I love books (what a surprise!). I’m a voracious reader (during the first 37 days of 2014, I’ve read 15 books). My dream house would have a large library with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, (…thick carpet, big comfortable leather club chairs with ottomans, floor lamps for over-the-shoulder illumination …). In the roomlet that currently serves as my “liberry,” I have 7 of those assemble-them-yourself bookshelves (2 large, 5 medium size) groaning under the weight of books, both hardback and paperback. If you think that’s a lot, it’s only about half of what I had before I moved to my current digs. (Our local chapter of the Friends of the Library made out like bandits when I moved!)
I’m at that stage of life when I’m supposed to be downsizing, and I’m trying to. Really, I am. If my lucky stars are on the ball and I get the chance to move into HUD housing, it will perforce be a move from a large, two-bedroom duplex to a one-bedroom unit — probably a small one-bedroom unit at that — and I will not only have to part with furniture, but with more than half of my current library (‘m trying to whittle it down to three bookcases.) I’m trying to sell books through Amazon.com, and I am selling some, but not nearly enough and not nearly fast enough. These two pix are all the one’s I’ve listed so far, and I still have a humongous number of books I haven’t listed yet on Amazon yet, as you can see.
At least I can solve part of the room problem by replacing the keepers in my library with ebooks (I have a Kindle), or I could except for another “room problem” — my budget. Ebooks are expensive. They can range anywhere from $5 (£3/€3.68) for been-in-print-a-while books to $12-$13 (£8-£8.5/€10-€10.25) or more for newly published books. Most of them are $8 (£5.90 /€5.88). Unfortunately, most of the time, this is more expensive than the same book in a used dead tree edition, which I can usually get for $4 ($0.01 plus $3.99 S&H) (£2.50/€3). When I only have $X of discretionary funds and I can buy two dead tree editions for the price of one ebook — see the problem? Ninety-nine percent of the time when it comes to choosing between the ebook edition and the dead tree edition, my wallet makes it a Hobson’s choice.
I would definitely be up for an ereader service or on-line elibrary that you could subscribe to for a reasonable monthly fee — say $10 for a standard membership, $15 for a “prime” membership (£6-£10/€7-€11), with the difference being the prime members would get a newly published book as soon as it was available in ebook format, while standard members would have to wait, say, 4 months to be able to read them. Either membership would allow you to download up to 10 ebooks a month (in your choice of mobi, pdf, or epub format). Once you “borrowed” an ebook, you’d have 1 month from the date of download to read it, after which it would expire and delete itself from your ereader. You would also get a price break if you purchased an ebook through the service. The monetary end would work the same as music services — say, for every book borrowed through a standard membership, the eservice itself would get $0.15, the publisher $0.35, and the author $0.50. (Are you listening, e-ntrepreneurs?)
Until that happy day, anybody want to buy some gently used books?