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Points policy change thoughts

I recently wrote a blog post Brett Tomlinson's charts and analysis looking at some of the health measurements of BM.

Most things look ok to me, except for the overall decrease of about 15% in mooching this year, vs both the 2008 and 2009 years.

One thing I am thinking about is "monetary policy", or in plain terms, how people earn points on BookMooch.

I read up a *lot* before starting BookMooch, and one of the main problems with other exchange sites was a lack of currency float, which caused the economy to slowly contract, and often ended up with the exchange economy locking up.

Back in 2005, when I was thinking about how points should be earned in BookMooch, I read an article titled "Monetary Theory and the Great Capitol Hill Baby-Sitting Co-op Crisis."

Economist Paul Krugman wrote an excellent article about this babysitter crisis. I quote:

 most couples were anxious to add to their reserves by baby-sitting, reluctant to run them down by going out. But one couple's decision to go out was another's chance to baby-sit; so it became difficult to earn coupons. Knowing this, couples became even more reluctant to use their reserves except on special occasions, reducing baby-sitting opportunities still further.

In short, the co-op had fallen into a recession. ... eventually ... more coupons were issued, couples became more willing to go out, opportunities to baby-sit multiplied, and everyone was happy. Eventually, of course, the co-op issued too much scrip, leading to different problems ...

As I looked at macro-economic theory, many economists advocate that a growing economy needs inflation in order to fuel that growth.

That's exactly what I did with BookMooch: I made it fairly easy to earn points, and BookMooch experienced very significant growth, partially thanks to that system, with mooches/year peaking at 750,000 mooches/year.

However, an assumption of this macro-economic theory is that steps will be taken in the future to curb inflation once the economy begins to "cool".

BookMooch is now handling about 550,000 mooches/year. This is still great, but does represent a cooling of the book mooching economy.

So... I think this means it's time to consider changes that will curb mooch point inflation.

You can see on this page how points are earned:
http://bookmooch.com/m/points

Points are created when:
1) you type 10 books in (+1)
2) you leave feedback (+0.1)
3) you mooch a book from another country (+1)

Let me write about each of these in turn.

Number 1 is, I believe, not actually inflation. The reason is that inflation is usually defined as a decrease in the buying power of a unit of currency. If you type 10 books into BM, you have added the equivalent of 10 points of "goods", which others can now use to spend their money. This is perhaps debatable, but I don't think I want to change this reward, as it's the main way a) brand new users earn points to get started and b) provides a great incentive to add books to the BM inventory, thus enriching all of us who already have BM points

Number 2 is something I think we could do without. Everyone leaves feedback automatically when they mark a book as received. This isn't a behavior we really need to promote as it is likely to happen without the +0.1 gift.

Number 3 helps promote international mooching, which is a core personal goal of mine. However, with 1 in 5 mooches being an international mooch, this represents a significant source of inflation (110 points created per day).

There are three solutions I see to this problem:

A) balance the cost of international mooches at 2 points cost, 2 points received by the sender

B) balance the cost of international mooches at 3 points cost, 3 points received by the sender

C) create a new charity account for "promoting international mooching" that members would donate to, and leave the current "2 points to mooch, 3 points to the sender" system, but take the point out the charity account rather than creating a new point. This would prevent inflation, but would also depend on a fairly large donation pool (about 40,000 points/year would need to be donated)

Those are my current ideas for decreasing mooch point inflation.



I also have an idea that would cause modest inflation, but that I think might be worth it.

I would like to promote "multimooching", i.e. the mooching of several books from one person at one time. This saves the sender a lot of money in postage costs.

One way to do this is to make the first mooch 1 point, and then knock 10% off the 2nd mooch, and 20% off the 3rd mooch, like so:

Cost of same country mooches:
1st book: 1 point
2nd book: .9 points
3rd book: .8 points
4th book: .7 points
5th book: .6 points
6th book: .5 points thereafter

Cost of International mooches:
1st book: 2 points
2nd book: 1.8 points
3rd book: 1.6 points
4th book: 1.4 points
5th book: 1.2 points
6th book: 1 point thereafter

With this idea, the points received for sending would stay constant at 1 point/same-country or 2 points/international, only the cost would change.


I'm sure this post will provoke strong reactions from some people, so I urge you to keep in mind that

a) these are only thoughts, not policy and

b) my goal here is to have a discussion, not to dictate or to have people flame war.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago

Comments



John I feel there is no problem with the present point system, its the fact that some of the member list large quantites of books that are then mooched but are not sent for months. In the mean time these same people listing, letting people mooch, NOT SENDING, are using the points collected to mooch more books. Fix the old system before changing it. Maybe fix it so that you cant mooch if you have more than a reasonable amount of books to send. Or if you have mass quanties of LOSS IN THE MAIL books, oh yea seen that one alot. Have someone audit accounts, check for abuse and do something about it. I'm sorry if you cant afford to ship the books out DONT LIST!
dlennon
3 years ago
I think this sounds like a really great idea. You've probably noticed that some bookmoochers do this on their own already. I have often seen people offering deals such as 3 books for 2 points or 5 books for 3 points. I have found that this really encourages me to mooch from them and even look through their inventories to find additional books that I might want to read.

I absolutely love that bookmooch is the only mooching website that doesn't expect me to enter a credit card number to be a member and really appreciate that even though it is free you are continuelly working to keep it updated and running cleanly. This is the only book trading website I have found that operates under this ideal and I believe that any changes necessary to maintain this ideal are completely acceptable.

As always whenever I read one of your updates I really appreciate the thought and concern you put forward for your users. I really enjoy reading your updates and getting a chance to not only learn about the running of the website but also to have a say in the proposed changes.

Thank you so much John for all your hard work! Bookmooch will most definately continue to be my favorite place to visit online!

Emmy
3 years ago
Speaking from an Australian perspective, a decrease in the 3 points I get for sending internationally would force me to go 'my country only' as it is that extra point that helps make it worth my while to send internationally (which costs a significant amount from Australia). I also doubt the 'mooch more than one' policy would assist anyone in Australia as it actually ends up costing us way more to send more than one book. We don't have flat rate envelopes such as in the US and so can't squeeze in more books for our buck.
I do agree with the above commenter that perhaps something needs to be considered as far as people not getting points until they send the book rather than when they accept the mooch. Although I can see this may lead to people marking books as sent when they aren't. I wouldnt like to see the receiving time decreased, especially for international mooches as it can often take up to 4 months or longer for a book to arrive via surface mail from Australia.
Bri
3 years ago
I would tend to agree that awarding points when the books are only requested may create problems if there are flakes who never send the books. I don't know if it would complicate the system too much, but if the points were received only when the books were marked sent rather than when they were actually requested, would that help reduce that abuse?

I sometimes have to delay mooches and I admit that I wish those credits weren't sitting in my account, as I don't feel like I have really "earned" them yet until I have send the book.

As far as prize for marking a book received, I agree it can probably go. It's just courteous, and those who aren't going to do it certainly aren't going to do it just for a .1 point.

The main source of inflation in my account is from adding books. Those of us with large inventories have lots of points we never earned and would disappear if the books were delisted. I always know in my head how many of the points are "real" and how many are virtual... that is, if I removed my whole inventory because I didn't want to send books anymore, I would still have X number left to spend. I wonder if it would make sense to have some sort of "real" and "provisional" points, so that you can't get too deep into the virtual points... like using a credit card you may never pay off. Not sure if this actually would help what you are trying to solve in any way, but just thinking about my own "inflation."

Thanks again for all your hard work to keep people reading, keep books out of trash piles and keep the written word appreciated instead of languishing on shelves.

Nicki

bruingrad
3 years ago
Love the multi mooch idea. In this economy its great to promote practices that help folks financially.

The person who posted about hoarding points by not sending mooched items makes a great point. If that's something that happens a lot that should definitely be addressed.

A.Torres
3 years ago
Hmmm, I guess my main thought after reading this is, why fix what isn't broken? I guess I don't think the points system is in need of tweaking. But then again, I am fully willing to admit that maybe I'm not seeing the big picture here.

For me, my mooching books from people has cooled a bit since I started, only because the books that I really want don't come up that often. I don't really see points as having anything to do with it.

Also, I don't list books for others to mooch on a very frequent basis, only because I don't have books I'm ready to let go of on a very frequent basis--again, to me, I don't think of points as being a factor in this.

I guess I don't really see any kind of inflation going on. But then I'm not one of those moochers I've seen here who have hundreds upon hundreds of points, and hundreds upon hundreds of completed mooches. I operate on a much, much smaller scale.

I would do multi-mooches from people more often if they had multiple books I wanted, but honestly, most of the time, they don't. Usually, I find one book from their inventory that I want and that's it. I do check a person's inventory when I mooch just to see if there's something else they have that I want.

So it seems a bit unfair to reward multi-mooches, because then it seems like those who don't do multi-mooches are being penalized. I don't want to have to mooch more than one book if I only want one book, just to get more points.

I kind of think getting that little +0.1 point for leaving feedback IS a good incentive for people to mark a book received in a timely fashion, although I can see how it could go away without it being that big of a deal. I dunno. I like getting that little extra bit when I leave feedback on a book I received, and I like that someone gets a little extra bit when they leave feedback for me on a book they received.

I like the international mooch points system just fine the way it is. Again, it's not something I see as needing fixing.

KismetBooks
3 years ago
I realize it would add to point inflation, but I like the idea of rewards over penalties and wonder if offering a bonus point (or portion of a point) for prompt shipping would be easier to implement than changing to the award of a point only when a book is reported as received.

I am also wondering how much other factors have put downward pressure on the number of mooches per year, such as a lower number of new users joining (I am assuming that on average new users are more active, but realize this assumption could be incorrect) or a perceived decrease in the quality/breadth of overall inventory.

The point system change to encourage multiple mooches from one party is I think is a very good one, though it is unfortunate that it may not benefit non-US users very much.

CK Poppins
3 years ago
John, can I just say how cool it is to see a macroeconomic analysis of the point system? I need to think about your proposals a bit more before commenting on them, but I want to thank you for that little nerd-thrill I got reading the post!
Liz
3 years ago
I have plenty of points. I haven't mooched as much recently because the books I want aren't being listed. And, apparently, the books I have listed aren't in demand; I get a request now and then, but not very often.

The only thing I can think of that might help is a recommendations systems of some sort, but that would be far from easy to write, unless there's an engine out there you can piggyback on. I'm thinking of something that says "Other people who mooched this book mooched.." or "People with similar wishlists also want..." or or some way of pointing out books people may be interested in without being aware of.

Nolly Mullican
3 years ago
One suggestion, perhaps putting a cap on the number of points you can get from #1? You'd still let newbies get points to let them start using the system, but wouldn't end up with as many extra points for those of us who have sent out hundreds of books.
kbuxton
3 years ago
I like the idea of giving bonus points for listing to get a new member started; I agree that this could probably be done away with for established members.

I'm concerned about how the proposed changes for international shipping would impact the angel system. Many international mooches currently take place using angels. An angel currently earns two points per book after spending one point to mooch it in the first place. This is less profitable than sending a book you own yourself, but it is still usually a reasonable enough return per point that it is financially feasible for the angel. If the two points per book system is put in place then an angel would only be earning one point per book. That is the same return as a domestic mooch, but at a far higher cost. While I know that there is a strong motivation among angels to help others the system must also be financially affordable.

Cindy
3 years ago
I think points should be awarded when the book is marked received. Not when accepted to send, and not when the book is actually sent. This would curtail the practice of accepting books to send and then not sending them... as there would be no reward for that dishonest and/or forgetful behavior.

And what about those who don't mark a book as received? Then don't let that member mooch again until he/she does mark the book received or, after a reasonable amount of time, mark the book as lost.

Joan M.
3 years ago
I agree the 15% drop in mooches is worrying, but am not sure that the poinnt system needs to change. As a couple of other Australians who commented have said, the international 3 points is a key incentive for us to send overseas.

Instead I wonder if something else is driving the drop. Some possibilities: (Sorry if this is too detailed...I work as a market analyst...)

1/ International economic conditions - I wonder where the biggest drops have come from. Australia and Asian economies are still very healthy, whereas Europe and US less so.

2/ A drop in new moochers, if that's the case. I agree with another person who has commented that I was more active when new and now have less books which people want and less books I want to mooch become available

3/ The rise in international cheap book sites. For example, I stop and think when mooching a book internationally as a mass market paperback from Book Depository costs about $10, whereas my average point earned cost about $7 or $8 (I tracked for the first few months). This means I now prefer to send books overseas to earn the 3 points and mooch locally.

So what else could we do? I think improved search functionality would help me to mooch more (and hence encourage me to look for more books to earn more points). Some ideas might include other ways of searching for books from my country only other than browsing the new eg. excluding certain authors or books that have more than X listed, sorting search results by author or title, excluding books with more than X copies listed etc. Currently if I want to browse for books which I might want to mooch, I pull a list of 8k books which can't be searched in any way. I know the genre is meant to help, but obviously isn't used that much.

Any way hope these comments help. I love the site and have got great amounts of pleasure both sending and receiving books.

Kate Parker
3 years ago
Hey all,

First, I really love the site. And, I offer this only as constructive feedback. Truth is, if nothing changed, I'm already pretty happy with the service for the two months I've been using it.

About 10 years ago I read a really fascinating article in the WSJ about pricing. The bulk of the article was about the movie business. And, it asked a really simple question, that has no good answer: Why do you pay the same price for a movie ticket, whether the movie is a constant sell out (e.g., very high demand) or some crappy movie that will only be in the theaters for 2 weeks. Think Jaws vs. Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There are few other goods where quality has no influence upon price.

Yet, that's the bookmooch system. Amazon provides the value of the books on my wishlist. Of the 500 books or so on my wishlist, the price ranges from $0.01 (about 100 or so of the books) up $5, (maybe another 200 or so), $10 to $20 (another 100), and roughly 100 books more than $20 bucks. And, as any decent economist could imagine -- there are many more books available at the bottom (the $0.01 range) than at the top.

Although, the comment sought to stop inflation -- my proposal, self-admittedly, would increase inflation. What if one were allowed to list books and set the rate, say either 1, 2, or 3 points to get book X. After all, prices can be a very important tool in an economy. Indeed, there is a _value_ to the bookmooch points; and if that value is less than the most in demand books currently, one can reasonably expect many people standing in line for a discounted good, that will be in very very short supply (as an example, there are dozens and dozens of people listed for Keith Richards, Life -- yet, not a single copy has come up as available in the past two months). I suspect -- but I certainly don't know -- that those who have that book, decide they don't want to trade a $20 book for $1 moochpoint, so they sell it elsewhere (or hold on to it, since they can't get a market rate for it). Seems to me, if we allowed the holder of life to get 3 points for it, they may be more willing to part with that in demand scarce good.

OK - just an idea. Please criticize it. Tell me how that's stupid and crazy. Honest. I love it when my ideas are challenged; and love it even more when through nothing but pure honest debate of ideas, I come to realize I was mistaken.

ck.

tkleff
3 years ago
First of all, John, thanks for continuing to think through how to improve Bookmooch, great as it already is.

The macro-economic analysis would be more substantive if it takes into consideration real-life factors as the economy and costs (and maybe the rise of ebook use as well).

I wholeheartedly agree with bookel from Australia that money problems overall was a prime factor in the past two years and until now. Let's break that down into less money to buy books that will later be listed for Bookmooch and rising postage costs.

If there are venues and ways where we can address both these major concerns, then I think this will have a positive impact on Bookmooch traffic.

Re less money to buy books, if there are more and more ways we can share with the Bookmooch community on how to buy books at minimum cost, the better. The book price info is one positive step. But I think there should be more active ways, like a permanent forum where people can post great book (bargain) sales, whether of big or small stores (hopefully not-too-many closeout sales), yard sales, library sales and community sales events. And maybe if there are a whole lot of Bookmoochers interested in one book, for example, maybe we can negotiate directly as a Bookmooch community with the publisher or author for a hefty discount.

As to rising postage costs, the new meet-up feature is one measure that addresses this. But there can be other effective ways. Like maybe we can leverage the clout of having so many thousands of transactions a year so we can get very good discounted rates with either the post office or couriers (specially for international sends). I think this can be very much doable in the top five or eight countries with Bookmoochers, and specially in the U.S. In particular, those in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia can negotiate with any one of the courier heavyweights (FedEx, DHL, etc.) to give Bookmoochers rates competitive to those the post office gives. Well, you can negotiate with the post office for lower rates as well, why not?

Now of course it doesn't have to be personally you to do the negotiating on the above points, John. Anyone who's willing to take the cudgels to "lobby" these points and who'll have your blessings can do.

It might seem far-fetched for now to squarely face these concerns and do the "unthinkable" step of negotiating for the Bookmooch community. But I believe these have to be and can be addressed, sooner or later.

Re the multi-mooch proposal: it's definitely a good thing if that's in place, though I really wouldn't know how substantive that would impact.

Joel G
3 years ago
"I said so".

Point inflation always stuck me as a problem of the Bookmooch system. I wrote about it in the forums and on the wiki (Inflation).

My solution is akin yours, John:

1. Consider the book listing bonus as an advance payment: when the book is mooched, the moocher pays 1 point, but the book owner receives only 0.9 points (she already received 1/10 point when she listed the book). The 1/10 reduction may also be seen as a "delisting charge" (the book is no more listed).

2. Balance the international shipping charge: the moocher pays 3 points, the book owner receives 3 (or rather 2.9, if the delisting charge is considered).

3. Remove the 1/10 bonus for acknowledging the book receipt

This would exactly balance the extanting points / listed books ratio.

StefanoC
3 years ago
I think the 3 points for sending internationally is an important incentive. Without the net difference of +1 point for international mooches (ie the cost is 2 points, the reward is 3 points), I suspect that people would be much less motivated to send internationally. I'm no economist however, that's just my opinion.
peter
3 years ago
I'm very satisfied with the how smooth the whole operation works.
I really like the latest updates with the wishlist and inventory.
I would like to see the mooch points held in reserve, and not given to the sending member until the books have been marked received.
I noticed that when I had to cancel, because the member had not responded for several weeks, their pending listed them with both mooches and sends. They probably got the mooches, because of the number of responsible members, and didn't send from their inventory listed.
When I cancelled, I got my points back - but they had spent them as well.
I don't understand inflation all that well, but could this be a factor as well?
As to the decrease in activity, I was slowed down by my points being gone, while waited for a book that wasn't going to come.
I would like to see a "not trading" status, so the books on the lists of vacationers and possible inactive, don't show up as mooch-able. This would also give a more realistic picture of the possible moochers for our inventory.
Thank you all your work and thinking - all the time - of how to improve the program for all of us. Thank you most of all, for always keeping us up-dated and asking for our suggestions.
You're Great!
CJ Star
3 years ago
I applaud people, particularly in the US and Canada, who generously send books overseas.I always give them 2 smooches as extra as a thank you. I find I don't think about points, but more about the monetary cost to post books which rises each year, and is becoming prohibitive. Despite the postage cost, I am really happy with Bookmooch, and thank you for all the hard work you put in.
One point, I do find it rude when people don't even write 'thank you' when they receive a book. Most are great, but a few spoil it.
I also wonder at people who have about 10 in their inventory, but a 100+ in their wish list. Is there some way of equalising that?
Adeline
3 years ago
Multi-mooches are not necessarily an incentive for non-US senders. We don't have flat-rate envelopes here in France either - each parcel is weighed, so multi-mooches would cost the sender more. On the other hand, we do still have surface mail as an option. If we didn't have that, then the number of international mooches some of us could accept would probably decline. Please don't build an international system based on US economy!
The current system seems to work pretty well, so why tinker with what isn't broken? If people have too many points, then they can either broaden their reading habits or donate their points to charity.
If fewer books are being mooched, then maybe it's the range of books in inventories that's to blame, or the fact that the wishlister can't get a book to his/her country. There's only so much that the angel network can do, and I certainly wouldn't dream of asking an angel for a book I could buy cheaply, read once and pass on.
If BM removes the 0.1 point for acknowledging a book, then I suspect fewer books will be marked received.
If you cut international points, aren't you likely to see a resulting reduction in the number of books being sent worldwide? Surely the aim is to increase and expand, not retract.
The only improvement I would like to see is an extra tier of "my region". I've commented on this earlier, other people have now picked it up. If there were an could opt to send within our region (for example Europe, North America, Australasia), then perhaps the number of people sending internationally would increase. Put regional mooching in place, please, and let's see whether trade increases. It would remove many of the "ask first" settings.
Postage costs will slow BM, not people's willingness to trade books. Alternatives to the post office such as FedEx or DHL are only an option if you're in a country where these services are well developed as a financially viable alternative to the national postal system. Here in rural France you can't use those services unless you have a volume account, and even if I were able to open one, I certainly don't have the time to drive 20km to deposit a package with my nearest DHL office. Supposing that someone could negotiate the collective international clout of BM to get better rates for personal users, with diesel here at 1.23 euros a litre, no transporter will drive 20km to collect one BM package from me. And what about the person receiving the package who has to be there for the delivery? The post office will leave packages in your letterbox or let you know there's a parcel to collect. It's easier to go to a local post office for a parcel than to a transport depot further away. The trend is for rural services to shrink, as we are seeing with the closure of small post offices in many places worldwide. "Use it or lose it" certainly applies to the post office. My small business uses the post office, and because of this I can easily add my BM packages to the collection box, and as we don't have a post office, our postman will always take people's packages anyway. The post office is less likely to cut back on deliveries if you use the service. If we all move away from using the post office, then my elderly neighbours won't have a daily mail delivery either; some villages have been threatened with non-daily deliveries. BM has a contribution to make to the rural economy too.
jacquie
3 years ago
Don't change the "get 3 for sending, mooch for 2" international system! It's difficult enough to find people willing to send internationally as it is, and that would make it more difficult.

