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Brier Dudley's Blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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December 4, 2007 5:23 PM

Ex-Origami manager starts "Netflix for books"

Posted by Brier Dudley

After 10 years at Microsoft, recently on the "Origami" ultra-mobile PC project, Dustin Hubbard started a book rental service called Paperspine.

The company, which launched last week and announced its debut with a press release today, charges a monthly fee to rent books from its library of 150,000-plus books.

Hubbard's comment from the release:

"We believe we can revolutionize the book industry by offering the convenience of the Internet with the borrowing system long used by local libraries. As a Netflix customer and avid reader, I thought the same model could work for books."

Books are ordered from its Web site and sent with return shipping mailers.

"Not only will you be saving money, you'll reduce BCS (Book Clutter Syndrome) around your house," the site says.

The base plan is $9.95 and lets users have two books out at a time and charges $1.49 shipping per book. At $14.95 a month, shipping is free, and other plans range to $24.95.

Maybe there's a market among avid readers, but not in my house of public library fanatics.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.