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Earlier this year we reported on NY-based book rental service BookSwim expanding to textbooks. Today I have another Netflix-style book rental service to check out. It’s called BooksFree (although the books aren’t free) and in addition to renting books, they also rent audiobooks in a monthly format.
Monthly book rental plans start at $9.99 for 2 books at a time (in batches) all the way up to $47.99 for 15 books at a time (which circulate in multiple orders). Basically the $9.99 means you get two books, you send back two and then they send two more. The multiple orders means you can send back one of the two and get one more and never be without a book.
Audiobook CDs and MP3-CDs rental pricing begins at $22.49/month and goes up to $62.49/month. There are also plans that mix books and CDs.
I did notice that their rotating production offering (displayed below) does not actually work – I wonder if they have lost any customers because the "Sign Up" button doesn’t click to anywhere. With the popularity of Twitter, they might look at allowing their customers to tweet which books they have rented.
The Avid Reader blog has a good review of the service. BooksFree notes that their library has over 170,000 total titles for rent. For heavy readers, it looks like a convenient service and you have a better chance of actually receiving the specific book you want unlike the public library. Now if they offered technical books, that’d be hot. Of course those change so often, there’s probably no market for renting developer manuals, etc.