Borders Opens New Superstores, Libraries Offer Book ATMs

In my previous post I said that bookstore chains like "Barnes & Noble" and "Borders" could not compete with public libraries because they don’t offer free books, special community services like classes, workshops, special trips, auditoriums bookings etc..

Obviously one of the bookstore chains "Borders" is trying to change that:

From Library Journal 02/22/2008

"Book superstore chain Borders today opened, in its headquarters city of Ann Arbor, MI, the first of 14 new “concept stores.” The 28,900 square foot store offers not just a café and a community space with stage but also innovations like a staffed Digital Center for customers to make custom CDs, download books and music, explore genealogy, and create photo books."

Libraries have to take this development by the private sector very seriously and compete with corporate bookstores on every level. Having the advantage to offer free books, DVDs and other materials is not enough for public libraries. They also need to win the trust and free time of customers, who want and expect more services, otherwise patrons will simply follow the competition.

A good example of new innovative services by public libraries is the new ATM for book kiosks planned to be installed by the Contra Costa County Library (CCCL), in April in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system.


Picture from Library Journal

Each machine costs around $100 000 dollars, holds a few hundred books and is capable of checking them in and out. “ Patrons use a touch screen similar to a bank ATM to choose from a list of genres. Once a library card is authenticated, a robotic arm delivers the book, which is encased in a hard plastic cover. Books can be returned to the same machine and are made instantly available to other patrons”

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