As bookstores continue to flounder, libraries are now making it a point to take advantage of the moment and roll with the times.
According to The New York Times, libraries are realizing that print is coming in second to digital. As a result, libraries are now offering more e-books and technology options (like more space for computers within the library walls). But libraries are also making more of the big bestsellers available, and then selling them for a reduced price when the library starts to carry the books in excess. Karen Ann Cullotta explains.
At the bustling public library in Arlington Heights, Ill., requests by three patrons to place any title on hold prompt a savvy computer tracking system to order an additional copy of the coveted item. That policy was intended to eliminate the frustration of long waits to check out best sellers and other popular books. But it has had some unintended consequences, too: the library’s shelves are now stocked with 36 copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Of course, librarians acknowledge that when patrons’ passion for the sexy series lacking in literary merit cools in a year or two, the majority of volumes in the “Fifty Shades” trilogy will probably be plucked from the shelves and sold at the Friends of the Library’s used-book sales, alongside other poorly circulated, donated and out-of-date materials.
With less waiting and larger scale sales down the road, libraries are becoming more and more like bookstores. And in a post-recession age when people are willing to do most anything to save a buck, why not? Why pay for a book when there’s a magical little place in your hometown that will allow you to take it home for free?
These are moves that libraries hope will increase foot traffic and users. Do you think they will?