Awarding multimooches could be an idea, but I see very few times it would actually happen since people very seldom have more than one book I'm interested in. Most of my mooches happen when something on my wishlist appears, so there's only that book I want.

Regional mooching (for Europe, for example) sounds like a good idea. Postage within is usually cheaper than outside, so it might be a good idea to somehow reward at least some sending outside your country, but I'm not sure how to do it from bookmooch's side.

I like the idea of meet-and-mooch, but I suppose it may take a while before it happens where I am.

The point award for leaving feedback can go away without any problems, but decreasing it for listing books would be bad for bookmooch. The mooch rate apparently has gone down, and the main reason that I don't mooch more than I do is simply that the books I want are not available. Partly because the books I want are obscure, but also partly because some of the books I want are in Swedish, and it's ususually difficult to put them on a wishlist because bookmooch doesn't allow you to wishlist books that it doesn't know about. In effect, that means I can't wishlist a Swedish book unless someone else has listed it before so that it is in the system. Allowing at least non-english users to list withlist items by ISBN/name would probably make more trade happen.

Hans Persson
3 years ago
Hi,
I quite like the current point system but I agree with a few of the comments below. I think there will be a problem in adding one point when either accepted by the sender or marked as "received" by the moocher. If the system were changed to subtract the point from the moocher when they received the book I think people would take longer to acknowledge the receipt of a sent book.

I think more reasonable would be a "frozen" point or a deposit of sorts. For example .5 points at time of mooch and .5 points at time of receipt. Or take away the point from the moocher immediately and award it to the sender only when the book has been received.

I would also suggest keeping the point system as is on the international sector. Being and anglophone living in Italy I like to mooch most of my books from the USA or the UK and likewise offer mine worldwide, but there is much less incentive to do so, considering the cost of postage, if there is no gift point.

Angels
3 years ago
Regarding the bonus when giving feedback: To begin with, it's important that people do leave feedback, since that's the only way of knowing whether a user is good or bad (to my experience, the vast majority of users are good). Removing the (albeit small) incentive to give feedback would thus be small. If you don't want to give users that extra .1 for free, perhaps it would be possible to have the mooch cost 1.1 or 2.1 points, and then give the .1 back when feedback is given? That way, the size of the feedback kickback could even be changed to give extra incentive to give feedback without affecting the economy as such.
Hans Persson
3 years ago
John, economics is not my strongpoint, but I agree pretty much with your points. As an international moocher I think I would prefer your option A, international mooches being 2 points. 3 points would be too intimidating! or 2.5 points as a compromise.

I am against the multimooching options. Sending books together is only slightly advantageous for me, and after a certain weight it is pretty complicated to send. Plus I would prefer, even if long term was more money, to receive 6 mooches separately over 6 months, than have to pay out for a heavy package of 6 books separately. Maybe a slight discount for a second mooch, but really it makes no sense to me to make the 6th book really cheap to mooch - I sending 6 books is going to be expensive, not everybody wants to invest that much at one go! (plus it does make me sort of happier to spread books over several people and countries)

T
3 years ago
I have to agree with all the other international members who have commented here; and I believe if the international points incentive is changed than it would be even harder for me to send and receive books in Australia. As it is, I have been told again and again that members (US in particular) will not spend 2 points to get a book - and why should they when they have much more chance to get it for one; and there is no incentive even with 3 points, for many to post overseas.

I believe that the increasing postal costs, the increasing living costs and the global economic downturn are the significant factors causing the lower number of mooches this year. I personally have made an attempt to slow down because of the exorbitant postage costs, and the new 'security' charges being forced on other countries by the US has only exacerbated sending to the biggest market.

And as Cindy mentioned - if you change the point system as indicated in your post, you are seriously going to effect the 'angel' network; really lower the numbers here IMHO. At the moment the 2.2 points are at least close to the usual 3 points - but if you take away the 0.1 for marking received, and change the amount it costs I, for one, will probably step away from angel-mooching; and I do a LOT of that as it has to be worth my while in what is often a lot more hassle than mooching for yourself.

We need to find ways to increase the incentive to post abroad, not decrease it, or BookMooch will become just another of the local country book-swapping systems - and that may be inevitable. But as this is the only swapping site I have the option to use that would be most devastating to me; and possibly a lot of members in other countries beside US and UK.

Lman
3 years ago
I am very satisfied with how the points system works. Just a thought: maybe the problem of decreasing mooches is linked to the new 'amazon pricing' column. After all, if it costs me 2 points for an international mooch, and I find the cheapest lowest price on Amazon, then I might find that getting it from there is cheaper than sending it off to international moochers, therefore decreasing my mooches.

As I said, this is just a thought.

soniaandree
3 years ago
P.s. And there are a lot less people willing to send internationally than before!
soniaandree
3 years ago
Lots of good comments here, so I'm just going to weigh in by vote w/o much commentary

1. Please don't change the international mooching ratios. BookMooch is an economic thing for me (methadone rather than the Morphine of the book shop) and the 3/1 points ratio makes international shipping a reasonable price (in the u.s.).

2. The reward for feedback can go away.

3. I like the multimooch idea, but I don't think it's necessary as a sitewide option. What would be more handy would be a multimooch function the individual can turn on so the return/reduced price of points is automatic.

Brendan
3 years ago
In regards to international mooching, I generally only send paperbacks, as it is too costly to send hardbacks. Right now, sending a paperback abroad for 3 points is cost equivalent to send a book in the states for 1 point(It truly amazes me at how many people do realize this and therefore will not send internationally). I would have to say reducing an international mooch to 2 points would make me reconsider.

I actually did not realize I got points for feedback until I had been mooching for 2 years, so getting rid of this program would not bother me at all. You don't get feedback when you use ebay or any other site, so . . . .

I have not been mooching as many books as I did last year, because the majority of the books on my wishlist are not available and only one copy comes up every so often. Many of us only have a limited budget to send books out each month and that is an important thing to take into consideration.

VABuckeye
3 years ago
As another international moocher, I'd just like to add my voice to the consensus--the point system for international mooches is working well. I'm a small-time moocher, but I would happily spend all the points I've accumulated if the books I wanted were available. I've been reluctant to add books to my inventory, because it costs quite a bit to send them, and I'm not getting much return when I can't find the books I want.

Karen in Krakow
3 years ago
I admittedly have been mooching little lately and the reason for that is that none of the books I want are available internationally. If you changed the international points, there probably would be even less. Not to mention that I would, sadly enough, be forced to close down my international sending. That extra point I get is vital to make the rather steep cost worth it. Without it, I can only send within my country.

Regarding the 0.1 points - maybe you make it so all those 0.1 points stop rolling in when a user have a larger amount of unused points?

Annis
3 years ago
I agree with a number of other members, that the books I have listed aren't being requested much now and the books that I want aren't appearing very often. I have a high number of points and I am happy not to receive extra points for notification of reciept, as I have plenty.
In the UK, where I live, it is not too expensive to send my surface mail and even airmail, so I would be happy to ship abroad for 2 points. As some countries are more isolated, they would therefore have to pay more to ship books out of their country.....maybe make it an option to donate the extra point to a charity or something?? I would be happy to donate extra ones.
I also think that a recommendation thing could be handy, but it would be alot of work.
The multiple books thing is a great idea, I would be happy to send out multiple books for less points, its better for the environment too.
I think you are doing a fantastic job, making a worldwide book community, and I personally really appreciate all of the hard work that you do.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for creating such a wonderful site, group and community. And also thanks to the wonderful moochers out there that keep the books / words / ideas flowing around the world!
Natalie
3 years ago
John,

I tend to agree with your points, especially the feedback point. Why create points to "reward" what is already not only automatic, but also a duty. Perhaps the opposite would be beneficial - "fine" a person for not marking a book received! (after all the IRS has "fines and penalties").

You speak mostly of inflation at BM. Another thing to consider AND avoid is recession at BM. What you might consider is that the creation of points out of thin air by BM (10 free points for 10 books posted, one additional point for sending internationally) is equivilant to the US government printing money to cover deficit spending. I'm not sure that eliminating that entirely is good for BM: especially the 10 for 10 books. However, since I have benefited from the extra point for international mailing, I'm not sure I want to see that go away either. I do think that balancing the cost of international mooches at 3 points cost is rather steep.

Rather than a charity account to support the 2 points cost/3 points to the sender you might institute a "tax" on members. Perhaps each person who has been a member for more than 1 year would be "taxed" 1 point (or less) on Jan. 1 of each year. The "BMIRS" could calculate the tax each year based on membership and anticipated need. (It sure beats $19.95 a year!)

I am a member of two other swapping sites - one is so tightly controlled it squeaks, the other seems to have been abandoned by the administrators. BM fits in between the two and to me is the best of the three. I have no problem "donating" to the taxman at BM if that will help keep it healthy.

Wayne C.
3 years ago
I have lots of points but 2 things are stopping me from mooching - a to be read pile which is actually a bookcase full and also that there are too many people who will not send outside their country.

I think that regional settings would help - I get the same points to send a book to Europe as to the Rest of the World even though sending a boook outside Europe costs almost twice as much.

What about extra points for heavy books? I have cookery books which I would like to list, but will not post because of the cost. I personally would be happy to "pay" a premium with extra points to get a book I really wanted. It's better for me to mooch a book and pay extra points which I have rather than pay Amazon for it.

also I believe that there needs to be a way for Angel moochers to be re-imbursed for the point they use in getting the book. There are very few Angel requesters who give the point back which means that apart from trying to be a nice person, why should I be an angel?

brownbear
3 years ago
John,
I think that keeping the system updated in a way that keeps the "economy" moving is great. Just my 2 cents:

1) I think taking away the .10 for providing feedback wouldn't be an issue.
2) I would be fine with making the international exchange 2 point for the moocher, 2 points for the sender...however, I wonder if for some senders the 3 points is an incentive to pay the higher postage rates knowing that they could essentially get 3 more books in their own country later.
3) I think adding incentive for people to request more than one mooch is fine, and I do try to do this myself, however, I more times than not do not find additional books I want to read at the time I'm making the mooch.
4) Has anyone proposed increasing the rate earned for listing new books? My list of books I'd like to mooch is relatively long, but it is often months before any are available for me to mooch, so it's hard to maintain the right mooch percentage. If we increased the rate related to listing books, it might increase the available pool and thus books people actually mooch.

Thanks for keeping this site up, running, and amazing! I love it!!

Darcie

Darcie
3 years ago
I agree entirely with Lman and Cindy - if you reduce the points for sending internationally from 3 to 2, then that will kill the Angel network.

And if you increase the cost of mooching a book internationally from 2 to 3 points, then that results in disadvantaging even further those members in the non-US and non-UK countries. We (I'm also in Australia) more often than not need to spend 2 points to obtain books that most US members can get for 1 point. Yet very few people want to mooch from us as either the local population is too small, or the folk in the larger member countries don't want to spend the 2 points, or don't need to as the book will probably surface for them in their own county sooner or later.

As bookel said, members in smaller countries struggle to get their points up unless they are Angels. And if the Angel network dies . . .

So please do not change the point system wrt to reducing the point incentive to send internationally. Or if you do, then only reduce it to 2 points for sending 'within the region'. By this I mean US to Canada or within Europe. Members in countries such as Canada and Australia are already doing it hard - please don't make it even harder. If your aim is to increase the cross-border mooches, then this is not the answer.

crimson-tide
3 years ago
To those international moochers complaining they can't get mooches. I have nearly 2000 points available and I’m willing to mooch. If you want to earn a few cheap points look at my wish list. I have many wish listed books that are available in the US for under a $1 on Amazon.com. List them as available and when I mooch them you will get three points and then you buy them from Amazon US and ship them to me. You will only pay the cost of the book plus $2.89 shipping to the US. So, for less than $4.00 you get three points.

If you want to guarantee the mooch a ahead of time, contact me first.

Jay

Jay Moore
3 years ago
From my perspective, what Bookmooch needs is more books. If there is a larger number of books in the system, more mooches will happen, and users will be more likely to be active and satisfied. It seems from the comments that I'm not the only one that has a surplus of points and no books available to mooch.

An idea that I just got would be to increase the amount of points you get for listing popular books. Any book listed gets you .1 point, as now. When listing a book that is on someone's wishlist you get .5 points. If it's on 10+ wishlists, 1 point, and on 50+ wishlists 2 points. The numbers are taken off the top of my head, but you get the idea. I want to make it more attractive to list more popular books on bookmooch and not just the stuff that your friends don't want.

Hans Persson
3 years ago
How about getting .5 points when you accept a Mooch, and the other .5 when the book is marked received?
Of course then you'd have to keep the .1 for marking a book received, so not to mess up the senders due rewards.
It once cost me $10 to ship a $4 book to Greece. If I were only awarded 2 points, I would have never done it.
For me it's not a lack of points; I don't Mooch because most of my 420 wishlisted books don't become available very often, if ever.
I'm finding people list books, but then when I go to their profile, they're sitting on 20+ book to send out. One woman had over 60 to send when I wanted to Mooch something. That shouldn't be allowed. Maybe a system of not allowing any Mooches if you have over say 10 waiting to go out or they've been there longer than 2 weeks. And by any Mooches, I mean you can't Mooch and no one else can Mooch from you.
Although I much favor rewards over punishment, how about some kind of reduction in points for infractions such as having to be marked "on vacation" because you haven't responded to any of your Moochers.
You could also set up a lottery of points, like a 50/50 drawing. You pay 1 point per entry, but have the chance of winning like 20+ points. Or have reward points for activity that are given out randomly as you see fit. For instance, someone Mooches 10 books in one day, so you give them .5 as a bonus.
I'm sure I'll come up with more ideas as soon as I hit send on this ;-)
Kathy
3 years ago
I agree with number 2 and number 3.
I also think 3 points to international senders are an important incentive.
orialla
3 years ago
From the time I joined Bookmooch, I have sent out more than 500 books and received perhaps 50 fewer than I sent. A great many of the ones I sent out were international mailings which cost, on the average about 3 or 4 times what a local (USA) mooch would cost to send. I try to encourage multi ordering and send this message out with every mooch I make. I always check out a member's inventory to see if a second, a third or more books are of interest to me. In general, I can send three thin books (paperbacks) and two thick ones for the same amount as one book by media mail.

All that said, I find that I have accumulated over 400 points and have no particular interest in "spending" these points. I routinely give points to charity, but the number of points continues to grow. I agree with Hans that we need a greater number of books to choose from, but I think the tenth of a point for acknowledging a book received can easily be eliminated. The cost of international shipping should be considered before fooling around with the points given the shipper. I would, however, not mind at all if I paid three points for requesting a book from a foreign location. In general, I think few people abuse the system, although some will always do so.

Over all, I like Bookmooch very much, find that most people are reliable, and some very friendly. The numbers may have decreased a bit, but that may well the because of the financial bad times. Even those of us not directly affected by the recession feel a need to be cautious about how we are spending our money.

frances
3 years ago
I'm not really seeing how lessening the sources for points would make people mooch more, if that's the intention. The main things that would, IMO, would be (1) to have really relevant (I know that's not easy) books brought more easily to attention (because while some people rightly label themselves "exclusive and highbrow", there are also those that may rather be just a bit blindsided to the existence of other adequate works).
And (2) for more books to move cross-frontiers. If many residents of the USA or countries that may be in a similar situation aren't sending even when cost to point could be roughly equivalent (presumably because it's still a bigger expense at once, and despite their sending airmail takes longer to conclude if things don't go well because of longer allowed delays), less points won't be motivating them to send worldwide in droves.

I'd be OK with the 0.1 for listing considered "advance payment", and the remaining 0.9 or 2.9 credited only when the book is marked as sent rather than just requested. Thought that wouldn't prevent some people from marking as sent when it isn't I guess.
Not sure about giving the point(s) only when the book is marked received, that'd be one more reason to be leery to send abroad as it may take way longer to be credited or able to terminate a mooch gone to a no longer responsive recipient.

Lessening cost for multiple mooches would be a great idea. If it also means less points to sender though (as I understand your proposal, it wouldn't, sender would receive the difference from the BM system ?) there may be some countries were postage mathematically follows the weight increase rather than gently diminish with larger parcels, so they should be able to opt out of such a system. France doesn't have flat-rates, but cost-to-weight ratio does diminish with heftier packages so while sending one heavy book on it own locally is a Bad Idea, sending it along with a couple more normal ones gets the average cost about right.

Aude
3 years ago
Balance the international mooches to 2 points-2 points or 3 points-3 points.
crz1836
3 years ago
I also belong to another book swapping site of which there are some things I like better on that one than this one. . namely three things.

1) they have a label that I can print off to mail the books

2) The sender doesn't get the points until the receiver marks the book received. (I really think this is a policy book mooch should implement!) but the receiver loses their point right away so that they aren't adverse to marking the book received and getting a free book. and the site keeps e-mailing them every so often if the book isn't marked received until eventually the points go back to as they were if the book is lost.

3) I much prefer the way they do their wishlist. It goes in order of who requested. . so when one comes available an e-mail goes out to the next person in line on the list for them to accept or deny and they have so many days to respond or it moves onto the next person. . whereas book mooch is like a rat race. . first person to respond get's it. . that's hardly fair for those people who are at work all day and can't be sitting in front of their computer.

ShannonB
3 years ago
That wishlist system would slow things down immensely if everyone in the list is to get a day or two to respond.
Hans Persson
3 years ago
As far as international goes I feel like it should be 3 points straight across if it has to be the same amount of points. It is expensive and to me isn't worth it if you don't get the extra points. A lot of people already won't send internationally and I think if you changed the point amount to 2 for and from respectively that even more people would not send international. I don't really think we need the feedback points and I love the multiple mooch idea.
Beth
3 years ago
I am quite happy personally with the 3 points for sending abroad, as the expense is getting worse and worse, and this offsets it.
As for encouraging people with many points and few available WL books, how about offering redemption of points for book-purchasing vouchers (Amazon, Alibris or wherever) that would allow them to get some of the books they want and hopefully encourage them to relist them or add further books to their inventories? I realize the issue is finding funding for these vouchers, though.
Mosca
3 years ago
OK...I'm kind of shooting myself in the foot here, 'cause I've really benefited from the international points policy thus far. That being said, I break this down into four basic points:

1) Inflation of points seems to be a problem...lots of points being accrued, mostly being added via overseas mooches

2) There needs to be some incentive for joining and listing new books

3) There needs to be some way of rewarding good behavior and keeping people honest.

4) You have to make it worthwhile for people to send books abroad

To address these problems, I think this (or something along these lines) might solve the problems (in part):

Listing a book ------ +0.1 point (for the first 100 books)
Sending a book (D) -- +1.0 points (half on accepting/half on receipt)
Sending a book (I) -- +2.6 points (half on accepting/half on receipt)
Ordering a book (D) - -1.1 points
Ordering a book (I) - -2.1 points
Confirming Receipt -- +0.1 points

(D) = domestic, (I) = international

The incentive for joining is maintained by giving points for the first 100 books, but then you curtail the inflation (in part) by capping it at 100...if you list more than 100 books, you're probably already a fairly established member and don't necessarily need the extra 0.1 points.
You further cut the inflation by reducing the international points for sending from 3 points to 2.6 (or 2.4)...the benefit is still there but it is lessened. It will have repercussions on the numbers of int'l mooches (I am cringing as I type this) but if inflation is as big a problem as it sounds, then this is where the biggest cuts need to be made.
The confirmation incentive is still there, but is canceled out by the minor added cost of the mooch...basically, moochers recoup their tenth of a point by confirming receipt...final cost remains the same as it is now.

In practical terms, an established (more than 100 books previously listed) moocher listing 10 books, sending 5 domestically and 5 internationally while ordering and receiving 5 domestic and 5 international books would come out ahead by 7 points in the current system while under a system like I outlined above, the same person would come out ahead by just 3 points.

Just an idea.

