Friday, July 15, 2011

Book Rentals

At some point I realized I was spending a huge amount of money on books, mainly because I live some distance from a good library and even that library was limited in what they had available in YA books. So I was stuck running out of shelf space and money until I stumbled across book rentals. Working something like Netflix, there are several different book rentals to choose from. I've tried 4 different ones. Paperspine is no longer in operation, so I'm only going to mention them in passing.

A book rental works by sending a shipment of books with a return mailer. Depending what plan you have you keep so many books and return them in shipments of two or three (depending on plan) after you finish them. There are no due dates or shipping fees, only the monthly rental fee (which go from 10 to 50 dollars depending on the plan).


I've belonged to this site for several years.

-Very professional looking. Books pop up with pictures of the cover and summaries when you hover the cursor over any books you might be browsing.

-Fairly quick turn around rate. They've lost relatively few of my orders over the years and after two weeks you can claim missing orders.

-Their queue ordering system is very easy to use and depending on the plan you have you can organize so that some books aren't shipped before others and also there is a feature that lets you include a book with low availability in a shipment after so many weeks.

-Book availability is shown in the queue so you know if something has high, medium or low availability.

-They only have paperbacks

-Their YA section got a bit screwed up when they revamped the layout and some things are hard to find in that section only

-Their YA section is probably their weakest selection wise


I no longer use this one, not only because it was more expensive, but also because of their service.

-They carry hardcover and textbooks

-The site is very professionally done and looks nice

-Their shipping as extremely slow and they lost several orders within a short amount of time.

-They really have very limited selection, basically only best sellers

Gilded Books

I've used this site the least amount of time, a little over a year, and they've been very nice.

-Huge selection of hardcover and paper back (the hardcover plans cost a little more)

-Their YA selection is extremely good. Any newly released book will be available.

-Their shipping speed is probably the fastest of any I've tried.

-Their customer service is very nice

-Their site is the least professional looking and you can't see book covers

-You need to know what you're looking for as their browsing options are hard to use

-They don't have many books released a long time ago

-They don't have an availability notification, so books are sometimes a crapshoot being sent from your queue depending on the availability. This is really no different from any of the other sites, but you can't tell whether something is high availability or low

Of the rentals I have used, Gilded Books is my favorite, mainly because they have so much accessibility to new hardcover releases and their YA section is so huge. I use it by going through what the book releases are for the week, looking them up on the site and adding them too my queue. My end conclusion is this:

If you know what you're looking for and want the best selection of YA books, Gilded Books is the best. If you like browsing for books and want a wide selection of older books and different genres, you probably want Booksfree. I use both, mainly because Booksfree has a higher volume plan and I can rent more at a time.

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