I'd like to suggest that the articles for Scouts and similar youth groups also be free. It looks as though that was the case up until about a year ago, but a couple of recent articles on Scouting have been members-only. We're talking public service here! What do you think? Lighten up the kids and there will be a whole new batch of BPL members/customers coming on in a few years!
I'd still like to see "cottage industry" gear reviewed here on a regular basis. It doesn't get reviewed much of anyplace else! If I want a review of a Kelty pack or an REI sleeping bag, I'll go to Backpacker Magazine. I'd like to be able to go to BPL to find out more about the ZPacks Hexamid or the new SMD tents and pack or the new MLD items.
As for the BPL store, I gave up on that about a year and a half ago. I did buy a few things, but mostly it was an exercise in frustration. With big ticket items, I'm willing to wait, but if I want to buy several inexpensive items at the same time to save on postage, I'm out of luck. I never found more than one of the items I wanted in stock at a time.
An opinion you might want to think about, coming from my business background: IMHO, BPL should decide whether its primary business is information or selling gear, and stick with one or the other. At the moment, it appears that both sides are suffering from what may be an incompatible mixture. For one thing, I believe that there is a potential conflict between BPL's gear business and its impartiality in gear reviews (brought up in several prior posts). For another, the staff and software appear to be stretched a bit too thin to handle both. I personally am in favor of the information side (and more of it), but that decision is, obviously, up to the business owners! Maybe you really are making more profit on the store side, and I'm full of it....