Rebel Sun
3 years ago
Some great points made above. Have to agree that my main reason for not mooching as much is that the books I wanted that were freely availble are now in my possession and the books I still really want never get listed, so naturally I have hit a bit of a brick wall. I also think that getting the 3 points is a major contributing factor to my willingness to send overseas, and would probably mean I would stop if it were changed as postage in the UK has just gone up again, and by a fairly large increase, so if I pay more to get less, whats in it for me? Also, and this is a huge bugbear of mine, please stop people listing books and then never sending and please give us the option to mark a book as something other than lost when the person I have sent to has clearly chosen not to bother marking as received or has become innactive and so probably never will. That said though, I still love Bookmooch and check it daily and ALWAYS try and tell anyone I meet about how good it is! Keep up the good work!!
Carl S.
3 years ago
The number of books in BM isn't the problem. It's that the books on our wishlists simply aren't there. That's not a criticism, it's an observation. However, this is a free, volunteer-driven system with a generous community, and no-one's forcing anyone to give away their books.
Some of the people who complain that their wishlisted books don't come up have wishlists whose specialised books probably wouldn't be found in the average second-hand bookshop, so the chances of them being offered on BM must be relatively low! A while ago I asked in the features forum for a listing of "least wishlisted books" which might, perhaps, incite a few of the rarer beasts to find their way into people's inventories. There are plenty of copies of popular books circulating.
Once you find your book, the problem then becomes whether you (a) have the points to mooch it and (b) whether someone will send it to your country. Books on my wishlist become available, but I can't always get them. It's not an issue, I can wait.
As brownbear pointed out earlier, many of us have an awful lot of books waiting to be read, and as these filter into the system, then some of the logjams might move. I've several books in a series on my TBR shelves, but until I decide to go and buy one of the earlier books that I'm waiting for, I'm not going to free up the other books in the series.
jacquie
3 years ago
I love the idea that there could be a withing Europe setting for status.
I oppose the idea of less points for International mooches, I think it would severely reduce the number of mooches and detrimentally affect the angel network.

Perhaps to increase multiple mooches, after you have Asked First or Mooched perhaps there could be a section on the next page which shows any books on your wish list that match their inventory.

I think the wishlist size should be unrestricted.

I do very much agree that people should not be able to use points from books that they aren't mailing out. I think that if people are struggling to cope with mailing out their books then they should not be adding more books to their inventory and accepting mooches. But I think this is a side issue, but it just seems to be topical right now

Providence
3 years ago
1. The .1 listing bonus is very useful, especially when you are a new member, but I think we could do away with it. It encourages people to list lots and lots of books when they first join, so that they can start mooching. Someone might add ten books to get their first point, or fifty books to get 5 points. Well and good. But when a large number of those books are then mooched, I've seen lots of users become overwhelmed. They decide swapping is too expensive, or they start delaying or never sending mooches. Perhaps they would move a little slower if there wasn't an immediate reward for adding lots of books. That would also reduce the 'excess' points from those of us with larger inventories. Right now I've got about 90 books in my inventory - that's 9 extra points. None of the books in my inventory are particularly 'hot' or in demand, so they will most likely continue to sit for some time to come. But as long as the cushion of 9 points remains, I don't feel a strong need to add more books to my inventory here. Most of my highly wishlisted books end up on a rival swapping site where the listing bonus isn't offered, so my points are always lower.

So I guess what I wanted to say was, I see no harm in getting rid of the listing bonus.

2. : I have mixed feelings about delaying receipt of the point until the book has been received, which we don't do now. On the one hand, a lot of the fraud would be cut back, I think, if we had to mark the book received before the sender got their point(s). If this were purely a US website, I'd say make that change. But unfortunately, international packages get delayed and can take months to arrive, and it would be extremely frustrating to be unable to spend those points in the meanwhile.

3. My instinct would be "It ain't broke, don't fix it!" but from personal experience I have to admit that my mooching is way, way down and the number of books I'm listing has also dropped, largely because I can't find a way to spend the points I already have. I'm still reading books, but swapping them on other websites where I always seem to have a point deficiency.

Suzi
3 years ago
I find myself wondering what results we would want to achieve with the changes. At least from the U.S., I think lessening the number of points received would make anything other than sending to canada cost prohibitive (as it is, I tend to think it's not worth it). I think either you need to create a much more complicated system to make it fair (differentiated by countries sent to and from, or by weight), or leave as is...

I also agree that there are a number of people on here abusing the system through long delays in sending books, and would support there being some kind of "escrow" account for books that haven't yet been sent out.

In terms of the shrinking number of mooches, i think one of the ways to approach things is to improve the searching capabilities of the site. I've been looking for hebrew children's books. Recognizing the challenge of dealing with different languages/scripts, I've tried to search for children's books from bookmoochers in Israel, and either I've missed something, or it's not possible to narrow like that. It leads to a lot of picking through.

Just a few thoughts from this end. . . thanks so much for all that you do. I really love this site!

Sarah

Sarah Swift
3 years ago
I think the points awarded for listing books should be capped (at 2 or 3). I also think that new members should only be able to spend a few points (maybe 5) until the books they send get marked received. A large percentage of books that I request and never receive come from new members who join, post books, request books, then disappear.

I think the .1 for marking a book received should be eliminated, or at least capped.

I am an angel and if the rate was changed to eliminate the extra point, I would probably have to stop. My husband is already unhappy with the amount of money I spend on postage, and this would increase my cost per point significantly.

Becca
3 years ago
Hi. As a brand new moochie I would absolutely hate to see the reward points decrease for international mooching.

Sending a book overseas is a significant expenditure - about twice the already extravagant cost of a local post.

I would like to see a way to get a corporate book rate on postage (real money.)

I can buy a used book off Amazon for $3.00 - $6.00 and have it shipped to me for under $3.00 - total real money cost of $6.00

It costs me $7.00 - $14.00 to mail a book overseas.

I love the idea that my books are being re-read rather than becoming paper towels. This is especially important for the hard to find and out of print books that are irreplacable, so I am willing to accept some cost.

The real-money cost of Bookmooch is still reasonable, as new books are more at the store.

Keep up the wonderful work and I will spread the word.

Rhiannonsrest
3 years ago
First off, thanks for all that you do to keep the site running and come up with potential improvement, including using economic theory (kudos on the geek rating there!)

General point: one of BM's huge attractiveness points is that the points system is simple and fair. As soon as freezing mechanisms come in, or half point splits, it all gets a lot more complicated and harder to draw new moochers (with their highly coveted inventories!) in.

That said, I'm very much on the side of the "if it ain't broke..." commenters. I've been a member of Bookmooch for a bit more than a year and have 115/99 mooched/given, so I consider myself established but not yet a lifer. My mooching activity goes up and down depending on:
- bookshelf space (not kidding!)
- availability of books
- whether money's tight
so extrapolating, I'm not sure that inflation is to blame for the decrease in activity.

I do a huge amount of international shipping and find that the current 3 points for sending abroad are a perfect reward to balance the cost of internal shipping (I live in the UK). I already almost never mooch internationally if it's a common book because it is likely to turn up domestically, so I think increasing the 2 points for an international request will just kill off international mooching altogether as there will be so little interest.

I also do a significant amount of angeling - usually for UK to US, but a non-trivial amount within Europe and to Australia/NZ/Philippines. 2.2 points is already not great return for the work involved in angeling, and I certainly wouldn't do it for less.

The 0.1 points for listing books is a fabulous way of getting moochers started and I think this should be left as is. Ditto receiving books - this helps new moochers get started quickly. On the other hand, one commenter has suggested scrapping this after 100 books and I think that's fair enough. Established members will usually have a reasonable pool of incomings and outgoings and can be relied upon to mark books as received. A possible alternative would be to get nothing for just marking received, but 0.1 for leaving written feedback. Even if it's just "thanks", written feedback improves everyone's morale and keeps Bookmooch the rewarding place that it is.

I think that the hugely limiting factor is availability of the RIGHT books. I have a huge wishlist and not that many turn up as available, particularly once you take "won't ship outside their country" into account. Thus I definitely support Hans' suggestion above(/below, depending on your browser arrangement!) that heavily wishlisted books get an extra reward for being added. It would definitely encourage me to go out and buy Jonathan Franzen's Freedom, for example, if I was relatively certain of not only getting my points-per-postage-pound, a quick transaction but additional points because it's so heavily wishlisted. This will help to get the recent releases into BM and promote BM as the value-for-money alternative to £20 hardbacks in shops...

In terms of multi-mooch, from the commentary I've read, this only seems to benefit the USA with its flat-rate packages. Many of the rest of us are weight-based and while there is a tiny improvement of £/100g as the package gets heavier, it's also more irksome because I have to take it into the post office once it won't fit into a postbox etc etc. Thus please don't implement this wholesale as it only advantages USA members (many of whom already require a multi-mooch for international postage). Some members are already doing 3-for-2 - that's great! BMers should be allowed to continue demonstrating generosity and shifting their inventory quickly with special deals. You could make their lives easier by implementing an opt-in code that does the deal automatically, but it would be a lot of work for not much reward.

As far as regions go - an optional setting for status would be fine as it would improve international mooching from those countries where there is an advantage to sending within a region, and not mess with the points system.

In terms of some other points raised in the commentary:

- if users can set points per book (e.g. I have Harry Potter 1, I know you want it badly, I'll demand 5 points for it, thank you), highly wishlisted books will get held hostage.
- equalising inventory and wishlist would force me off the site because I have a huge wishlist in the hope that something, anything!, will turn up
- bonuses for quick postage are worth considering, I don't really know what I think on this point but I think it's better than freezing people with pendings who can only get to the PO once a fortnight and have a massive list of pendings which may be innocent.
- penalisation for people who do not send within a certain time frame is already in place in the form of the reminder and cancel system.

In conclusion, in the UK I can't use PBS, Bookins etc, Bookmooch is pretty much my only option. It's not broken, please don't fix it!

Yvann
3 years ago
"The only improvement I would like to see is an extra tier of "my region". I've commented on this earlier, other people have now picked it up. If there were an could opt to send within our region (for example Europe, North America, Australasia), then perhaps the number of people sending internationally would increase. Put regional mooching in place, please, and let's see whether trade increases. It would remove many of the "ask first" settings."

I like the way you've phrased this. Ex: 'Will send to Africa, ask first for international.' Grouping it in continents makes a lot of sense.

I've been trying to read all the comments, but what stuck with me was someone mentioning a 'de-listing' fee? Instead of that, what if that last .1 point was only given when the moocher marks the book as received? Sounds flawed actually... If you were to change the international mooching, I think making it 3 for both parties may be fair. (Especially for the Angel moochers.) Or making a charity... Although that may have to be tested to see if people actually do donate to it. And a sizable amount. And then, would the charity automatically give an extra point once your moocher had marked a book sent?

I also dislike the points for money system that was mentioned, read in an article 10 years ago. It sounds a bit like systems on other trading sites.

Would it be possible to, for those who are complaining about not finding books, to list books by their library of congress search features? I mean, when you flip to that page with the copyrights, the categories and genres that book can be found in are there, and most likely all online. I think for some of these people, a large wishlist might be something they need to look into, that was one of the tips I think you set up on the page that suggests how to make BookMooch work more for you. In any case, Amazon has a 'books other people bought' section on their book pages, can we link into that some how for people who aren't familiar with all the books they might like? But, I don't know how crazy this coding might be, only show mooch-able books?

I am sorry that other countries don't have as many moochers as the US might, but I am glad we have bookmooch, and if the lessing points system for multi-mooch doesn't work, that's alright. Sometimes the flatrate envelope doesn't do us anygood, where surface mail would have. But I know that I often can do better getting books from BookMooch than an online seller because media mail in the US allows us to send books at a third to a fourth their original cost. International... is less fortunate. 3 points is fair in the US, maybe mutlimooch could only apply domestically?

Someone mentioned audiobooks in another blog post, and I'm sorry if I'm being annoying by listing all my thoughts in this comment, I hope anything of this is useful to you, John. On the same train of audiobooks, any comic books I have listed on here have been mooched almost immediately. But I could not find many. I've found a couple in foreign language, but they are highly attractive items on book mooch that people like to get and hold on to, because they resell amazingly well. People treat their comic books very well, and can sell in near-mint condition. I'm not sure how to remedy this without resorting to a points per worth system that I am not comfortable with. I could imagine a bonus if your book is mooched within 24s of listing it, something you probably have no control over (unless you have a lot of free time to de-list and re-list your books...) But like Hans Persson said, highly sought after books might give you a bonus, but his might be too large, and if you are asking us for help on inflation, might not be a good idea...

John, I hope you are well, and I hope you didn't suffer through these ramblings of a HS grad. Thank you so much for all you do, I'm glad I have bookmooch for my impulsive reading habits.

ljpbb
3 years ago
I like the idea of allowing wishlisting items by ISBN/name very much, as I am often looking for more obscure books.

An additional suggested change to help move some inventory: While I am intrigued by the idea posted above to assign a 1, 2 or 3 point value to books my gut reaction is that the 1 point per book, regardless of title (and assuming domestic shipping) is simple. And in this ever increasingly complex world I feel simple is preferable - particularly in terms of selling participation to new users. However, it may be worth considering allowing damaged books to be mooched for a half a point. There are several on my wishlist with the condition notes showing more than minimal damage, and I am reluctant to spend a full point on them when I could wait and spend the point on a book in nicer condition.

I support the idea of a cap on the total .1 points for listing books, or the concept of getting .1 for listing a book and then .9 for sending it.

I like the idea of a bonus to those who list new (as in published in the last year or so) books, to those who list books on a high number of wishlists, and to those who list heavy books.

I am against not receiving points until a book is received. Books do get lost in transit, and it also is easy for someone to forget to go online and acknowledge that a book is received.

Yes, there are delays in sending books. I feel badly about the number of times I have not promptly shipped, and I have a large handful of books I really want that have been delayed and have had no response from the listing party. My feeling is that no system is perfect, and over the long run things even out.

I do not mooch from or send to international users very often, so will leave that discussion to those with more experience.

CK Poppins
3 years ago
Your ideas sound good and well thought out. Definitely get rid of the Feedback points.
Trevor Page
3 years ago
One reason I don't like the idea of equalizing the points for sending/mooching internationally (apart from that the current system works) is that it just makes it even more advantageous to live in a "big" country like the US, UK, etc where there are many moochers. For those that do, you can send one book internationally and then mooch three domestically.

For the rest of us, to get any chance at all of finding books I want, almost all my mooches are international meaning that I send two books internationally and can then mooch three internationally. (In theory I *can* mooch domestically, but the chances of anything interesting being listed are very small. Actually, I've found that most of the Swedish books I've listed that have been mooched have been mooched by people outside of Sweden.)

If you want to go for equalizing, then think about doing it all the way (all mooches are the same amount of points, regardless of where the moocher and sender are). This would probably be fair to everyone except Americans. Still, I don't think such a change would go down well, and I wouldn't vote for it. It ain't broken. Don't fix it. ;)

Hans Persson
3 years ago
Like many of the others who have posted here, I have a lot of points due to international/angel mooches. I'm basically happy with how point distribution is at the present, but would eventually adjust to whatever changes are made. We must remember, however, that most of us mooch books to read, not to just collect, so the thought of multiple mooches from someone, who basically does not have the same reading interests that I do, would often lead me to not mooch from that person, no matter how much I may want that one book. I'll just wait until it is posted by someone from whom I can actually mooch two wanted books - doesn't that defeat the purpose of the multiple mooch rule?

With a TBR pile of 300+ books, I often choose what to read based more on the popularity of certain books rather than what I might actually want to read at any given moment, always with the guilty thought in my mind that I need to get those popular books back into circulation!!

Perhaps we need a campaign to encourage a mutual responsibility to pass on more of the more popular books and save the oldies for later reads. A little more "community spirit" as opposed to just a book exchange.

Glenda Hamilton
3 years ago
I concur with removing mooch points for feedback. People get very sore when feedback is negative and that turns into a tug of war over a tenth of a point. I think that particular policy should be removed. We all leave feedback out of the goodness of our hearts, not for points.
Mixelle
3 years ago
I really like Hans' idea to give more points for listing more wishlisted books! I think THAT would increase the number of books people want to mooch and move the books around more quickly.
Darcie
3 years ago
I'm encouraged to read so many thoughtful comments from dedicated readers! Until I read the posts, I thought I was the only one who couldn't find desirable books to mooch.

I buy newer and more popular books from Amazon when they are available at a "reasonable" price. I then list them on my inventory and they are gone within hours. The books on my wish list almost never come up. I end up mooching books that look like they might be acceptable, which they sometimes are, but frequently are not. I feel that I'm not receiving nearly the quality that I'm giving. I keep sending books mostly because I want them to be read, not because I'll be able to use the points.

It bothers me, both as a giver and moocher, that those who constantly patrol their wish list and recent listings (which I am sometimes able to do) snap up the desirable books, while those who are patiently waiting to be notified that a book is available never get the book. It would seem fairer to make the book available to the first 10 people on the wait list during the first 24 hours of listing.

Mona Cannon
3 years ago
Hey, i've been on bookmooch a little over a week, and must admit the reason i joined here vs. other bookswap sites was the varied choice of books and how overseas added to it, and the way the points system works. I have had a number of mooch requests over seas, which i have accepted, however my initial analysis is that 2 points would not make it worth international postage. The .1 for listing a book in inventory was a necessity to begin with. I don't think .1 for marking recieved is enought of an incentive to make it a necessity and could be removed to curb inflation.

The one gripe i have had, is trying to balance how many points i have with how many i actually have. Recieving them before sending books means i could mooch many books then leave the site before i had ever sent a single book. I haven't and waited till i'd sent at least 6 before i mooched my first, but point remains, it would be easy to join and imbalance the economy before individuals could work out what you were doing based on feedback. It could of course lead to fake "sent" messages, but i believe this less likely than someone starting and then just giving up before finishing deals. Whim on a first week/month and never again. My two pence as a newbie.

biggs_l
3 years ago
There's a lot of difficult, and conflicting, issues here. The current system is very simple, so many of the changes needed/proposed would go against that, and could put off users - especially those who use/will use BM because it's more straightforward than other sites.

Having said that, I would personally not object to some changes if they encouraged more availability of books (increase inventories) and/or discouraged abuse or unfairness. Along those lines, my main thoughts are:

It must be impossible to set a 'fair' system for international points based on postage. I spot-checked the cost from UK of a 200g package, and the relative prices for posting overseas were:
- US/Australia/Europe surface (vs 2nd class) - 1.09
- Europe airmail - 1.15 (vs 1st class)
- US/Australia airmail - 1.86 (vs 1st class)
No doubt every country has a totally different costing structure, so whatever we do will benefit some countries and disadvantage others. However, if the main objective is to encourage international mooches, maybe it's worth introducing a 3rd, intermediate level for low-cost international mooching - something like
- domestic: sender +1, receiver -1
- regional: sender +2, receiver -1
- international, surface: sender +2, receiver -1
- international, airmail: sender +3, receiver -2.

Next, on availability, I agree that improved searching facilities would be very helpful - eg a page count on individual's wishlist (including my own), so I could jump to page 10 of 20 if I wanted to look for an author in the n's or m's. Plus the ability to search the whole site (eg) for wishlist entries for a given author - at present you can only do this one book at a time, and even then (I think?) you more or less have to inventory it to see if anyone wants it?

On ratio of wishlist to inventory - like some others, I have a very large wishlist, because I know most of them will never be available, but I just don't know which. I keep my inventory small (a) to limit how much postage I have to spend at any one time; (b) to avoid collecting too many points that I can't spend; (c) because my 'mount TBR' is rapidly growing, so I don't want too many more just yet; and (d) because it does take a fair bit of time to add to the inventory.

Finally, on encouraging good behaviour, and discouraging bad, my suggestion below is noticably more complex than the current system, but I don't know how it would compare with other sites, or how people would feel. The main changes would be that anyone requesting a mooch pays a 'deposit' that gets redeemed when they acknowledge receipt; and the sender gets part payment on sending, the balance when receipt is acknowledged. This would give a greater incentive for acknowledging books, and reduce the benefits of marking books as sent when you haven't - though I guess we'll never fully eliminate bad behaviour in either direction. Incidentally, the 'deposit' would mean that the 'bank' always holds a pool of points for books in transit, that could be offset against the inflationary effect of the international bonus? (I think!). So it might work like:
Domestic:
Inventory: sender +0.1
Request: receiver -2
Send: sender +0.4
Receive: sender +0.5, receiver +1
Total: sender +1, receiver -1

International:
Inventory: sender +0.1
Request: receiver -3
Send: sender +1.4
Receive: sender +1.5, receiver +1
Total: sender +3, receiver -2

This also eliminates any inflation associated with either adding to inventory or acknowledging receipt. As I say, a bit more complex, but maybe people could live with it?

famulus
3 years ago
"Tug-of-war over bad feedback" isn't "tug-of-war about 0.1 points less to mooch a book", as long as the book is acknowledged as received the 0.1 point kicks in whatever the receiver says.

What *is* at stake is the -1/0/+1 on *feedback* (and the not so nice lines of red with non-positive feedback, even if the comment isn't in itself too nasty).

There'd still be disputes where people disagree about (in)adequacy of the traded book, the other user's behavior, etc... even if the 0.1 bonus point goes. What could be done to avoid it participating in inflation, is having it taken in advance (so the mooch would initially "cost" 1.1 or 2.1) then given back when receipt is acknowledged.

