Free movies rentals for life.
Seriously, when I tell most people that I have a deal that blows Netflix or Blockbuster Total Access out of the water, they think I'm all talk. But here's the truth. I can't remember the last time I paid for a DVD movie rental. And it's all thanks to my public library.
I can't say for certain what kind of library resources you have where you are, but here in Colorado they're pretty darned good. And my local library happens to be an excellent resource for hundreds of movies. Now, I can already hear the mutters of discontent. "They're old movies, they only have one copy, they never have the new releases or the movies I want." Yes, and no.
For those of you who plan to use your library like your local Blockbuster or handy online DVD rental site, you'll be disappointed most of the time. When you get to the library, the DVDs left on the shelf are not exactly something to write home about most of the time (although let me add, I’ve found some real gems just sitting on the shelves). But I don't just drop in any old time to get mine. I use the online reservation system and I book way ahead of time. It's that easy, really.
We all know when the DVD releases are due. You can find that information anywhere, including amazon.com and any online video store. So, when you know the release date, do a search for that movie on your library's online reservation system. They get all the new releases, usually at least 10-12 copies of the bigger movies between all the branches. Then, simply put a hold on a copy, and your name goes on the list. You'll have to wait a few weeks if you’re not first in line. But are you really that desperate to see it anyway? And besides, it's FREE. Well, ok, it's not really free, your taxes are paying for it. But if you're paying for the service anyway, why not use it?
Moreover, if you get into the habit of doing this, you'll always have new DVD rentals coming to you courtesy of your local library. You keep them a week, or more. And the late fees will not kill you, unlike the sham that is Blockbuster (keep it more than a week and boom, you buy the thing until you return it. And even then, there's a restocking fee).
Another great part of the library in my state is something called Prospector. If you can't find the DVD you want, perhaps it's really obscure or old, then Prospector will search every library in Colorado for you. The price? Nada, again.
Looking for something and no branch in the state has it? Well, order it. Most libraries have funds set aside for buying new materials on customer request. I'm a bit of a Bob Ross painting fan, and my local library ordered a whole series of his instructional DVDs for me for nothing at all. And now many other patrons are enjoying them too.
Maybe you like foreign films. Well, the library has that covered now with a whole section devoted to foreign language films. They have books on CD, soundtracks, anything you could possibly want for your home entertainment. And once again, the price is a big fat zero.
I've always been a fan of the library, but these days I'm more like an addict. I get all the movie rentals and CDs I want. The latest book releases. The best soundtracks. And all on a budget of zilch. Just remember to use the online reservation, book early (or very very early for something like Cars or Pirates Of The Caribbean) and you'll never be disappointed. Now, I'm off to watch Lady In The Water. I've heard it's not so good, but when you pay nothing for the rental it doesn't seem so bad if the movie blows.
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