Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A student's idea on a Netflix model "library"

It's popular for information science programs to encourage students to publish blogs in class. OU is no exception -- they do this for both their Library Science and Knowledge Management courses. I've ran across several such blogs the past couple of years -- and although I read through them I try not to disturb students too much with attention from outside the course. However, I thought this one was worth pointing out. I've always wondered about the philosophical differences between KM and LIS courses -- this paper may be an indication of the differences.

NetBooks and its Impact on Libraries
The Netflix model allows subscribers to order DVDs online, receive them by mail, and keep them indefinitely and without late fees. If applied to books, this model (call it NetBooks) would offer an alternative to the public library. NetBooks, if successful, would push the public library into further irrelevance. However, such would have no real consequence for the public library which would continue to exist as a tax supported organization largely immune to competition from the private sector.

Seriously -- read it.


Jeff Scott said...

This already exists. It's called bookswim. The model doesn't work that well for books. Once they become digital, copyright restrictions will still make it a pain. In the end, it's fee versus free. No one's pocketbook matches their reading appetite. Good article, thanks for sharing.

george said...

Thanks for the plug about I have to admit Scott, that for now, our book rental model is working very well, although in the future, you're correct about running into DRM issues, but we don't see paper books becoming irrelevant any time soon.

And to answer the concern about squeezing out public libraries, BookSwim has intentions to work hand in hand with libraries. We know that in small communities, certain books may be hard to obtain so we'd like to open our catalog to the library community. You'll see implementations of this in the very near future.

Thanks for writing about this idea.

-George Burke
BookSwim CMO

Jeff Scott said...

It's funny. Every time Bookswim and public libraries are mentioned, bookswim is the first to say they are not competing with public libraries. Sounds like a very nice company and a great alternative.

Thanks for the clarification!