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Libraries: a bigger source of DVDs than Netflix

July 30, 2010 |  7:00 am

Librarybargains

Once upon a time, libraries were a place for books. A Netflix representative said just that -- "I think of libraries as places for books" -- but that, apparently, is now a minority perspective. According to a survey by the Online Computer Library Center, more people get DVDs from libraries than from Netflix, and more than Blockbuster and Redbox combined.

Consumerist reports the survey's numbers: Every day, public libraries loan out 2.1 million DVDs, slightly more than Netflix's 2 million daily rentals.

Does this mean the end for libraries? Will DVDs crowd out books? Will readers abandon libraries' print offerings for filmed entertainment?

Probably not. Under other economic circumstances, the DVD rental figures might be taken as another herald of the death of print culture. But these days, borrowing movies from the library is a smart way to save money.

On her blog The Frugal Diva, Susan Kessler recently wrote, "I live in Los Angeles and the public libraries have provided me with reading material, books on CD, magazines, and fantastic DVDs including Louis Malle documentaries and 'The Simpsons Movie.'"

Librarians are smart to have stocked their shelves with DVDs in addition to books. As Kessler's comment -- and pile of loot, above -- attests, she picks up reading materials with her watching materials.

Which reminds me; I've got some "True Blood" DVDs the library is going to want back sometime soon.

-- Carolyn Kellogg
twitter.com/paperhaus

Photo: Susan Kessler, the Frugal Diva, with bargain buys and library rentals. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times



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