When will somebody make a Netflix for books?

I love netflix. I love, love, love it. But as much as I like movies, I like books much more. I own well over a thousand books, and if I owned all I wanted I’d have thousands more. I’d also be deeply in debt. My local library doesn’t have all the books I want (nowhere near), and many of them aren’t even available through interlibrary loan - besides which, i don’t have the time to get to the library more than 2-3 times a month. When will someone figure out a netflix-like setup for books? Whether for actual, physical books, or beamed to our Kindles (I don’t have an e-reader of any sort, but I would definitely get one if I could “rent” books on it). I realize that there are barriers, particularly with mailing around real live books, but that’s what innovation is for. Somebody needs to get on it!

(P.S. if this type of service does already exist, please disregard the forgoing rant & point me in the right direction. Thanks!)

(additional P.S. I had no idea about which forum this should go in, so I totally understand if it needs to be moved.)

It’s been done.

You haven’t told us where you live, so it’s difficult to say whether you have any of these resources in your area, but:

A lot of libraries have books in digital format now, both text content and audio books. Here is a sample of what is available from the library in my county in Ohio. The city library system is here and offers ebooks in three formats – Adobe, MobiPocket and OverDrive. (The county library only has the last two formats.)

I realize that libraries don’t usually deliver right to your door, but I guess it depends on how close you live as to how convenient they are. In my neighborhood, I have a branch of the county library less than a mile away and the city library system about the same distance. Again, I don’t know how it is in your state, but the interlibrary loan system here in the Cleveland area is quite extensive, with over 7 million books in the two local systems plus the surrounding counties. And then the state of Ohio has a lending system with 84 university libraries and the state government library loaning to the rest of the library systems. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s the WorldCat system, which loans books from around the country. (If it’s a really rare book, i.e. valuable, you might be limited to reading it in the library.) So there are very few books that are unavailable by interlibrary loan.

It isn’t Netflix, but then again, it doesn’t cost anything either. Maybe you could pay somebody to pick up the books from the library for you, I have done it for friends who are disabled and can’t get to a library easily.

You might get more replies to this question if it were in Cafe Society, since it is about books.


A girlfriend of mine just got her first batch of books using this service and says it is great.

The trouble is even 100,000 books is hardly anything. A NetFlix won’t really happen until Google gets done digitizing libraries and we get a decent e-Book device, which probably won’t happen until there is good electronic paper.