Routine Order

Routine Order random header image

BookSwim: NetFlix for Books

January 4th, 2007 · 4 Comments

BookSwim promises an online book rental service that works like Netflix does. I am wondering if it will get off the ground, as much as whether it will be successful.

  1. Books have a much lesser audience these days
  2. There are a lot more books than Movies released every year
  3. Readers have pretty specific tastes, especially when it comes to non-fiction — where a person might want to read books on something that might sound obscure to me
  4. Books might just cost more than DVDs in some case – think hundreds of dollars
  5. Books have a limited re-usable life after which they get dog-eared, torn, ripped etc
  6. Unethical customers might tear out a page – making the book un-reusable
  7. Libraries are still alive and kicking
  8. It takes 3 hours to watch a movie, around 3 days to read a book – so subscribers get less “value” per dollar with books, for the same subscription amount – how much cheaper will bookswim be, and how will hey manage it?

Considering all these factors it is difficult to see how they will make any profit, given the no-late-fees, free-postage deal they are offering. The site is set to launch this first quarter of 2007, but it looks like they are still looking for financers. There is a brochure touching upon why bookswim is an appealing idea, but it is superficial in some respects.

Thanks to the distant librarian who brought this in my field of view. The site he links to has some commetary too.

I’ll have to wait and see what rates and benefits they offer before signing up – owning a good book is still pretty high on my list of priorities, so renting a book does not seem too attractive – if I like the book, I’ll probably end up buying it, so it would be neat if bookswim offered the possibility of renting-to-own, for a small additional price.