Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hard to Finish Books

This Associated Press piece reports on a British poll about books people found difficult to finish.
"Bestsellers by Bill Clinton, J.K. Rowling and David Beckham are among the books Britons find hardest to finish reading, according to a survey published Monday.
Although the average reader spends more than 4,000 pounds (5,890 euros, 7,760 dollars) on books in their lifetime, 55 percent admit they buy them for decoration and have no intention of reading them."

There are a few implications of this poll. The first one that comes to the mind of this library blogger is that the poll results argue for borrowing books from a library so that money is not wasted on an unfinishable book.

The second thing that came to mind is an article from the Star Ledger recently which profiled two young New Jerseyans who have started a book rental service called BookSwim. BookSwim is just starting up and aims to be the bookish equivalent of NetFlix. It will offer a rental subscription service that mails books to BookSwim members for a monthly fee.
LibraryStuff blog interviewed one of the BookSwim owners on his blog March 1st and Tame the Web blog also took note of this new business.
Whether libraries should feel threatened by this kind of service seems to be the recurring theme of the articles about BookSwim. Does a books by paid subscription service directly compete with libraries? On a quick review, it seems as though the answer to that is a qualified, "no" probably not too much. Although a quick google search for "BookSwim" turns up a lot of library blogs discussing this new development, so it is getting librarians attention and stirring up a fair amount of discussion.

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