September 18, 2014

A “Netflix Like” Service For Books Goes Live, This One Offers Children’s Books

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First, a comment or two.

Last May and again in October we posted about what will likely be the rise of many “Netflix like” services for books coming online in the next few years.

I continue to wonder how will (or will not) the library community plan for these types of services as more launch online and Amazon’s Kindle Online Lending Library expands. We already see this with Safari (tech books, a service some libraries provide) and art books from H&W Media.

BookPig has been offering a “Netflix like” service for children’s books since 2009.

Although there might not be one service offering ‘every title’, expect more and more services that focus on a specific genre(s) or specific groups of readers.

Is this something the library community should be talking about? I haven’t seen or read much of it to this point. What about planning today for the future (next 3-5 years)? What does this mean for local collection development. While the expansion of ebook access via libraries has grown big time in the past few years, the recent study from Pew shows that many have little idea about what the library offers in all areas. I would expect that these services if/when they become available will spend large amounts of money (including expensive pr firms) to reach users.

Yes, not everyone will be able to afford these services and that’s important to remember.

Of course, Spotify offer an expanded free trial if you have a Facebook account (they’re easy to get)  and with Google, Apple, and Beats also looking at entering into the streaming music space more free access from all of the established services might become a reality. Amazon.com continues to expand their collection of video that’s included as part of an Amazon Prime membership (the same membership that provides free access to Kindle Online Lending Library).

OK, let’s get to today’s news about the launch of Spoutkin, a service that boxes up and sends printed books.

From TechCrunch:

Like the tagline implies, the startup is introducing a Netflix for children’s books – that is, it’s a rental service where you pay to receive shipments of new books on a regular basis, but you don’t necessarily get to keep them.

[Clip]

Sproutkin works with a small educational advisory board to select its books, which includes a current preschool teacher plus two well-experienced former educators, each with 30 years of teaching experience behind them who have also worked in the past on developing the curriculum and standards in different states.

Parents of children ages 3 to 6 can subscribe to Sproutkin’s service, receiving a shipment of 10 books at a time, which are generally centered around a theme.

Read the Complete Article (Includes a Discussion of Price Points)

Direct to Sproutkin’s Web Site

UPDATE: Added BookPig info/link. 

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.