Aude
3 years ago
I'm of the "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" mentality.

I think mooching is down in general because of the economy - people buying less brand new books to read and then list and/or also the cost of shipping.

I mooch and send less than when I first joined because there aren't the books I want to mooch available and so I don't list my books. Building up a load of unused points is no use to me.

You could take away the 0.1 point for leaving feedback, it doesn't seem necessary but then would people bother to leave feedback and if they didn't, how would you know you dealing with an honest trader?

I'm definitely against changing the international mooch points, I try to send overseas whenever possible but if it's not worth my while, then I'll have to send to my country only.

So, I guess, my vote is leave Bookmooch the way it is :-)

mecompton
3 years ago
I mail international a great deal and if it were not for the extra point for doing so I probably would not. When it costs $10 to mail a $4 book, I need to be gaining something from the transaction.
I would love to mooch more books and have the points to do so, but the books that I would like to read seldom if ever are made available. I wish there was some way to encourage the listing of more recent publications than is normally seen. I find that most books available were published prior to 2000. Where are the more current titles?
I do not think the 1/10 point for feedback is necessary. Some will leave feedback even without the incentive just as many now do not leave feedback.
Multiple mooches - I love it when I get multiple mooches. When mooching I try to do multiples whenever possible. What bothers me is that many members do not realize that they can save postage by shipping multiple books in one package - granted this is mostly for USA to USA addresses that I am referencing. I recently got 4 books, in 4 packages
from the same person at $2.34 per package and they could probably have shipped them all in one package for about $2.96. Another member accepted 1 book out of a multiple mooch and rejected the others stating that they could not afford the postage for the extra books. I would like to see some incentive to receiving and sending multiple mooches.
I would also like to see a way to curtail people from mooching when they have a large number of books - maybe 25 - books to send. There should also be some time frame within which a member needs to mail the books after they accept the mooch. After 2 weeks, they start losing 1/10 point every 3 days for example.
LaVonne
3 years ago
For those people who complain that there aren't enough books available that they want on BookMooch: Friends have given me 200+ books to post. I have posted some & they've been sent out. I won't post them without having the money to send them to you. I refuse to post a book & say "I'll mail it to you in 24 months" (exaggerated) I want them out of my home and I'll post them as soon as I can, but it isn't fair to you that I temporarily cannot send them to you! (money issues) I truly wish that I could send them out!

My local library also offers a booksale cart with paperbacks for 50 cents & hardcovers for $1. I can't even look there for wishlisted books because I cannot send them out!!

Also, if you put your wishlist on an RSS feed, you will see how many wishlist books come available, even if you cannot get them. It does help in getting wishlisted books. I know this from experience.
---------------------------
Regarding the proposal to "even out" the international requests: personally I'm against it primarily because I'm an angel. I try to angel for those members who are nice enough to smooch another point to offset the one that I spent to originally mooch the book, but I can't say no to an angel request.

If the "even points" for international mooches is implemented, then there needs to be an extra point for angel mooches. Actually, there needs to be an extra point for angel mooches now for those people who don't get smooched.
---------------------------
Regarding the request for "labels": What is stopping you from making labels right now? I make them! Just make a template & fill in the moochers address! If you want prepaid postage, there's stamps.com & paypal... and many others. Labels are not difficult. (customs forms are irritating)

marmalade
3 years ago
As a long time Bookmooch member (4+ years) I would first of all like to say Thanks John for all the hard work you do for the site. It is greatly appreciated.

Now to the points issue, I wouldn't mind seeing the .1 point for receiving a book go away. I think most people would still mark their books as received and leave feedback without this incentive. I also would be in favor of limiting the number of points one gets for listing books as well. I seem to recall that when I first joined, there was an additional .1 given for listing wishlisted books, but that then went away (I don't remember why). Maybe give the .1 point automatically for the first 50 books in inventory and then once the 50 books in inventory has been reached only give the .1 for wishlisted books listed after that. (Have no idea how complicated the programming for something like this might be.)

I would be opposed to changing the number of points for international mooches. I know that I probably wouldn't send as much internationally if I was only getting 2 points instead of 3, and I probably would mooch even less from international members if the cost was 3 instead of 2.

One of the things I like most about Bookmooch is the simplicity of the point system, and I think anything that made it more complicated (like fractions of points for various mooches) might make it less appealing for newer members trying to figure it out.

I have to admit that for the past few years I have been listing fewer and fewer books simply because I don't need the points. I am in the US and almost half the books I have sent out have gone internationally while the majority of my mooches have been domestic. This had led to a huge TBR pile (500+) and extra points in my account (at one point almost 600). I have given away points, mooched for others (my mom & sister now also have TBR piles) and I still have a point surplus left to use. Unlike others I don't have a problem finding books to mooch as I have extremely eclectic reading habits (I'll basically read anything with words) I just don't have time to read everyting I currently have and have a hard time justifying spending money for points I am not using even though I know I have books on my shelves that others would love to have.

Donna
3 years ago
In response to LaVonne - I've sent out many books that were on the best seller list within the last 5 years. They were snatched up so fast that they were never seen by the average moocher. I believe they were worth more than 1 point - not because I need the point, but because it might keep the waiting lists more manageable.
Mona Cannon
3 years ago
I agree there is point infation and you should act to reduce it. I made this comment a while back when you notices PBS was groing faster than bookmooch. I almost never get anything from my wish list here, and I ofen do on paperbackswap, and I think the point inflation is one of the reasons why. Anyone here for long racks up dozens of unspent points artificially raising demand for books that are posted.

I agree the +.1 for comments should be eliminated.

I agree it's OK to keep the initial point for posting your first 10 books. It lets a new user mooch something right away instead of waiting.

I would prefer a balance of 3 for 3 for international mooching. Just today I spent over $9 to spend a paperback to France. That is more than triple what it would cost to send that book domestically.

Because of the extra points already in the system, I think many of us already multimooch when we find other books we like from the same sender. I always look for other books and often mooch a bunch at once. And I'm not sure how much incentive those extra tenths would be, especially as so many of us are already sitting on extra points.

David
3 years ago
Mainly echoing what other people have already said.

I would be concerned if the points given/received for international mooches were changed as I think it would either mean people were less willing to send overseas or unable to angel books (if the points received was decreased to 2) or people would be less willing to mooch from overseas members (if the points cost was increased to 3) and I definitely don't want to see Bookmooch become less international.

Heather Holt
3 years ago
Regarding wishlists on PBS vs BM:

I'm on both sites, but I get more wishlisted books from BM than from PBS.

YMMV

marmalade
3 years ago
Please don't change the international points! And the multi-mooch bonus is (as lots of people have commented) only a bonus if you live in a country where flat rate mailing is possible. Here in NZ we're charged by weight. Multi-mooches can actually cost me more to send per item if the additional weight tips into the next bracket. Please keep in mind that not all moochers live in the US or UK, and what's great for you guys may be awful for the rest of us.

Regarding the problem of getting more books into the system – Jay's suggestion that people buy books from his wishlist from Amazon to be shipped directly to him is a good one, and something I've done myself with other moochers. But at this stage it's something that only happens sporadically, because there's no official position on it (is it fair to get International points when I buy for someone in the US from a US site?) and no real way of finding a moocher like Jay other than chancing across them in comments like this. And as a non-US moocher, it can be frustrating to see so many of the books on my wishlist with Amazon prices of under $1, but no-one out there to buy them for me. (If that makes sense – my morning coffee is starting to wear off.)

Is there some way that could be strengthened? We've got the Amazon data beside the books' listings, so would it be possible to somehow give people the option to list themselves as willing to take part in Amazon mooches?

Joanna Collie
3 years ago
I'm not agree the +.1 for comments should be eliminated, because so people forget to write feedback and this is not so good.
the +.1 for feedback is precious to know if the books that we send are, finally, arrived.
please, don't understimate this aspect.
thanks for your attention!
Anankoid
3 years ago
My one thought is this - if I received a multiple mooch from another country, and already had another couple of books to send out, I would have to delay sending the multi mooch as there is only so much money available in my pocket each month for postal charges. This would create an unnecessary backlog that I could only avoid by refusing the mooch. I'm sure I'm not the only person who would have to delay posting in that situation, and if there are too many books delayed in the system how is anyone benefitting?
It must also be considered that this is an international site and it is most certainly not cost effective for many people to send multiple mooches.
donna
3 years ago
Super newbie here so I am still learning my way around. A problem I'm seeing from the get go is, most of the books I am interested in are on 100s of other user's wishlists and there are 0 copies available. I don't like to keep a lot of books laying around so I only had 6 books to list when I started up and 5 of them went right away. A few within a couple minutes - they are fairly new and popular books.

I am wondering if there would be a way to give people more incentive to list books that have high wishlist numbers? I have a couple more that I have finished this past week I could list, but I am somewhat hesitant because I'm sure they'll go right away and it looks like I'll have to wait months to find anything I really want to read.

aweezy
3 years ago
I like getting the extra points for sending internationally. If that system was taken away, there would definitely be a lot more people, especially overseas, marking themselves as "Only to My Country". I've noticed that lots of people have hundreds of points just sitting around, that they quite often donate to charities. I've come across quite a few charity pages that have stopped asking for donations, because they have been given more points than they can use for the time being. Perhaps the charity idea would work?

I think that quite a lot of the "regular" moochers are the ones that have a lot of transactions. In my experience, lots of the relatively new users add a bunch of books to their inventories, and then get an unwelcome shock when they have 20+ books that they have committed to sending out with none incoming. Quite often they just reject all the mooches and leave the site never to return.

I like the multiple mooch idea... it would definitely encourage me to browse through inventories more.

Tiffany
3 years ago
John, I thought you might be interested - A member of another book swap told me that a rumor was going around that there are a high percentage of books that aren't received here. I have had very few problems but that kind of rumor may have had some affect on the use statistics. I have noted that the quality of available books may be an issue. Bookmooch doesn't require condition standards as far as I know and I've gotten some books in bad condition. However the point system seems fair although I've found that the changes you make are good so whatever you do is great with me.
Diana
3 years ago
My personal situation is that of a person who mooches mainly from other countries (in Italy hard SF books are quite hard to find, the vast majority of my requests goes in the USA) and gives mainly locally (not by my will... I have a lot of books I don't want but they are in italian, so...). I ship internationally too, but I don't receive many requests.

I'm really happy with the way the point system works and I think that the extra point for international moochers is a wonderful incentive. Sadly I can't suggest a way to reduce inflation, I'm not skilled in economics. Hope someone better prepared than me could give you insights on that ^___^
I definitely agree that we can do without the +.1 for feedbacks, though, and... maybe it's possible to put a cap on the points earned by adding books to an inventory? Just an idea.

Anyway, keep up the good work: in 2010 BM has become my main source of used books, my gold mine, a dream realized! Every parcel under 2kg that I send out with domestic shipping costs me only 1,28€. International shipping is pricey compared to that, but the greatest sum I've ever spent on that in one go is 18€. For me it's a bargain.
1) I get free space on my shelves because mooching itnernationally means that for every 2 books i send I can mooch 1 abroad... that's fine for me ^___^
2) I "pay" each new book mooched locally only the 1,28€ I used to earn the point it costs (and sometimes 4 or 5 points "cost" me only 1,28€ aka multi-mooching!)
3) international shipping is not so expensive and its costs tend to dilute in the number of local mooches

So I really can't complain. Looking forward to see where this debate will lead ^________^

Il Gobb
3 years ago
@ Anne
Really? I wasn't aware of that, this could mess up my cost/benefit ratio O_______O

Gotta do some calculations...

Il Gobb
3 years ago
Donna said: "...huge TBR pile (500+) and extra points in my account (at one point almost 600). I have given away points, mooched for others (my mom & sister now also have TBR piles) and I still have a point surplus left to use. Unlike others I don't have a problem finding books to mooch as I have extremely eclectic reading habits (I'll basically read anything with words) I just don't have time to read everyting I currently have and have a hard time justifying spending money for points I am not using even though I know I have books on my shelves that others would love to have."

I have to agree with this! The only reason my mooching ever slows down is space issues - I have no more space for them. I find no difficulty in finding books to read. My main problem is holding back from mooching them because I have so many I haven't read yet, & I have no more room to put them. Consequently, I'm listing fewer books as well, not wanting to accumulate points that tempt me to mooch yet more books!

Maybe what's needed is a campaign to get new users, rather than messing with the points system. (Although I would be in favor of stopping the +0.1 for feedback & limiting the +0.1 for listing to the first 10 books a new user lists.)

The idea of additional points for heavily wishlisted books also makes sense to me.

Thanks for requesting input. Gotta love BookMooch!
Gail
3 years ago
I have been a member for about 5 months now and love BM, haven’t yet posted on any of the forums, but thought I’ll give my 2 cents.

I live in Germany and mooch English books. English books are not that freely available over here forcing me to mooch most of my books internationally.
Half of the books I sent so far have been international (as English books are rare over here, new listings gets mooched locally quite quickly – giving me only 1 point to spend). If it wasn’t for the extra point for sending international, it would make it very difficult for me to get enough points to mooch books.

As mentioned elsewhere, “multi-mooching” would unfortunately not be an improvement. In Germany (as some other European countries mentioned here) we pay per weight. I have not yet posted a package where 2 paperbacks were under 500g, doubling the postage.

Another point raised by someone in Europe, was to have an “area” group as I have no problem shipping to Europe or the UK (it “only” costs 3 times the local rate). The packages I sent to the USA and Australia cost more than 6 times the local rate.

In short, from my point of view the point structure is fine as it is. Please encourage international posting where possible as well as rewarding the speedy posting of books.

Thank you for making this site at all possible and asking for feedback. Much appreciated!

Mel
3 years ago
I really appreciate BookMooch and the effort that is put in to make it so successful. The economic analysis goes over my head I'm afraid! Reducing points substantially would certainly deter me from sending books I'm afraid, particularly to countries abroad. Postal rates are set to go up in the UK again in April and more significantly than in the past. BookMooch has to be cost effective for users particularly in such difficult economic times. However, we're all having to do a little more for less here so I do wonder about awarding people with so many points for listing lots of books especially when these items are not mooched. Would it be better to remove that than the 0.1 for feedback which I think is a good incentive to people to acknowledge receipt and closes the transaction. Putting a book on an inventory does not mean it will ever be taken up by anyone. New moochers could be awarded a point for joining to get them going perhaps?

Agree that I am put off putting books in inventory that I know are very popular because they are disappear straightaway and I haven't got anything necessarily to mooch back.

I also think that the moocher should not be deducted any points unless the book is sent. People are quite happy for a book to be delayed sometimes but you shouldn't 'pay for the book' until it is sent.

Just some thoughts and thanks again for everything.

Claire T
3 years ago
First of all, I love BookMooch and it has worked fine for me so far. Now, to the point, here's some thoughts.

As many said, a drop in the moochers could be attributed to a lot of externalities (that is things outside the mooch economy)...

But I cant really see what is the connection between reducing inflation and reduction of activity. A contraction in the supply of points, will not have a positive effect on the books being sent or received...

So if you really want to curb inflation, the person who proposed that the 0.1 point for listing a book to be an advanced payment, has made a very solid proposition. This means a 20% reduction in the point production from these two particular activities.

Another think that could be done, would be some kind of tax system for those hoarding "too many" points. In order for the tax not to be despicable, the point wealthy person could introduce a friend to mooch and donate him some points to begin his career... Or if he doesn't want to do that, the points could go to a lottery or something with his name on as a donator.

As for people receiving points and not sending the books, well a 50-50 point attribution would be better (50% of points received after the confirmation of the buyer that he got the book).

Aggeliki
3 years ago
I have to agree with all the international members here - reducing the amount of points received for sending books internationally would cause me to prefer not to send outside the UK. Especially if some sort of multi-mooch incentive was introduced as we get charged by weight for sending books over here. So if I send one regular sized paperback abroad it would cost me approx £3, a second would cost me £6, a third would cost me £9... and that's only with surface mail! Being a poor student who has no job and is planning on getting married in July 2012, I could not afford to send 3 books abroad and not get my usual 9 points!

While these suggestions may be excellent to members from the US, it appears that most international users would be at a disadvantage.

I really don't understand this point inflation issue, but I've never had the problem of having too many points. A lot of the books I mooch are ones that are popular in the US - romance novels or kids books - and I really benefit from the current international points system. If this changed I'd probably have to start buying books online instead.

Overall... I really don't think these suggestions are going to benefit those of us who send internationally on a regular basis and rely on people in other countries sending us books that we can't readily get in our own country.

Rachel
3 years ago
Adeline wrote: "I also wonder at people who have about 10 in their inventory, but a 100+ in their wish list. Is there some way of equalising that?"

This may not have occurred to Adeline, but the wishlist is a "pie in the sky" wishlist -- I have no hope of getting most of the books on my list, so I cast my net wide (1000+ books) and I'm lucky if a single book from my wishlist shows up once a month. Most of my actual mooch requests have been books that weren't originally on my wishlist but that just caught my eye in while browsing recently listed books.

So what I do is periodically list about 10 books, which are almost always mooched quickly, and I send them out quickly and reliably. I also send overseas. So I think I'm being quite a responsible and considerate Bookmoocher. Since my books tend to get mooched quickly, I certainly can't afford to list hundreds at a time. But if I had to keep my wishlist also around 10 books, Bookmooch would essentially become useless to me.

Amy Sisson
3 years ago
Also, ditto what "bookel" and Elizabeth said just a few posts up.
Amy Sisson
3 years ago
Same here for the person wondering at "X books listed, X*10 or more wishlisted" as if it was some kind of abuse to their eyes... I happen to be in that case. Turns out that the "humongous" wishlist is just about the right size to keep about the same amount of books moving in and out, and still have points in advance.

And I suspect that would be true for most other non-US residents, and/or people usually after the kind of books that may not be wishlisted in the hundreds, but don't move in very large amounts either.

Aude
3 years ago
Apologies for the long message, but you have obviously thought hard about the points John, and so I did too.

I am certain that the economic downturn and escalating postage costs have been the major factor in the reduction of the growth of Bookmooch, and partially responsible for the inflationary problems.
Mooch-meets addresses postage costs for people in cities or large countries but makes things more difficult for minority & sparsely populated countries and rural locations (e.g. Australia, countries with between 1 and 20 moochers & those in locations where mooch-meets are not possible).

There is a great variation in postal rates in different countries. The UK has surface postage where international postage for printed paper is standard regardless of which continent it is destined for but weightbased so multimooches are not much of an economy (although possibly some help because of weight increments), the US only has airmail but has flat rate envelopes, postage in some countries is much more expensive comparatively than in others. There is no real way to allow for these differences.

Adding books: if you want to encourage people to add books it is not sensible to remove the incentive to do so.
International mooching: if you want to encourage people to send books internationally it is not sensible to remove the incentive to do so. It might help to have a different mooch price for people who also send abroad rather than to bar people from sending abroad but refusing a mooch on the grounds that the moocher will not also send abroad. (We have constantly sent books internationally, but often I have had to use an angel to mooch back my own journals from people who have happily requested journals from me to their country.) I don't mind sending abroad to people who can't send internationally, but perhaps it might be that you need to 'ask first' even if the person's preference is set to 'will send worldwide' if you won't also send abroad? Whilst I don't wish to refuse to people who genuinely can't afford to send abroad themselves, but I can only do so on a pension because I don't smoke, drink, go out socialising or buy clothes! It is all a matter of priorities. For Bookmoochers outside the US it is noticeable that far fewer US Bookmoochers seem to send abroad now.

A number of people have mentioned that people need to be encouraged to send promptly and not mooch without sending books from their pending list, places like Ebay and Amazon show how rewards for leaving feedback is the only way to keep that happening as standard on Bookmooch:

Like famulus my suggested sytem is more complex than at present:
Listing a book -----...........+0.1 point

Sending a book (D) ............+0.4 point
Sending a book (I) ............+0.9 point (or +2.0points)
When book is received (D)......+0.5 points
When book is received (I)......+2.0 points (or +0.9point)

Ordering a book (D) ............1.0 points
Ordering a book (I) ............2.0 points
Confirming Receipt ............+0.1 points
(D) = domestic, (I) = international

Yvann's point " penalisation for people who do not send within a certain time frame is already in place in the form of the reminder and cancel system." does not apply to BMjournals where there is only one copy available, and cancellation may well result in the journal being kept permanently by the moocher. Some benefit for prompt sending might be the answer, or delaying the receipt of points until the book is at least sent, or divided between sending and receipt.

biggs_l point about new moochers is also valid. Perhaps there should be a cap on mooching until a book has been sent and received. I add 'and received because I have seen cases where a moocher has accepted 20 requests for highly wishlisted books and mooched an equivalent number, but actually never sent any books out. That surely can't help the inflation rate, although it is good that Bookmooch largely always instigates a reward system rather than a punishment regme.

