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Cheaper than Amazon
  [vote for,

Libraries all have their catalogs on the Internet by now, right? So why can't you just go on to the site, check out some books, and have them mailed to you? You could have the cost of postage billed to you the same way fines are collected, or you could set up a prepaid account and have the postage costs deducted from that.

Each book could also include a sleeve and mailing label for returning the book. When the library gets the book back, they simply bill or deduct the return postage in the same way. Of course, you could always just return the books directly to the library. It'd be kind of like Netflix, but for books.

Honestly, I'm not sure why they don't already do this. Mailing books is fairly cheap (you can send 10 pounds of books by Media Mail for less than seven bucks), and the extra labor involved can't be much more than it takes to restock the stacks and pick books for interlibrary loans anyway. And usually, if you're checking out a book from the library, you don't really care if it takes a couple of days to get to you, since you'll have it for at least a few weeks anyway. Seems like a natural fit.

ytk, Feb 24 2013

I'm Pretty Sure This is Widely Known to Exist http://en.wikipedia...Book_rental_service
Isn't this it? On the other hand, my local library doesn't offer this nifty service that I'm aware of (or at least they're doing a splendid job of obfuscating). It seems to me this would add quite a bit of overhead to the local library that they would likely have to pay for by user fees --- which kind of brings us back to the NetFlix for-profit model, does it not? Another variation: my step-daughter also "rented" some of her textbooks while getting a degree in Bioinformatics... [Grogster, Feb 24 2013]

Books by mail https://www.google....hl=en&client=safari
[JesusHChrist, Feb 24 2013]

Library Service to At-Home Readers http://www.dclibrary.org/node/2663
[JesusHChrist, Feb 25 2013]

Barnes Librarium Barnes_20Librarium
[theircompetitor, Feb 25 2013]

Library2Go http://library2go.l.../438/en/Default.htm
All electronic: eBooks, Videos and AudioBooks [Klaatu, Feb 26 2013]

Google Shopping Express http://techcrunch.c...press/?ncid=tcdaily
[JesusHChrist, Mar 05 2013]

Noosphere http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noosphere
[JesusHChrist, Mar 06 2013]


       This is a good idea - are you sure it's not already done by some libraries?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 24 2013

Grogster, Feb 24 2013

       Some libraries do have rudimentary books by mail programs, as the links helpfully provided show. They're not really the same thing, however. Most of them are outreach programs designed for the disabled or people who aren't near a library, and membership in the program is limited to certain classes of people. Also, ordering books doesn't tend to be a straightforward affair—the Maine public library appears to be pretty good about letting disabled or distant residents select books online, but the San Diego public library apparently requires patrons to either make general types of requests for books to be chosen automatically, or specific requests by phone or email.   

       There are also book rental services, but that's really not the same thing either. Private, for-profit libraries operate on a completely different basis than public libraries. The idea is a supplement to the public library system, not for a completely separate private one.   

       I don't believe the added overhead would be all that much. The computer system could print labels and handle billing nearly automatically, and library personnel are constantly replacing and retrieving books from the stacks anyway. Any added costs would mostly be from the actual cost of packaging and mailing the books, which would be covered by the patron who uses the service on an as-incurred basis.
ytk, Feb 24 2013

       See LSTAR <link> . The definitions of "the disabled or people who aren't near a library" are changing as the technology changes. This service is the future "internet of things".
JesusHChrist, Feb 25 2013

       Sort of like Amazon, but supported by taxes?
whlanteigne, Feb 25 2013

       [whlanteigne] - one problem here is that many items you'd want from a library, would not be commercially viable for Amazonto stock. Governments have an obligation/inclination to preserve historically and culturally relevant texts, etc - which although infrequently accessed, should be kept available in the "public interest".   

       I've been researching (in a fairly laid back kind of way, more "reading up on") some of the early exploration in the area which I currently live (cape york queensland) - and much of the information I've gotten has only been available via government run archives, etc (ie National library of australia) (although I'd also be remiss not including the absolute godsend that is the gutenburg collection (...of Australia) of digitised historical texts).   

       I personally think, espcially as someone who lives in a remote area, that a physical lending service by mail would be a great idea. Other systems like this have worked and you could easily levy a refundable deposit in case of damage/theft.
Custardguts, Feb 26 2013

       This could actually be a website designed on the Amazon model where books that are available from participating libraries would be displayed and made available for borrowing via mail delivery.   

       This could be simply an enhancement of the current inter-library system that already exists in many cities, where a book that isn't available from the local branch can be shipped from another library branch to the local library overnight.   

       The city library system where I live has a program for shut-ins that is available by subscription. Membership and borrowing is free, but the borrower has to pay the home delivery postage both ways.
whlanteigne, Feb 26 2013

       Books are people too (link).
JesusHChrist, Mar 06 2013


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