Libraries look to go the Redbox way

A Redbox video rental kiosk sits in front of a gas station in San Rafael, Calif.

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JEREMY HOBSON: Earnings are out today from Coinstar. Redbox is the company Coinstar owns, and it's been adding thousands of those red DVD rental kiosks every month. So earnings are expected to be up from last year. And the distribution model is now attracting interest from public libraries. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: So I'm outside a 7-11 near my office. The Redbox vending machine says "$1 DVD Rentals." Swipe my card, pick a title, and go from there.

Molly Wood: So it's even more convenient than something where the DVDs come in the mail because it's sort of instant gratification.

That's CNET editor Molly Wood and she says vending machines are a natural fit for public libraries. Borrowers will jump at a service as convenient as Redbox and free.

Libraries in Florida and Arizona are doing it. In Chicago, the library's exploring the idea of kiosks in transit stations, says spokeswoman Ruth Lednicer.

Ruth Lednicer: You have kind of bestsellers, maybe some music CDs or some DVDs. You use your library card to swipe and then you return it to any of the branches.

CNET's Molly Wood would add one more thing:

Wood: A USB interface and so you could plug in a Kindle or an iPad and download a digital book or check out a physical book. That would seem to be the killer app.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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