Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Store Your Books in the Cloud

Books are great. They are instigators of imagination, chroniclers of the ages, companions in meditation and erudition. They are also some of the clumsiest, heaviest, most space-intensive objects most of us carry. When this site first started, we presented what we called the “bibliophiles dilemma,” which explained the resistance many of us have in giving up our paper bound books for ebooks, a format where hundreds of volumes can fit on a device that fits in our pocket. The good news is that we don’t have to choose: we can have hybrid collections, retaining some of our favorite paper books while regularly circulating through ebooks.

Oddly enough, one of the ebook’s bigger drawbacks is expense. Because companies like Amazon are the gatekeepers of protected book files, it’s tough to buy titles for cheaper than retail without resorting to extra-legal tactics. Similarly, it’s near-impossible to share in the way you can with a physical book.

For the ebook-reading book lover, here are a few options for getting your book fix without breaking the bank.

  1. Amazon. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is offered as part of an Amazon Prime membership. With it, you can access one title per month from a library of 350K titles. It’s only available on Kindle devices, which for many is not a problem. There’s is also a loaning program, where you can send a title once in its lifetime to a friend for 14 day period (kinda lame). This program works on any Kindle app enabled device (iOS, Android, desktop). Amazon also has tons of free titles.
  2. Scrbd. For $8.99/month, this service gives access to “thousands of best-selling books” as well as user uploaded articles, stories, etc. They have been called “the Netflix of books.” Scrbd is browser and app based, so you can read on your desktop, iOS or Android devices (i.e. not Kindle or Nook).
  3. Public Libraries. Many libraries like the NYC public library are offering ebook checkouts to local members. is a portal for over 27K libraries to see if your local library provides ebook lending.
  4. We ran across a number of other sites such as Open LibraryeFling and ManyBooks, but titles were often ones with expired copyrights (i.e. old). There were also sites like Lendle, an Amazon affiliate that makes Kindle lending easier, but the functionality didn’t seem that much better than Amazon’s lending program.

If you have further suggestions for great, legal, book sharing services, let us know in our comment sections.

Pile of books image via Shutterstock

  • Marrena

    My biggest weakness. I’ve cut back to five bookcases. 🙂

  • Maggie

    I’m a bit of a book hoarder, despite having no space to keep them. I say “am” but I’ve changed. I’ve realised it’s not about the stacks of books I have but the information inside them. Once I have obtained the information I can now more easily pass the books on to others, although some I keep but with absolute limits (keep one, release one). I might no longer have the physical book but then you never have that with the ones you have on Kindle, etc. – you’re really only ‘borrowing’ them, you never actually own them. So I can “not own” the electronic ones or “not own” the physical ones I’ve read. Loving the feel of the paper as I ready to turn the page and moving the bookmark as I make my way through its pages, I’m sticking with the latter.

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  • Murphish

    PROJECT GUTENBERG!!!! Many of the books are past copyright, but they are interesting, varied, cherished, classic, and FREE. Additionally they are branching out to include contemporary authors.

  • Robin Turner

    Electronic libraries are nice, but they don’t really solve the clutter problem, because it isn’t library books that are the problem anyway. You’re never going to have more than a few books on loan at one time, so your shelf space is not eaten into. What I’d really like to see is for retailers like Amazon to do a trade-in scheme whereby you hand in your physical book and receive a free copy of the e-book. The physical book could then be donated to a school orpublic library.

  • twyla

    the problem with scribed is they recently imposed a THREE BOOK A MONTH limit on each member. That isn’t like Netflix at ALL. On Netflix if the movie is boring I can trade it in as many times as I like. I was a scribed member but i tossed my membership in the trash because of that. It is so illogical to me; it isn’t as if you can borrow more than one book at a TIME or anything. So yuck on Scribed. I hope something that is actually really like Netflix shows up. I would join in a hot second.