19 November 2010

swimming with books

I'm a reader. Love books.

And I'm always interested in book services -- like Good Reads, where you can keep a list of books that you've read or want to read; Swap Tree, where you can trade books you've read for ones you want to read for the cost of postage; and of course, there's my favorite: the library, where you can "rent" books for free.

I'm using dickquotes because I'm rounding up to make a point, obviously.

Because I'm interested in book services, I was initially intrigued by a new one called BookSwim. Until I looked at the site.

It's billing itself as the Netflix for books. Request, Read, Return. "A library at your door with unlimited book rental."

So you know what's coming now, don't you? Yes, my eye-rolling rant.

Now I know not many people have a library at their door. I don't. I don't even have one in my home!

And let's suppose you don't have a library in your town. I'd be willing to guess that the price of gas or bus fare to get to the library once a month is less than the cost of this service -- which is $23.95 a month for a "light" reader of 3 books a month (not so "unlimited" right?).

And to take books out of the library: free. And I know you can take out at least 3 books at a time. So let's say you keep those 3 books for 60 days past their due date (the first 3 weeks are free). You've had the books for nearly 3 months and you'd owe $18 (a dime a day per book).

I'm not very good with math, but I think BookSwim costs more than that. 

Here's the thing. My problem with this service isn't really about the money. Although, the people who think BookSwim is great economic value, they're probably the same ones swimming in credit card debt.

To me, this about our culture. No one can be bothered to go to libraries anymore and I'm not sure why. Is being a library card holder equated with being a low life? Or a snooty "intellectual commie"? Are we that busy that we can stop and buy a latte, or take our clothes to the dry cleaner, or watch Dancing with the Stars, or go out to dinner, but there is no time for the library?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I totally agree! And most large libraries have great websites where you can have them pull the book for you & get it to your closest library....you don't even have to be in the library for more than 30 seconds!!! -Amy