Libraries See Pros -- and Cons -- With Amazon's New Programs


Following up on our announcement last week of new library services offered by, here's a discussion in The Book Standard on what the new program means to libraries. The article speculates on whether librarians will turn to for services that they currently get from companies like Baker & Taylor and Follett.

Author Kimberly Maul invites you to add your two bits via e-mail.


"Participating in the Amazon program 'requires setting aside a range of your barcode numbers so you don't duplicate numbers,' Hancock said, 'and you have to fill out paperwork to make certain they use the correct barcode format. It's more trouble than it's worth.'"

This is seriously an issue? This must take, what, 15 minutes at most?

Amazon's new services to libraries stuck a chord with me -- or more accurately, perhaps, the individual notes had been ringing in my head for a number of months now and it took this announcement by Amazon to pull it all together into (potentially) sweet harmony. It is a tune I've called "Just in Time Acquisitions versus Just in Case Acquisitions." This isn't to say that Amazon has to be a key player in scheme I describe, but knowing about how Amazon seeks efficiencies in processing the selection, purchase, receiving, cataloging, processing, and shipping of their own operation lead me to think about potentially (there's that word again) similar efficiencies in the library community.

What of a service existed where the patrons selected an item they needed out of our library catalog and that item was delivered to the patron even when the library did not yet own the item? Would that be useful? With the growth of online bookstores, our users do have the expectation of finding something they need on the web, clicking a few buttons and having it delivered. When such expectations of what is possible exist, where is the first place a patron would go to find recently published items — the online bookstore or their local library catalog? Does your gut tell you it is the online bookstore? Would it be desirable if the patron's instinct were to be the local library catalog?

Interested? Read the rest of "Just In Time Acquisitions versus Just In Case Acquisitions" (reading time is approximately 6 minutes, 3 seconds for 1511 words).

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