I just became a Netflix member and purchased a Roku box to stream directly to my TV. Result? I no longer go to my public library for movies. I also recently moved to a town with a very small library that does not get the newest books fast enough, and there is a lovely independent bookstore downtown, so I’m buying books as well. Granted, I donate them to the library after I read them, but I buy them.
What is happening to me? I’ve been a zealously loyal supporter of public libraries since I was big enough to reach the circ desk. But I simply don’t have the patience anymore. As Emily White recently wrote in her controversial blog post on music sharing, I’m willing to pay for convenience. I too yearn for a Netflix/Spotify-like “universal database” of all books, music, and movies – and yes, scholarly journal articles — in one easily accessible place. I don’t need to “own” all this stuff – I just need to be able to access them whenever I like and keep “playlists” of what I love.
I’m ready for the Galactic Library. Whoever can deliver it to me will earn my undivided loyalty, and my dollars.