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Helene's Netflix/Amazon Mashup

Last night's post about Amazon's library processing was a result of a conversation I had with Helene Blowers, Public Services Technology Director for the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County in Charlotte, North Carolina. While there to speak at her excellent Technology Summit, I had a conversation over lunch with her, Michael Stephens and Carol Myers, PLCMC's Assistant Director. We were discussing the Netflix model of materials delivery and Helene brought up an idea of hers that absolutely blew me away.

The Netflix model is a good one but is plagued by high costs – shipping and handling, primarily. But Helene's idea was to utilize Amazon's library processing service in order to have pre-processed books sent directly to the library customer's home, where that person would, after reading the book, bring it to the library and, by returning it, enter it into the library's circulating collection. The book will already have its requisite spine label, bar code and mylar cover, so no additional processing will be required. Even the MARC record will already have been sent from Amazon, so the material will already by in your catalog. Customers would defray the cost of the program by paying a small monthly or annual fee for the delivery of a new title every few weeks, and because Amazon's processing service includes DVDs, customers could have access to those, too.

I really hope PLCMC can try this and let us know how it goes. I can't wait to hear Helene speak about this at a future conference, and I thank her for letting me blog about this exciting idea.