Saturday, July 31, 2010

Libraries 2100000, Netflix 2000000

A 3-on-1 contest, though, leaves libraries in the dust.

Initial reaction to this article:   From political and advocacy standpoints, I wouldn't use this information as a centerpiece for tooting the library's horn.  As some of us in Wisconsin are already aware, there are more than a few state legislators who would eagerly allow public libraries to charge for lending DVDs -- without the current stipulation that a 'free' copy also be available for checkout.  And as The Fixx once sang, "One thing leads to another".  (In addition, just because we have a new, i.e. downloadable, format to offer, doesn't automatically mean the end of a physical collection of discs in libraries.  In fact, I still find plenty of videocassettes -- and books on tape -- on AV display shelves.)

Link to OCLC report

Link to July 25 Hartford Courant article, "Study: Libraries Top The Competition In Lending Movies".

Excerpt: The survey, released this year by OCLC, a nonprofit library co-operative and research organization, found that public libraries in the United States lend an average 2.1 million videos every day, slightly more than the 2 million that Netflix ships. The other top two competitors, Redbox and Blockbuster, come in at 1.4 million and 1.2 million respectively, according to daily averages provided by company representatives.

The findings were part of a report called "How Libraries Stack Up," which highlights the many roles that libraries play in communities, according to OCLC market analysis manager Peggy Gallagher. It also includes statistics on career assistance and Wi-Fi use — the extent of which might be surprising to the general public or even to businesses offering similar services

Read the instructive and mostly thoughtful series of comments on this topic at The Consumerist.


David Polodna said...

If a library wants to coexist within its community, this is not information to share widely. Video rental stores are facing frightening challenges and since they have little influence on huge corporations or international movements, they look closer to home to assign blame, and they are quick to conclude that library lending of videos is killing their business. This looks too much like evidence to support their conclusion.

Brian Simons said...

I agree with David to a point. Libraries are the easy scapegoat, but I also think that because the DVDs we circulate are free, we circulate more of them than a video store. If patrons were required to pay, we'd circulate a whole lot less. It's apples and oranges. I'm fairly certain that if video stores were free, we'd circ. much less. People wait at libraries for the new popular items because we don't own 100 copies like video stores. But while they wait they check out other DVDs, because they are free.