Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Netflix perfected the movie-rental-by-mail model and opened the door for copycat imitators to quickly follow. In this case, however, an innovative company called Bookswim has been trying since 2007 to implement the Netflix model to book rentals.

As Bookswim explains it:

"Bookswim creators George Burke and Shamoon Siddiqui spent their Thursday night as always, freeloading books in the local behemoth bookstore café. When asked to pay for the books along with the coffee, they replied, "No, we're just gonna read them and put them back... but thanks for asking." Now this kind of behavior should never be condoned, but George and Shamoon noticed a pattern: everyone else was doing it, although maybe not so openly. If all of these people were simply reading, why aren't they vagrantly loitering at a library? It's free! Well, there's no double mocha lattes at the library ... but through researching the answer they discovered that the whole literary distribution model needed to be turned upside down." ( 2009)

And so they did … turned things upside down. Through this effort Bookswim hopes to play its part in saving some of the 22-million trees cut down each year to produce books, not to mention the gas that will be saved from driving to the bloody bookstore every week. Okay, the post office uses trucks to ship the books to you, and the local post office drives around town in their little putt-putts, but hey, the point is still valid. So, in short, Bookswim is good for the environment -- and it’s slimming too!

Mediabistro’s Gallycat (the best blog on Earth) has a great interview with Chip O’Brien, Director of Customer service for Bookswim, where he discusses the phenom. Check out the full interview here: GALLYCAT BOOKSWIM INTERVIEW.

It’s a brave new world out there for books, authors, publishers, and readers. I’m fascinated by all these changes and will be commenting more about these new-fangled ideas as I stumble upon them. Who said reading is dead?

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