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One Model Doesn't Fit All

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Paperspine is trying to do for books what Netflix did for DVDs. In fact, Dustin Hubbard — the Microsoft Corp. program manager who co-founded the Issaquah startup on a leave of absence this summer — said he was inspired by the online movie rental company when he came up with the idea.

It happened one night while putting a book into a crowded nightstand. Hubbard, who has spent 10 years at Microsoft, started wondering why he simply couldn’t return the book for another, a la Netflix.

Maybe they do things differently on the West Coast, but last time I checked, there was a place called a library where you could check out a book, return it when you were finished, and get another—all for free!

Sure there’s the potential for late fees at libraries, and sometimes you have to wait to get the hot new book, but with depressing stories about American reading habits coming out every other week (thanks NEA!), I have a hard time imagining anyone paying $120-$300 a year to get the 4-6 books they’ll probably read that year shipped directly to their home.

But what do I know? If it works, if it takes paying for something like this to get people to read, then great. I’m just not going to hold my breath. (Besides, why don’t you just set up a rental service for the Kindle? That would be cheaper, more efficient, and more likely to create a cache of cool.)



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