BookMooch- An Acceptable Method of Mooching From People You've Never Met.

I’ve been thinking about starting my own little backyard book swap for sometime now. However,with work, the blog and other obligations to myself, I’ve been unable to put anything together in the way of making a dream reality.

In order to get books that were on my most desired list without completely riding myself of all my savings, I searched for sites that would enable users to search for books that they could swap, with little to no charge. I managed to find this list on that offered many alternatives to Amazon, the big name bookstores and the library. (Note: I love the library, but new titles are often reserved for weeks, and even months, on end!) I’ve registered with a few, but I found that BookMooch really met all my needs. I’ve already shipped three books, received two and am currently awaiting two.

Okay, the nitty gritty…

How it works:
BookMooch allows users from all over the world to build inventory lists, and create wish lists, in order to ship and receive books. Each book posted receives a fraction of a point, while confirming that you’ll ship a book (and of course subsequent shipping) earns you one point if the requester is located in the country you reside in. Bonus: International shipping earns you 2 points. Books requested are worth one point (unless they're international requests, 2 points), so once you ship your first book, you’re already eligible to request a book from a user. The site even gives you more credit for posting feedback! 

Popular titles are often times on long waiting lists, but that doesn't mean you won't get what you really want.  Users receive an e-mail notification once a book on their wish list is available on the site. This allows the first person to respond to the e-mail the first opportunity to receive the title. You might wait a while, but so far I’ve lucked out and got some new releases that I really wanted.

What you pay:
Bookmooch offers free membership. You sign up, create a profile and post your inventory of the books you have that are up for grabs. Because books are earned on a point system, the sender and receiver only pay shipping fees and packaging. I sent two books today for a total of 6 dollars, which included shipping plus packaging. That’s pretty nice, considering the book I received last week was going for $15 in bookstores, and around $12 on Amazon!

Judging by the cover:
You generally receive books in almost new condition. Unlike,, which doesn’t allow highlighting, advance reader copies or creased pages/covers to be shipped to other members. BookMooch gives users the opportunity to post the condition of their books, so the user knows exactly what they’ll be receiving. Let’s face it, lots of people, including myself, don’t really care if the book looks mint or not, as long as the pages aren’t missing, falling out or are completely illegible due to writing and highlighting,then why not request a book that’s apparently received a little love.

The folks you meet: 
BookMooch allows you to make a very simple profile, nothing superfluous like facebook, or other large social media sites. This way you can friend individuals that have similar preferences, and those that have given a pleasant transaction. It's another great opportunity to learn more about what you're reading, share opinions and learn about exciting upcoming releases. You can also get valuable tips on how to fully utilize the site from the people you meet. When I first signed up for BookMooch I wasn't exactly sure the exchange would be equal. 

Note: My listed inventory was compiled of many of the most-wished-for-books on the site. That being said, I received requests for all 12 of the books I listed at one time. After the the first couple of days of exploring the site, I found that many books I really wanted weren't available. I didn’t want to be trading out all my great books, only to find that the site wasn’t lending the type of literature I really wanted.
Bottom line: I wasn’t going to pay people to take my books off my hands.

So I asked around. I sent an email to a woman, who was receiving a book from me, asking her what she liked about the site, as she had been a member for over a year. She explained the advantages and disadvantages of the site as a whole, and comparatively, mentioning other swap options. Overall, she really enjoyed BookMooch, and thought that it was a great way to get new used books for almost nothing. Her prompt response and amiable attitude caught me off-guard and could have been the very reason I stuck with the site. 

Point: Stick it out! Share and you'll certainly receive!

Little things that'll make you smile:
Little goodies in the mail. Everyone likes getting special mail. Or I assume so, anyway. And what’s better than a free book and a little handmade note or bookmark to accompany it?! Yes, two users sent me hand written cards; one was in the shape of an old price tag and had a cheerful message of appreciation for the transaction! I’ve been incorporating my own little tiny handmade bookmarks with appreciation messages and sending them to the happy receiver. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to make someone’s day!

Try it out and tell me about it.  I know you won't be disappointed. 

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