Hello dear readers, I bring you to the debate of the century. Having just borrowed my first book from the library in probably 15 years, this topic is fresh on my mind.
Before I went into the library, I was on the side of owning the book over borrowing it from the library. I loved having the physical copy in my hands, and then sitting on my bookshelf when I was done with it. It meant more to me knowing I could pick it up at any time and read a certain part of it if the urge struck me.
Now though, I’m not so sure.
Owning the Book
Let’s start on the side of owning the book.
There are some clear benefits right off the hop.
Always have the book available.
There’s no need to worry about being put on a wait list, or going out of your way to find a copy. It’s just sitting on your shelves. I love looking at my beautiful books, remembering the stories and the fond memories.
Get books NOW.
Depending on the book, there’s a chance you can get a book before its official release. If not, you can get the book the day it comes out…no long lines or waitlists. I can be at my favourite bookstore in 15 minutes, and a brand new book in my hands 10 minutes after that.
Buying a book is more beneficial to authors, big and small. It supports them and gives us more books on the shelves.
But there are some obvious cons to owning the book.
Not liking the book.
If you bought it and don’t like the book, it’s sort of a waste of money. Nobody will force you to read the book, but you won’t be getting your money back for it. There have been a few duds that I’ve given away as soon as I finished them.
Money Money Money.
You will spend a lot of money on books…trust me, I know. I’ve gone into a book store meaning to spend $20 and ending up with a bill over $100. No regrets.
In this modern world we live in, sustainability is a major concern. Buying more books means that more paper products are being produced. Though it’s not the worst thing in the world, it is a concern to think about.
Borrowing the Book
There can be quite a few pros to borrowing a book from the library.
If you don’t like it, you can bring it back.
There’s no obligation to finish the book, and you don’t have to worry about the money you spent on it. You just have to bring it back to the library.
Every book you can hope for.
If your library is any good, you’ll have more options than you could possibly hope for. You’ll have books you’ve never even heard of just waiting to be checked out.
If you don’t own the book, it can’t take up room in your home right? I have lost hours of sleep rearranging books to make sure they all fit nicely together. And yes…I have a big stack of books in the corner of my room that haven’t been read yet. There’s never enough room.
Saving the trees.
By borrowing books, you’re stopping trees from being cut down. You’re reusing something that other people will then reuse over and over, without the extra waste.
BUT, borrowing from libraries can be a hassle.
Waiting lists can suck.
If you’re not lucky enough to be high up on the list, you can end up waiting weeks to read a book that you want. Some people are okay with that, but others need their books ASAP.
You don’t own it.
As much as you might love the book, at the end of the day it isn’t yours anymore. It belongs to the library and you don’t get to keep it.
You don’t support the author.
If you borrow books, authors get less money. This might not be such a bad thing, but if we want to keep reading the authors we love, they’ll need our financial support.
Where do you stand in this great debate? There are obviously pros and cons to both sides, but in the end I think I still fall slightly more towards owning the book. I like having the physical copy for as long as I want it, but I do see the benefit to adopting a healthy balance of owning vs. borrowing.