Borrowing library books online: establishing demand
This research was commissioned to gauge user reaction to online book lending: the likely price-range different groups may be willing to
pay for the service, preferences in delivery options and a view on likely levels of usage.
This qualitative research involved 220 of whom one third were interested in online book loans.
The essentials for the customer experience to meet expectations included:
- Easy, flexible delivery and pick up mechanism tailored to the needs of the user;
- Reasonable price as the service will be offered to library users accustomed to "free" book borrowing from libraries and to non-users comparing this option to the availability of cheap books in supermarkets, charity shops and online retailers;
- A good range of books, especially re-availability of new books;
- Add on features such as reviews, user-generated content, book clubs, and recommendations.
In order for the concept to work, it must meet the 21st century consumer’s expectations of service, efficiency and innovation. They are accustomed to Amazon, Lovefilm and high quality delivery in book shops. The customer experience needs to reflect those competitors rather than being just an extension of the existing library. This will require new ways of thinking and operating.