Another “NetFlix for Books” Idea

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By Carmen Comment

This time the company is BookSwim, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has more on the fledgling company based out of New Jersey. For $15 to $20 per month, the company will send your top five book choices. Return three books in a prepaid envelope, and your next three choices will be mailed to you.

For now, the founders, twentysomethings George Burke, Shamoon Siddiqui and two others are the only employees and will handle the mailing themselves. Their warehouse is in the basement of Siddiqui’s parents’ house. Assuming demand develops, they plan to hire part-time helpers. And for critics who wonder why someone would pay when they could get it from the library for free, “the big complaint is most libraries have working hours — they typically close at 5 p.m.,” Siddiqui said. And someone may have checked out the book you want. But libraries shouldn’t be too worried. Libraries, meanwhile, don’t sound too worried about Bookswim. “Been there, done that,” said Cheryl O’Connor of Infolink, a New Jersey library consortium. She says public libraries began as subscription services. If BookSwim promotes reading, “more power to them.”

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