...and as marmarlade says "Regarding the request for "labels": What is stopping you from making labels right now? I make them! Just make a template & fill in the moochers address!" I do too - with the Bookmooch logo on them, my sender's address and PRINTED PAPER along the top, I keep it as a file and simply copy and paste addresses in and print as needed, with a few spares to handwrite when mooches are slow.

Someone also mentioned 'balancing' wishlists with inventory. I'd be unhappy with that happening, as I largely mooch journals and keep my own journals wishlisted simply to keep track of them! I also wishlist different editions of any books I'm looking for.

Perhaps we could have a bank where people could deposit surplus points to benefit Bookmooch. Journallers often give smooches, and I always return a point or two when light journals are multimooched, but these could as easily go into an 'inflation charity account'.

tennantfamily
3 years ago
I really love book mooch and while I have been a member for only a month I find myself on this website more than any other! I feel that getting rid of the 1/10th of a point earned for saying you did in fact receive a book might not be the best idea. While there are those of us who appreciate this site and don't want to take advantage of the system I feel that having the 1/10th of a point for writing a feedback and agreeing that yes you did receive the book is a good incentive to keep people honest. I feel that it in fact encourages people to write an honest review and mark the book as in fact received as opposed to marking it as lost. At this point in time I feel like the portion of this site that could use the most work is the search engine while searching a general topic as opposed to a specific book it seems to need some work as it is very limiting.

Just a few thoughts!

Jennie
3 years ago
I have to agree that the economy in general is responsible for any decrease in quantity of books mooched. I have had to adjust my own shipments and curtail them to an affordable number. If you can't fix the economy first, all other efforts and adjustments amount to nothing-and we can't fix an economy those in Washington hold the responsibility for.

I don't think any point system to list a bk is necessary but I can see it for encouraging newbies just learning their way around. I don't feel that I need to be rewarded for listing books-I am listing them to move them to a new owner--not due to any point system. Still, if push comes to shove that might can go. So can the reward for posting feedback. I would be happy to go with a straight point per bk recorded
as recd, altho I realize some people refuse to even post that they've recd it.

galyn
3 years ago
I have to admit that I have read plenty of books that I ordinarily didn't wish for but those were available. I love that this happened the way it did. I noticed that the really popular books that have a lot of positive feedback on Amazon.com are not usually featured here like the Artist Trading Card Workshop. It is on a lot of wishlists also. I usually buy the books that I know I will never get here. Demand drives the price. Why not let demand drive the points. I would be more compelled to give books that are extremely popular if I could get them also.
T Jones
3 years ago
The only thing I'm unhappy with is the amount of time allowed between accepting a mooch and actually sending the book. If members can't afford to send the books within a reasonable amount of time (say 5 days) they shouldn't list them. I have run into quite a few members who will only send a few books a month and are booked up for several months yet they continue to accept mooches.
Susan
3 years ago
...update Friday 14Jan...recently listed more than a doz of my pile of 'on folks WLs' books and promptly, within a couple of days, 11 books got mooched. Sat's mail-off day.

-------
As a USA moocher of nearly 3 years, my 'problem' with BookMooch (and also PBS) is actually with me having sufficient $'s available to ship books. (have only a tiny social security) Currently I have over 30 mmp's sitting on the corner of my desk, all 'wished for' (I've checked)...but I don't presently have enough postage or $'s to list em and ship em out when they're mooched.

Once or twice a year, 'tho, I carefully and deliberately budget for international shipping. I LOVE shipping internationally due to the incentive of the extra points. lol. Plus I like knowing some of my books are out all over the world. During the last three years, I've racked up nearly a doz different countries. yippee.

However I rarely mooch internationally cause I 'hate' paying the extra point cost ... plus some non-USA folks don't like to ship to USA moochers that aren't also shipping international. I've been chided by a fellow that declined to ship to me in the USA because I was listed as 'only in my own country' (due to not being able to afford international postage fees) ... but I did, & do, have sufficient points from active USA mooching. ah well.

I do wish it were an option to 'buy' points, either from the site or from a listing of folks that would like to sell points. Periodically I yearn to buy points...because, since the advent of the near-real-time Twitter of books just posted, I tend to find way too many books I'd like to mooch, and usually have way too few points for all I 'keep finding'. sigh.

So...in general, BookMooch as it currently is...is 'fine'...I just WISH I could occasionally BUY points.

Lou B
3 years ago
I don't understand why my comment was deleted. I wasn't rude in the slightest.

Let me say (again!) that I see the value in reducing inflation. I'm sure I'm not the only BookMooch user with a surplus of points that I don't know what to do with, leaving me with little incentive to add more books to my inventory. Consider all the BookMooch charities too that have asked not to be given any more points seeing as they have way more points than books to mooch with them.

Now, of the three instances mentioned above in which points are created, I agree with John that we could do without the latter two - feedback and international mooches.

I think it's ridiculous to believe that people are going to stop acknowledging receipt of mooched books when that incentive is taken away. I don't know about other people, but I'm going to keep leaving prompt feedback just to keep my 'pending' tab from getting cluttered. Also, I like telling the sender that the book arrived. I just do. If 2000 books are sent each day (is this figure still accurate), then we are creating 200 points a day through this, which is almost twice as many points as we're creating through international mooches (approx. 110).

As for international mooches, I think the next step should be not to get rid of that bonus altogether, but perhaps to halve it (2 points from moocher, 2.5 points to sender). Then there's still an incentive to send books internationally, but we're only creating 55 points a day. I think that's a fair middle ground.

Now John, I don't want to talk too much more, because I know you're getting bombarded with plenty of proposals and suggestions (at least half of which seem totally ridiculous or idiosyncratic), but some serious attention should be paid above to the comments from users tkleff and Hans Persson regarding in demand books. There should be some sort of incentive for users to put heavily wishlisted books in their inventory. I see lots of ways this could be done, but the simplest might be for those heavily wishlisted books to be worth a point or two more in terms of both the cost for mooching one and the reward for sending one. Note that such a change would not increase inflation. Then people can check the list of the most wishlisted books (http://bookmooch.com/m/top/wishlist) to strategically add the books to their inventory that would give them the most points.

Thanks for your help with all of this John, and I'm sorry that you're going to have to go through all of these comments and make a call.

Michael
3 years ago
As always, it is so awesome to see the care and thought that you put into all of this! It is why this is a community more than a "swap" site.

I think that it may be oversimplifying, but people shouldn't receive points until books are marked "Received." It would help address many of the problems mentioned by my fellow moochers. Also, do away with points for leaving feedback. It was a lovely thought, but I think that it could help in a big way with "economy" of BookMooch.

Not sure what to say about large inventories... I mean, isn't it the point to have access to many books??? And my wish list is longer than my inventory...

All the best!
Elizabeth

porschaine
3 years ago
I would be against a change in the international point total distribution. To my $3 - $4 a point in the magic threshold. If you were to change that 3 points awarded for an international mooch, a lot of people in the USA would stop mailing internationally. Just my opinion. Other adjustments might be needed, but not that one.

Now, it it a good thing, when people like me are sitting on 200+ points? Probably not. But, I haven't had a lot of luck in my wishlist lately, and the last two charities I gave to closed, so that really disappointed me.

As always we will trust your judgment John as far as the point system goes.

Hercules40 (a.k.a. PapaG)
3 years ago
I just want to weigh in against the idea of setting a time limit (such as the 5 days someone suggested) on shipping. My income varies: sometimes I can afford to ship, sometimes I can't. If someone lets me know they need the book immediately, I'll do my best, but sometimes I have a stack of books to send and just don't have the funds right then. I've also taken to telling those I mooch from that I'm in no hurry and they should take their time.

And, this information is on my profile, so someone can always choose not to mooch from me if it's a big issue.

Elizabeth
3 years ago
Maybe one thing that you could do to help move books along is make it so that you can create a books to read page where if an active member wants a book you have listed there, it comes up with a Wa (Wishlisted-Active). For example I have about 300 books that I have in a pile to read and I would be more apt to read books first that others are looking for instead of just any book I choose. Hope this makes sense.
Theresa
3 years ago
I don't know about anybody else, but I joined this site because I'm usually broke. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to me that it would be more efficient to have a one to one policy, giving one book means mooching one book. It would stop people from hoarding, and still allow people to be as generous as they like. I don't know, maybe I'm missing something but it seems that this system is overcomplicated and uneconomical.
Zach Carpenter
3 years ago
I love BookMooch !! Been a member since last summer and am happy with the site as is. I would continue to mooch even if the point system were changed somewhat. I love to read and share my books with others. It's fun and tree friendly.
John you have my support on ways to keep BM going strong.
All the best .. Manuela
Manuela Ziemer
3 years ago
Added to the already steep shipping costs, I just found out that there is now a $9 surcharge on any parcel over 500g going TO the USA from Australia (every country will have the surcharge, not sure if they will all be the same amount or not). This will drastically change my ability to send books to the US. One book I sent (by sea mail) to the USA today went from $15 to $24 because of the surcharge. ONE BOOK cost me $24 to send (it was a James Patterson book). So with no flat rate envelope option and this new surcharge I am only going to be able to send books under 500g to the US from now on because 3 points just isn't enough to cover the huge cost.
Bri
3 years ago
Bookel, I am getting charged an extra $9 for sea-mail; better keep an eye on that, & question it next time.
Bri, be careful it is actually for parcels over 453 grams, equal to 1 pound. That extra <50 grams might be a shock.

It is this surcharge that is seriously affecting my ability to continue to send to the US. Much as I hate to, am thinking of going ask first. Haven't done it yet, people pleaser that I am, I don't like knocking people back.
The ever increasing postal costs for other world-wide is getting prohibitive too.

The AUS:USD is about parity now.
So, just to give non-Aussies an idea, the average cost for an Aussie to now send a book OS is anything from $15-$35 !! (or more for multis)
ie: a book over 453 grams is $15 postage & $9 security surcharge.

See what I mean?

Michelle
3 years ago
I haven't read all of the comments, but I tend to agree with the majority of the ones I've read about international points. Please keep it as is. I'm in Canada, and I'd hate to see less people willing to send books internationally because they aren't rewarded with the points to do so. The international mooching is why I joined BookMooch, and why I promote it when I get a chance. :-)

I always wondered why some people asked for others to mooch multiple books! It's cheaper to mail from the U.S.! Here, it just costs more if it weighs more and is bigger size-wise. Like a few others have said, though, I wouldn't mooch multiple books just for the points. I only mooch the books I want.

Thanks for getting feedback before implementing changes. Much appreciated!

Cindy W
3 years ago
I just went back to my PO and they say the surcharge is on ALL parcels over 500g to the US, sea mail and air mail. They showed me the Australia Post memo sent to them and it backs them up.
Bri
3 years ago
I read through all the responses and although I may have missed it I have yet to see anyone make this connection:
1) the idea of removing the .1 for feedback/ marking book received
+2) You can't use your points until the books are received
=???

I am from Canada and send overseas regularly. Right now I have about 6 books I am preparing for Israel, and some for the Philippines. Some of these books take a long time to be marked received. Having my points tied up for months would make me much less likely to send to places with slower postal systems, and that is not fair to users there. As a member with 100% feedback I would also not appreciate being treated like a criminal who cannot be trusted with my own points. Perhaps that could be applied for the first 10 or so books a new member sends out, but not for regular members.

I also found several comments here short sighted. I tend to prefer to send out large batches of books at once, when I have saved up the $$. To that end I will post a large number of books at one time (I have 37 books accepted to send right now, primarily since Saturday). This increases the chances of someone finding a multiple mooch, and lessens the amount of trips I need to take to the post office. I am trying to get a year or so of points in one go (and received a cheque for some textbook work recently so I can do so).

Several commenters seem to disapprove of this situation because a) I have lots of books to be sent right now which are not sent and b) I am 'hoarding' points. If I were limited in the number of requested books at a time I would be posting a much smaller number of books. I do not want to make a trip a week to the post office to mail books. This would result in fewer books being available from me.

I agree that changing the international points scheme would be the death knell of not only angeling, but likely of international mooching as well. Combined with the multimooch rule which is also American-centric I am wondering if bookmooch will remain and international site or if it will in essence become another PBS with rules upon rules about numbers of books and acceptable delays, etc.

Bcteagirl
3 years ago
Dear John-

I think that the system you set up to begin with is excellent the way it is. I'm just a private reader, but over the last 2 years, I've both mooched and given about 1,000 books.

I used to always accept international mooches, however when the US Postal Service eliminated Parcel Post (and never had International media mail- which is the cheapest way in the US ) for International mailing, that made it lots more expensive to ship internationally. Without that added 3rd point for international mooches, it wouldn't be worth it to list my books internationally. I love to send books internationally when I can afford it; once I sent a whole box of french books to a school in Madagascar. It was really neat sending them out to kids I knew really needed them, but it was HUGELY expensive.

I like the option of giving points to charities too; that helps to keep the points in circulation. There are certainly many worthy charities that benefit from Bookmooch.

With the economy down, I can only afford to ship fewer books. So that may be part of your downturn in volume. And as my husband points out, I have huge stacks of books to read that I've already mooched.

I like the 1/10th point for listing and leaving feedback. In the cases where the person is out to scam the system, it doesn't take long for the Bookmooch community to smell the rat, because of the feedback.

I'd just like to say that I really appreciate everything you've done to make this a great system. After I read many of the mooched books, I give them to a friend, who can't even afford to participate in Bookmooch, because on her disability income, even the average cost of a US book postage at about $2.00, is beyond her means. So the Bookmooch ripples spread out in other ways too. So keep up the great work.

Cheryl Glenn
3 years ago
I agree with the idea that to encourage feedback but not add to the overall points in system would be to take the .1 in advance (so the mooch would initially "cost" 1.1 or 2.1) then given back when receipt is acknowledged.
Roo
3 years ago
I find I can get most US books from our library(free), used book stores(cheap), ebay(cheaper) and Amzon(cheap). The attraction of BookMooch for me is being able to access the international books offered by members in other countries. I want to encourage their participation to get access to books not easliy obtained domestically.

THank you for opening this thread where I have read some very good ideas and gained insight into the system.

Michael Smith
3 years ago
(off-topic a bit)
To all Australian moochers - the surcharge of $9 is for parcels weighing over 500g (changed from 453g = 1lb) sent AIR mail ONLY to the US.
Do not let them charge you for sea mail or for lesser weighted parcels.

I know this for a fact as I was charged incorrectly initially and got my money back as I keep my receipts. The first missive was incorrect and indicated ALL parcels but it is an aviation security issue ONLY.

It does, however impact on my mailing for mooches to the US, and this forum. I will never consider sending air mail to the US if over 500g with this extra charge.
Hope this removes your concerns about the surcharge,
~ Lyn

Lman
3 years ago
Thanks for clarifying that Lyn.
Will definitely keep my wits about me @ PO.
Michelle.
Michelle
3 years ago
All the comments so far are positive.

I'm not, however, at all happy with the idea of removing points for listing inventory or capping points for inventory.

If you can only earn points by accepting mooches, then there will be those who will rush to buy up cheap copies of highly-wishlisted books and send them out to earn points. BM will become a dull site with just the same old airport bestsellers. And what about those of us who don't have access to books in our language or second-hand or charity bookshops in order to fill a wishlistable inventory?

As I commented earlier, there are many people not finding the books they have wishlisted. Probably many of these books are less popular. Not offering points for inventory will mean that:
(1) less popular books won't be listed
(2) people with less popular books won't be able to mooch, so will leave BM, disillusioned.

We need eclectic inventories.
(a) Make them more visible by fixing the "recently added" function so that _EVERYTHING_ entered into BM inventories appears on this list, and give people the chance to find those gems.
(b) Improve the search and recommended functions to make those different books more accessible.
(c) Give users the chance to add their own topics to the database to improve search functions. Raw data may be imported from Amazon, but can't we as a community improve it?
(d) Sometimes books can sit on an inventory for years, then be suddenly mooched. Last year I sent out books that had been in my inventory for two years or more, but eventually someone found what they were looking for. If I had needed the space and had access to a charity shop to dump the books, I probably would have removed those books from my inventory.

If points earned for international mooching are reduced, then what is the incentive - other than being a nice person - to send books overseas, and particularly to a country where books abound?

Overall, leave points as they are. Encourage international mooching by adding a regional tier.

There may be many people sitting on unused points, but so what, they've earned them? I still don't understand why this is an issue. Surely what's important is to keep BM moving and make things move around more quickly. This could come from better search and recommendation - maybe then those points would be spent. Let's fix what is partially blocked and see whether that helps, rather than reinventing and breaking a perfectly excellent system.

jacquie
3 years ago
Interesting discussion. And somewhat scary. :)

I don't think the amount of points in the system is the main problem. The problem is that there's less books available. The statistics show decrease in amount of users and amount of books to mooch (probably due to world economy and high postage costs). Shouldn't we try to fix that before making any big changes to the point system?

My suggestions are:

More mooching
1) Let's all have "BM advertising campaign" to get new members. There's millions of booklovers who haven't heard about BM yet. (Write to other forums, distribute BM cards or leaflets, articles in magazines, book fairs,…)
2) Try to figure out ways to encourage adding more books to BM.
3) Improve BM search options to help people find more books to mooch and keep them active in BM.

Small changes to points, if necessary
4) Give 0.1 point only for adding 50 (or 20, or 100) first books. (Maybe keep +0.1 for highly wishlisted books.)
5) Give 0.1 point only for marking 50 (or something) first books received.

And please,
6) Keep the point system otherwise as it is. I believe like many others that changes would probably kill angel system and throw "small mooch countries" out from BM.

So, rather more books than less points.

vivir
3 years ago
My two cents, after reading your whole post and many of the comments:

I like the idea of encouraging multiple mooches by tweaking the way recommendations work. That might take a lot of work, but it would be really cool if you could get a recommendations system that is actually helpful. Perhaps, right after mooching a book from somebody, recommendations *from the inventory person they just mooched from* could pop up? I could see that encouraging multiple mooches very effectively, without stepping on any toes or changing anything in a system that is, after all, still working very smoothly (with no evidence that that is necessarily going to change). Right now, the recommendations on most book detail pages are worthless. It would be great if that could change.

The point discount for multiple mooches seems like a good idea in theory. But I can see three potential objections to it in practice:

1) People who really want to offer a discount for multiple mooches are already doing so; that makes it somewhat unnecessary.

2) Even though the discount would be intended as a reward, people who couldn't find multiple books from one person might see it as a punishment. This could actually lead to a *decrease* of single mooches: "I want this book! Oh, wait, none of those people who have it have other books that would interest me . . . mehhhh, I guess I'll pass altogether."

3) You'd probably see an increase of reserved books for friends. Probably not a huge deal (as someone is going to get that book either way), but worth considering.

Now, here are the upsides:

1) Encouraging an increase of BookMooch friends who trade piles of books with one another. This would encourage more social networking between members. Some people might not like this, but more people probably would.

2) This would be EXTREMELY helpful to international moochers who are dependent on Angels to get most of their books. This would help encourage more international mooching, which is a very strong upside, especially if you're considering changing the way international points work.

Overall, the point discount for multi-mooching seems like a great idea, as long as the sender continues to receive the same number of points as ever -- that way, the sender pays less postage money per point, and the receiver pays fewer points per book, which makes a lovely "win-win" situation. If you want to implement it, I would not object. I think it would definitely encourage more BookMooch friends who trade stacks of books to one another, and it would also do loads to help out people who are reliant on BookMooch Angels for a lot of their books.

As to the main thrust of your post, the three sources of "inflation":

1) I agree that adding books to one's inventory should be rewarded with 0.1 point each, for all of the reasons you mentioned. That encourages people to join in the first place, it gives new members something

As to the "virtual points" idea one person mentioned, I wouldn't worry much about it. You might have a spot under the points log that says how many points are there from adding books to inventory -- that could help people who are concerned about the "virtual points" thing, without being obtrusive for people who don't care about it. I think the mooch ratio works very well to prevent people from taking advantage of virtual points too much. I do think there could stand to be a system in place to red-flag people who are marking too many books lost -- but there don't seem to be too many people out there who are dishonest, and the mooch ratio helps block most of them, so I don't think it's an urgent problem.

2) I agree that we can do without the 0.1 point for marking books received. It's nice, but totally unnecessary; most people are going to mark books received no matter what, if only to declutter their "pending" page. If you think the system will work better without that, feel free to take it out. I agree that it's unnecessary.

3) Oh, please, please do not change the way the international points work. It's definitely an inflationary thing, but I've always thought the way you had those set up was perfect. It costs me three times as much to mail a book internationally as domestically -- and I live in the US. For people in a lot of other countries (such as, say, Australia), that's got to be even worse. Unless you want scads and scads of people suddenly switching to "only to my country," you need to keep that three points received. It's fair, accurate reimbursement. If you start decreasing that, it will no longer be.

And then there's the other side, increasing the number of points for mooching internationally. That would not affect how many people would be willing to send internationally, but it would DRASTICALLY affect how many people would be willing to mooch internationally. I have an Australian BookMooch friend who has complained many times how hard it is for her to get any points on BookMooch because most people in the US aren't willing to pay two points for one book (even though she has to pay two points for hers the majority of the time). If you raised that to three, a lot of US members would stop mooching internationally altogether. That would kill most of the potential requestors international people could get, which might kill their ability to trade sufficiently to keep their interest in the site alive. It would be a tragedy to see BookMooch popularity thus nosedive in other countries.

