Beg or Borrow but Don't Steal

Borrowing books wherever, whenever

In true EOFYS-style, I bought myself a no-frills Kobo mini eReader. Usually retailing at $99.99, it was going for $49.99 at JB HiFi. While I didn’t think I’d use an eReader much, I thought it would save me money on check-in luggage fees whilst travelling, plus no more having to lug around a heavy Lonely Planet and/or foreign-language phrase book*.

Apart from having to a) buy it and b) charge it, there is a financial downside to buying an eReader: there’s no such thing as a secondhand eBook. Though they’re usually cheaper than their bookish counterparts (Angela Carver’s Behind the Night Bazaar eBook, for instance, retails at $4.99 which is nearly 80% cheaper than the paperback version), sometimes cheaper isn’t really that cheap (Kate Forsyth’s The Wild Girl eBook still retails at $15.99-$23.95).

Fortunately, eBooks, like real books, can be borrowed. While much of what is currently on offer at my library looks trashy, like Heather Graham’s Sensuous Angel (complete with a pair of lovely legs), they also had some Neil Gaiman titles. When I picked a particular eBook, the library website also gave recommendations.

To borrow Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves’ Interworld, I had to sign in.

log in page

I then downloaded the eBook’s ePUB version onto my computer…

download page

…and did what I usually did when downloading ePUB files, which is plug the Kobo in and use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer the file. Neil Gaiman’s Interworld now appears on the ‘Borrowed’ bookshelf, and has a 7-day expiry. I can extend the length of borrowing to up to 3 weeks by fiddling with the account settings.

settings page

Apparently, I can also return the book earlier if I wanted to, using a software program called OverDrive. This may be useful for returning a whole bunch of crappy titles, since the library limit is 7 eBooks at a time, but being the noob that I am, I think I’ll just stick to the basics.

The borrowing process is fairly intuitive; I only got stuck when I thought I had to download OverDrive (or else) but that is not the case (I think). What I love about borrowing eBooks is that I don’t have to return anything, which means no more overdue fines! More importantly, I don’t have to go to the library since I can borrow books wherever or whenever I want. Muchos useful for a mustbethrifty traveller.

*There’s also environmental arguments for choosing eReaders over a personal library of books, though I’m not convinced of this since eReaders aren’t built to last. I bought a Kogan eReader a few years back and Cheap Geek has already broken it.

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