Sunday, February 24, 2008

Big Reading, Small Budget

Have you heard it of? If you like to read, you might have seen articles that have been written about it. And if you've heard of it, I urge you to join.

Not a book club. It's more of a book swapping club. And I must say, it's fantastic.

Here's how it works: It's a network of readers. Free to join. You list all the books that you are willing to part with. For every book added into your inventory, you receive a tenth of a point. So to start things off, you need to at least add ten books if you want to start getting books from others right away. When someone wants something in your inventory, a request is sent. The request costs them one point and you receive their point. Once you receive and accept the request, you wrap up the book(s) and pay for postage. Within the U.S. for media mail, it costs about $2.13. Some of the lighter trade paperbacks are light enough that first class mail might be cheaper. But generally, it's $2.13 for media and the weight requirement is sometimes enough to mail out two paperbacks for the same price as one. The only money you spend is postage. And that's basically it.

There are some other facets of the system: Every time you receive a book successfully, once you leave feedback, you receive another tenth of a point. That's a great bonus with the system. Other members can see and therefore choose accordingly whom to mooch from based on the point system. And since members receive an extra tenth of a point for acknowledging the receive, it guarantees feedback will be given. Unlike eBay where feedback is just good conduct, here on BookMooch, it's in the best interest of both parties to utilize the feedback feature. Another extra thing is mailing outside of your country. If you choose to mail outside of your country, you receive three points for every mooch while it costs the requester two points. That way, it makes it worth the while to pay a bit extra for postage.

Condition: Members have the ability to notate a condition on books. In my experience, it makes for a good mooch. When I'm looking for a book and it has multiple copies, the member who has high feedback and/or who lists a condition will always be the one for me. On the flip side, I've found out that setting a condition also helps in getting rid of my books. Especially for the really popular ones that have a lot of copies available to mooch. Writing a condition is important and just in good taste.

It's really the best book swapping system out there. The site is extremely easy to navigate, things are clear, and members are generally very nice. It's also very compatible with Amazon. Download the easy widget for BookMooch that can sit right in your bookmarks tab and when surfing Amazon, just click the widget and BookMooch will let you know if there's a copy available for mooching.

Great system. Can't get enough of it. Saves money and I've received plenty of so-called used books that have un-cracked spines that are practically brand new.

Go check it out. If you like to read, have copies of books you want to get rid of, and want to save money...go.

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