How My Local Library Enabled an Audiobook Purchase

Recently the person behind the xkcd comic came out with a book:

Munroe, Randall. 2014. What if?: serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions. Find in a library.


I fell into choice paralysis with this book. It came out in paper and an audiobook edition. The paper version had the cartoons, which I loved. The audiobook version was read by Wil Wheaton who has become my absolute favorite narrator for anything geek-themed.

Paper or audio? I didn’t feel justified in buying both formats. I hemed and hawed for a couple of weeks. Then I tried a search in library catalog and found that the paper version of What If? was in our system. I placed a hold on it so I could check out the cartoon and then immediately went online and bought the audio book (available from Downpour, Amazon, Barnes & Noble.).

As much as I like xkcd, Mr. Munroe was only going to get one purchase from me. I might have kept going about paper vs. audio till I forgot about buying the book. But because my local public library bought one format, I bought the others.

One more tiny data point testifying to the idea that libraries encourage book sales and doesn’t cannibalize them.

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