First off, I haven't been reading much for long. My interest and explosion into reading only started a couple years ago. I'm in my 20s. However, I now realize how I've been doing things incredibly wrong.
I'm a software developer and consultant. A couple years ago, I hadn't read a book since school. I bought a Kindle on impulse with a weak resolve to start reading. The first book I read was Ender's Game. Then I read some Dan Brown. Pretty soon, I was hooked and loved to activity of reading and everything that comes with it. I was buying books on my Kindle left and right.
After a while, I bought the Amazon Fire HD. From there, I discovered Immersion Reading which is where the professional narration plays on top of the books, with the word being highlighted as it narrates. This got me hooked on Audible and I started paying the monthly membership at $14.99. Fast forward until a few months ago when I realize that I've actually become quite an avid reader and can hold intelligent conversations about many literary keystones. I'm not also able to spot subtle references to books in movies and TV. It dawned on me that I haven't seen the inside of the library since probably middle school! So I go open a library card.
Now, keep in mind. My entire reading experience thus far has been on various Kindles. I'd buy a new one (or two) each year and have them in all of my rooms and bags, each for their own purposes; Paperwhites, Voyage, Kindle Fire HD, Fire HDX, Fire HD6, Fire HD10, etc. So, I don't immediately see the benefit of using the library since I view paper books as a bit of a downgrade and was instantly turned off. Now, in the meantime, as a movie buff I've built an incredible Blu Ray library. To the point where I've created my own application to track my library. Where I buy things from, what I paid, what editions I own for movies, what formats, rentals, and the latest feature I just added was 'watches' where I can make an entry everytime I watch a title recording my rating for that viewing, what format I watched it in, etc. Giving me INCREDIBLY stats into my spending habits, watching habits, and a great digital catalog.
It's during this Blu Ray library building that I realize how much I love OWNING my stuff. I love the fact that I OWN these movies, their special features, the disc, the box, it's something that I never truly appreciated. I began buying my music, mostly MP3s that I'd keep an organize on my hard drive. Anyway, I developed this sense of ownership. Then when I looked at my Kindle, I was disgusted at the amount of money I've spent on my Kindle and Audible library, definitely four figures. I figured I'd at least give the library another shot, just to save money since I won't be getting ownership. I started checking out books and definitely became more attached to reading paper books over time and developed a love for the library. The atmostphere, the selection, the whole system.
I knew the library offered digital books, but I always thought it was some terrible system not even worth trying. Turns out, Overdrive is actually pretty damn awesome and it even adds the check outs THROUGH Amazon so I get to keep the same awesome Kindle reading experience. I started using Overdrive heavily. Saving money, reading more, and getting to keep the Kindle experience I loved...while ALSO like paper books now.
I then went on to my libraries website to see what other awesome things I'm missing out on and I found Freegal! Through my library, I can get 3, DRM free, legal, completely free songs every month! It's not some indie library either, I was able to download a 256kbp MP3 of Adele's new Hello...THE DAY IT WAS RELEASED! This will help me add to my music library which is growing nicely with a $20/mo investment. Being a software developer that uses Linux, I have an apt for keeping my digital files organized, sync'd, etc. So I'm not even having to use some 3rd party cloud service for this. All on my servers!
So, free books and audiobooks through Overdrive, free books through the Library, 3 free songs through Freegal, how can this get any more awesome? Blu Rays!!! The library has an incredibly amazing collection of Blu Rays available to check out, feeding the movie/TV buff in me. So now I'm going to the library just about every other day. Not only checking out novels, but skimming through "Dummy" books, and random biographies, even ATLASES! Which leads me to the ultimate discovery.
My library has a deal with a language learning site, a competitor to Rosetta Stone! So I can learn many major languages FOR FREE! At first, I was skeptical thinking it'd be some dumb online Rosetta Stone wannabe. Nope! It's definitely on par, if not better in some aspects, than Rosetta stone! I was incredibly excited. More importantly, as a Linux user, I've never been able to actually use the Rosetta Stone software. A couple years ago they made all of their courses available online through a browser, which was great! So I was able to take Rosetta Stone courses on Linux. However, the ONE language that I wanted to learn, Rosetta Stone still has not made available through a browser, meaning I still don't have access to it through RS; Latin. The company the library goes through...HAS LATIN! FOR FREE! ONLINE! WORKS WITH LINUX!
Bottom line is, it blows my mind how the vast majority of people don't utilize the public library. They are awesome!