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July 31, 2009

In defense of books


There are a lot of people out there who can live without books, but I'm just not one of them. And I'm betting most of you Read Streeters aren't, either.

So when I saw a backlash to the idea, I thought a compromise was in order: do we really need to either cut books out entirely or ignore our wallets and buy to our heart's content? I think not! Here are a few options for booklovers who can't stop reading, but can't afford the latest best-seller:

 A membership to BookSwim will put you back $15 a month, but that's still cheaper than buying the hardcover. And if you really love it, there's an option to buy it for cheaper than you'd get at the book store.

Grab a few free books from The Book Thing, and donate some while you're at it.

There's always the library, of course!

E-books, many of which are available for free at sites like Project Gutenberg, can be read on your computer, your e-reader or even your smart phone.

Exchange a few unwanted books for new ones at PaperBack Swap, for the cost of shipping (generally less than $3 a package, according to the site).

Bookstores that offer used tomes, such as Ukazoo Books, Salamander Books and Market Street Books have a wide selection, and quite a few fresh titles.

And I'm sure many of you have other ingenius ways of saving money without sacrificing your bookshelves. Got any tips of your own?

Posted by Nancy Knight at 12:30 PM | | Comments (2)


I have to throw in a good word for (PBS) - I've been on there for almost a year and I LOVE that site. It is the source of most of my books now. And I've gotten rid of lots of books I don't want any more through them as well.

PBS is a US-only site, but for international readers you can try BookMooch - I've never used it but I hear it is wonderful.

I am a library junkie. I go about every two weeks and check out three to five books. I find that when I purchase fiction, upon reading, they sit on the shelf and I eventually donate them to a retirement home. When I go to the library, it is not to only check out books but to browse through periodicals, reference material, newspapers, etc. My library is the Enoch Pratt Southeastern branch. We are so fortunate to have such a valuable asset.

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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