Going Analog With Your Books

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Remember the feeling of opening up an old paperback and taking in that old book smell? Neither do we.

These days, it seems like all the books on the subway have been replaced by Kindles (Stock Quote: AMZN) and Sony eBooks (Stock Quote: SNE). The only use for books is to decorate your house and make yourself look more sophisticated. The Strand, a popular New York City book store, has already started offering this service professionally. Will our kids even know what a library is when they grow up?

If you are holding out on the digital book craze, or just feeling nostalgic, consider these five ways to find books for less and get the most out of them:

1.    Join A Book Club or Start Your Own

Books clubs aren’t just old ladies sitting around talking about Jane Austen. Or at least they don’t have to be. There are thousands of clubs in America you can join to match your interests. If you want to learn more about finance, join a business book club. If you’re in the mood for politics, try the Conservative Book Club or the Progressive Book Club. The latter offers discounted books each month and donates much of their proceeds to a charity of your choice.

If you can’t find one you like, start your own (Learn how here.). One big perk: when you order books in bulk for your meetings, you’ll get them cheaper.

2.    Book Swapping

Unlike the spouse-variety, this swapping scheme ends up well for everyone involved. Websites like Swaptree.com and What’s On My Bookshelf let users post books they don’t want and trade them for other books of equal value. Best of all, you can create a book profile and meet new people based on their favorite reads. It’s like J-Date for nerds.


3.    Giveaways

Volunteers for Choose What You Read, a non-profit, gives away books to anyone who wants them the first Tuesday of every month in New York City. The trick is that the giveaways happen in major subways.  Let’s face it: most people who don’t drive themselves to work do their daily reading in transit anyway.  These aren’t romance novels; we’re talking classics like Tale of Two Cities. We’re hoping other cities copy this model.

4.    Where Digital and Analog Meet

If want to embrace the digital era but still feel an urge to hold a book in your hands, consider the newest option from Google. The company recently announced they are partnering ExpressNet, an on-demand print service. The search engine will make their massive inventory of over two million digital books available to print quickly and easily. According to ExpressNet, it will cost about one penny a page to print. That’s a great deal for most books… though War and Peace would run you about $12.96.

5.    Libraries

They do still exist, and for now, they are still loaded with hardcopy books to take out freely any time you like. But according to reports, many libraries are planning to trade in their analog past for a digital future. Many larger libraries will offer computer stations where you can access digital books online – some already do. No matter how you get your reading material, you will always need a quiet place to read.

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