I'm a confessed lover of the library. I check out books there at least weekly, love the fact I can manage a list of requests online and can find pretty much anything I want, and especially love the fact that it's free.
I feel strongly libraries are good things, that they should be free, and that they should be plentiful and accessible to anyone. I'm a strong believer also that if the facilities are there people will take advantage of them and as a whole they will benefit society.
Now, that said, I also have big plans to be a writer, a novelist. And no matter what any writer tells you, they want the book they write and get published to sell well. Selling a lot of copies not only gets you a contract to write more books without having to have a real job (I don't think of it as "work"), and in the best case scenario can allow a person to live a very comfortable lifestyle. Again, ideally - for most it doesn't work out that way.
But this brings me to a bit of a dilemma. As a consumer I very, very rarely spend money on fiction. I used to, when I first got a job after college that allowed for extra money to be spent on books. I'd buy the new novels from all my favorite authors from Amazon as soon as possible, then consume quickly. And then the book would go on a shelf or in a box and probably hasn't been touched since (well, that's not true - we revamped the storage system a couple years ago, so they HAVE been touched).
I'm not the kind of person who reads books more than once. Maybe I'm not reading the books or maybe I just can't stand spending time on something when I know what happens when I could be spending that time on a new novel. There's no doubt I'll never get to all the things I would like to read, so why read something twice even if I did enjoy it immensely?
I also freely admit this is a personal quirk - a lot of people will read a book twice or more.
But it leads me back to my findings, which were I was spending $17 on a new book, reading it for a few days, and then never looking at it again. Instead, I can get on a list at the library for a new novel, receive an email when it's being held, read it and return it, and never spend a dime. Isn't that a fantastic deal?
However, I want to write a novel. Or multiple novels. I want these novels to be published and sell a million copies. I want that novel to become immensely popular. And do to that, I have an inherent expectation that people must BUY the novel. Not check it out the library.
Sure, libraries have to buy books too, but just selling to them isn't going to get me out of 90 minutes in the car every day commuting and getting up at 5:30 in the morning to avoid the worst of rush hour.
Can I ask someone to do something that is going to make my life better (hopefully) if it's not something I do myself? Can I really expect someone to buy my novel if I pimp it out at a book signing at a local bookstore, when if the tables were turned I'd probably just go to the library?
Published or non-published writers out there, what do you do? Readers, would you even care? Leave a much-appreciated comment - maybe I'm overthinking things (and getting way ahead of myself since, you know, I haven't even started...).