Oh, and one other thing: I noticed in one of your other BookMooch Health blog posts something about an idea to "nag" people to re-post books that are popular that they haven't reposted since getting after a certain amount of time. *Please* do not do this! One thing I love about BookMooch is that there are many different ways a person can choose to use it, and they are all valid. Some people treat BookMooch like a library; some primarily want to find new homes for their old books; others mooch books they want to keep. (Particularly people who don't have the income to get books to keep otherwise.) Those "nagging" e-mails would be judgemental and guilt-trippy to the last group of people (which, incidentally, includes all charities), and that would make their BookMooch experience unpleasant and hassle-y.

One thing I love about BookMooch is that I can try books I consider "risky" by mooching instead of checking out from a library. With a library, I have to worry about late fees and due dates and other such hassles. With BookMooch, I can mooch a book I want when it comes up, read it when I finally have the time, and keep it if I love it or pass it along to somebody else if I don't. That "keep it if I love it" part is important -- I tend to get attached to the exact copy of a book that I originally read, which makes it sad to fall in love with a book I checked out of the library. Even though I have to pay for postage, BookMooch fixes this perfectly. A system of guilt-tripping about those books I fall in love with and choose to keep would hurt and frustrate me.

. . . Okay, that was a really long post. Sorry about that. If I sound worried or overly critical, it's only because I love BookMooch so much, and I would hate to see anything change that would detract from the whole thing. Thank you very much, John, for caring so much about the system and working so hard to keep it working properly! Most countries would benefit immensely from gaining a caretaker as devoted as you.

Emily Martha Sorensen
3 years ago
While I'm sure that the state of the economy (and MAYBE the cost of shipping from Australia) is a factor in the decrease of mooching, the point is that even for someone like me, who lives in the US and has not had any significant change in income in the last couple years and is as eager to trade as ever, mooching opportunities have decreased drastically, and point inflation is the main reason, I think.

People with more points than they can use (and there are a lot of them) are no longer adding books to their inventory because they have no incentive to do so, and are instead waiting for stuff from their wishlist to be offered. Enough people are doing this that you end up with an increasingly large number of users chasing after a shrinking number of books. It becomes very very easy to get your books mooched, and hard to find something you want.

Multi-mooching doesn't seem like much of a solution - if it's hard to find one book you want on the entire site, how likely are you to want 2 or more from the same member?

Changing the way points are allocated is a step in the right direction, but I'm not sure it's enough at this point. Whatever happens, there have to be INCENTIVES for people to start offering desirable books again, and I don't know that there are easy solutions right now.

Patrick
3 years ago
John started this conversation as an exercise in economics. He wants to address a decline in bookmooching using economic principles. That's fine and a good approach, if the source of the decline is really based in some sort of factor in the bookmooch "economy" and is not something external. There are many factors that can cause a single company's business to decline.

John's post noted bookmooches are less numerous than last year, which might represent a cooling of the BM economy or the impact of external sources (including local and world economies, which are different economies than the BM one). He also noted that the existing points system is inflationary. But he never connected them in more than a theoretical way. Meaning, I don't see any evidence presented here that the current point system is causing the BookMooch slowdown. Possible, yes. Proven, or even demonstrated as likely? I'm less convinced - what other possible causes have been considered?

Some people commenting here have accepted the idea that we need to change the point system, but in my opinion, this still needs to be examined. AMuch of the discussion so far is focused on the details of the proposals and why they would/would not be acceptable to BM members. The more basic question is - would they even solve the problem?

The danger here is that by focusing on this one issue, John may miss some other causal factor that he could be addressing instead, one that could have the same, or more, impact on reversing the decline than changing the points system would have. In my opinion, before action is taken, there should be more cause & effect analysis than simply "this could be why BM is slowing down."

Mary L
3 years ago
I have been bookmooching for a while now and I have accumulated a lot of mooch points. I have 17 books in my inventory at the moment, if I remove them all I will still have over 100 mooch points to spend. People like myself probably don't need the extra 0.1 point per book added to their inventory. Personally I would be happy to scrap that now that I am an established moocher. For newbies the 0.1 points system could maybe limited to the first 20 - 30 books, this would encourage them to add books to their inventory and make a first mooch. But what if they weren't actually allowed to make that first mooch until they had recieved their first lot of feedback for a book they have sent out? Would this not actually encourage newbies to a) add books that people actually want to mooch b)encourage them to send at least one book out before they can mooch one? This might but a spanner in the works for those newbies who join purely to get as much out of the system without putting anything in. There is nothing more annoying than a newbie who has been given the boot AFTER they have scammed several books out of the sytem before people have realised they have no intention of sending out books themselves.

Now this might be going a bit overboard, but what if you changed the points system so that you only get your mooch points after the recipient has left feedback? Obviously this would mean posting overseas may mean having to wait longer to recieve mooch points from your recipient, it also rely's on the recipient actually leaving feedback, and then there are issues with wether or not the you would still get the mooch points if the recipient leaves negative feedback. However, it would also mean that you wouldn't be able to spend your mooch points until you have actually earned them.

chunnie
3 years ago
I know that the idea of "buying" points is one which always causes alarm.

But, I would be happy to donate points to Bookmooch which people could then buy using Paypal.

This would mean that new moochers could get books more quickly and that Bookmooch would get more funds. Even seasoned moochers sometimes want more points at a particular point. This would also remove points from the system and turn them into funds.

For some of us, points are more viable to donate than money. I've spent a huge amount at the postoffice to earn these points - I've given 00s to charities, but to be honest the majority of the charities seem to have more points than they need.

brownbear
3 years ago
I’d like to add my two cents as follows:

Problem: The current points system is unbalanced. On average, bookmooch members build up too many points which ultimately makes the long-term bookmooch economy unsustainable.

Cause: Currently, each domestic mooch results in a net of +0.2 points into the economy. Each international mooch results in a net of +1.2 points into the economy.

Solution: Don’t add so many points into the economy from each transaction.

Suggestion:
Add a book to inventory: +0.1
Domestic mooch, sender: +0.9
Domestic mooch, moocher: -1.1
International mooch, sender: +2.9
International mooch, moocher: -2.1
Leave feedback: +0.1

Result: Each domestic mooch would result in a net of 0. Each international mooch would result in a net of +1 point. At a rate of 550,000 mooches per year, my suggestion would mean that 110,000 fewer points would be added into the economy each year (my suggestion compared with the current points system).

Benefits:
It’s simple. It doesn’t require re-programming the whole system. John would just need to go into the master program and change a couple of numbers (I think?).

It’s not that big a difference from the current system. Bookmooch members wouldn’t even feel the sting of slightly reduced point rewards.

The slightly reduced point system means that all members share equally (per mooch) in helping to maintain the health of the bookmooch economy.

Motivation is still in place for adding books to inventory, leaving feedback, and sending internationally.

In the future, these numbers could be slightly re-adjusted (down or up) as required to maintain a healthy bookmooch economy. For example, the +1 net for international mooches might still be a long-term problem.

Conclusion: It seems like most people (myself included) are happy with the current points system. My suggestion offers a slight tweaking of the current system in order to maintain long-term sustainability.

Disclaimer: This is just my opinion. Ultimately I trust John and the decisions he makes on behalf of the bookmooch community.

peter
3 years ago
As some others have said, please don't change the point system for international mooching. It really is significantly difficult to get some people to send abroad. I think even giving more incentive (not less) to send internationally would help.
TokyoJim
3 years ago
Regarding the comments about multi-mooches: I have tried to do this even within my country recently, and most times from abroad. As a result, I have read some interesting books I would otherwise never have considered!

Not sure a mandated point reduction system would help this, and it would certainly outrage some members! Something that might encourage this would be a "Sale" tab - listing users who were offering incentives, 3/2 or whatever. This would make it voluntary. From the US - 600 pound gorilla, it is a big saving to send multiple books in one package to anywhere.

The .1 for marking a book received can probably go. Abusers will show up with a quick look at their Pending page and history. But not crediting points until the book is received would discourage well-intentioned new members along with the abusers.

A Recommendation feature looks like a good idea - Amazon certainly gets more of my business that way. BTW, adding the Amazon prices to the wishlist was brilliant!

Another thing I cautiously recommend would be an occasional newsletter sent to all users not on vacation; to update us on new features and maybe offer recommendations. Nothing too elaborate, but if users don't have a book mooched or a wish listed book come up, they never hear from BookMooch. You could also add links to the Wiki - I am convinced that many users won't send abroad just because they don't know how easy it is to do (again, from the US; don't know about other countries.)

John, thanks for all you do - BookMooch is truly unique and admirable in this commercial world!

Rosemarie Larkin
3 years ago
If points were to change, then people should not be given listing points for adding a book to a listing that already has many books (10, 20, 50). Maybe people could be given a slight bonus for listing a book that has many wishlisters.

Alternatively, members who already have a large number of points (50, 100, etc) do not need listing points or feedback points.

If you want to encourage international mooches, then set the mooch as 1 point and the sender gets 3 points.

However, I don't think points really need to change. The problem for me and many people is lower/stagnant income vs rising postage costs.

I have a lot of books to send out right now because I Angel flat-rate boxes for intl members and send media mail boxes to friends in the US.
Delay: The boxes are worthwhile when I can fill them. Some of the books would be $20+ as single intl packages.
Points: If I did not get the extra point for sending internationally, the boxes would effectively double in cost and be hard to justify. Likewise, if my intl moochers had to pay another extra point for their mooches, they would have to mooch less. This would hurt the Angel network and reduce mooches, not help your goal to raise them.

I am not mooching as many for myself because the available space for my own books is full. I need to read more, not mooch more, so I have more free space.

infiniteletters
3 years ago
hi, i would just like to say this site is fantastic and the point system i feel works out well for me probably in my favour (UK) however i am never sure regarding the postage when send internationally as surfce mail is a lot cheaper than air mail, may be there should 2 points for surface mail and 4 for airmail when sending internationally. i agree with some other comments regarding we should only recieve book points when pressed sent, that way people might send books out quicker.
Another thought that i have is when i look at my mooched list it gives the books that didn't arraive or that the book was not accecpted it would be nice if there was a delete button for us on that page and a mooch on button too. sorry to give you more work. also i would like to support the site through amazon when buying book but as im from the uk i want to use a sterling site not dollars, hope this is ok many thanks.
Haf
3 years ago
I really enjoy bookmooch and as for my lack of mooching I would blame the browsing system for France .I am an english book reader and find myself having to scan by person each inventory to see who is posting books in english and who is posting books in french.If there could possibly be away to seperate by country and then language , that would be an huge help for me.As far as mooching internationaly I try to avoid due to the non ecological side of it. If someone does mooch from me internationanlly I send ,luckily France has a special rate for sending out internationally.
I feel like the point once the book is recieved may be a good idea. I personally have not yet had any problems with not recieving books, though this may be that our english book community is smaller.I also agree with not being able to mooch until having noted recieved articles, its seems like the minimum.
It does seem like when I find a book that I want it is already on 10 wish lists
I feel also that when amazon can sell used books for .69 cents sometimes I too just buy instead of waiting, it depends.As stated by some just earlier it costs more for us to send within france than internationally,
yet this does not discourage me a book lover willing to share, though some times when I put new books up I can't afford to send them all out, when I put the good ones they are gobbled up, understandably so . Well thanks again and I like this idea of taking opinions. Keep Mooching!!!!
josephine
3 years ago
I have only been using the site for about two years. I joined because I was thinning my library and rather than just donate them to the local organizations, I thought it would be fun to send them to the far reaches of the world. I like the current point system, especially the incentive for sending internationally, because I've been able to pool enough points to not only cover the books on my wishlist should they become available (even internationally) but also a surplus to play with. When I mooch, I may just browse for a specific topic and grab whatever I can. Because of the points surplus, I can mooch a bunch of books, pull the ones that I find useful and give away the others. I have been able to mooch books to give as gifts, to help friends/family, to replace worn out editions in my library and just for the heck of it. If the current point system didn't exist, I would have extremely different mooching habits that would be a lot stricter than what I have just described.
Emily
3 years ago
Cutting the extra points for International mooches will make it next to impossible for me to get books or send them.

What might help is if there was a way to see if books in our inventories are on people's wishlists. I am clearing out my present inventory as they have been sitting for too long. Will be adding some new books, so it would be more helpful to Bookmooch if I knew which books were wanted.

Canadian postal rates are very high. The multiple mooch system would not work, our packages are measured and weighed- no flat rate. Other Canadians are refusing Canadian mooches.

Nods re people with long lists of books to send who tell people that it will be a year before a book can be sent. That is abuse of the system.

The search function is not useful unless you know the name of the book or author. I might mooch more if I could find books by genre, subject reliably.

Tudorpot
3 years ago
Kneejerk reaction: I don't think that changing the international mooching costs is a good plan. At all. I'm from the UK, a good three quarters of people mooching from me are international, and nearly every single one of the mooches I DO are international. I agree with the others who've said that cutting the extra points would make getting books next to impossible - I just wouldn't have the points.

(I don't now, honestly. CURSE YOU HOARDING TENDENCIES.)

Honestly, I don't think the points system is broken. I think some of the users hideously abuse the system - I have a number of books on my pending list that have been there for a year because people JUST WON'T SEND THEM - but that isn't something that can be fixed by the management, really. I quite like the points system the way it is.

Susan
3 years ago
I like the point system the way it is, but I wouldn't mind most of the changes you mentioned. Almost all your ideas would be fine to me, only cutting the extra point when mooching international seems problematic, as I fear that it might be more difficult to get the books you want if you are outside the US. Which brings me to the point that the reason for the decrease does not seem to be people not having points, but not spending them. As someone mentioned, maybe it would encourage people to spend more points if more books came up. Maybe we need more new members... I don't know. I'm just not sure whether a change - as good as it might be - in the point system would actually fix the decrease.
ayasuu
3 years ago
Books on my list aren't available and that's why I haven't mooched more, plain and simple. However, I have had a lot of problems with people listing books, me mooching them, and then never hearing from the members again - whether they go on vacation, never return to the site, etc. Even the remind me tab hasn't helped, so in the end I have to cancel, relist the book, and ignore the fact that their "mooch" is still available. That's why my numbers of mooching have gone down, although any time a book that's on my list is available I do mooch it. International mooches are great and I'm always willing to do them as I love to be able to receive them, but they can be expensive (as many have mentioned about our tough $ times!).
BTW....LOVE BOOKMOOCH :)
amber
3 years ago
Here's an echo, basically "if it ain't broke,..."

Also, BM is the bestbook-trading site. I have tried 4-5 others over the last 3 yrs, and got rid of them, including Titletrader and paperbackswap.

Nor do I think giving extra pts for heavily wish-listed bks is a good thing, nor is limiting our wishlists. Mine is large (around550) due to looking for bks for my son, father& grandmother. My own wishes, like many others have said also, are a little obscure or old.

And the idea of being able to ask for extra pts for a popular book!!!!!!..well, one of the reasons I'm leaving Titletrader.

I, like others have stated already, am in a tight financial spot and am constrained in shipping, so I don't think the 15% drop is due to anything BM is doing, but just life happening.

Chelsea
3 years ago
'The only thing I'm unhappy with is the amount of time allowed between accepting a mooch and actually sending the book. If members can't afford to send the books within a reasonable amount of time (say 5 days) they shouldn't list them'

Maybe you are unhappy with this but for some getting to the post office is difficult. I often leave work too late to catch the post office open. I have to use a rural post office that I pass on my way home which only opens part time. I choose to support this post office because if people like myself didn't it would be in danger of being closed. Recently we had terrible weather and a lot of snow in my area of the UK and I had to delay sending books as I didn't leave the house for over a week and the UK postal service was in disarray. I state any postal issues that I may have in my Bio which I regularly update. Occasionally I've delayed sending a book as I have already sent 5 or 6 that month. Not one person has ever cancelled a mooch on me because of any of these reasons. Maybe it's because they appreciate that this is a book swapping group and not a business!!!

donna
3 years ago
The problem lies more w/some users vs. the points system. One of the reasons I recommend Bookmooch over other trading sites is because of the ability to earn points by listing. Another reason is I think that Bookmooch is easier to use than some other sites, so thank you for providing!.

I send out considerably more books than I mooch because I only mooch books that I cannot get at the library. I don't have space in my house for books that won't be re-read so I gladly recycle them to someone who will enjoy them. The vacation button is there for when I travel & can't send out books in a timely manner; one of those easy-to-use features.

2 things I'd love to see on Bookmooch: 1) an easily accessible "log off" button; 2) a way to merge my amazon wish list w/my Bookmooch wish list.

ehj
3 years ago
I like the extra point for sending internationally. right now I can't send overseas but really liked sending to another country.

I figure the most expensive one I sent was $9-10 and that worked out to about $3 per point. anything less and it wouldn't have been worth it to me in return.

the 0.10 for marking a book received could go away and even the 0.10 for posting a book...well maybe after the first 10 or 20, that gives a new person a chance to mooch a book before one of theirs is requested.

Leslie
3 years ago
I'll say up front, that I didn't read all of the above comments. I'm just going to speak from my experience. First of all, I believe the points for feedback need to go. Feedback should be like feedback on ebay, where the greater community is expected and willing to provide it to assist other moochers in knowing "who to trust". Points earned for listing books is questionable to a point. If I am getting bags of books from the library sale ($1/bag), yet none of them are "helpful" to the community, I am theoretically just racking up points for storing books (and listing them). I agree with the idea of helping out new users with points for books listed, but there should be a limit. If you set a cap at say 2 or 3 "free" credits, it would be enough to jumpstart the new users, but not flood the system. I do think there should be some form of bonus or preference for newer or more wishlisted books. I can't say that I have a solution for that, but just that I feel that it should possibly exist. My biggest obstacle in using this site has been that it is hard to obtain the "newer" books. I am not able to be at a computer awaiting emails for posted books. Therefore, when I have a book that has what seems to be a highly wishlisted value (as in waiting list books from other sites), I am hesitant to list it here, as opposed to a book site with a queue system. I still put a few on here from time to time to feel "justified" in using the site. As to the system of receiving points for book requests, I don't trust it with the number of unscrupulous people out there. If you are really involved with the site as a member of the community, it will not be to much to ask to have your points added as the books are received by the moochers.
ang
3 years ago
"If you are really involved with the site as a member of the community, it will not be to much to ask to have your points added as the books are received by the moochers. "

2 words for you: "sea mail". Many international moochers would need to wait months before they could request books, if the points-on-receipt were implemented.

infiniteletters
3 years ago
I am trying to find out if it is illegal to trade downloaded audio books. I have recently got into buying audio books online because it reduces the clutter for me. I have some mp3 books that are on several people's wish lists but I am not sure if I have the right to trade. I have listened to these books so many times, but now I'm stuck with them? Does anyone know the answer to this?

I just read over an article about e-books and I think I have the answer to my question. A lot of people are getting more books digitally these days and I am stuck with them. I found the answer to my question at this link
http://chronicle.com/article/Do-You-Like-Your-E-Reader-/65840/

I know that the question above seems irrelevant, but loving books has to lead to eventually getting digital books.
Maybe technology is changing the way people do things. Of course, the economy is a reason for people to cut back on shipping. I am just one of those people that thinks everything happens for a reason. And technology could be the reason for the cost of shipping increases over the past decade. And the cost of shipping could be the reason more people are looking at digital downloads. I have my own way of thinking about things like this. I think that technology is leading the way to change and the economy is one of the things that has to change with technology. That's just me and I am certainly no authority on economy and change.

T Jones
3 years ago
I agree with infiniteletters above. Last year I sent some books to a women's group charity in New Zealand from Canada. It did take *months* for them to arrive (3 or 4?). Not being able to access those points for months (And possibly longer if I have to wait to force receive)would have the effect of decreasing international trade of books. Others in this thread have stated that the main attraction for them to BM in the international aspect. Something that makes international trade less likely or more difficult is going to decrease books swapped, not increase them.
Bcteagirl
3 years ago
I'm not mooching as much because there aren't as many interesting books being listed. My wishlist is very long and growing! Points don't solve this at all.
Emily Dods
3 years ago
I too think that one of the great advantages of BookMooch is the simplicity of the point system, so I would be against point freezing policies and point fractions. I think for new members, a long list of point policies would be offputting.

My points seems to stay right around 50 these days, which I find a very comfortable level. I'm able to mooch anything that catches my fancy, and throw out smooches whenever I feel like it. The reason I don't mooch as much as I used to is that, as others have noted, I have an entire bookcase filled with books to be read, and I'm not finding as many of my wishlist books. And I'm working more, so I have less time to browse for books.

Reducing the number of points for international mooches would mean it would cost too much for me to send internationally, so I'd really be opposed to that change.

I could let go of the .1 for marking books received, but I have a point backlog; I fear that would discourage new members who don't have many points yet.

