Okay, so I decided to try a free trial of BookSwim. They bill themselves as a way to "rent" books the way you do movies from Netflix. One could easily ask, "Isn't that what a library is for?" And the answer would be: yes, yes it is. BUT . . . BookSwim delivers to your door. So no pesky driving or walking or taking the bus--whatever it is you, personally, do to get to your local library.

It's a good idea in theory, but I found the execution lacking. Maybe BookSwim is still getting its sea legs. For one thing, their inventory is not very broad. A lot of what I looked for they didn't have. And the one book at the top of my "pool" (as they call your queue) was never available. Even when I was supposed to be able to guarantee it. In an age when I can go online to my local library's site and request books and see where I place on the waiting list for books, BookSwim comes up a little short.

Maybe it works better for college kids wanting to "rent" textbooks instead of buying them. I wouldn't know, since I've been out of grad school for a decade now. But maybe BookSwim has some great storehouse of college textbooks somewhere; they just don't have much by way of "regular" titles. Yet. I would like to think it's coming, that they're building on what they have or something. But there are difficulties. Imagine trying to retain enough books for several thousand people to borrow--from anywhere in the U.S. and with no return due date. Tricky.

Also, the books I did receive were not in very good condition. Worse than what you'd expect from very old library books.

My free trial is coming to an end, and I'll be canceling my subscription. It's back to my public library for me.

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