Are Libraries Missing The Boat?

by Nancy Humphreys on May 17, 2011

Source: New York University

I can still vividly recall the bookmobile arriving every week.  I was in second grade at a small country school. That county library system bookmobile made me the bibliophile I am today!

But are American libraries missing the boat for sticking with the bookmobile?

The Speedy Bookbag service

A Bookstore in China called Kuaishubao (“speedy bookbag”) is now competing with Amazon.com. It does this by delivering books to houses and offices in selected cities. The bookstore delivers within an hour of receiving an order!

Can you imagine ordering a book to be delivered in time for your lunch break? Or in time to finish a paper you left until the last minute?

Readers who need a book fast in China use Sina Weibo, China’s leading microblog, to order their books from Kuaishubao. Sina Weibo has features that work better than Twitter (which is banned in China) for this kind of business use. Sina allows users to post photos and videos, for example.

Advertisers love Sina Weibo, and those who use it for ordering books don’t seem to mind the ads, not when they get their book in an hour!

With the popularity of eReaders growing, it makes sense for bookstores to deliver print books as fast as they can. Is there any reason libraries shouldn’t do the same?

Or how about a library partnering with a local bookstore to provide library readers with books faster?

Many of the people who use public libraries in the US have mobility issues. Home delivery would be a blessing. Others need library books quickly. On campuses, a 24/7 book delivery service might be very popular.

US libraries already serve five times more customers than Amazon.com. Give an American library a speedy bookbag service, and who knows? That number might be far greater!

Source “China’s Weibo posts lesson to Twitter in making social media pay” Financial Times 5/11/11 p17

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Marketing Your Book to Libraries Marketing Your Books to Libraries: An Insider's Guide for Authors by former librarian Nancy K. Humphreys includes: 
  • How to tell what kind of library to target
  • Types of librarians and books they order
  • Strategies to get past the "gatekeepers" who influence librarians
  • Right ways to approach librarians most likely to order your book

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