Book Rentals Redux

August 7, 2008 at 5:44 pm | Posted in Book Services | 1 Comment

Well, a month has gone by, and I’m continuing my experiment with Paperspine versus BookSwim.  In my experience, the two services are diverging more in what they have to offer.

 

Compare the two side by side.  BookSwim has the splashier web page, more levels of service plans, and – sing hey! – hardcovers as well as paperbacks.  Ah, but there’s more to the picture than that.

 

In my earlier post comparing the two services, I found that I saved more money through BookSwim.  It turns out that part of the savings comes from the service plan I selected.  With either one, the higher level your plan, the more you save.  Comparing 7-at-a-time to 2-at-a-time wasn’t really fair.

 

Paperspine is emerging as my preference.  Their customer service is stellar.  Their shipping turnaround is faster, especially now that they’ve switched to UPS, and they’ve added the option to choose a shipping address.  I’ve gotten my books in the order they appear in my queue, with only one exception so far, and the skipped book showed up in my next shipment.  Best of all, their selection is really broad.  If it’s in paperback, I’ve found that they almost always have it, including some pretty obscure stuff.  When they add hardcovers, they’re going to blow BookSwim out of the water.

 

Now, I still love BookSwim, because I am able to get those pesky new hardcovers so much sooner than waiting 6-12 months on hold at the public library.  But they’re making me pull my hair out over a couple of things.  First, you have to send books back in batches, to save on shipping costs, which is fine.  But in comparison to Paperspine, you spend a lot longer waiting for the shipping turnaround, because you have a stack of already-read books piling up at your house until you reach your minimum to return.  Second, I am still waiting on three of the original seven books from the top of my “pool” over a month and three shipments later.  There’s absolutely no predicting which books you’ll get next, and in fact the service asks you to keep 50 books in your pool at all times.  The other thing has to do with their offer to purchase books that aren’t in their catalogue.  They post their rules for what they’ll buy, but you only find out the last parameter after you’ve requested something that doesn’t qualify: the book has to be ranked better than 50,000 on Amazon.  This is probably why several books suddenly magically disappeared from my rental pool – those rankings change from one day to the next.

 

In practice, here’s how it breaks down.  I got 13 books in one month from BookSwim at $27.99, roughly the cost of a new hardcover.  I got 7 books in one month from Paperspine, at $19.95.  There are two factors to weigh, here: one, the higher the plan the more the savings, and two, renting more books than you can actually read at a time has no cost savings.

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  1. […] How about a “netflix for dvds”? could that work? Saved by jtoledo on Fri 10-10-2008 Book Rentals Redux Saved by seanhorgan on Thu 09-10-2008 Are Book Rental Sites Better than the Library? Saved by […]


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