Combine this idea with a local library system that kicks serious ass and you have a real winning combination. The library network around here rocks. There are some rich towns around here, and many of them are full of well-travelled people who ask their well-funded libraries to stock all the most recent editions of travel guides to obscure destinations. They're a whole lot stronger in travel guides than the entire Connecticut public library network.
I also find it useful to browse and photocopy because it helps me focus on where I want to go and what it is I want to see when I get there. Someday, perhaps, I'll just scan them, but the last time I tried this--a couple of years ago?--scanning was slow and the OCR technology left much to be desired.