Acasă Articole RTR Making Sense of Bookster: A Commercial Rental Library and Public Libraries in...

Making Sense of Bookster: A Commercial Rental Library and Public Libraries in Romanian Capitalist Realism


Abstract: This article employs Mark Fisher’s concept of capitalist realism to frame a discussion about the neoliberalisation of Romanian librarianship. Bookster, a Romanian online rental library that mainly services corporate employees and often advertises itself as public library, is taken here as a case study. Capitalist realism is reinforced in this particular case by the fact that a private, profit-driven company successfully assumes the identity of a public library, even mediating book rentals between state libraries and the platform’s own end-users. On the other hand, librarianship as academic discipline has distanced itself from the idea of the library (undergoing rebranding as ‘information science’), while public libraries in Romania and all over the world have been subjected to the most drastic neoliberal policies of commodification and privatization. This dynamic ultimately paints the very picture of capitalist realism, implying that the private sector alone is capable of successfully running libraries.

Keywords: neoliberalism, commodification, privatization, libraries, librarianship, platform capitalism


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