My Favorite Free Browser Extension Easily Saved Me Hundreds of Dollars
Bookworm, bookworm, bibliophile – call me any of those names, I don’t care. Since my childhood obsessed with The Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden, I’ve bought far more books than I could ever read. And psst, here I am about to reveal the free browser extension that allows me to feed my habit without spending a dime – in fact, I would estimate that it easily saved me hundreds, if not thousands dollars over the years.
Ready? It’s Library Extension, and it’s so easy to use that I almost forget that not everyone knows about it.
I mainly use Google Chrome, so I installed it for this browser. Now when I go to Amazon looking for a book I’m interested in, the extension displays text on the right side of that book’s page and tells me if the book is available at my local library. It also displays music and audiobooks if they are available to borrow.
Here’s a recent example: A friend loved Catherine Steadman’s 2018 thriller Something in the Water. As I write this, Amazon is selling the book for $9.99 for Kindle (£8.32, AU$14.43), $14.95 for the audiobook (£12.46, AU$21.59 $), $13.64 and under for used hardcover (£11.37, AU$19.70), $12.18 and under for paperback (£10.15, AU$17.59) , and even $19.99 and under for an audio CD (£16.67, AU$28.87).
But when I browse to the book’s Amazon page, my handy library extension pops up and tells me that my local library here in Seattle has 10 copies of the audiobook available, eight copies of the print book, and six copies of the ebook. Well, five now – because I immediately clicked Borrow for the eBook.
When I did this, the extension opened a new window for the book page on the Seattle Library website. I clicked Borrow again, then Get Book from Library, and it immediately downloaded the e-book to my Kindle and the free Kindle app to my iPhone, letting me know I had free access to the delivers for 21 days. Pretty good for a free extension that took less than 10 seconds to use from start to finish.
Of course, the selection of library books depends on the collection of your local library system. But the Library Extension website says it currently supports more than 5,000 libraries around the world. If yours is not one of them, you can request that it be added.
Hot, popular, brand new books in my library are going to have a waiting list. When I checked out Ruth Ware’s the It Girl, which was just released on July 21, 2022, Library Extension told me there was a waiting list for audiobooks, eBooks, and print books in my library. Still, it was helpful, because it told me how many people already had a hold on the book, and how long the wait would be. I could join the waiting list or not. (Spoiler: I did, so come ask me about this book in about 182 days. Don’t hold your breath waiting for my review.)
If you’re an avid reader like me, I don’t see why you wouldn’t use this extension. (I get absolutely no feedback for saying that.) As much as I love my local library, its web interface is a pain to manage. And even though I try to support independent bookstores, I often end up at Amazon because… well, you know, it’s ubiquitous. Plus, it’s easy to find a book there and read the recent reviews, see the cover, figure out if I really want to read it. And since I’m there anyway, I’m happy to save money and go get books from my library instead of buying them. Good reading!
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