Friday, October 19, 2007

Mooching books has never been easier

The source of today's post is again the New York Times, where I find new treasures every day. This time it's BookMooch, an online community for exchanging used books.

Joanne Kaufman wrote last Monday on the NYT ('Clear the Bookshelf and Fill It Up Again, All Online') about BookMooch, " a book-swapping Web site created a year and a half ago by John Buckman, a bibliophile who describes himself as a “wealthy ex-dot-com person.”"

The concept is very simple - BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want. Buckman created a system based on points, where according to the site "every time you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch. Once you've read a book, you can keep it forever or put it back into BookMooch for someone else, as you wish." And yes, it's totally free.

Book swapping is a great concept: you can find books you are looking for at no cost, give books you want others to enjoy and of course benefit the environment. It's the same idea as with library - maximizing the usage of every printed book minimizes the need to print new ones and saves many trees from being cut down.

Don't get me wrong - we don't want people to stop buying new books, but as long as books are printed mostly from virgin paper, we would like to see maximum usage for each printed copy. Therefore, we think the concept of book swapping is definitely a way to green up on your reading and make it more sustainable.

BookMooch is not the only book swapping website (The list includes also SwapTree.com, TitleTrader.com, SF-Books.com, tbxn.com for textbooks and others), but what differentiates BookMooch from the others is according to Buckman " its neighborly feel. “If someone has been especially nice, very explicit about the condition of the books they’ve sent out, you can give them a ‘smooch,’ which is an anonymous thank-you gift of one of your points,” he said. Members can also donate their points to selected charities — New Orleans libraries, for example, which are restocking their shelves in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.""

BookMooch looks like a great website, we recommend to check it out. I haven't used it yet, but I intend to do so in the near future. I won't be there alone it has already 40,000 members around the world and according to Buckman, who by the way runs BookMooch by himself, 300 new people are joining every day. Participants The “library” has some 750,000 titles, and Buckman estimates it will hit one million by the end of December.

Enjoy BookMooch,

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

4 comments:

Tina said...

Bookmooch is great, but given that i have kids who also have dvds, cds and video games we have been loving www.swaptree.com, which allows you to do all 4 media types.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'll second that.

The NYTimes did the story on the wrong site. Swaptree.com (with their complex multi-way trade algorithms) are the folks that's built something innovative.

RAnn said...

Yea, but Swaptree is too complex for my tastes. I suspect that's necessary with higher-value items like video games, but used books aren't worth much and being able to "mooch" what I want when I see it is much nicer than having to create this giant wishlist and hope something matches.

Anonymous said...

Remember Your Local Used Bookstore, Too!

BookMooch is a great idea, but please remember your local used bookstore, too!

When you buy from your local used bookstore, quite often the prices you will pay for the book in the used bookstore will be comparable to or cheaper than the prices that would be paid for posting a book. Plus, you will have the book in your hand much sooner than if you would if you participate in a book-trading website.

In addition, you will have the fun of finding other books that you may have forgotten about and books you have hunted for for a long time. Also, many used bookstores have a trade policiy that allows for the trading of books for the ones you want.

Finally, you will help keep your local used bookstore, a green place of business, stay in business!