Sunday, July 03, 2016

Library woes

A few months ago I rediscovered the library. I had in general thought the English-language selection of fiction pretty paltry. I mean, I'd always check if I was looking for something in particular, but it was often easier and more efficient to purchase a book online.

But then suddenly they had e-books.

Maybe they'd had them for a while. But suddenly they had selection. And I've been taking advantage regularly.

I decided I'd finally try out Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, and I placed a hold, and I waited and waited and waited, and meanwhile I decided to check out another novel, and wouldn't you know, the very next day My Brilliant Friend became available and was automatically checked out to me. So two novels, neither of them exactly slight. One at a time. I finished one, so started the other, the Ferrante, but felt I was running out of time. No problem, I'll renew the loan.

Not so fast.
Renewing digital titles works a little differently than renewing physical books from the library. When you renew a digital title, it doesn't extend your lending period. Instead, it lets you borrow the title again immediately after your current checkout expires (if there are no existing holds) or it places you on the wait list to borrow the title again as soon as possible (if there are existing holds).
And I realized: back into the queue I would go. I might be granted access to book 2 in the series before I could renew, and finish, book 1.

This put me in the position of rushing home from work, racing to the final 60-70 pages in just a couple hours, instead of spending a leisurely holiday weekend with it.

I did it. I finished it, just under the wire. A short while later, wanting to review a scene, the book was locked to me. Imagine if a physical book would just, poof, disappear, when the lending time was up.

I feel a little bereft. I didn't get to finish the book in my own time, on my own terms. I don't have full and proper closure on it.

I love the instantaneity of the digital library, and I love the interface that allows to me to keep lists and ratings. I hate just a little that I can't choose to return a book a day late.


Stefanie said...

That's the trouble with ebooks, there is no option to be a day late! Saves on fines but gosh, is it harsh!

Buried In Print said...

Then again, when the books are automatically checked out to you, it would be quite conceivable that, if you didn't use yuor reader for a spell, you could end up paying fines on books that you hadn't even opened yet either, because you'd forgotten to return them. It's an adjustment for sure, though. A fun one, for the most part!