I have to say I think a lot of the problem right now is that people have less money and so are unable to mail books frequently, and also are unable to invest in second hand books just to list them on BM.

Thanks for all you do for BM, John!

Maureen
3 years ago
Hello!

I support the idea of limiting listing points to the first listed books.
However I would always give a bonus to people listing books present in wishlists. A very high bonus.
Or either, give the moocher 1 point is the book is not in wishlist, and 1.x if the book is in a wishlist. That could maybe help having more recent books (I see a lot of very old stuff on Italian users lists...)

Other thoughts.
Being from Italy, I strongly support the currents international scheme. I find difficult to have books from UK or USA since many people is not shipping internationally. Take away the bonus and much less will do it.

I find a very good idea multimooching: less cost, less oil-per-book consumed :)

I support also a splitting of the point(s) between "mooched" and "received". This would limit bad habits and allow people using surface international mail to have at least a part of their points immediately.

About listing 0.1 bonus, I like the limitation to the first xx books. The bonus is important only to beginners.
I also suggest hypothesis like:
- if a book is already present in 5+ (xx) copies, the bonus is not given.
- after 1 year of book inactivity the 0.1 point is taken back.
- if a book is present on a wishlist, the bonus is 0.2 (xx)

I find the charity a very good system to spend extra points, but I see a low number of charities available... Improve it could get rid of some points...

Finally, I found recently exceptional the Bookmoocher software, at least for Italy, where the number of listed new book is small. The possibility of looking at the new listed books without losing myself in the browsing is very good.

Anyway, thanks John for all you do!

Matteo
3 years ago
I like the point system. It is fair. I don't care about inflation. Maybe if it really becomes an issue, you could offer a "bounty" on the 100 wishlisted books or so - say, an extra point or half point or something. It might encourage more people to list books that are wanted.

The other thing might be a modified first in, first out system, where a member could indicate a certain number of books (maybe five books) that they would really like to receive, if that book comes up, they get priority, of course, if somebody else asked priority first, then that person would get the book. Then continue on with the the random notifications.

One thing I would like to see is a way for books to be reserved for Angels when a book owner is set to "only within my country". Currently, as it stands, a highly wishlisted book gets taken before an angel is found.

But, as a whole, I love BookMooch. I send out less books due to money more than anything else lately. I also have many books to read thanks to BookMooch - Have you considered that maybe a part of the slowing down of BookMooch is that long time members have more books than they can read in a lifetime? I think the focus should be on bringing new people in, rather than changing the system.

Thank You again for this site!

thedivineoomba
3 years ago
Personally I have had various reasons for my own listing, sending and mooch slow down in the last couple of years - none of which relate to a shortage of books I want to read, and therefore have wishlisted (a wide-ranging list)! I also mooch as a result of browsing, searching, and LibraryThing.

In general I have very few points at a time, and it's a very exciting time when I have 10 points in my account. I run a small inventory and very rarely purge it. I do Angel occasionally (though probably less since the forums changed format, because I haven't found a way to make the new email format work for me - I will get there).

My BookMooch slow down reasons include: a period of ill health that restricted my ability to go out - things are now much better though; wage restraint and rising price inflation reducing disposable income, so having to budget more stringently, set a limit on how many books I can send at a time (so if I realise I have a large number of wishlist books on my hands, I might not list them all at one go, unless the moochers are happy to have a delay of up to a month in sending) and/or vacation myself from BM when necessary and/or control when I list; only being able to get to the post office now once or twice a month - mixture of things like further away from the post office, work hours not always helping getting there, sometimes having help go to the post office sometimes not, managing my time and money better by reducing the number of trips; being much more busy than before, so slower to get through books, decide whether I want to keep them or not, and if not list them; a very large to be read pile (BTW that doesn't stop my wishlist growing...).

I am very happy to be on BookMooch, as it's simple; it's cheaper than buying books new; has no library fines or due dates; can be cheaper than buying second hand or charity shop; I mooch and keep or mooch and relist; it's available and accessible when and where it suits me; I get to find happy homes for books that I want to part with; it is international; I can be more experimental and risky in my reading; I can help others by Angeling. I do send international and mooch international quite a lot; I would do a lot less of it if surface/sea mail didn't exist in my country.

Apologies for the preface, but this is to say that there are other reasons beyond point inflation for a possible slow down.

At the moment I'm not really seeing the proof of the link between points inflation and a BookMooch slowdown, but maybe I'm reading this too late in the day and my brain is not fully engaged.

Anyway... on to the proposed point changes:

international points imbalance helps offset the higher postage costs (though not as terrible as they would be if I only had airmail available to me);

0.1 for marking received - in theory it could go - but I much prefer rewards than punishments for incentives for good behaviour, so I'm happy to see a reward for marking a book as received and giving feedback. I rarely need to use the forced receive button, and as I usually obtain a certificate of posting, I only use lost when I've had a correspondence with the moocher and have waited the requisite time. As I send a lot of things surface mail, I am delighted to hear when the books arrive. Anything to encourage that is great.

0.1 for listing a book. It helps set new members up, but also keeps things ticking along for occasional users/smaller inventories/limited pool of potential moochers. However, since I like things simple and dislike punitive taxation, I'd like whatever is decided to apply to everyone.

Points for multimooches - I'd like this to be optional - either as a tick box, like the "list multiple copies" thing is for example, or something that can be enabled by the sender as and when they wish. I don't want it to be mandatory - those economics and ratios may work for everyone - everyone's prices and limits are different.

Peter had suggestion for altering the points system that looked like it would tackle the problem, but share the pain equally, in small bearable shavings. I could cope with that implementation.

Other posters have mentioned the idea of delay receipt of mooch points by the sender until the book is mark as received. I'm not keen - I use surface mail - in some places that can take 6 months to arrive! I think this also links to feedback behaviour - 0.1 of a point helps encouraging leaving feedback, and if for some reason someone doesn't, well there goes the sender's points for the book too!

Others mentioned timeframes for sending books - please leave it is as is - as far as I'm concerned the key thing here is letting people know what's going on, and giving and estimated despatch date. Life happens. It's nice to have relaxed and sensible, rather than some sort of arbitrary system wide sending deadline, with penalties if not met.

I think someone mentioned surplus points, and one person mentioned point purchasing. Point purchasing is a no-no, but if someone really thinks that they have more points than they know what to do with, and never want to see them again, then donate them permanently to Unofficial Bank of Bookmooch for use as loans by point-strapped members. These do get repaid to the bank. It all helps books and points circulate.

Level of Bookmooch abuse is mentioned by a few posters - I don't have any stats on this; I just personally haven't experienced much that would qualify.

Someone mentioned a BookMooch membership drive. I do try. Sometimes I get enthusiasm. Sometimes I get "I can't get to the post office". I see the problem - post office opening hours are short, and they work very long hours - so they often buy books.

To conclude, I really enjoy BookMooch, will carry on as a member regardless, but may change my mooch and send patterns if international gets too expensive (money and/or points wise). I don't have a problem finding books I want to mooch. I'm sorry if I'm too slow at reading something that turns out to be wishlisted....and I will try and find that list of "most wishlisted", because I'm sure at one point that info was published.

Hope
3 years ago
I like the points system the way it is now. I also like receiving the 0.1 point for receiving a book because I don't accumulate a lot of points and typically only have one or two.

I don't trade as much on BookMooch because wishlist books I really want don't come up much. I hate having a few points available and then waiting forever for something to come up. I almost always mooch from my wishlist and not from available books.

I can't afford to ship internationally but I don't think it would be a good idea to lessen the points you receive for sending a book because I hear it's expensive to send overseas. I've checked the online U.S.P.S. rates and to send a regular-sized (not too thick) paperback book to Europe would cost about $7.00 or more, three times the cost of mailing within the U.S. (based on the $2.38 media mail rate, one pound or less).

I see someone mentioned abuse of accounts such as too many lost books sent out. I had a request for a book and then it was cancelled in a day or two and the person had closed their account. He or she had more than 20 books lost that they had sent out. Something like that happened to me before when I ordered two books from someone, they said they were lost in the mail, and closed their account. Having 20 or more books lost seems to me extraordinary (the postal service really isn't that bad!) and that the sender might be claiming that the book was sent in order to get points when in reality the book wasn't ever mailed.

Michelle Fidler
3 years ago
Probably I am reapeating what many others have siad but anyway here goes...

I agree with many other comments from Australians; it doesn't cost us less to send multiple books - but more, often a lot more, as we pay by weight and a different rate depending on the country it is being sent to, and parcel rates get put up by our postal service every 3 months. So I wouldn't want to get less points for sending internationally; which I do a lot.
It also costs us a lot more to send multiple books internationally and as previously mentioned, we now have a $9 surcharge for parcels of 500g (it was 453 as someone else mentioned but Australia Post said we're metric and argued for the change to 500g) or over to the US, that is on top of the $10+ or so to post, which makes the $ value of earning points much higher and would lead to me not send anything other than letter size books, if I got les points to send internationally.
I wouldn't worry about not geting points for listing books though; perhaps you can get this when you join (so you can take part in the bookmooch economy) but not after that?
I also agree that we don't need to get a point for acknowledging a mooch; it is just common courtesy to do so. However, it is nice to get it!
and I agree with "I do find it rude when people don't even write 'thank you' when they receive a book. Most are great, but a few spoil it." I've sent stuff by airmail at additional cost to myself, rather than sea mail, so the moocher go it in 1 week rather than 4 months and not even a thank-you.
Part of the reason bookmooching may have decreased could be the global economy, hikes in living costs and increases in postage costs. I use it less because less books come up that I want and I find it difficult to do general searches. I have also decreased my inventory as I can not afford to send as many books and hate to keep people waiting. I also strongly agree with those saying people with a large number of books to send, shouldn't be able to use all those points to mooch but only if they have a track record of not sending mooches or have never sent a mooch; so we can try to eliminate scammers. Having said that I'm not sure there is a fair, non-pnitive way to change that. The system is based on trust, and there will always be some people who chose to abuse that.
As for point snot being given until a book ie received; what happens if it is lost in the mail? It does genuinely happen on occassion? Or what happens when someone mooches a book and then becomes inactive before receiving it and/or marking it as received - this has happened to me several times.
As for wishlist versus inventory size - why does this matter at all?

Sonia
3 years ago
Admittedly I have not read ALL of the responses here but my immediate "2 cents"...(dangerous, I know...)

I would not advocate any changes that would further limit the number of BMers willing to send internationally. (Although I, personally, will continue to send worldwide regardless). If the "point inflation" needs to be addressed I would be more willing to part with the feedback points and maybe limit the listing points to the first 100 (or 500 or whatever) books listed..

If it would make people happier to not get the point for books sent until they are marked received that makes no difference to me. (I think the restitution system for books marked lost makes sense but it is an uncommon enough event that it doesn't make a difference to me either way.)

Whatever is decided - I love BM and will continue to list my "orphans" here - thanks to everyone for participating!

PortiaLong
3 years ago
I like having the .1 point for adding a book - it does work as an incentive for me to add more books to my inventory.

I would be fine losing the .1 point for giving feedback

Changing when points are received to either when marked sent, or marked received would be fine, I see benefits any way it worked.

Don't change the ratio for international mooches - for me in the US, it does cost about 3 times as much to mail internationally as it does to mail domestically. The regional idea sounds interesting, several people in European countries have brought it up - and in the US, shipping to Canada is only slightly more expensive than shipping domestically, would work as the regional thing (I'd be ok getting a point less for shipping to canada than overseas.)

Like many others, I'm constrained by finances, and the current international mooch points systems keeps it reasonable for me to both ship and mooch internationally.

I like the multi-item incentive - at least within the US. From most comments it doesn't sound like that would be a good idea for international mooches. Could it be an in-country only thing? Its another financial reality here - sending 2 books domestically is sometimes the same price, and not more than $1 more than sending just 1 book. I make a point of looking through the inventory of someone I'm mooching from to see if they have anything else I might be interested in, and I do find it frustrating how rare I get more than single mooches from me - it is a lot more cost effective, domestically in the US anyway. Perhaps this could be a function that individuals could set as on or off?

I'm in 'ask me first' for international sending - in large part because I have several books in my inventory that I will not send internationally, they are large and heavy, I've priced one that I was asked about at $40 shipping - about 15 times the cost of sending an average book domestically. Its probably too complicated, but I would actually like to be able to list certain books as domestic mooch only, and have the rest of my inventory be worldwide.

Christina Cat
3 years ago
I like the current system but would go with whatever you decide. Wouldn't removing the 1/10 bonus for acknowledging the book receipt cause people either not to acknowledge receipt or not to acknowledge receipt promptly? I really like that little reward and would prefer to keep it.
SqueakyChu
3 years ago
I think it is much simpler than this - we are in a recession - many people cannot AFFORD to send books - I know I have cut down and I know many others have as well.

It's just that simple.

flutelaura
3 years ago
I'm very much in favor of the multi-mooch bonus. I have done this for years as a matter of curtesy to the sender. I've also found that if they have one book that I want, they probably have another one or two as well. Little things add up over the course of hundreds of thousands of Mooches.
Dyke2Live4
3 years ago
For me, it's that I've been out of work for almost 2 years. While Bookmooch is pretty much the only way I'll be able to get books right now, I have to list very few and only when I have the extra $5 or $10 to mail them and I can't mail overseas at all, which I was happy to do in the past.

Right now, that $2 or 3 in mailing is actually steep for me.

That's why there's no inventory at all in my account. I do put inventory up, but very little. I even check to make sure I'm putting up books that are on lots of lists, so they'll definitely be mooched, which they are, then I send them, and then it may be 2 months before I can put more inventory up.

It'll change, but not a lot, once I have a job. Because even after employment I'll be playing catch-up with old bills.

Em
3 years ago
There is a long reply from The Tennants above - I read and agreed with that. I have sent 88 books - anywhere. I have received 25 - mostly from the US and Australia. I have nothing to say about the points system except that its fine as it is, but don't remove the %age of a point for marking a book received - some moochers are points-poor. I do believe it is the global economy that is slowing things down, for example, from the US to UK, I note that a book costs at least 9 dollars for postage, and that is hefty if you are not working or on a low income. Careful you don't do away with book angels with your proposed changes. My wishlist does not have much of a success rate, those books just do not seem to turn up, and as they are mostly American publications, and the postage is so high from there, I can see how world economics affects mooching. One thing: Could you not change the points allowed if people say yes to a mooch and then not post/mail? I can see from all the comments that this is an irksome thing - and I will never say yes to a mooch if I cannot send it reasonably quickly.
mrsmac
3 years ago
I agree that #1 should have a cap. Possibly an annual cap to encourage older user toast more books.

If the points for international shipping were decreased I wouldn't be able to ship from Sweden.

Thanks for all your work on a great book exchange service. Well done!

Treesapplaud
3 years ago
I agree with the commenters who pointed out that the problem is with the unwillingness to send internationally. I managed to rake up a lot of points) for me, when my husband cleaned up his bookshelves. My list suddenly became very interesting to people, so I sent out a lot of books mostly out of the country. I live in Italy and I am not really interested in books in Italian, as I can get then at the local library. Likewise, most of my books offered are in English as I donate most of those in Italian to said library. Anyway, at one point I became very worried about my points because I could NOT spend them! Basically, most of the people I contacted about their books either wouldn't answer (I gave them a month to do so and they weren't inactive) or said no. I had all these goodies and could NOT spend them! I will say most of the refusals I got were from Americans. If you take a look at the Italian Postal System, it isn't exactly what I'd call cheap. There is NO surface service so EVERYTHING has to go out air mail. There is a good reliable and cheap service for books with Italy, but if you look at the 'in country' mooches I have done so far, they are so minimal as to not affect at all my Bookmooch experience.

Like for Australians, my postal system goes by WIEGHT so for me, multiple mooches are a HORROR! It means, at times, jumping from €5 to €10 because of a couple of grams that put me over the edge... So, I am not in favour of that. I also put my status at 'ask me' because of the weight of some of the stuff I have on inventory, which would cost more than buying it brand new, if I were to mail it ourside of Italy. I found that Australia, Singapore and New Zealand are costantly outside of my price rate, as they are on zone 3 for my postal System an the slimmest book starts at €10. I feel bad about it, wish I could send stuff, but for a 200 gr books I need to pay some €15 and it's not worthwhile.

So, in summary: don't cut points for international mailings or you'll kill those transactions (like 98% of mine, say) and I think the problem is with people NOT sending.

Jessica
3 years ago
Jessica, this is fascinating - I hadn't actually checked postal rates recently.

When sending internationally from the US, it is more economical to send multiple books, but from what you and other posters are saying, that may not be true in reverse.

If I send 12 oz. (large PB) to most of Europe or to Australia, it costs $9.04. For 24 oz. (2 books), it is $14.20, so the cost of sending 2 is about 1 1/2 times the cost of sending one. Sending to Canada costs $4.03 and $6.97. Sending Media Mail within the US, prices are $2.38 and $2.77 respectively. The cost for US users decreases substantially with multiple mooches, and never exceeds around $3/point. So US users benefit from multiple mooches - from anywhere.

How do your costs per point work out in Italy?

Rosemarie Larkin
3 years ago
I'm a new member.I'm French. What I'm looking for is books in English.
I think points should be awarded when the book is marked received not when accepted to send, and not when the book is actually sent. This would curtail the practice of accepting books to send and having waiting lists: I've seen lists up to september 2011. I want the books now- that is in a week or two, or three but not not in 8 months!!!
What I've seen is that many people refuse to send their books outside their own countries but ask to mooch books from these countries. If the points are reduced, isn't the number of people willing to send abroad going to diminish too ?
Marie Thomas
3 years ago
To me, the present system works fine.
For people who have few points I think to balance the points given/received with requests won't be as good...probably they would have more trouble mooching, especially if no one requests their books. For those who have lots of points (like more than 50 or something) then I guess there won't be such a big issue.

And I also agree with Jessica from Italy. I live in Portugal, everything I send is also air mail. So, multiple mooches...more exepensive, more so if they are overseas.
Gaining one extra point from international moches is what allows me to have more points and then, to request, so not having it would surely decrease even more my already few requests.

Sónia
3 years ago
An idea might be to just make up a poll--if (1)the economy and your economic situation has forced you to cut back on how many books you can mail and/or has (2)slowed or stopped intl shipping in your case click here and here-you could detail that further but that is up to you-if you want to know who is willing to give up points for listing, if you want to know how many people think receipt acknowledgement should be rewarded-or somehow made mandatory-all of those questions can go into a quick poll to gather your numbers solidly-for me it is a realiy- in my case I get books for several people so can cross genres of interest;I also always check on the large print for my parents and offer those up when they've read them--I do also check on my friends want lists to watch out for books for them when I'm out shopping--but as for my own reading I too have difficulty finding books I really want-the only alternative is buy many of them at full price-maybe a couple a year-and wait and hope for the rest. I've been on two other book sites; I still like this one best
galyn
3 years ago
I read through quite a bit of the comments above and this is a really great discussion. I am an avid angel moocher. I live in the US and ship overseas quite often. I think the international points ratio is good. I have sent books to the Philippines for instance. It cost me $30 for that book. Other countries are less expensive to send to (UK, Ireland, Canada...), but many countries are expensive to send books to from the US. If I didn't receive the 3 points for sending to Australia for instance, I wouldn't do it because it just wouldn't be cost effective for me. I agree with many of those above in the comments that changing the international mooch points would be a detriment to the angel network. I think that international mooches are the pulse of bookmooch for those that live outside of the US. I don't experience this, but I get that feeling from those that I have talked with that live overseas. Many countries just don't have many members and decreasing points for international mooches would affect them severely.

For the .1 for receiving...it's nice, but not necessary. I agree with many others that this would be fine to disappear. I also agree with the limit on .1 for listing. 100 sounds like a nice round number. After having listed 100 books, you should be fairly "settled" into the bookmooching world and the .1 isn't as big of a deal then.

I like the idea of a member above to have the multi-mooch as an option for members to turn on or off. I think that for the US, it's a great option, but in some other countries, as mentioned above, it just wouldn't work as well because of the differences in postage systems. Having it as optional allows people to give incentive to mooch multiple books from you, but only if you are willing to "sacrifice" a little of the points.

The Amazon price things was a good idea, but I do think that it is counter-intuitive. It discourages mooching in some ways. Like many of the books I have in my wishlist are quite inexpensive from Amazon. Why wouldn't I get them from Amazon instead of sending out my more expensive books in order to get a cheaper one? Not knowing prices I think was a good thing. I miss not seeing prices on my wishlist.

Well, that's most of my thoughts pertaining to the conversation. Can't wait to see what happens. :-)

I know you'll make a good decision, John. You seem to think things through quite well and that is why Bookmooch has been so successful so far. Thank you!

