I didn't pay to read them.
I'm calling you on that one...
I do not believe that you or anyone in your family, has never paid taxes.
Libraries are NOT free (they're prepaid).
Bottom line is that libraries (NO matter the origin of their specific books), cost money. Period.
Okay. I pay...
(note that I've never debated the outstanding value of libraries, just that sometimes people think they are "free," and occasionally even try using that erroneous thought in debates over piracy, etc, etc)
Whenever they are free or not doesn't matter. Since they are pre-paid, not rental, the author doesn't earn more money on more people using his intellectual property. Having libraries buy books doesn't compensate for the fact that people no longer have to buy books to read them. And unlike in case of stuff like music, there aren't much reasons to buy them after reading them. A book becomes a liability after reading unless one has a big house. Libraries lead to developing reading patterns like "read that piece of good/great literature, return it to library and then read another one".
Before I was introduced to libraries, I would simply buy books from my own money, even though they would just end up sitting on my shelves and taking up place. It would lead to limited selection of books and less money for stuff like music and games, but was much better for the authors. Then I have learned about the libraries and my buying patterns changed completely. I buy almost exclusively stuff that isn't in libraries. I actually, started buying Sapkowski's the Witcher series and Jacek Piekara's the Inquisitor series when I met a librarian that told me "why buy books when we have them in our library?"
And I haven't bought their other books - despite reading most of them. I know that I would buy them if there weren't libraries.
I have read the whole Harry Potter series except for the last tome from the library. My mother bought the last tome when it came out instead of waiting for it to appear in the library. Similarly, I have read the whole Song of Fire and Ice series except the two newest tomes from a library.
Two things important about selling i.p. are re-usability and luxuriousness of form. Books usually are just big bricks with text in it, maybe several half-assed illustrations. They usually aren't good merchandise.
Games can be played many times, especially wargames, music can be listened for years, boxes of both are made to be a good merchandise.
In the end, I have bought two books that I have read in a library several years ago. I bought them because they are good merchandise, not just carriers of data. They just sit on my shelf and look nice. I didn't even read them.
Yeah and I religiously collect Ospreys - I have 62 of them and buy them whenever they come out and I have 10 PLN to spare, even when they are from a time period that doesn't interest me.
That's why I believe that libraries are actually the most dangerous form of "piracy". They give people the originals to use. They target specifically the people who prefer to read the original book over reading an unauthorised ebook or something like that - the very people that would prefer to buy books over downloading them.
The whole idea behind libraries is to fight against primitivism, illiteracy and narrow-mindedness, and allowing people to be much more cultured than they can afford. The authors are just a collateral damage in that fight.
I've read some guy bashing unauthorised copying and at the same time saying that libraries are much better because they bring him money as they purchase books. He made two errors - he didn't understand that there are many people who still want to have the original even after reading an unauthorised copy of an ebook and doesn't understand that it takes just one person resigning from a purchase because of the ability to get the original in a library to cancel out the financial benefit of selling books to the library and it takes just two such people to bring him "losses". And since I already stopped buying these books and started bringing the books that I have bought to libraries, I know that the "cancelling" already occurred. It just takes another person to start bringing "losses".
Without social solidarity manifested in the form of welfare state, people inhabiting one territory are a non-nation of mortal enemies engaged in competition for survival.