Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Taming paper monsters! (digital vs physical)

One area I've tamed pretty successfully over the years is the amount of paper in my life. There was a day when I had a wall of bookshelves, loaded to overflowing. I subscribed to several magazines and had file boxes for all those papers I "had" to keep.

Going almost paper-free is easy now! Technology has advanced and nearly everything is available digitally. These days, my bookshelves consist of two shelves... and shrinking.

These shelves have already lost another couple of titles since the big culling. The few non-reference type books I kept, I kept with the thought that if they hadn't been read in a set amount of time, they'd be donated as well so I'm working my way through these and adding them to the donate box as I finish each one. That second shelf is all craft-related books - patterns, references. I really need to take another look through those. My crafting has changed over time and even though these made the cut recently, I'm thinking there are still many more than I need to have on hand. Why not let the library store them for me?

One that came off the shelves permanently this week is this one:

The book, not the cat. ;-) 52 Loaves: One Man's Relentless Pursuit of Truth, Meaning, and a Perfect Crust [Hardcover] [2010] (Author) William Alexander Very enjoyable read! The last few pages are recipes that I'd like to try. Do I need to keep the entire book for these few pages? No. I scanned the couple of recipes (for my own personal use, of course) and can now donate the book for someone else to enjoy. =) The scanner is your paper-free friend!

I scan and shred all documents I may need for later. It's always a good idea to back these up and keep the backup separate from your computer just in case. Anything I know I'll have access to online, I just shred. There are a few things that you will need to keep the physical copies. I have a thin accordion file (maybe an inch thick) that holds vehicle titles and the few other necessary paper documents.

Magazines? There's only one I subscribe to and I so wish it was available digitally! I oddly started receiving a few magazines in the past several months out of the blue. None are ones I'd ever pick up on my own and everyone I asked said they weren't gift subscriptions from them. With a little research, I discovered sometimes publishers will send free subscriptions due to needing a minimum number for advertisers and of course they hope that once you've gotten it for awhile you'll then choose to keep getting it and pay. I've already stopped delivery on all but one. That was one that just started showing up recently. I get enough junk mail without surprise magazines too.

I rarely purchase a paper book these days, choosing digital format or borrowing whenever I can. I love my local libary! Borrowing a book also means I can quit reading if I'm not enjoying it (or just never actually read it) and have no guilt over money wasted. There are so many ways to find free or inexpensive media. Here's what I've found handy:

  • Your local library! If you don't have a library card, get one! They're free! =) I have two - one from my city and one from my county library system. A card will give you access to books, movies, magazines, ebooks, audiobooks and music. I especially love the digital products since it doesn't require a special trip and no worries over late fees.
  • Borrow from friends! Looking for something your library doesn't have? Maybe a friend has it and will loan it to you to read.
  • Hoopla - Your local library will need to be affiliated with Hoopla to borrow (just check the site to see), but if it is, borrowing is free and they have audiobooks, movies, tv shows, music and have recently added ebooks and comics as well. Some libraries have a set number you can borrow per month (mine is 10).
  • eReaderIQ - This is an awesome site for finding deals on ebooks! You can even sign up for alerts on specific titles or anything by a specific author and the site emails you when the price drops. I've found a lot of freebies from the daily emails.
  • BookBub - Sign up for free and fill out the survey about your preferences and you'll receive a daily email with freebies and deals.
  • Amazon's Kindle Best Seller Top 100 Free Books - These are constantly changing. I check every now and then, but don't usually think to regularly.
  • Used book stores (local or online) and thrift stores - Yes, I do occasionally still buy a physical book if it's not available in a digital format or from my library or if the digital price is insanely high and I can get a used copy for next to nothing and then donate it afterward.
Do you have any other great ways of finding free or inexpensive books, ebooks, audiobooks and/or magazines?


  1. If your library doesn't have a book, they probably DO have interlibrary loans. This will give you access to all the libraries in your library's participating consortium (often a multi-state, regional area). You can also look on and they will show you the nearest library that has your book and you can request your library to get it for you! I am in library school and have learned that there is almost never a reason for you to not find the book you want! :)

    1. Yes! I do use ILL too. =) I'm always amazed when my friends don't have library cards. Even if they don't want to go to the library to pick up and return books, there's so much available online now. I do love to go in and just browse though too.


please be kind =)