Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?
If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?
I love libraries. I’ve killed entire days in libraries. In college, I would make it a sport to find the most hidden, inaccessible study desk I could, and then I’d just set up camp. However, I generally buy books rather than checking them out from the library for a number of reasons.
First, I am king of the overdue book fine. I don’t have a lot of time to read, so it usually takes me a while to finish a book, which means that if it’s a library book, I have to renew it, and I tend to forget. It’s easier just to buy the book I want, and then I don’t have to worry about how long it takes me to read it.
Second, my wife and I share and trade books with our friends. Because our friends live all over the country, we usually only get to see them once or twice a year, and under such circumstances, library books don’t really work.
Third, my interets run to the arcane, shall we say. Even though I’ve been lucky enough to live near some really good public libraries, they rarely carry many books on certain topics that interest me, such as Serbian history, historical linguistics, or archaeoastronomy. With the Internet, though, it’s easy to find books on those subjects.
But of course, the ultimate reason is that I just really like everything about books and can’t imagine life without owning at lease a few hundred.