Getting an e-reader was one of the best technology buys of the last few years for me. Together with the Pocket bookmarking tool, I've been using it as an article reader ever since I bought it. Every longread or article that I find and gains my interest ends up in there and during the evenings, I simply synchronize the Kobo Clara HD with Pocket. And pop! All my to-read articles appear on my eye-friendly black and white screen. This feels as the way it should be.
And after reading articles like that for the past few years, some of my family members started talking about the Kobo store. "It has an amazing library!", "It's only 10 euro's a month!". And I gave it a go. Admittedly, it was easy to get on board. I simply registered as a user, set the payment options and was able to start reading right away without the intervention of my laptop. Just as reading with Pocket worked like it should work, Kobo also nailed it very nicely.
But where does all this money flow to? I've been pretty worked up about sustainability in all its glory. And I simply cannot see how a Kobo subscription is sustainable to the local municipality. Many cities in the Netherlands still have their libraries and there are many national initiatives (dutch) on getting more people to read through cultural and educational events. A Kobo subscription makes people read (or listen), but I can't see how that money flows back into the educational or cultural events for local municipalities.
For me, the single conclusion left was to get a local library card. Admittedly, it's been decades since my subscription ran out. And ever since, I have visited the library only on rare occasions.
My journey started on the website of Coda, the local association that contains all cultural and educational aspects under one roof. (not by incident, the acronym stands for Cultureel OnderDak Apeldoorn). Once I decided the subscription I wanted, the website referred me to a slightly obscure looking website which apparently belongs to Sambis (a collaborative system for all libraries in the Gelderland provinces), where I had to fill out a registration form including some bank details. Something I'm not that keen on, given the amount of data leaks recently.
After the signup, I still didn't know how to get e-books onto my e-reader. And I'm currently still struggling with the process. I guess local libraries really have to go through some more digital transformation steps.
Luckily, I did go to the physical library. I even got to visit the next-door museum for free with my library card, had a perfect lunch at the museum-library cafe and visited an awesome indoor playground, surrounded by books, for my kid. What's not to love?
All this for a measly 50 euro's a year (for an adult) and kids untill the age of 17 go for free. For that you get access to physical books, unlimited e-books and lots of magazines and listening-books. Plus all that physical location stuff within walking distance!
The calculation in my head is easily done.
😱 Kobo+: 120 euro's a year = ebooks.
🤗 Local library: 50 euro's a year = physical books, ebooks, magazines, museum, kids education playground + supporting your local community
Oh hell yeah I'm taking 2 local library cards!