For every 10 books you say you are willing to trade, you get one free book credit. This has to be done because you can’t get books until you start sending out books. If you did not get this one credit free, no one could get started. The site is only about six weeks old. According to the podcast, they had 60,000 books after just three weeks on line! They have just under 80,000 as of this writing. See their stats page for information.
First you put up your books for trade and then when someone wants one, you ship it out to them. You get credit for the ones you ship out. Then you can request a book in return. The difference between this and other services like it is that you are not trading your collection to another specific person that you are getting books from. I may have books you want, but you have nothing that interests me. Book Mooch eliminates that problem by giving you credit for each one you send. Then you request a book from anyone’s list of books. You cannot buy credit. This keeps the money out of it.
Book Mooch is a company designed by John Buckman, the same man who created Magnatune and Lyris. Because his other companies have been huge successes, anything he touches seems to create a buzz. That would explain why 60,000 books were available for trade after just 3 weeks. Also, because Mr. Buckman has made his money, Book Mooch has no real business model. They don’t have to make money on this website. It is a philanthropic venture for him. I am sure it will be bought out at some point by some company who wants to monetize the site, but right now it is pretty benign.
While looking through Book Mooch, I saw there were links to Library Thing. For the purpose of Book Mooch, it is a site that they can link to for further book information (they also link to Amazon book information). People who own the books write reviews and show what other books they own in the same category.
Library Thing’s main niche, however is creating personal library catalogues for its users. You can enter the books you own and, based on your obvious interests, you can get other book recommendations. It is very similar to what Amazon does with your searches and purchases. But you don’t have to buy the book from Amazon to get the use of this feature. You can input any book you own. From their site you can swap books as well using different book swapping services. Of course, Book Mooch is one of them.
I have not signed up for either of these services. Though I think they are both very useful, I personally don’t have a need yet. Most of my books were left back in the US. The books I currently have with me are precious to me. Therefore I am not interested in trading them.
Because I have not signed up with Library Thing, I am not sure if it does one of the great features that I would love to see. When I loan out a book, I would like to be able to put in the date and note the person to whom I loaned the book. Then I would know who has my books and I can hound them appropriately until I get my books back. Or maybe even have a friendly email reminder sent to the person every couple of weeks until the book is returned.
If anyone knows of a book cataloging site that allows me to do that, I would appreciate you leaving a comment.