Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"The Expectation Economy"

The February edition of Trendwatching is out, and this sentence immediately caught my eye:

Never before have consumers enjoyed doing research and "competitive analysis" as much as they do now, and doing it far more diligently than most corporations.

One of the hardest changes for librarians to face seems to be that people have choices today. When we had a semi-monopoly on required readings, encyclopedias, back issue magazines, and 16mm films, we could pretty much make and enforce any rules we wanted. Those days are gone forever.


Anonymous said...

Not only are those days gone forever, we are finding it difficult to admit that they left a long time ago! I am saddened by the refusal of many in our profession to look beyond what we currently do and how we meet the needs of today's (and tomorrow's) users.

Laurie Putnam said...

It’s interesting to look at some of the examples in the “Expectation Economy” report:

The DailyLit “offers more than 500 classic and contemporary works free of charge along with a smaller assortment of pay-per-read titles, most of which are priced below USD5. Books are sent by email or RSS in individual installments on the days and times selected by the reader -- for example: every weekday at 7:45 a.m. -- and each installment is small enough to be read in less than 5 minutes. Expectations being set? A ‘snack culture’ that is truly pervasive and cross-industry."


"Gilbarco Veeder-Root's new Applause media system brings the power of Google to gas station customers through a live internet connection. Users view maps on the pump's screen, search Google's local business listings by category (restaurant, hospital, gift shop, etc.), and print easy-to-read driving directions right on the pump's receipt printer. Expectations being set? 'Real world' devices and locations that satisfy rampant ‘infolust.’ "

When users expect ready reference at the gas pump and RSS-fed novels on their cell phones, what does that mean for library services?

People are going to bring their “snack culture” and “infolust” expectations to the library.