Owning Vs. Borrowing: Where Do You Stand?

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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.

Supports Authors
Buying a book is more beneficial to authors, big and small. It supports them and gives us more books on the shelves.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

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.

Sustainability
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.

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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.

Free Space.
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.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

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.

Let’s talk about it in the comments, or send me a message on social media!
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Do people still use libraries?

Libraries have literally been around for thousands of years, and have served some different purposes through time, but generally have had one goal: providing books/knowledge to people.

Whenever I think of a library, the Great Library of Alexandria comes to mind. Probably the most famous library in the history of the world, we unfortunately lost almost all of the contents long ago.

I read somewhere a few years ago that the world’s technology would probably be 100 years more advanced if we hadn’t lost it’s contents.

I don’t know if that’s entirely true, but I feel like there is some truth to it. Libraries used to be for scholars and academics to learn, and advance human knowledge and understanding.

Libraries are places for people to learn, study, and advance the world.

There is near limitless information that can be found in a library…but that’s not what they’re used for any more. They aren’t the epicenter of knowledge any more. That is what our phones are for.

Do people go to libraries to learn? In my opinion no. If people want to learn, (which they tend not to want) they go on their phones, find what information they want, and then forget it almost immediately.

Yeah sure, people at universities or college might use a library because their essay requires them to add a few citations, but do they really use the library? Or do they just go online?

The libraries I have been in have hundreds if not thousands of books, but they sit their unused. They don’t move, except for the very rare occurrence somebody can’t find them online and needs to use an actual book as a reference in their work.

In my opinion, physical libraries are dying, and are also becoming worthless. It hurts me to say that, but I don’t think they’re valued anymore. People don’t use them to learn, people barely use them (physical or online) as it is.

For the most part they’re used a source of free internet access for anyone who just walks in off the street.

I know people do use them, and to those who do, bless your souls because it brings me joy knowing that someone is using a library for it’s original purpose.

Some people use them for movies, or to check out the books they can’t afford to buy, and that’s good. The only problem is, that these people are few and far between.

Am I wrong about libraries? Do people use them for more than I think they do, or do you agree that libraries are dying out, slowly but surely.

What does my library look like?

There is one thing that all book lovers should be proud of, and that is their library. Some people prefer a small library, consisting of only a few shelves of books, or even only a few books. Others (like myself) have a lot of shelves packed with books, which still isn’t enough room to contain all of the books they own.

Everyone has a different preference, and I don’t know anyone who would argue that their library is better than someone else’s. What really matters is thats it is your own personal library.

Now you’re all probably wondering what my library looks like.

Well here it is…

It’s nothing special really, but there are a row of books behind each of the rows in the picture. I’ve got a giant stack of books in the corner of my room with all the books I plan on reading in the future…but the stack only seems to get taller as time goes on.

The reason I prefer keeping a lot of my books is because of the fond memories I have of them, whether it is a memory of me reading the book, or a memory I have of the book itself.

I don’t read a lot of books that I dislike. The odd book I will have to force myself to get through, but most books I read I fall in love with in some way.

It could be that it taught me something. It could be a book that I rediscovered after years of it being lost. Maybe I grew attached to some of the characters that were in the book. Each book that I choose to own is a part of me in some way.

Over time I have gotten rid of some books, mainly because they were books I forced myself to get through, or they were books that were supplementary to the main story, and I chose to keep the main books only.

That is the one thing that each person’s library should contain.

Memories.

Each book should have a memory that comes with it, or an emotion that comes to you when you think back at your time spent reading. It might be a quick second of anger when you remember what happens to one of the characters, or it might be a moment of inspiration when you’re remembering someone’s biography.

It doesn’t really matter what comes to you when you remember the books you’ve read, as long as something does.

George R.R Martin sumed up reading in the most beautiful way I can imagine.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

That is one of the beautiful things about reading. You have the opportunity to experience other people, other worlds, other stories, and whether you remember them fondly or not, the fact that you experienced them at all is what truly matters.

I’d love to see everyone’s libraries. Throw a picture in the comments or shoot me an email. It might give me new ideas to add to my To Read list too!