Book rental service
Libraries have been lending books to the public for thousands of years. Generally in the US, public libraries are non-profit organizations, offering book lending services free to their patrons and are generally funded through taxes and donations. Private libraries usually require a subscription or membership to the library (paid or unpaid).
Before the industrial revolution, books were too expensive for commoners to buy, and there were businesses which made profit by renting out books for a fee. Kashi-hon in Japan was one of such businesses.
In heavily industrialized nations, for-profit book rental services started to lend physical books, audiobook CDs, and audiobook MP3s through an online (website) interface after popularization of the World Wide Web. Most companies send books to consumers through the mail on an à la carte basis or utilize monthly subscriptions. Following the popular Netflix model for video rental, many book companies have applied features such as unlimited rentals, free shipping, and no late fees to their book distribution services.