7 reasons NOT to create a Blue-Ray collection in your #library

Blue-Ray formatted discs are cool and many of the patrons in our libraries are asking for them. But it’s my opinion that there are quite a few problems with creating a blue ray collection in your Library. To explain why, I came up with seven reasons not to purchase Blue-Ray format discs in libraries.

Compatibility
1) Blue-ray players are backwards compatible with DVDs, but DVD players will not play blue-rays.

Patron Investment
2) If you invest in blue-ray discs, the investment for the patron is that they need to have a blue-ray player to access your collection. Also, to really gain a value in quality for a blue-ray player, a person must also purchase a Hi-Definition television. I don’t think there is yet a critical mass of patrons with both a Blue-Ray player and a Hi-Def television to necessitate a Blue-Ray collection. However, as DVDs, players, and televisions have become fairly ubiquitous there typically is no new investment needed for the patron by only providing a DVD format.

Added Value
3) Blue-ray DVDs don’t really add anything to the value of the information contained in the item. For example, a documentary on Sharks is still the same documentary in Blue-Ray as it is in the original DVD format. In other words the quality of the information doesn’t improve with the increased number of pixels.

Exclusivity
4) There is yet to be a significant number of films that are only provided in the Blue-ray format. Typically, if it’s available in Blue-ray, it’s also available in DVD and the DVDs can be played on a patron’s Blue-ray player.

Longevity
5) What is the Blue-Ray format longevity? I’m not sure, but it seems to me that we are going to pass over Blue-Ray fairly quickly and we are fast moving towards movies on demand via computer downloads and cable networks. (I can’t remember the last time I purchased a physical copy of a movie in any format) In these cases, an even higher quality film can be provided digitally as the amount of information is not limited to the space available on a Disc nor would a person have to worry about scratches or other damages to the disc.

Cost
6) The cost of a Blue-Ray disc is still much higher than the cost of a DVD.

Durability
7) Blue-Ray discs don’t solve the fundamental problem with discs and that is that discs scratch, warp, crack, get dirty and otherwise become unreadable with the severe treatment of them from our patrons. This means that replacement and maintenance costs will be dramatically increased with the new format.

So, if it were my decision (luckily, it’s not my decision in my current position) I would hold off on purchasing Blue-Ray DVDs unless you are in an area with a patron demographic that has the investment capital to purchase the resources necessitating blue-ray format movies (player and television), or the Blue-ray format price comes down and a critical mass of people starting using the format exclusively as happened with the switch from VHS to DVD, or movies become available only in the Blue-Ray format. Except for the “cool” factor I don’t see much added value for the library with the inclusion of such a costly collection. Of course, I could be wrong. What do you think?

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About pcsweeney

Currently, I'm the Branch Manager of the East Palo Alto Library in California. If you find yourself to be extremely bored (and would like to be more bored) you can find all of my internet mind droppings about libraries by googling pcsweeney.
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13 Responses to 7 reasons NOT to create a Blue-Ray collection in your #library

  1. astro2point0 says:

    you forgot the customer confusion issue. they check them out and don’t know that they don’t work on their DVD player. or they request them from the catalog and think they’re requesting a standard DVD.

  2. Melissa says:

    Thanks for posting your thoughts. I am doing a project for my MLIS where we can decide how to spend a one time chunk of $ – the upkeep and continued lack of durability you pointed out made me rethink a suggestion to add Blue-Ray to the collection. Thx!

  3. Michael says:

    This is a terrible article. First of all, the technology is called “Blu-Ray”, not “Blue Ray”, so you come across as uninformed from the get go.

    1) If you don’t have a blu-ray player you shouldn’t buy blu-rays, but that is obvious. If you do though, it is a considerable upgrade.

    2) While it isn’t yet time to run out and upgrade your library to blu-ray, when purchasing new titles, it makes sense to get the newer format that IS the new standard.

    3) Blu-rays do bring added value, as they are higher quality picture and sound, and typically provide more “bonus material”

    4) As it is still a transition period, there is still a choice

    5) The blu ray format supports up to 100 gigabytes of data on a disc. Given a standard DSL connection of 3Mbps, it would take near 100 hours to download that much data, not quite a possibility for streaming yet.

    6) Blu-ray costs are now comparable to DVDs, slightly higher, but I’ve been purchasing many for 9.99 and new releases for under 20 (comprable to a dvd) on amazon.com.

    7) Blu-rays are fundamentally stronger than DVDs, the have a harder coating over the data layer. While they are still subjet to the treatment of the user, they are better than DVDs.

    Do a little research before you go discrediting good technology.

    • pcsweeney says:

      Thank you Michael! I love that fervor :) Keep it up, you’re the reason that the Internet is awesome.

