Netflix for Books

The tweet that spawned this post

The tweet that spawned this post

Netflix in case you haven’t heard of it is system whereby you give them money and they send you movies by mail that you can keep for as long as you want. No late fees, no extra charges on your account. Mail back the movie in their pre-paid envelope and a new movie is on your doorstep, in a few days.

What makes Netflix stand out against any other system with the same feature set is their super intelligent prediction system. After you view a movie, they ask you to rank it on a scale of 1-5 stars, and over time they make guesses what you would like to watch.

As a side note, Netflix just finished a campaign gathering independent teams to compete for a $1 million to beat their internal algorithm by 10% or better. While it doesn’t sound that hard, it took a long time before a team was able to be declared the winner.

What I really want I realized tonight, is a throw back to my days as a kid and visiting the library but modernized. I loved checking out and renting all those books that I would never have been able to afford to buy (and still wouldn’t). I read a lot back in the day and checked out so many books for pretty much a single reason, about 1/4 of the books just weren’t worth my time to read and would go by the wayside.

Applying Netflix or Amazon’s prediction algorithms to my reading list and let me put books in a queue to rent, add in Netflix’s keep out for as long as needed and deliver when available electronic copies of a book when available and I would be in heaven.

The idea is purely stolen from Netflix, but the majority of what is needed Amazon already has:

  • Relationship with publishers — √
  • Storage facilities and mailing system for fast delivery of books — √
  • Electronic version of books — √
  • Software and delivery platform for these ebooks — √
  • Queue of books to read – that’s a sorta they’ve got the Wish List but it’s for items to buy little bit of work and converted, better than half way there
  • Rating system — √
  • Prediction algorithms — another mostly there, their algorithms are good but sometimes get fooled by stuff that you buy on a one shot deal

Get working Amazon (or anybody for that matter) and I’ll sign up and buy more books in the process.


One response to “Netflix for Books”

  1. […] an update on my idea for a Net­flix type sys­tem for books. I real­ized while dis­cussing the idea with fam­ily mem­bers over the week­end that there is […]

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