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Free Reads Feed the Curious Cat

August 18, 2007

book coversWhen I visit book stores, I typically browse the displays, picking up titles that catch my eye. I leaf through the pages to decide if my interest in the subject matter, the writing quality and the cost are in the right proportions to close the deal.

Since I started downloading books from WOWIO (disclosure: that’s my employer, though I was a customer long before I joined the company), I’ve noticed that my selection and reading patterns have changed. Free takes cost out of the equation, and I suddenly feel much more free to explore, following every piqued interest or whim of curiosity. It’s a bit like a borrowing spree at the library, but with the compelling additions of Internet immediacy and lounge-on-the-couch convenience. I can pull down a fresh read at any time (night owl that I am, that’s a big plus), I don’t have to get in the car (perfect for a lazy reading weekend) and I never have to return the books.

Take a look at the titles at right. They’re a sampling of what I’ve picked up over the last couple of months. Cat’s Cradle is one that’s long been on my list. The Vegas travel guide is for a trip that my wife and I are taking later this year. The rest are impulse “buys” that just caught my eye. Of these, many held my interest, some did not, and others, I haven’t yet started reading. But the point is, I had no constraints on my curiosity. With nothing to lose, I discovered authors and fascinating (to me) subject matter that I may not otherwise have been willing to buy. A long-lost, hallucinogenic 70s-era art installation? Sounds intriguing! The historical origins of names for food favorites like the avocado? Ha, call me goofy, but I’ve always wondered. Why isn’t Labor Day celebrated on May Day? And where do our other holidays really come from, for that matter? Hm, I have some vague notions, but I want the facts!

While the WOWIO choices don’t cover all of my reading needs, they do add a new and liberating wrinkle to some very old book-browsing habits.

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