Monday, December 07, 2009

The Mail Order Library (Part 1)

I went to the library today, I go almost everyday so that's nothing new, and as I was looking through the shelves I got to thinking about my use of the Inter-library Loan System. Both myself and my girlfriend use it quite extensively. I have often times thought that it would just be easier to have the books delivered right to the house (most of my library visits are to get books that have arrived). My question is why can't I get books delivered right to the house? Why not cut out the trips to the library almost entirely? I think it can be done, and why it hasn't been I don't know.

I'm assuming that all of you know what the Inter-library Loan System is. Almost all libraries are on one network at least. My idea is just an extension on that system. Why not have one repository of books in the state, as book warehouse as it were. This warehouse would hold copies of almost all the books in the state library system, except for reference material. The local library could then be reduced in size since a person would really only need to go to use the computers or get access to reference materials. For all the other books, they are ordered online and delivered either to the local library or right your home.

This model, of course, can also be adapted to a commercial venture.  Just think Netflix for books! With public libraries though, it makes it hard to convince people to pay for a service that they can get for free. The only think paying would get would be home delivery. This could also be used with the Nook's lending feature (sorry kindle fans, you guys don't have it... yet) making it possible to borrow books for you e-reader for whatever price the service was
going for.


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