Why isn't there a Rhapsody for books?

Why can’t I pay a small monthly fee and have access to a few million book titles to “rent?” My buddy Barry and I were discussing this – how is it that you can get millions of tunes from half a dozen sources, every frickin’ shitty movie (seemingly) through Netflix, for very affordable prices, but you can’t do it for books?

Are book publishers bigger and greedier assholes than movie producers, or the music industry? Seems unlikely.

I know there are so many book publishers that you couldn’t get them all at the start, but the same was true of Rhapsody and Netflix. They got some of the biggest kids on the block to start, and they negotiated more deals over time with more companies.

If you think the idea is a loser, please explain why.

If you think the idea is a winner, please gather a few of your millionaire buddies and get to work!

They’re working on it.

Maybe they could even have physical locations with shelves full of copies of the books. It could be like a club and if you were a member you could borrow a book and return it when you had read it. In time they may be able to come up with some sort of system so that the books aren’t just dumped randomly on the shelves, like at home, and you could find books by particular authors or about specific subjects.

Perhaps this is just a futuristic pipe dream though.

I have a membership in such an organization. I can rent any of millions of books FOR FREE! If they don’t have the one I want they will get it from another such organization. It’s a friggin miracle for which I remember to be grateful almost every day.

Good story carlotta but you went to far with the incredible FOR FREE bit. Where’s the money in that?

Where’s the money? In volumes!

Snark aside, most public libraries do have some sort of ebook checkout scheme these days (which I assume is what you really meant). Unfortunately, they do mostly seem to follow a model similar to Netflix streaming where they somehow have a huge number of books available but very few that you’d actually want to read. Some big city library systems have better selections, but often very long waiting lists.

Yes, I just recently became aware of these odd institutions known as libraries. :rolleyes: They seem to be among the losers in the annual budget battles for ever-shrinking government funds.

And my library system (South Central Wisconsin) has a fairly small ebook collection – probably bigger than that of any single branch, but pitifully small when you consider the universe of books out there.

But the real killer is their copyright restrictions. They have one copy of an ebook, so they can only “loan” it out one copy at a time, which is pretty absurd given the technology. So half the books (mostly the better half) have waiting lists of 10 or 20, or more, people.

IMO, for a subscription service to work, they need to negotiate with the publishers so they can “loan” an unlimited numbern of copies to subscribers from their single ebook copy. Also, the book needs to be downloadable, not just available to read streaming

Oyster is a new service that does pretty much what you describe, Boyo Jim, and it is being referred to as the “Netflix for books”. Right now it’s only available for iPhone but they’re working on iPad next, who knows about other platforms.
I don’t read much on the devices (I’m old school like that), so I was skeptical, but I got kind of desperate while on vacation and signed up. Well, surprise surprise, I’m using it like mad. Very convenient for those boring periods at work and games are too obvious. It’s about $10/month and they seem to have a pretty good selection.
I got 2 invites when I joined, but I already passed them on…sorry. :frowning:

Here’s a link…https://www.oysterbooks.com/

There’s this online research library http://www.questia.com/?gclid=CMKo5NO1jLoCFUid4AodAyUAuA

Oyster’s cool, but it’s only available on iPhone and iPod touch, not a Kindle or any other reading device. It’s also invitation-only for now, and I can’t figure out at all what their book collection is like. So it’s a step in the right direction, but not the real thing (yet).

We had something like this at work for computer/technical books a few years back, and it was great, until the company decided it wasn’t worth the cost. I believe it was through a company called Skillsoft.

At first glance, my mind confused Rhapsody and Rapture, and I envisioned all the traditional books being lifted up to Heaven, leaving only the e-book readers behind. :slight_smile: