it is unlikely I will reread it again. I liked KU a lot, and will be picking up my subscription soon. But I wish they had mainstream books in its offerings.
I used to spend around $1200 a year on books – first physical, then digital. Then the agency/Apple situation curtailed that.
I’d say about 75% of my annual reading is Overdrive borrowed via 3 in-state libraries. 15% is reading the pre-agency TBR collection I built up over several years, and 10% buying the occasional book not carried by one of the 3 libraries.
I seldom buy ebooks, but when I do I only buy indie. I borrow Big5 from the library. I also have Kindle Unlimited so I will also borrow Big5 from there. I get the two year KU deal so that breaks down to just $5.99 a month. As of now between buying ebooks and audiobooks I’ve only spent $456.85, but I’ve saved $1,741.27.
Big 5 aren’t in KU, as far as I know.