There’s good news today for people who find themselves buying books faster than they can read them. A browser extension for Chrome and Firefox, the Library Extension, will save you money on books by telling you which ones are available at your local library. If you’ve ever accidentally bought two copies of a book, only to end up checking it out from the library when you forgot that you owned it again, this is the perfect tool for you.
I once heard that you should only buy books that are not available at your local library. Although that clearly doesn’t align with my own philosophy on books — which can be boiled down to the fact that I need more bookshelves, not fewer books — I do think that being mindful of your purchases is never a bad thing.
The Library Extension makes online book-browsing a breeze. Choose your library system or systems from a quick dropdown menu, and select which websites, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble, you’d like the extension to work with. It even works on Goodreads!
Not only will the Library Extension tell you exactly how many copies of the book your local library has, and how many are available, but it will also check related OverDrive and Hoopla accounts, in addition to the main book collection. That information includes a link you can click to place a hold on the title, so you don’t even have to search for it in the library catalogue yourself. No more swapping between apps or tabs to figure out whether your library has a book available for you to check out!
At the time of this writing, the Library Extension offers support for users of more than 5,000 libraries and library systems, but what if yours isn’t one of them? Simply email the extension’s developers through the contact form on the Library Extension website, and they’ll get to work adding your local library to their list.
Because the Library Extension is free to download and use, you have no excuse not to try it out. Seeing that your local library has 30, 20, or even 10 copies of that book you’ve been wanting to read could have a huge impact on whether or not you choose to buy a copy for your home library. So the next time you’re shopping for books online, try asking yourself: Do I really want to own this book, or do I just want to read it?
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