I am a library abuser, and I SO don’t want to be. I love the concept of a library, and I love checking books out. The problem is, I don’t get around to returning them. It is like a mental problem! So they sit until they are so overdue that I’m embarrassed to return them. I’m talking years here, folks. There have been times where I have lived two blocks from a library and this has happened. Then finally, usually under cover of night, I skulk over and slip them into the slot.
Like any abuse cycle, it soon resumes. I pay my fine and apply for a fresh new library card, hoping the nice people behind the desk don’t have too much data about my evil history in their computers. I’m always shocked when they actually give the card to me, and allow me to check more books out. Are they insane? However, I vow to myself it will be different this time! I check out my first books, excited by the smell. I take them home. I read them. They sit. The self-loathing begins again.
I sort of want to return to the library, but I don’t feel I have a right. Plus, we may move to another city. Maybe then I will. A place where they don’t know me!
My addiction & questions
Anyway, these days, I really love getting books through the mail, new. It’s like my one vice. I love opening the box—there they are, my choices! And I put them next to my bed, all perfect and straight-edged as library books and used bookstore books can never be. When they’re mine, I can read them in the bath. Also, buying new supports authors.
But then, you get into the whole thing about trees and paper. This thought really does plague me. I have a friend who sold a book and somehow got it printed on recycled paper or something by taking less of an advance--I can't quite remember how it all worked. I long to be published, but I don't want to destroy the homes of woodland animals. I’ve heard Harry Potter destroys entire forests.
Yes, there are ebooks, but I’m not ready to jump there. I am with a computer so much for my job, and I have a great love for reading in the bath, so 75% of my books get wet. Another question for readers: what happens when everybody uses e-readers and libraries develop really robust e-book catalogs, and you can download them through the web? Who would ever buy a new book then? The product would be identical.
If my books don’t get all wet, I will sometimes sell them to used bookstores. That sort of recycles them, and I’ll also buy books at used bookstores, but then the money doesn’t go to the author. Hey English people - does England still do that thing where it’s illegal to resell books?