Doomsday for My Book Sources

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business you would try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

I can’t think of just one source for my books.

I moved to Australia last year. It’s a temporary move, and so I had to leave my beloved books in storage. I think I brought about 10 books with me and I’ve bought as many in the past year. Books in Australia are more than twice what they cost in the USA (one book I enquired about at the local bookstore is $55, while in the USA I’m sure it’s less than $20). Because books are so expensive and for who knows whatever other reasons, the library has half as many books as my USA libraries in suburban Chicago.

So what do I rely on, and what would I do if they were no longer available?

Sources for Physical Books

My local library and the surrounding local libraries

If something happened to my closest library, I’d go to a surrounding branch. I don’t mind driving 30 minutes to get a book.

Ordering books online is so much easier and, living in Australia, it is cheaper to order a book from the USA and pay shipping than to purchase it in a local bookstore. If suddenly disappeared, I’d be very sad, but I’d find another online bookstore.


I just barely discovered Bookmooch for swapping books, only because other bloggers mentioned it. I’m so excited! I don’t have any points, however, because all the books I’d like to send are sitting in storage in Chicago. If something happened to Bookmooch, I’d be okay since I haven’t even started using it yet.

Online Sources

Audible sells audiobooks, and I really like listening to good audiobooks! This site has best-sellers and recently published works. It’s a bit pricy, but if I’d rather listen than read, Audible is a nice alternative to buying a book. If something happened to this site, though, I wouldn’t be devastated; I’d just get my audiobooks somewhere else.

Project Gutenberg

At Project Gutenberg, volunteers digitize USA public domain works. I love this site for older books! I can read on my computer or I put the works on my handheld device and read them there. I really don’t mind reading digitally. I’d be very sad if something happened to Project Gutenberg; volunteers put in a lot of work.

Daily Reader takes public domain works and sends them to you via email, a specified amount each day. I enjoy a treat every morning in my email. I’d be okay without it, though.


I just discovered LibriVox, thanks to other book bloggers. Volunteers read public domain works and release them back into the public domain. They have a RSS feeds as well: you can get poems or stories sent to you each week. Again, I’d be okay without it.

Note: When I review my Google Analytics, I notice some people arrive at my site looking for various free etexts for best sellers and recently published works. Sorry, folks, you won’t find a legal copy of recent books online for free. In the USA, works published after 1978 are under copyright until 70 years after the author has died. There is a hefty fine for using an illegal etext. For more information, visit the US Copyright Office. Other countries also have copyright laws. You can often purchase etexts via or other online bookstores; even a local Australian bookstore sells etexts. Or, you may be able to visit the publisher’s website and purchase an etext there. Be legal!

Other online booking things I’ve found


Apparently Shelfari is just like Goodreads and LibraryThing, or are those different? I keep track of what I’m reading, what I read, and what I want to read. I like it, but I could figure out what I’m reading without keeping track of it online. Come visit me on Shelfari. (I’m really sorry to those people who I sent an email to about it. I didn’t know that Shelfari would keep sending you annoying invites every other day. I won’t ever do that again! Only come to Shelfari if you want to.)

Lists of Bests

I just discovered Lists of Bests through Rose City Reader. I love that I can keep track of my book lists and check each work off the list. I’d survive if I didn’t have it though.

So, for me, this question should be: What would happen if the Internet met with catastrophe?

I’d die.

I rely on Internet-related things for my books and reading that I’d really have a hard time without the Internet. I might get over it eventually, but I’d definitely have to move somewhere with a better library!

What online reading resources do you rely on? I’m always on the lookout for more, and I learn from fellow readers like you!

I’m giving away a book! You have until Sunday to enter.

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. This is a terrific post! I knew about some of these options, but not all of them. It sounds like your reading habits won’t have to suffer much despite the expense of physical books.

  2. @Sally: I think it’s not everywhere outside the US that books are so expensive. Australia is so far away from everywhere else, shipping costs an arm and a leg for commercial goods. Unless something is published in Australia, it will cost a lot!

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