Own Book or Library Book?

Have we been confused about whether to get our own books or library books for decades? The new entrant to the debate is the E-Book/Audio Book. I will list down some of the points for owned books versus library books and my approach towards it.

Having a habit of buying our own books helps not only you, but it also becomes a motivation for the entire family. We buy coffee, tea, pizza, and burgers – a Margherita Regular costs around ₹100, which will make your tummy happy for a single meal. Mahabharata published by Amar Chitra Katha costs only ₹57, which will make you, your family, and your next generation happy!

First of all, buying a book is not only for you. It is for your next generation too. Setting up a home library is a virtue, and it is an inspiration for us and our visitors.

Secondly, you are supporting the publication house and your favorite authors. In that way, you can make others happy. Jeyamohan’s Venmurasu is a series of 26 novels totaling 25000 pages available to read for free on the internet. Yet, many of his readers, including me, purchased the novels of pillow size, not only to support the initiative, but also to leave it for the next generation.

Thirdly, it is about personalization. You get a rare opportunity to meet your favorite authors. When you meet them, you get his/her signature in blue or black ink on the first page, to keep memories of your meeting, don’t you? Muthar-kanal by Jeyamohan, Khan Sahib by Nanjil Naadan, Nimitham by S Ramakrishnan, Here are the Young Men by Rob Doyle, Launch Pad by Shelly Bryant were signed by authors. Of course, you can underline, highlight, and annotate in books. Having your own books offer you unlimited freedom.

Fourthly, it is about reading time. You don’t have the pressure of reading it immediately. You can take your own time and read as many times as you like, and you can refer to any section at any time. Book fairs or your local book story may provide you good opportunity to buy books at discounted price. Chennai Book Fair offers 10% discount, despite its toxic environment with political party cadres disguised as readers and fundamentalists – just avoid those stalls with noise. You will find some useful stalls having rare books. Pakistan Arasiyal Varalaru by Pa Raghavan, India After Gandhi by Ramchandra Guha, Cheena vilakum thirai by Pallavi Aiyar are some of the treasures in my home library purchased in discount! Old/used book shops are the right fit for treasure hunt!

Coming back to library books – My earliest library book reading experience starts from Sivakamiyin Sabatham by Kalki (Author of the story of Ponniyin Selvan movie). My brother took it from his college library. I got motivated by him, my dad and my sister reading it. I too joined the jyothi.

My experience with my district library was not smooth. Yet, my experience with Chennai British Council Library and National Library of Singapore had been the best. Last but not least, Amazon Prime comes with its own kindle reading experience as well. I use it heavily now a days.

Membership of the British Council costs ₹2200/year. Amazon Prime membership comes with some free reading, and NLB membership costs around S$40/year for foreigners and is free for locals. Libraries announce special offers from time to time. Amazon sometimes gives some books at ₹0, and sometimes offers some books for free reading. NLB doubles the book borrowing limit during school holidays.

Library books have their own merits and demerits.

Firstly, it is about variety of options. they contain a treasure trove of books where we can get a quick reading experience before borrowing. Starting from kids books, all the way up to literature and journals, we have plenty of options. We can’t get everything in bookshops.

Secondly, it is super cost-effective. Each kids book with a hard cover costs around S$15 or S$20 easily. I can cover the library membership cost in just two borrowings.

Thirdly, if you don’t like any books, you can just return them without any financial loss.

Fourthly, it is about the ambience you get. If you are in Chennai, you can get it from the British Council Library. I haven’t been to Anna Centenary or Connemara libraries due to my worst experience with District Library at Pudukkottai. I have not been there to American library yet. You will find like-minded people in better libraries. They organize book camps, courses and talks by authors, and you’ll even get pakora-s and samosa-s from the canteen! NLB also offers a mobile app reading experience, which is nice. If you’re waiting for your girlfriend, you can read a short story from the mobile app rather than staring at a stranger girl and getting beaten up by your GF later!

So the verdict is that we should buy a library membership for everyone in the family. We need to help your kids create a home library. A reader like Kindle or Kobo is a necessity for the current generation.

To sum up, we have a vast ocean of books. We have library books, owned books, and e-books/audio books, each with its own merits and demerits. Choose wisely and enjoy reading. Do you think the same? Do you have a different view? Express yourself in comment section.

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I put my observations in front of you. You may express yourself in the comment section or hit the like button. It will make me happy. In turn I’ll show you one of my favorite photos, shot by me, as my return gift.

This post is part of Blogchatter’s WRITE A PAGE A DAY 2023 campaign.

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