If this new business doesn't convince libraries to try new service models, nothing will.
Though libraries are free and BookSwim is not, the convenience BookSwim offers trumps the expense, because there's very little people are not be willing to give or give up for convenience. After all, most libraries offer DVDs for free, too, but that hasn't slowed Netflix. Besides, there are no back-end late fees, and subscribers even has the option to buy and keep the books they don't want to part with.
In BookSwim's own words:
We spent our Thursday night as always, freeloading books in our local behemoth bookstore café. When asked to pay for the books along with the coffee, "No, we're just gonna read them and put them back... but thanks for asking."Much has been written about the potential threat posed to libraries by such services as Google Book Search and Kindle. But BookSwim seems to me to be the first real and direct threat to the traditional library model.
Now this kind of behavior should never be condoned, but we noticed a pattern - everyone else was doing it, although maybe not so openly. If all of these people are simply reading, why aren't they vagrantly loitering at a library? It's free! Well, there's no double mocha lattes at the library... but through our research to find the answer we discovered that the whole literary distribution model needed to be turned upside down.
Just imagine: A student searches his library's OPAC for a book but discovers it is either not part of the collection or is checked out and not due back for two weeks. He then clicks on BookSwim, logs into his account, and receives the book in three days.