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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Totally over-thinking it

A friend sent me the following screen capture of an odd forum thread:


You can click to embiggen or... oh what the heck, here's what it says:

book rental Service?

was just thinking.  my sister does -alot- of reading, and spends like $1000 a year just on books alone, most of them she reads once then never looks at again.  is there any like... video rental store but for books?  would make things alot cheaper, plus once one person has read one the next can get enjoyment from it etc.


So after reading this, (and after getting past my initial impression that Selekta has an even shakier command of spelling, grammar and syntax than I do), I was like, what an idiot... it's called a used book store... duh! 

I woke up about 2:00AM with a vague sense that something was out of sorts.  I tossed and turned for a little while and finally decided that if I was up I might as well open my laptop and check my email. 

The screencap picture above was still open, so I read it again.  Suddenly it hit me that I had been totally over-thinking it.

[slaps forehead]

A public library!!!

Slept like a baby after that.

Posted by David Bogner on February 6, 2008 | Permalink


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Posted by: sarah | Feb 6, 2008 12:48:37 AM

What forum was this in, straightdope?

Posted by: Andy | Feb 6, 2008 1:06:52 AM


Posted by: psachya | Feb 6, 2008 3:23:22 AM

Actually those two options don't always work so well. Used book stores are terribly disorganized, if you are looking for something specific it's like a needle in a haystack (at least the ones I've been to). Furthermore, they don't give good prices on buying the practically new books you bought from the bookstore. The public library often doesn't have the book you want either. You can try interlibrary loan, but my brother (and probably his sister) is too impatient for that. The other option is even slower, you can request that the library buy the book. They will consider your request, and eventually they may buy it, but you will be waiting a long time. I'm cheap, so I wait. My brother is impatient, so he spends his money and has a wall full of sci-fi that he will probably never read again.

Posted by: Channah | Feb 6, 2008 3:25:35 AM

Funny, that's the first thing I thought of (the library). I hope you got some great sleep after that.

Posted by: jaime | Feb 6, 2008 3:26:03 AM

...of course, if you are delinquent in returning your books to certain public libraries, you may want to go back to buying them:


According to the story above, one New York library is sending collection agencies after patrons with overdue books, and ruining their credit ratings, and by extension, their chances for a good mortgage rate.

Suddenly, that Seinfeld episode doesn't seem so far fetched, does it?

Posted by: Ari | Feb 6, 2008 7:14:32 AM

Odd that a person living in a practically socialist country (;o/) would overlook the one socialist institution that works as advertised: the public library. even as curmudgeonly and libertarian as I am, I worked in a library at university for more than a few years (put myself through two years of collidge, actually, and several years of rent beyond that) and love them dearly.

we, on the other hand, have a house pretty literally wall-papered with stacks and double stacks of books against every available vertical surface. we never seem to get aound to moving them out (quickly enough).

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Feb 6, 2008 8:43:20 AM

"Children are being brainwashed with such socialist constructs... DOWN WITH THE LIBRARY!!!"

I couldn't agree more. :-)

Posted by: Rami | Feb 6, 2008 9:15:15 AM

I've googled around a bit, and found this screen shot mentioned on quite a few blogs and forums. No one, however, linked to the original forum. I can't help wondering if it's another urban legend. Let's check Snopes in a few weeks...

I did find this old satirical article from 2004:


On the other hand, Stephen J Dubner (of Freakanomics) wrote this interesting piece called "If Public Libraries Didn’t Exist, Could You Start One Today?"


Posted by: Dave (Balashon) | Feb 6, 2008 9:56:05 AM

Selekta Systems is now being traded on the Dewey Decimal System exchange at -.987 a share.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 6, 2008 10:17:11 AM

The more modern solution is for used booksellers to network - there's a bit of this when you shop Amazon. Then you have a better chance of finding a vendor with the book you want.

Libraries never stock the books I want to read. This was true even before we moved to Israel.

Posted by: Ben-David | Feb 6, 2008 1:21:47 PM

It's on an Irish board. :)

Posted by: a. | Feb 6, 2008 1:43:22 PM

Of course the library, probably the greatest institution in America.

Any time I moved somewhere new, one of the first stops I made was the New York Public Library. (or the Peninsula Public Library in Lawrence, NY). Even if the library didn't have the book I wanted, they had thousands of others and I usually got the book I wanted within days of requesting. I rarely bought books, unless they were very special to me. Why have them taking up space? My husband on the other hand will not read a library book, because as he says, you don't know where the books have been, or to quote him directly, "People like you read the books in the bathroom".

Posted by: Baila | Feb 6, 2008 4:07:27 PM

There is a site bookmooch.com where you can exchange books with other people..

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 6, 2008 4:35:04 PM

eBay is great for buying and selling books.

Posted by: SaraK | Feb 6, 2008 4:45:57 PM

I like http://www.betterworldbooks.com/
Better World Books is an American for-profit social enterprise that collects used books and sells them to raise funding for over 80 non-profit literacy programs. It was founded by Xavier Helgesen, Jeff Kurtzman & Chris "Kreece" Fuchs. Shipping is free within the USA and only $2.97 worldwide. It's a good way to acquire book and it's also a mitzvah.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Feb 6, 2008 7:43:40 PM

"Jack" gets 25 quatloos awarded for the Dewey Decimal stock exchange gag. I LOL'd until I stopped!

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Feb 7, 2008 4:38:38 AM

I won't touch a public library. It works until I discover something particularly old and expensive, then the library mysteriously loses it and accuses me of never having returned it, though I physically check it off my list as it goes into the book drop. Vintage Donald Duck, original print...gone. DVDs? Poof! They were never there. Brought a witness to prove that the thing passed into the slot correctly? They don't care. Handed it directly to the librarian? Nope. I'm not paying anymore fines, thanks.

Funny, I never have that problem with the privately-owned video rental stores. I keep thinking, "If only there were a place that worked like a video rental, but rented books instead." Then they would have no incentive to lose a customer.

Posted by: Mark Patterson | Feb 7, 2008 5:44:44 AM

Woohoo! Quatloos, more than enough to get me a couple of pretty nice things.

Posted by: Jack | Feb 7, 2008 7:50:28 AM

In (a belated) reply to Andy and Dave: It was on an Australia forum actually, link direct to thread is here:
Unfortunately the forum is not viewable to the general public so you'd need to sign up to have a read, probably worth it for the lols though. :)

Posted by: Dean Myers | May 3, 2008 9:12:04 AM

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