Reddit user posts photo of library receipt that reveals they saved more than $7,000 by borrowing books
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
- This Reddit user went viral after their library receipt showed a yearly savings of $1,384.23 and a savings of $7,078.76 since joining the library.
- Many online users expressed their surprise - and delight - at the high savings, theorizing that it may encourage more people to use their local libraries.
- Other users, however, worried that this money was being taken away from book authors.
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Libraries offer valuable local programming and events, as well as the opportunity to check out the season's hottest books or cultural classics, all for free.
Buying books can be extremely expensive - the average price of a standard paperback book is $13.95 to $17.95, and the cost of purchasing a hardcover book can be even higher.
The Wichita Public Library informs members just how much money they're saving each year by listing customers' savings on each checkout receipt.
One Reddit user shared a photo of their receipt, which showed that they had saved a whopping $7,078.76 since joining the library.
In the comment section of the post, the user explained that the amount on the receipt was reflective of their six-person family. They visit the library on a weekly basis.
The Wichita Public Library told Yahoo Lifestyle that they began listing how much users saved on their receipts through the Polaris Integrated Library System in 2016. The system was used by the library to manage customer accounts and inventory of the library collection, as well as provide figures for how much each book typically sold for.
The Wichita Public Library's communications specialist, Sean Jones, spoke to Yahoo about how the system is valued by the library's visitors.
"Customers enjoy seeing how much money they're saving by using the Wichita Public Library," he told Yahoo. "It creates a great discussion topic among their circle of friends and lets customers encourage friends to use the [Wichita Public] Library."
"Wow that's brilliant," one user commented. "Seeing those figures might encourage more people to use a library!"
However, many users on Twitter saw the viral receipt as a testament to how libraries may be taking revenue away from actual authors.
The viral receipt soon turned into a debate about whether libraries can inadvertently hurt authors. Many users responded to these claims by pointing out that libraries do pay authors for the books they lend out, and provide a valuable role in society by fostering reading habits and allowing people who couldn't otherwise afford it to read more books.
Regardless of people's opinions about the ethics of lending libraries, one thing is for sure - using the library can save you a ton of money per year.
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-Waiting-For-October (@HabsRissy) August 10, 2019
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
I don't mind being that really horrible person that supports authors by buying their books.- This is (@RauliuxRaulix) August 11, 2019
Except that:- Opa-Opa (@Opaopa13) August 12, 2019
(a) Libraries buy their books
(b) Libraries foster reading habits, which lead to increased book sales
(c) Libraries host author events which can lead to increased sales
(d) Libraries let everyone experience a wider range of books, especially crucial for children.
Must be nice to be able to spend $7000 on leisurely activities like reading books.- Korey Kruse (@KoreyKruse) August 14, 2019
Some people aren't as privileged as you and can't afford all that because they have to pay for food, utilities, and rent.