Red Box Rights & Wrongs from Brian Herzog

http://www.swissarmylibrarian.net/2010/02/23/redbox-rights-and-wrongs

Brian Herzog writes:

I had heard of libraries using both Redbox and Netflix, but never really gave it too much though. So I was kind of surprised at my response to my director:

Maybe this is just a reaction based on the kind of day this has been, but I have mostly negative feelings about this. Based on http://tametheweb.com/2009/07/01/red-box-rentals-at-princeton-public-library/ is seems any money we get is minimal, and I’m always reluctant to give
businesses a green light to target library patrons.

If we did put one of these in, I sincerely hope it wouldn’t mean we’d be buying fewer DVDs and rely on this as a crutch, because just like Rosetta Stone, they can pull out at any time and we’d be left
scrambling to fill the holes in our collection.

Its biggest benefit would be providing patrons access to DVDs 24 hours a day, but it also means patrons have a reason to be at the front door 24 hours a day, doing who knows what – the police department might not like that idea. Then there’s also the patrons who return the RedBox
DVDs in our dropbox, those who put ours into the RedBox, patrons demanding refunds and tech support from the circ desk, blah blah blah.

More reading on this:

I know Conway makes money off our printers and the FaxVend people do too, but RedBox feels way more commercial – like letting a dealership put used cars in our parking lot to make it easier for patrons to shop for cars. Or letting a bookstore set up a table of bestsellers in the lobby and sell books so patrons don’t have to wait on a long reserve list.

I don’t know exactly why I don’t like it, but right now I’m leaning against it – but again, it might just my mood. Blah.

So my question is this: why I am wrong?

I don’t feel like I’m right, because I can see positive aspects to a Redbox being in front of the library (especially for libraries that already charge $1/DVD), and it’s usual for me to be this negative. I don’t think that every new idea or technology has a place in every library, but still, my answer on this surprised me.

So I thought I’d ask the wider library world for your opinions on Redboxes and libraries. Lots of good comments were posted on Tame the Web when Michael talked about this last year, but I’m still not entirely convinced. What do you think?

I’d be very interested in what comments Brian gets as well as hearing from the good folks at PPL – how is it going?

Leslie berger’s comment last year was great:

The decision to go with the RedBox pilot was not driven by the promise of revenue, although any additional revenue these days is a good thing! Offering multiple copies of popular DVDs in an outdoor location, at a low cost (PPL charges for our DVD rentals@ $1/night) means that our customers will have a convenient source of entertainment 24/7. Add to that the ability to re-purpose scarce collection funds to enhance the collection, reduce labor costs in purchasing, processing and handling DVDs, less theft on popular titles and the convenience of returning a movie to any RedBox location and it looks like this could be a winner for everyone. We’re in a six month trial so only time will tell. We’ll keep you posted.

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One thought on “Red Box Rights & Wrongs from Brian Herzog”

  1. One possible problem with the red boxes is Andersen’s Long Tail. You can fit, what, 50 titles in there? If we outsource our highest traffic items, we risk losing the classics, the fringe, the cutting edge. It could be like an insurance company that only serves healthy people. The future is streaming anyway…

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