This blog post was inspired by Seth Godin. If you haven’t got him in your subscriptions, get him there. He’s a great read.
Anyways, he discovered a new service called BookSwim. They even tout themselves as the Netflix of books. At first glance, I was excited. How great would that be? I could make a list of books I want to read, and they would send them to me. All for just $19.99 a month. Think of the reading I could do!
But wait…I already do this. I have an online queue that I can manage. In fact, I can actually get several books at one time. In addition, I can get movies, CDs, magazines, newspapers, you name it. The best part? It’s free. (It’s called a library, if you haven’t figured it out.)
BookSwim talks about how shipping to your home is free, and that the return shipping is also free, but let’s take a look at this for a moment. The only service they are providing me is home delivery. Getting the books is already free. So that “free” shipping isn’t so free. I can go get those books down the street (for free) and save myself $20 a month.
Sure, you could make the same argument for Netflix and movies, but movies aren’t nearly as up to date at the library, nor are they available in the quantities that the masses demand. But if you’re looking for a movie that’s been on DVD for over a year, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try your local library first. Save your Netflix membership for the movies you just couldn’t get elsewhere.
As Seth points out, Netflix works because there’s a demand for movies in that capacity. Being “the Netflix” of some other industry just isn’t gonna work. Come up with a delivery system that meets your needs.