So these past few weeks, I’ve been hearing this commercial on the radio touting that they’re the Netflix of books, where you pay a monthly subscription and you can rent out 2, 3, or 4 books at a time. There’s no late fees and the books are mailed to your door. This struck me immediately as very odd since this sounds like a service that wants to replace the library which is a FREE service.
book rental service? – Selekta
was just thinking. my sister does -alot- of reading, and spends like $1000 a year on just books alone. most of them she reads once then never looks at again. is there any kind of like…video rental store but for books? would make things alot cheaper, plus once one person has read the next person can get enjoyment from it etc
And this prompted me to blog about it. I don’t exactly recall the name of the book rental service that was advertised on the radio, but BookSwim sounds awfully close. There was also Booksfree.com, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the one that was advertised on the radio. I understand libraries can sometimes be horrible, but as library gets more and more modernized, I can’t see a book rental service as hardly useful. The libraries here in Seattle allows you to reserve books online and when the book is ready for pickup, it sends you an email.
I talked this over a bit with RayAlome, and there are some downsides to the library:
- Books have due dates (usually ~2 weeks). They can typically be renewed, unless it’s new or someone else has reserved it.
- There might be a long queue for new books (i.e. Harry Potter), but just like Netflix, I don’t think a book rental service can guarantee you’ll get new releases immediately either, but they might be faster than the library in getting you the book.
- You have to actually go to the library to pick up your book, instead of having them mail it to you.
I also found some problems that a book rental service has that a DVD service doesn’t. First, books comes in different shapes and sizes, while DVDs are a 1 size fit all. Therefore packaging material needs to be customized or be highly flexible. Books aren’t exactly light either, though with medial mail, you can still ship 2lbs for under $3. However, that might mean it’ll take up to 8 days for the book to get to you and going back also takes that amount of time. I don’t see them having warehouses in different parts of the country set up like Netflix, since they’re barely starting, but maybe they’ll have some sort of agreement with USPS or UPS to have faster shipping for cheap.
We also talked about the Amazon.com Kindle, but that’s a story for another time.