Saturday, 24 October 2009

LoveBooks (tm) - Elen Caldecott

We have just joined LoveFilm. For years, the ‘first month free’ leaflet has been ruthlessly recycled along with all the other junk mail. But this month, we thought ‘why not? Everyone else in the world seems to like it.’

For those of you who don’t know, the premise is straightforward. LoveFilm hold a huge catalogue of films; you keep a list of the ones you’re interested in. They send you one film from your list. You keep it until you’ve watched it, then return it. Repeat as necessary. So far, we have watched Waltz With Bashir and the first two episodes of Thick Of It.

What has this got to do with books?
It must have something to do with books, surely, this is a book blog after all.

It occurred to me that LoveBooks could be a grand idea, should any of the Dragons' Den crew be reading this just now. Think about it. You keep a list as long as your arm with your local library, add any titles who jib you find to be cut attractively. Maybe they are recommended by a friend, or you read a review in Books for Keeps, or maybe Mariella interviewed the author while you peeled spuds on a Sunday evening. When a library copy of the book comes free – and here’s the bit I like – the library send it to you. You keep it until you’ve finished, then post it back.
This scheme (I have it all planned out, you see) runs separate to your regular library card. You can still wander on up and load a shopping trolley full of Stephen King and Marian Keyes to your heart’s content. But, for the more difficult books, by new authors perhaps, or worthy prize winners, or ones that are just unlucky enough to have an ugly cover, LoveBooks could make it easier for you to take the plunge. After all, I work in a cinema that showed Waltz With Bashir for weeks and I didn’t go and see it. It was something to do with Middle Eastern Politics and an Oscar nomination that put me off, I am a bit of a chicken sometimes. I like romcoms, what can I say? It took someone posting me a copy to make me sit down and watch it. And I enjoyed it. Immensely.

Would I love this year’s Booker shortlist as much? I don’t know, I haven’t read any of them. But LoveBooks could put me right. I’d pay £3.91 a month for that. So, Theo Paphitis, if you’re reading this, get your people to ring my people and we’ll talk turkey (what on earth does that mean? Anyone know?).
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Nicola Morgan said...

Hi Elen
Actually, although it's not called lovebooks (because that's the name of an existing company doing something different - publishing, I think), the book equivalent of Lovefilm already exists (or maybe not launched yet?). I can't remember what it's called but I was in a meeting where we discussed it about a year ago. I am sure someone can tell us the name before I have to grovel around in google... Anyone?

It IS a good idea, isn't it? My film buff daughter loved Lovefilm. She even paid the sub herself out of pocket money!

Elen Caldecott said...

If anyone does know the schemes name, please tell me!
Thanks, Nicola, you font of knowledge, you!

adele said...

Sorry to sound like a real wet blanket, but you can go into your local library with a list and order any book you like. They send you an email when it's in and you go and get it and take it back in the normal way. I've got three on order right now...the new Niffenegger, the new Jane Gardam and something I've forgotten I ordered. And it's all free! I'm not sure postmen would be in favour of a love film type postal scheme either...aren't they complaining about all the weight they have to carry? DVDs are much lighter and can be pushed through letter boxes.
Forgive me for this negative view...happy to be shot down in flames from objectors.

Anne said...

I take your point Adele but we are bookphiles and we'll go any distance to get the book we want. What about the non reader who gives up at the first hurdle. It occurs to me that this could very well be the use for the new sony reader (whatever it's called). Books don't fit through letter boxes but discs do. Maybe this is a way of extending the reading public (teenage boys, choosing books that come ythrough the post and can be read on a screen?)

Elen Caldecott said...

I love the ebook take on the idea, Anne! Perhaps an e-lending library would email (a drm protected) copy of your reservations? Cool.

And, Adele, I do have a lot of books on my reservation list at the library (50p a go with my lot, which is still pretty reasonable), but as I have a day job I don't always make it to the library in the ten days they hold them for me. What I'd really like is for the books to come to me! Borderline lazy, if not actual lazy, I know. Still, I can dream!

Meg Harper said...

Abz, Elen! I am the most useless library user! If I can manage to get there to get the books out, I can't manage to get them back without fines! The idea that books are delivered and I can just post them back is delicious! But the weight would be the problem - you couldn't have a standard postage package to send them in. So maybe the e-idea is the way forward!

Having said all that, I have quite enough unread books sitting around waiting to be read as it is! The great thing about Lovefilm is I can watch the lovely movies and iron at the same time!!! Now maybe I need LoveAudioBook - they'd be easily postable etc etc. Now does that exist please, Nicola? (aka fount of all book knowledge)