Netflix model for books

BookSwim is attempting to replicate the netflix model for the book world. They’re offering a service where you pay a monthly fee and receive and return books without the obligation to purchase. No late fees.

I think this is a questionable plan. People are used to renting movies — renting books would require developing a new behavior. The turnaround on DVDs is much faster for most people, so that the value to the consumer of a subscription is greater. Perhaps most importantly, books are a lot heavier than dvds, so the postage costs will be much higher. Plus, books show wear after repeated shipping and reading (just ask publishers who see their margins eaten up by hurts and returns). That’s probably why plans start at $20/month. It would take a lot of overdue fines to make that cheaper than the library.

via literary lotus

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve thought about shipping costs and times, especially living in Hawaii where “media rate” goes by boat and takes about 3 weeks. Perhaps they’ll go with library-style book covers and hope for the best, or perhaps they’re stocked with remainders. As I mentioned on my site ( it seems interesting, but time will tell. Thanks for clicking through to my site via blog log so I could find out about yours. CT