      1) Yeah I mispelled Blu-Ray. Whats up with that? I even knew that it was spelled Blu-Ray and not Blue-Ray. Stupid Word spell-checker

      2) This is about Libraries creating a Blu-Ray collections, not individuals. Maybe I didn’t say the word library often enough in the article, nor do I have enough links to other librarian blogs, nor does my resume and my about me page and my other posts mention libraries enough to make it clear? I’ll work on that.

      3) There absolutely is a benefit to individuals, and I have used blu-ray players and I loved it so I’m not discrediting a good technology. I just don’t think that their application within library collections is a good policy at this point.

      4) Remember Laserdiscs? Those were awesome! You know how many libraries spent thousands of dollars on Laserdisc collections? Could have been spent better somewhere else is all I’m sayin.

      Thanks for your comment!

      • Martin Gasman says:

        LaserDisc failed because high percentage were defective.
        Price of disks was also too expensive. Players were too big and too heavy.
        Libraries that invested in disks weren’t a total loss as owners of players were able to borrow this material for as long as library offered and people retained players.

  4. Lakotnik says:

    You made some big missinterpreations in your article.

    FULL HD or TRUE HD are supported by all the LCD and plasma screens you buy today. Sticking with DVD when you have True HD or even FULL HD is like using VCR on old school TV.

    There is no price diference between DVD and Blu-Ray discs and also Blu-Ray players prices have droped to comparable prices.

    If you already have a large DVD colection it is questionable if its worth upgrading it changing everything to Blu-Ray, but the is absoutly NO reason not to buy new releases on Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray is backward compatible so it is no problem to keep your old colection.

    Same goes for people just starting to buy technology.

    The debate you opened was interesting 3 years ago when Blu-Ray and HD-DVD were competing for the market. Now its obvious that both computer and movie industry accepted blu-ray as a next step after DVD.

    Claiming that shark documentary gives you the same information on DVD and Blu-ray is absurd. Then we could remain on VHS and still get the same content.

    Regards

    • pcsweeney says:

      Thanks Lakotnik,

      I’m fascinated how many people are in so much of a uproar over this article!

      ok, so… You’re making some points here but really I have no idea what points you’re refuting so there’s going to be some assuming on my part. Please excuse me.

      Using blu-ray on a regular TV versus HD quality television. You’re right. However, in many communities, not enough users have HD quality televisions to make it a necessary addition to the collection because they wouldn’t be able to gain anything from a higher quality format because they still have “old school televisions”

      I just looked up a number of blu-ray DVDs on amazon there definitely is a price difference of (typically) around 5 dollars. Libraries are buying thousands of DVDs thus making a purchase price difference of tens of thousands of dollars, thus again making their purchase prohibitive.

      Blu-ray players are backward compatible but DVD players are not forward compatible. So if a patron has a DVD player and we only have the blu-ray version of a movie, then they can’t use the collection. As I said before- in many communities there aren’t enough HD televisions/blu-ray players to make a blu-ray collection necessary. Look-up the term “critical mass” as it pertains to the economy, not bikes.

      Yes, both the Computer and Movie industry both accept blu-ray as the industry standard, its my theory that it won’t last and as broadband and highspeed internet become the norm we will move towards completely on-demand or down-loadable video. We won’t need discs. (kinda like the music industry)

      Claiming that you get different information from different formats is absurd. Either you don’t know what the word information means, or you didn’t read that point in my post. If I have the same documentary about sharks on VHS, DVD, and blu-ray will one say that sharks swim, one that they fly and one that they run on two legs? No, the information on the video is exactly the same (because its the same video), only the picture quality has improved. Not the content. However, one could argue that the special features on disc formats would add content but I don’t think that was the point you were making here.

      thanks

  5. tam says:

    Er …. sorry what? Have you tried to seriously watch a program that is disctributed over a stream? One byte missing here and there makes the high definition image unwatchable on a HD ready TV (that only the 720p version for you who are not used to a computer screen resolution; so quite on the low end of the scale). I have been using media streaming on a network just to try a novelty and there is so much work for distribution over the internet before it can realistically be sold to the general public that has already been sold to all those shiny new flat LCD/LED panel. Getting a low quality input is just not something you wants. And the cost of a BlueRay player is just ridiculously low compared to the one we had 10 years ago with the DVD. So Maybe you are relunctant for other reasons (like 3D films to be released when the hardware will be ready). But new film on BlueRay + Full HD (1080p) TV and you have a wonderfull time forgetting you are at home and can actually stop the film/documentary when ever you feel like it. DVD doesn’t feel the same after that (that would be a reason not to buy into BlueRay in the first place :p).

    Tam

  6. there are bargain dvd players that are sold in our area. i think they are generic low cost dvd players `,;

  7. Advisor says:

    Bunch of lame uneducated guesses.
    This article is a pie of rubbish and should be removed from Internet.
    BlueRay is mor ereliable, adds hard-coating and author actually sounds like a full-blown LUDDITE.

  8. Hola says:

    wow you were just a little wrong several years back, right?

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