If you have a love for reading but you’re on a tight budget then this library secret could help you save money on ebooks.
Update: During this time of COVID19 self quarantine and social distancing many of us find ourselves with time on our hands to read but with no way to get to the library. This is a quick and easy way to get books to read from the comfort of your couch for very little money.
I love and absolutely utilize my local library. I am a complete book nerd and love to read so if I purchased every single book I read in the course of a year it would absolutely break the bank. I use the Libby app the check out ebooks from my local library completely for free and save money on books.
The downside is that I live in a smaller suburb just outside of Nashville and our local library is part of a regional digital library group. This means that there aren’t a lot of digital copies and the digital copies that do exist are owned collectively by many libraries.
This means that if there is a hot new release or a really popular book often the regional library group hasn’t purchased a copy of the ebook yet or there are limited copies. I sat on the waitlist for Where the Crawdads Sing for about 6 months last year after it was tapped as a Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Club pick and exploded in popularity.
Often if there’s a book that I really want to read but the wait time on that book from the library is 6 months I will just cave and buy the Kindle version of the book on Amazon.
That’s where this little known library secret has come into play and saved me money on books. This has added up to hundreds of dollars over the last few years.
How to Save money on ebooks
In many cities, you can sign up to be a digital library member even if you don’t reside in that county.
Didn’t know this? Don’t worry, I didn’t either for a long time.
I recently found out that I could become a digital member of the Nashville Public Library system for only $10 per year. So what does this mean?
I can only check books out digitally, not physical loans. That’s totally fine by me considering the closest branch is about 35 minutes away.
I have access to a significantly larger digital library. The Nashville Public Library collection is much larger than my local library and they often have copies of books that were released as recently as that week. They also have more copies of popular books.
This means a significantly shorter wait time on the holds list. A book that might take me 6 months to get off the holds list at my local library I could get off the holds list at the Nashville Public library in about 3 weeks.
This means I’ve been buying far less books because I’m impatient which helps me save money on ebooks. There’s an amazing selection of free ebooks available to me at all times.
I also have access to the other digital features that the Nashville public library has to offer like Hoopla, RB digital and Bookflix.
A digital membership to the Nashville Public Library costs just $10 per year, which is less than the cost of one Kindle bestseller. You must visit a branch in person to get signed up for the library card.
Large libraries with online digital access signups
Many large libraries across the country offer a digital library card for non-residents, similar to the Nashville Public Library. The major difference, however, is that you don’t have to show up in-person to a branch in order to get signed up.
Here are just a few of the larger libraries that offer a non-resident digital access library card that you can get signed up for online:
Houston Library $40
There are tons of libraries outside of just these few who offer non-resident library cards. This Wikipedia article seems to have a pretty decent listing of libaries where you can get non-resident library cards. It does not include the Nashville Public Library however so this may not be a comprehensive list.
I would suggest you check with the library in your closest major city to see if they offer a program like this. Give them a call and ask if they have a non-resident membership available for digital loans. They should be able to give you all of the steps and the process to get signed up.