Sunday, April 10, 2022

Subscription Services and Libraries Can Save Money for Readers

 Everyone is trying to squeeze an extra quarter from a dollar these days. For me that means nearly all books have to come from the library or the used books in my library's small cafe-bookstore. I make exceptions for reading for my book club (if I can't get a book another way) and books of close friends.

Someone may say, "But why don't you want the new book by [insert name such as Tess Gerritsen, James Patterson, Daniel Silva, or Carolyn Haines). I do want them. But do I need them right this minute? Probably not.

In fact, some terrific authors make their ebooks available through subscriptions services such as Kindle Unlimited or Scribd. For a fee of $9.99 (Kindle) or $11.99 (Scribd) a reader has access to millions of books at no added charge. 

The sign-up and selection processes are simple. Scribd includes audiobooks.

These services have fees, but the ebooks borrowed from your library are free -- for the cost of a (free) library card. Local librarians can guide you through their processes. For background information, head to Overdrive, one of the best-known services. 

Libraries have access to some of the more popular authors who don't place books on commercial services. As with paper copies, libraries have a certain number of each ebook or audiobook, so you may encounter a waiting list. Isn't that better than paying $28.99 for a paper copy?

Subscription or library services don't keep income from authors. For example, Kindle Unlimited (KU) pays authors by pages read. Via Smashwords, my books are available through Overdrive and Scribd and I'm paid monthly.

I keep certain box sets and a few other books on KU, and all my books can be borrowed via Scribd and Overdrive.

Mostly, I read audiobooks. I have to be in the car at least 45 minutes per day, and that's a lot of reading. I save money by borrowing library CD books or getting ebooks via CHIRP, which always has a few for $1.99 and $2.99.

You may be saying, "But what if I want books not available through a service." You can buy them or go to the library. The big question, for me, is "How many books can you read in a year?" I bet the various bargain or free services can keep you in books for a lifetime.

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To learn more about Elaine, visit her website or sign up for her newsletter.

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