The World of Books–actual, digital and more

19 Sep

A Thrifty Bon Vivant finds joy in books, not only because they open the mind to new worlds, but because they can guide on to new heights of thriftiness. My dream as a girl was to have one of those bookshelf-lined rooms filled with every conceivable type of volume, because I’m a big reader of both fiction and non-fiction. Some years back, I realized too big a percentage of my income went towards reading materials, and I had to be ruthless–no more fiction buying, unless in desperation at an airport. And I’ve stuck to it. In fact, little non-fiction outside of my field (whose books are expensive enough to warrant this measure, besides being tax-deductible). The library is my chief partner in this endeavor.

The Cleveland area is fortunate enough to have the best library system I’ve ever encountered (and I have three to compare it to). They bring in the best in mainstream and alternative fiction, as well as popular and specialized magazines. Plus we have not only the Clevenet system, but the Cuyahoga County system at our disposal. Many wonderful branches abound, but the main branch of Cleveland Public is my spot of choice. And now that the Popular Library (the most recent acquisitions, usually in multiples) has moved to the old main structure’s first floor (the photo shows the area before the bookshelves poured in) , it is even more beautiful than before. The website is comprehensive–order in advance, pick it up at the drivethrough at the back of the building or via your branch library. What could be sweeter?

But there are other sources, of course. I own both a Kindle and an iPad, and digital purchases are cheaper than bookstores and instantaneous. Reading fiction on a tablet is fine, but non-fiction is often more cumbersome than the flipping through of actual pages. Useful, though, if you travel a lot and need your library to weigh less than a pound. I prefer checking out digital books from the library (free!). They use the free Overdrive app (audio books, too), but you probably will be on a waiting list for a while. Each library has its own Overdrive account, so if you are eligible for two–say, Cleveland and Lakewood–check out both sources.

coffered ceiling and murals in the Cleveland Public Library

Now the home of the moved Popular Collection--old first floor beauty of CPL's Main Branch

There are many wonderful sources of out-of-copyright books online for free. I love http://www.archive.org because it has rare books in my field, which I could never afford (often in foreign languages). Google books are a tease–many are not out of copyright so will only show you so many pages before issuing a stern warning that you can’t peek further–still, useful.

JSTOR recently made pre-1923 scholarly journal articles free and accessible to the world at large; those who are in academics have access to much more recent issues through their university libraries. The iPad app GoodReader lets you download and organize your JSTOR articles directly, a great feature.

Books can be sociable, too–and excellent living makes room for new friends, both fleshly (even fleshy!) and virtual–see the next post.

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One Response to “The World of Books–actual, digital and more”

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  1. The World of Books–actual, digital and more | Kindle Digest - September 19, 2011

    […] because they open the mind to new worlds, but because they can guide on to new heights of […] kindle – WordPress.com Search PHP FreelancerBookmark on DeliciousDigg this postRecommend on Facebookshare via RedditShare […]

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