Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Great Wednesday Compare #6- Libraries VERSUS Book Blogs


The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (Libraries VERSUS Bookstores), with a final score of 18-3 is libraries.

I intentionally avoided defining bookstores last week, thinking that if I left out the whole indie versus big chain/ in-person versus online stores debate, that bookstores probably had a better shot against libraries than they'd otherwise have. It turns out not to have mattered all that much. Most of those who voted for libraries last week cited cost as a major reason. For me, that wouldn't matter. In fact, I'd say I spend more at the library in a year than I do at bookstores. It's to the point where I even avoid going. In a family of four obsessive readers, we max out our library cards on every visit, and in our house, where books find themselves sticking out of every nook and cranny, we can never find all of our books come due date. The end result? Outrageous late fees and replacement costs. In our Iqaluit library, they didn't have late fees. We simply couldn't check out anything new until all our previous books were returned. I wish Yellowknife would adopt a similar policy. As for bookstores? I buy less than 10 books a year. The rest of my collection comes from free copies that publishers send me and from a book exchange at the local Co-op grocery store; leave a book and take as many as you like. Quite frankly, I'd get by without libraries or bookstores. But I support the idea of both. Certainly authors need to get paid and certainly people who can't afford books need access to reading material.

This week it's time to get a little more introspective. Book blogs. Or, if you like, lit blogs. I've never really understood the difference, or even if there was a difference. For the sake of this week's vote, you can consider them the same, but if you're interested in the semantics of it all, Yen offered his take last year.

So if you absolutely had to choose to give up either libraries or book blogs, which would it be? And which would you keep? (Vote for that one!)

Vote in the comment section below before July 21th.


11 comments:

niranjana said...

Reading books VERSUS reading about books? Hmmm...let me think.

Libraries.

Nicola said...

This is just plain mean, John! I spend just as much time reading my blogs as I do my books but seriously ....

Libraries.

Becky said...

Libraries...

Chris said...

*Gasp, clutches pearls* How dare you!

Ok, libraries then.

Allison said...

Libraries, hands down. Or up. (jazz hands)

Carrie K said...

Reading about books rather than reading books? Srsly?

Libraries.

John Mutford said...

Niranjana and Carrie: It's not reading books versus reading about books; choosing book blogs wouldn't mean you couldn't read books, it means you wouldn't get books from the library.

Lahni said...

That's easy - libraries.

GeraniumCat said...

Despite my complaints about my local library, I think libraries are special. I was trying to imagine a "libraries vs" where libraries wouldn't win (I'll be interested to see if you can come up with one!)

Isabella said...

I'm going to vote my conscience, assured that the PC choice will win anyway: I vote to keep book blogs. I go to the library a few times a year; I visit book blogs every day. I'm led to far more interesting books via blogs than roaming a fusty building. I support libraries in theory, but I can't find much to read (in English) in my particular local branch.

matilda said...

I can more easily imagine a world without book blogs than one without libraries (could be because that 'condition' existed not a million years ago...).

So, yes -- if I had to choose -- keep libraries.