The Simplest Way to Get Free Books and Movies

by Chris Tecmire



What if your local video store decided to stop charging for rentals?  What if Barnes and Noble allowed you to take the books you’re interested in, read them, and return them without spending a dime?  What if there were a quiet location where you could search the internet, write a term paper, or email your peeps without even owning a computer?  What if there were a place that did all of the above with a greeting and a smile?


There is!!  It’s called the library.


I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know, but I wanted to sing the praises of the community library for a minute.


The 6 Best Reasons To Visit Your Local Library


1.  Free books to read!

Why spend $20 on the next big thriller by James Patterson when you could read it for free?  Even if your tastes are a bit more obscure and the library doesn’t carry the book you’re looking for, most libraries will gladly order it using the Interlibrary Loan system.  This service costs $1 at my local library, but $1 is still $19 better than $20.

That’s part of the reason Trisha and I decided to dismiss many of our books when getting rid of 25% of our possessions.  We still have a book collection, but it’s much smaller and consists mostly of our absolute favorites or books that we have yet to read, but plan to soon.

Going one step further - now most libraries offer Kindle downloads as well.


2.  Free magazines to peruse

Magazine subscriptions aren’t really that expensive if you shop for deals, but free is still free.  Don’t want to spend the money, but have decided that life isn’t worth living without People magazine?  You know where to go.


3.  Free wi-fi to enjoy

According to the American Library Association, there are nearly 12,000 U.S. Public Libraries that offer free wi-fi.  So, whether you have your own laptop or you need to use one of the library’s computers, access to the World Wide Web is readily available for all.  Plus, if you need to get away from screaming kids or an obnoxious roommate and work on a project in peace, what better place than the location best known for its whispers and shushes?


4.  Free movies to watch

This is huge.  Netflix is more convenient, the video store has a better selection, but the library is free.  The choice is obvious.  At least stop in and make sure you know what movies are available.

2.1 million DVDs are borrowed every day from American libraries!  However, 3.3 million DVDs are rented from Redbox or Netflix each day according to a 2010 study by the OCLC.


5.  Free events to attend

Most libraries will organize job search workshops, book clubs, fun community lunches, computer classes, etc.  If you feel something is lacking at your particular location, mention it to the librarian.  I’m sure they’d love to hear your idea.


6.  Free assistance if necessary

I don’t know about you, but my library offers a smile, a greeting, and a helping hand.  They’re knowledgeable and willing to help…and that’s pretty rare these days.


So, why should you care?


Why would you ask such a silly question?  Didn’t you notice the word “free” over and over again?

Let’s say that your family tends to rent one movie per week at $4 per rental and purchase 25 books per year at $12 per book (to account for less expensive Kindle purchases too).  If you were to utilize your local library instead, you would save over $500 this year.  Use that $500 to pay off a small credit card, instead of continuing to pay the minimum payments, and you’ll save yourself 4 years of payments and an additional $200 in interest.  Every little bit counts.


I think these are the best reasons to visit the library, but I know there are many more.

Why do you go to the library?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Claye Avera June 12, 2012 at 8:00 am

The library system in Prince William County even has concerts each quarter, along with a wide variety of fun activities.


Chris Tecmire June 12, 2012 at 8:01 am

Wow. That’s great! Local artists?


Dinah June 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I love the library! There is one three blocks from my house. I go all the time. They also have video games to check out for free. And I also can download three songs a week from the library website.


Chris Tecmire June 12, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Downloading songs – I hadn’t heard that before. Thanks for the insight Dinah!


Josh @ Live Well Simply June 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Some cities are better than others when it comes to library systems. I’ve had a few experiences where I ended up paying overdue fines which were almost more than the value of the items I was borrowing. Overall though, it is cheaper than buying all that ‘content’ and then trying to find a place to store it all.


Diana June 15, 2012 at 7:07 am

Hi Chris,
I just stumbled upon your blog yesterday and I must say, I am loving it. We are expecting baby number 2 in our 1-bedroom apt in Sept so I have become obsessed w frugal living and minimalism!

As for the library, I take my one and a half year old there at least once a wk for a fun, free activity. He runs around, we pick out a few books to take home, and sometimes we catch a free storytime or other fun activities.


Chris Tecmire June 15, 2012 at 8:19 am

Thanks Diana – Glad you’re enjoying it!
2 children in a 1 bedroom apartment – you’re a brave soul indeed :) Congratulations on Baby #2!


Laurel June 15, 2012 at 8:54 am

The library has always been one of my most favorite places!! I can remember as a child the smell of books and the rustle of pages, the story times and the summer book clubs! My mom instilled in us a love of books partly by taking us to the library often! At our small town library they even call me by name! It feels like family!
Woo Hoo for libraries!!!!


jessica June 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I love the library! Saves money for me all the time. And my local library has a book sale once a month where you can books for 2 dollars max. And all the benefits go back to the library.


Jess June 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Yep! We love, love our library!


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