One library user was surprised to notice a dollar amount on a receipt showing how much money was saved by checking out a library book instead of buying it.
The receipt, posted on Reddit, shows the patron had saved a little over $7,000 by using a Wichita, Kansas, public library. (For context, the poster mentioned in the comments the amount was accumulated by a family of six who uses the library weekly.)
The high amount, though, was startling to other Redditors.
Comments such as this one popped up under the image:
I love this!!! That’s an amazing idea for the library to tally this up for the patron.
I use our inter library loan (ILL) feature and can borrow almost any book in my province’s library system, and it is shipped free of charge to me by the library. I cannot say enough about the services libraries offer and my surprise that more people don’t use them. I can even order ILL books from my phone wherever and whenever I think of it.
However, some commented on how that kind of money would be good for the authors to have.
Twitter overwhelmingly echoed these sentiments…
Unfortunately by borrowing books rather than buying them, the authors aren’t getting paid. I say buy the book, read it, donate it to a used book sale that raises money for charity.
— Rissy~?GHG? (@HabsRissy) August 10, 2019
Others commented that while it was interesting to know the impact of a family using the library, it’s hard to ignore the impact on authors.
I’m a heavy library user for books and movies. I know libraries buy a lot of books, but putting the value on the receipt kind of seems like “Look how much you didn’t give the authors!” Seems like a weird message.
— Chris Fielder (@c5chris45) August 10, 2019
The library did get positive comments on how they are providing a service and perhaps the authors see more sales for it.
It's a catch 22..yes authors may be missing out because people are borrowing vs buying books but their book is often getting read because it's in the library and visible that way. If I were an author I'd be okay with this. I ? libraries!
— Beth Revelle (@RevelleBeth) August 10, 2019
The library’s communications specialist, Sean Jones, told Yahoo, the library system users’ comments have been positive, saying,
“Customers enjoy seeing how much money they’re saving by using the Wichita Public Library. It creates a great discussion topic among their circle of friends and lets customers encourage friends to use the Library.”
The debate on the benefits to the community versus the loss of potential income to authors, however, on social media continues.
What do you think? Should libraries highlight how much people are saving when they don’t buy books?
Let us know in the comments!