Monday, September 24, 2007

The Five Dollar Flash Drive


I had meant to share this before, so this will be a quick post. I had mentioned in my post about "10 Ways to Hack your Local Library"that we sell flash drives for $5.

For some time, our patrons have had problems saving documents to our computers. They were under the impression that if they saved the document to the desktop, that it would be there when they returned. We began to sell floppy and CD-RW discs, but this created another problem. Some of our computers have floppy drives and some do not. The floppy drive is now an upgraded piece of hardware. As a result, some computers have a cd burner and a floppy drive, some have one, and some have the other. To solve both issues, library staff suggested to only allow flash drives on the computers and to lock up the floppy and cd burner drives. This seemed a bit severe, but I understood why the extreme move. Patrons do not know which computers had floppy or cd available, so just enabling a flash drive seemed like a viable option. However, the technology was not readily available or affordable in town.

Now, I am the type of person that is reluctant to cut off a service that people need. Certainly when cost is a factor. In order to solve the problem, I decided the library should sell flash drives to the public. I remember that Webjunction gave away flash drives as a promotion. They weren't that big, usually 128 mb, but it was a neat marketing trick. They can provide something useful, but it also has their logo and information on it. 128mb isn't much for someone like me, but for the public, it is a huge improvement.

My task was to find a way to order affordable flash drives, that had a good amount of memory, and had the library logo on it.
I found one


Just to be straight, I am going to plug the company that provided the drives. They gave me a good deal and it is a great service.


http://www.allmemoryupgrades.com/customusb.htm

sales@allmemoryupgrades.com

Here are the rates
Capacity 25 50 100 250 500 More
64MB $17.00 $9.50 $8.50 $7.75 $6.50 Contact us
128MB $18.00 $10.00 $9.00 $8.50 $7.75 Contact us
256MB $19.00 $11.00 $10.50 $10.00 $9.50 Contact us
512MB $21.00 $15.00 $14.25 $13.00 $11.75 Contact us
1GB $25.00 $18.00 $17.00 $16.00 $14.00 Contact us
2GB $33.00 $27.00 $26.00 $25.00 $23.00

We started off with an order of 250 at 256mb. They gave us a deal for $5 each. They even go up to 8GB. You can customize them too, so your library logo and information is on the memory stick. I ordered 250 that I received August 1st, I have 50 left now.

Once we had the drives and advertised them, it spread like wildfire. Even the local schools are telling their students to buy the flash drives at the library. Patrons are buying them four at a time. Some people are coming in JUST TO GET THE FLASH DRIVES.

So I have been able to provide a resource to the community, without cutting off an essential service, plus I have word of mouth marketing that anyone would kill for. Just think of this story:

"I went to plug in my flash drive on my work computer when my co-worker asked what that was. I told her that it was a flash drive that the library is selling. (She holds up the flash drive that has the library logo and url.) Co-worker says "Wow, I didn't know libraries did that."

Next stop for her was the library.

5 comments:

Paul Capewell said...

Brilliant story. We sell flash drives too, but not branded, and seemingly, only 512MB upwards. Personally, I can see the benefit in selling 128MB or 256MB drives, because these are easily affordable if need be, and when you are dealing with stuff that you would otherwise store on a floppy disk or email to yourself, they are hundreds of times more than large enough. But for more power users like you or I, we also have the 1GB drives.

I like the idea of branded drives though, I'll have to look into a British service that does that.

Paul Capewell said...

Brilliant story. We sell flash drives too, but not branded, and seemingly, only 512MB upwards. Personally, I can see the benefit in selling 128MB or 256MB drives, because these are easily affordable if need be, and when you are dealing with stuff that you would otherwise store on a floppy disk or email to yourself, they are hundreds of times more than large enough. But for more power users like you or I, we also have the 1GB drives.

I like the idea of branded drives though, I'll have to look into a British service that does that.

Jeff Scott said...

I figured more libraries were doing this. You are correct, the storage is low so that the drives can be cheaper. We advertise the drives as having the storage equivalent of 88 floppy disks. The brand thing is pretty cool too.

bookish desi said...

What a fabulous idea!

mary louise said...

Hi nice article....you guys did a great job. ....thanks for sharing..
  Promotional Flash Drive