netflix for books, Netflix for Books

“Entertainment is fast becoming an all-you-can-eat buffet.”

Netflix for Books

This is according to Raju Mudhar, and he would know as a pop culture junkie and entertainment reporter for the Toronto Star. He has dubbed it the “Netflix effect”1 and it’s changing the way people consume entertainment media.2 The phenomenon has spread from TV shows and movies to music, magazines and books as companies borrow the model to build their business.1

Long before Netflix, however, there was an “all-you-can-eat” for books – the local library.

So how do libraries ensure they’re not missing out on the opportunities provided by this entertainment consumption shift? The answer may lie in the personalised playlists made popular by Netflix.

According to the Netflix Help Centre, they “strive to help [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][users] find a show or movie to enjoy with minimal effort.”3 They do this by providing users with rows of recommended shows, broken down into relevant categories. If libraries can adapt to this model, they may keep members more engaged and coming back for more.

Engagement in action at Cassowary Coast Library

You can see an example of this in the Cassowary Coast Library WebOPAC, which they updated in early February. The beautiful new design contains scrolling carousels of new books, making it easy for members to find something to enjoy. Cassowary Coast Library have their carousel coded to automatically display the new arrivals, but carousels can be coded with other filters, or chosen by hand.


Cassowary WebOPAc Before
Cassowary WebOPAC - Netflix style







They are enjoying the new WebOPAC layout too. The feedback they’ve received, particularly from their younger audience, is that it’s simpler and more logical.

“We have multiple junior staff members who feel the usability is far improved,” said Megan Spagnolo, Library Assistant and LMS Manager. “It’s like it’s what they’re either used to seeing or want to see.”

They have even noticed that in-house the WebOPAC is being used far more than it was previously.

“It just grabs you,” she said.

According to Megan, the update was easy too. All Cassowary Coast Library had to do was select what they wanted from a list of options presented by LIBERO’s Web Designer.

“Dealing with the LIBERO team to make this major change was pretty typical to what we’ve come to expect of them, second to none. I told them what I wanted, and I got it. Overall it has been a fantastic experience.”

Find out more

The LIBERO WebOPAC is easy to update. If you would like to talk about upgrading your WebOPAC let us know at

Going forward, the LIBERO WebOPAC is going to have even more member engaging functionality, so stay tuned.

If you’re interested in carousels and how they can build up your borrowing, customers can join us for a live discussion on Netflix-style carousels in our April LIBERO TV. We’ll be showcasing a few new carousel styles along with tips on how you can build multiple lists of interest from new books and special collections to top loans, reserves or best sellers.

1. Mudhar, R. (2013). The Netflix-ication of all media. The Star.
2. McDonald, K & Smith-Rowsey D. (2016). The Netflix Effect: Technology and Entertainment in the 21st Century.
3. Netflix Help Center

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