Nicole seemed a bit aghast that someone would ask:
"is there any kind of like…video rental store but for books? would make things a lot cheaper, plus once one person has read one the next person can get enjoyment from it etc"
It is a bit ironic that the title of the post is patterned after the familiar Jeopardy show, as it in fact reveals a kind of jeopardy that we in the Library community should be feeling (and which motivates Nicole's incredulity, I suspect?).
The more salient comparison has not so much to do with video-rental stores-cum-bookstore, I think, but rather with Netflix, whose success, in my estimation has little to do with the cost model and everything to do with the convenience model. They have taken Ranganathan more seriously than we have... remember the laws? Isn't one of them "Save the User's time"?
I don't want to go to the library when I want stuff to read... blasphemy? Maybe. But its a convenience issue. I would like to have a queue that I add to asynchronously as I get recommendations or read reviews. And I'd like to have them sent to me, the same way Netflix sends DVDs. And shouldn't this all be tied into the Web-scale cache of book surrogates (WorldCat would be my choice.... duh), so the usage patterns and reviews, and other social aspects of book use are captured on behalf of the community? Eric and Victoria Miller brought this notion to my attention a while back, and Eric notes that there are in fact exemplars (Bookins.com being one).
Lets get back in that loop.
I took this picture on the ferry returning to Seattle from Bainbridge Island last week during Marguerite's visit to Seattle. Her visit coincided with the (I am told) annual late-January respite from rain -- it was a stunning weather week, and I had an inkling that this particular ferry crossing would be a winner. The image marks my first entry into Flickr's daily Interestingness set, a set of 500 images uploaded each day that a tightly-guarded algorithm declares as most interesting. This one made page 14 of the January 26 set. My major contribution to its interestingness was the foresight to be on that ferry (I did plan it that way) and the good fortune to own an image-stabilized Canon EOS 70-300 telephoto lens.