Lisa
3 years ago
I am one of the many long term moochers with more points than I can use and a huge TBR so no interest in just browsing and mooching random books. I angel mooch, so am still sending regularly. Because my wishlist is huge, I get a wishlist book (either through angels, friends or fast reflexes) more often than the 1.5 books a month average. However, I am posting way fewer books in my inventory than I used to. I don't need the points and while I am not doing bad financially right now, postage is an added expense I don't really need (especially since I don't need the points). I post wishlisted books once or twice a month, and make an effort to send them internationally as much as possible. I do this because I love Bookmooch and have made many mooching friends (and it's karma, I still want to get those wishlist books!). A couple of other factors that are slowing Bookmooch down for me is postage rate increases and the advent of Internet book stores with no postage to Canada (Bookdepository, Betterworldbooks). A change in the points for international mooches would be a disaster, I would like a "regional" option, and I think the 0.1 for marking received should be added to the 0.1 for adding books to inventory for highly wishlisted or newer books making it 0.2 for those books. Multiple mooches are more economic up to a point. (500 grams to US, 1 kg elsewhere). Multiple mooches are more economic within Canada, but if there were a decrease in points for those I would stop sending domestically altogether. It costs over $10 to send a small paperback to most places in Canada. Crazy for 1 point, over $11 for 2, crazier for less than 2 points.
Cara
3 years ago
1. Please do what you can to encourage multiple mooches. It saves senders postage.
2. I would be willing to pay extra points for books on my wishlist.
3. I will continue to send paperbacks to another country, but would need more points for heavy books.
4. BM is good, but appreciate your efforts to make it better.
Geezer
Jim Keehn
3 years ago
I would like to respond to the comments about the # of lost in mail transactions being a big negative. I mooch for one of the charities on this site and often request large numbers of books that fit our needs from members. We have one member from whom we mooch 20 or more books from on a regular basis. Recently he shipped a box with over 25 books in it. Several weeks later he was notified by the postal service that they had found the shipping label but no books. After the appropriate amount of time those books will be marked lost in the mail and the sender did nothing wrong. There was no intent to scam the system. I think you need to be careful about using lost in mail totals as an indicator of whether the person is a valued member of BookMooch.
LaVonne
3 years ago
I agree with many moochers who have commented here (although I can't read all these comments!) that they are mooching less because the books they want are simply not available. I don't know if it was a kind of tipping point for Bookmooch, but when I joined I found I could often get the good quality books I was looking for, and I would be scouring my shelves to see what I could part with in order to build enough points, which I would 'spend' immediately. But this eased off ... and now I almost never see any of my wishlisted books listed here. There is simply a glut of crappy books on Bookmooch. I like the idea of maybe being able to set a rate for a 'good' or high-demand book... I don't know what the implications of that would be. What about some kind of bid system on wishlists -ie, I list book A as 'need!', ie, I will pay 3 points for it, book B as 'really want' ie I'll pay 2 points for it, and book C as 'somewhat want' ie I'll pay one point for it. You'd have to double them for international mooching, or else I wouldn't be sending any books from here.
In order to motivate myself to offer a 'good' book (that from Australia, would probably cost $10 to send to the almost-definitely-international moocher who would jump on the new listing), I used to offer my 'good' books to 'friends' first, only for a week or so, to give other moochers who I knew spent good money sending 'good' books overseas or who had proved themselves as generous in their dealings with me in the past, a chance to reach 'good' books themselves, but you can't even do this any more. Which is fine, I understand people thought this idea was too exclusivist.
Publishers pulp books all the time ... but Bookmooch never 'pulps' its glutty, low-quality inventory. Is there some kind of metaphorical way to do that? I know the idea is that one person's trashy is a book someone else wants, and this is to be applauded, but whatever you do, you can't create a demand for old Grisham and Dan Brown books that people simply don't want. These books are generating points by being listed on inventories. Perhaps it should be that you can't list books that there are already x copies of available in your country or something (maybe 10 or something?). Such a system would have to not limit the making available of such books to international moochers if no such books were yet internationally available - if that makes sense. Or perhaps books that have been in inventories for two years get scratched, and the points go with them. Or both! If I had a 'rare' book in my inventory for two years that wasn't glutty but also hadn't yet found its new owner, I could have a re-list option at the scratching deadline. But if my glutty book were scratched, I couldn't just reoffer it, because there would be both no demand and a glut. I do think that odd books that might be listed for a long time but that aren't just pulp should stay - it's a real joy to find something obscure listed that you want.
I agree with another poster that perhaps since books have become cheaper to order online in the last couple of years (now we can order from bookdepository or betterworldbooks without the outrageous international shipping charged by Amazon - I will never buy there again, nevermore will I have to suffer that aggravating pop-up message that I qualify for free shipping when I don't), there's less incentive to engage with bookmooch. Also, since the twitter feed started up, it's much harder to beat anyone to the punch to get the book you want. Nothing ever appears in the wishlist any more, not even for a moment. I've often thought that there should be some kind of system wherein the person who has been waiting longest for a book should have first option to mooch it. Although I'd have no idea how to implement that.
Another factor may be that whatever peak in membership BM may have experienced in the last couple of years is cooling its activity because, like me, they can mooch faster than they can read. I have far far too many mooched books waiting to be read, so I really should focus on reading before continuing to acquire :)
Bookmooch has been great, and I'm staying on. But I haven't mooched a book in months, and as I have 20 or so points in reserve, it's not worth seeking out books to offer when I can't see myself mooching for a while. Perhaps I'll give some points away; if such-and-such a library is very vigilant, they may find an underlined 1965 paperback of a classic that they want ... if they're very vigilant.
Emma White
3 years ago
Although my opinion has been sounded by some of the previous posters, I think I shall represent Indonesian bookmoochers here.

We are a small BM community and thus relying heavily on international mooches. Reduction of 3 points for this kind of mooch would be a letdown. However, reduction of points for multimooching is not a problem. Ok, that's all for now. Thanks John :)

Silvana
3 years ago
I echo earlier comments...why "fix" what isn't broken. The real issue with decrease of mooching I think can be traced entirely to three factors. 1) aging inventory 2) the current economy (take a look at comments on many pages, related to slow mailings due to lack of funds for mooched books) and 3) Inactive accounts (finding a book you want, and then finding that the user hasn't visited their account for 500 days is a big disappointment!) Even searching for books, while it can be a bit frustrating, I don't think really keeps very many people from mooching the ones they do find. However, knowing that I will not get a book for 3 plus months due to folks who aren't willing to commit to a timeframe (likely due to economic factors) does keep me from mooching. I want a reasonable assurance that I will eventually receive a book before I commit the points to it.

I do think adjusting the point system to encourage multiple mooches from the same individuals would be a positive move however!

Doug
3 years ago
I concur with those saying that higher postage rates and lack of wishlist books turning up have both caused me to be less active.

I recently acquired a whole pile of books to mooch/swap, but I have no reason to list them here right now, because I have a comfortable stash of points and almost never any wishlist hits to spend them on. And I very simply can't afford to mail books (especially overseas, I'm afraid) when there is little prospect of getting back a book I want in the foreseeable future.

So yes, ultimately, the only internal-to-BookMooch problem discussed here that affects my use is *what* books are now available. Otherwise, it's all about the real-world economy.

Jordanna
3 years ago
I'm not going to write on how to manage the economics of the points system as it is beyond my league. As an Italian BMer who is bilingual and has many more books in English than Italian I would find a decrease in the points awarded for sending Int'l a no-no. Prices for sending internationally have gone up from the 1 January and the prices are based in weight categories. Unfortunately one of the weight categories is 350g- 1kg, many of my paperbacks fall into this category and many moochers request only the one book so the points system works for me until I receive the extra point. Unlike Gobb the majority of books that I add are in English and I send the majority abroad. For a number of months I have started to limit where I send books, I am sending predominintely within Europe and Med countries ( Zone 1 postal countries) or to where the book requested is difficult to find or expensive to buy. So yes to Italian or "particular" subject books to the Americas, Asia but no to popular books to US as they cost 1 cent on amazon.
Regarding availability of books on BM, there are different reasons for this-
1. many of us are using other booksites and are holding back books for this reason as a highly WLed book may get you the swap that you want elsewhere.
2. TBR piles are increasing as some BMers have a huge number of books mooched that they will be unable to read in the next year.
3. Some books are being mooched and kept as the whole idea of joining BM was to "get rid" of books that we would never read again and build up a series of an author or have books that we would later keep and once we have none of the unwanted books at home it is natural that we will leave BM.
AllyBally
3 years ago
Really like the idea of regional mooching to promote more overseas mooches. It's a much gentler way to move in the right direction, inflation wise, rather than the heavier '2pt/2pt' or 3/3 options. Like Bri, I'm Australian and taking off the bonus point for os mooches would be the straw that broke the camel's back and sent me onto 'only to my country'. I really hate the thought of doing that, as I know how frustrating it is to search for a book, find 15-odd copies, only to discover that *all* fifteen are in the US and 'not to yr country' (don't mean to pick on US moochers here, some of whom are very generous with sending os, but it seems to happen far more there than in Europe)
ssk
3 years ago
Just to clarify, I think everyone should have the right to delay mailing books, as long as they specify that in their acceptance. Probably a good idea to put something in one's status message too. What I think moochers object to, is when a mooch is accepted "Will send within a few days" and then not sent for months! If the sender specifies the delay proposed the moocher has the option to cancel if it is longer than they wish to wait.

The only category where I think this is is unacceptable is with BMJournals, where there is a single copy only. However if the sender says "I can't send abroad until..." then there is still the option of getting the book angelled (unless the sender does not respond to such a suggestion as happened to me recently).

tennantfamily
3 years ago
A brief outline as my feelings have been well covered already.

1] Elimination of received .1 point - GREAT idea
2] Elimination of posted .1 point after 100 (or other reasonable number) - Great
3] Adjusting international in any way - bad idea - multi orders to some countries are just plain too expensive with income down and shipping costs up. Over 4 pounds has to go priority mail which has just had a hike and is through the roof for those of us on a limited budget.

Please keep the amazon link - it is the best way to find books for wish list because the search on mooch is useless.

BIG please - a way to offer multiple points for books we really, really want. Most of my mooches have been when I get sick of getting no books at all and mooch to mooch something. I would gladly give 5 or 6 points to get come of my wish list books. Plus hubby is complaining about I am spending shipping and I really need to show him a book in the jewelry field along with an "I told you so"

Betsy
3 years ago
I liked the idea somebody had above. 0.1 points for listing and 0.9 when it is shipped. Or no points for listing and 1 point when shipped. But I think it should be refined more than than. 0.1 points for listing and 0.8 points when shipped. Sometimes books are lost or there is fraud. Currently the system cannot be sustained and requires more and more people to join and to list and send more books. Every member can theoretically get 20% more books than they give, and a model like that is not sustainable. Lost mail and fraud makes the problem worse. I would be happy receiving 50% back of what I gave.

You should also consider limiting the wishlist size somehow (i.e. related to the number of books he or she can mooch). The unlimited wishlist size also contributes to the problem of some having mooched more than given.

Ian FG
3 years ago
Ian may be right about the system being unsustainable, but at the moment we have
Books mooched: 314
Books given: 1575
so that gives over 1250 'spare' books. We can't be alone in sending far more than we mooch!

If wishlists were limited to the number of books one could mooch with the points available then I would have to hang onto points we are not going to use in order to keep multiple editions and journals for tracking on our wishlist. As it is we give points to charities whenever our surplus gets 'embarassing'.

tennantfamily
3 years ago
It would be great if the points were only rewarded when the book is actually rec'd. This may motivate them to really send out the book. Also it would take care of feed back at the same time. I have a book that was requested awhile ago and they set themselves on vacation!! They have 32 books they need to send, and their feedback is quite poor. guess I will cancel.
CL
3 years ago
I like the idea that a few others have thrown out there about auditing accounts. I have had the experience a few times of mooching a book from a person who never responds, is put on vacation and then a week later is back on the system mooching books. I like communication during the transaction, and although in the beginning I wasn't very timely if you keep the lines of communication open the person is willing to cut you some slack with delays, etc. I like the current points system because I like getting 1/10 of a point for marking a book received, it gives a nice end to the transaction. If a fraction of a point wasn't involved, I bet not everyone would mark the book received.
Nicole
3 years ago
Re: the issue of less mooching - I know that at least I would mooch more if there were summaries/pictures on more books. Half the time there isn't one even on Amazon and I'm not about to mooch something that I don't know what it's about even if the title sounds nice.
Annis
3 years ago
I've only been a member since November 1st, but have mailed out approx 175 books, so if there's a slowdown, I haven't seen it. On the other hand, looking at people's inventory, I often see economic related comments, and do think that many are finding it difficult to find the funds at present. I haven't had a problem finding things to mooch, my ratio stays close to 1:1 although it goes in spurts. I belong to another trading site as well. Economics have caused me to turn down some international mooches, I only have x amount for a postal budget, and if accepting an international mooch would equate with 15 or more stateside trades, I can't do it, however I frequently mail to Canada. I have no problem using more points for international mooches...I think it's deserved. I like things as they are, but do find it frustrating that people can continue to amass credits for quite a long period of time before actually mailing a book (or disappearing). I fully understand both budget and time constraints, but feel that if one can't afford to mail it or get to the post office in 30 days, then it is unfair to keep accepting credits for "prospective" mooches.
JL Welling
3 years ago
Have read a lot of the comments but not all.

Think the current pojnt system works well as it is and would not like the changes suggested.

I send a lot of my mooches abroad and welcome the 3 points as I also mooch (where I can) books from abroad. I also try to multi-mooch as much as I can from one member and do think that maybe the 'moocher' (ie"the requester) could possibly have a reduction of the 2 points used when a large quantity f books are mooched at one time. That said, I think the owner should receive the 3 points regardless.

I only list more books when I'm short on points and would hate it if this 0.1 point was not allocated. Do think that is unfair as by listing more books, it opens a wider choice of books for fellow members to mooch.

Also like the 0.01 awarded for marking a book received. If this was also to go, I believe folks would not be bothered about marking books as received.

Otherwise, great site and glad to be a member.

IrishPenJen
3 years ago
I like the idea of rewards for mooching more than one book from a person. I try to do this anyway to save on postage.

As for out of country sends, I would not decrease that reward. I understand that in the US the postal rates for international shipping are going up soon and since we no longer have "slow boat" rates, it usually costs about US$10 or more to send a book overseas.

I could go either way on the feedback. It's a nice perk but I wouldn't die without it.

Thanks for opening the discussion!

Jerrilynn
3 years ago
Hi John. I think there are a couple of issues that could explain the lower level of mooching. Firstly, the current economic situation in many countries may deter some people from listing books as they cannot afford to send them. Secondly, I find it difficult to mooch books I want from overseas because there are so many people (particularly in the US) who will only mooch to their own country. If people were more open to sending via seamail to overseas locations(much cheaper but longer wait time) then we may see a higher number of mooches. I love BM and tell people about it all the time - wish we could get bookmarks in Australia! Keep up the great work!
Cherelle
3 years ago
The current acknowledgment 1/10th points encourage politeness. I like that.--bbird
Bluebird
3 years ago
I have had the same problem with the size of the wishlists. Some books I want have up to 20 people wanting them. A couple of times the books were available, but if you aren't one of those people that checks his or her e-mail every five minutes, you are out of luck.

The goal should be to create a rough equilibrium. Some people have mooched far more than they have given or vice versa.

Ian FG
3 years ago
Ian, the ratio system is in place to ensure that no one can mooch "far more than they have given". And as for the "vice versa", my husband has mooched 4 books and sent out 247, most of those internationally - what exactly is wrong with that?!
Sophie Houston
3 years ago
Sending a "normal" book (not too thin, not to thick) from Italy to USA costs approximately 19 dollars (14 euros).
For an Italian user buying a book from Amazon and sending it (new) in the USA is cheaper than sending his own used book.
And I know for certain that many Italian users are changing their minds about sending books internationally (especially outside Europe and overseas).

So I think that this new "points system" is really not a great idea and I'm sure it'll stop definitively Italian ---> abroad exchanges.

Diletta
3 years ago
Diletta, I'm in Rome and I was really shocked the other day to see the postage rate increase to the US. In the past sending a medium sized book to Australia or the US cost about 7 Euros, so I sent a lot of books overseas. Now the price has doubled (or even tripled); I too will be reducing the number of books I send overseas, unfortunately.
Hayes
3 years ago
Yes, me too.
Last year I really didn't have any problems in sending books overseas... but now... I do not want to spend 14euros to send Moccia (just one of his books, unfortunately not the author himself) abroad. -.-
And I bet that the Italian Postal Service is not so much better than before.
In short, I'm reluctantly reconsidering international shipping.
Diletta
3 years ago
I think the multi - mooch idea is great!
A LOT of the problems could be solved if we were required to limit our mooching to actual points MINUS Pending SENDS. If we had 15 points, but 10 pending sends, we could only use 5 points. This would also encourage us to send quicker. It would stop anyone with 40 pts and 90 pending sends from continuing to mooch and get deeper in debt.
Alex
3 years ago
I have over 300 points to "spend" simply because I can't find books I want to mooch from moochers who want to send them because there is no incentive for them to mail to the UK because of the postage costs in doing so. If one in five mooches is overseas, I'm certainly mailing more than that ratio, and receiving less than that!

And mailing overseas myself, even if I mail surface, the cost is approximately 3 times that of mailing within the UK, so the "extra" point is what makes it feasible for me too.

The 0.1 for adding books I think should stay, but I'd be okay with losing the 0.1 for feedback.

Nic
3 years ago
My mooching is dowm because more and more people in the States won't send overseas (I like to read Christian fiction). As a result I am buying on an average of 10 books a month from Amazon in the UK. I usually once every couple of months will list them on here and as long as people don't mind waiting till the end of the month I will send internationally. I would really prefer not to have to send multiple mooches since I have to pay by weight. Plus alot of times if I have a book that is on a moochers wishlist (I always check)I will send it to them "free" - just to be nice. I do feel that there should be more restrictions regarding if you aren't willing to send outside your country you should be limited to how many books you can mooch outside your country. This is because I see so many people in the States mooching popular books from people in Europe when they can buy it for the same amount it would cost us to send it to them. Yet those same people aren't willing to send to other countries.
Michelle
3 years ago
After reading some of the comments left after mine I have to say I agree that there should be a limit to how long a person can wait until sending a book. I have never waited more than 2 weeks to send a book, and honestly try to get to the post office within a week (or really the next day). I feel that people should have to send a book mooched within 2 weeks or tell the person that mooched the book that they can't send it within that time frame so the moocher can look for it from someone else. Some books I have mooched have multiple copies available and I honestly don't mooch a book until I actually want to read it (I don't have a wishlist) so having to wait a month or more to get a book I am waiting to read is annoying at best.

Also I enjoy sending books internationally. I don't send hardcovers because they are much more expensive (I sent a book to the UK and postage cost more than the book actually cost), but if I have a book someone wants I usually try to send internationally as much as I can. I think that the points for sending to different countries should stay as they are, lessening them wouldn't be worth it for some of us. I mean if a book costs $8US I really don't want to send it for $11US if I am only gonna get one point. Maybe that's a little selfish but realistically the economy sucks and it is hard enough finding what everything I want from people willing to send it to me, why make it harder by changing the point system?

stacynvh
3 years ago
I agree with most of the above comments. I live in a small country with almost no members besides me. If mooching were possible in the language of this country it might improve. I think regional mooching is a great idea, costs much less to send withing Europe, and some people already prioritize moochers in their own region. I also noticed that acceptances from the US went completely dry after the financial crash, and now have been slowly creeping up again. So I think the economy has a lot to do with it. I agree that the books we want to mooch are seldom available, but it might have something to do with wanting weird books. If I look on Amazon they are often not available or cost zillions of dollars. I love this site and it is a hobby as well as a way to get books, and I feel that most people on BM are really nice. If I don't receive a book in say, 3 or 4 months I usually cancel ( I mean, if they haven't sent it). Most of the time the person is new and doesn't know what they are getting into, or they have a crisis.
Judy Storset
3 years ago
I think the .1 point for adding new books after 100 books could go away unless the person listing has less than 10 points to spend. I also think that if a person isn't sending or has many "lost " books, their account should be frozen until books are sent. Maybe a warning on the comments section for each of their listed books that says that sender is not reliable, would cut down on that abuse. Could there be a way for users to flag senders who accept, but don't send after a month or two in country or longer for international? I am much more careful about checking who I mooch from after having problems.
Linda H
3 years ago
I agree with Alex about subtracting your pending send from available points. I got stuck from someone who had about 30 pending and never sent me books, but was mooching new ones the whole time. :-(

It seems most all of us who commented have high costs for sending out of country. So it almost seems those should get more rewarded? Maybe even doing something like every 10 books you send out of country you get an additional reward?

Maybe if there's also "membership drives" for countries that have few members. Those who refer new members in those countries who sign up could get bonus points. For example: February could be EU month - for each member you refer who signs up in EU, you get x amount of bonus points. Then March could be Australia month, etc. Although to make it really work, you'd almost have to wait to award the points until your referrals actually complete a mooch (send or receive) since the idea is to get new active members.

Jerrilynn
3 years ago
Why not pass the small percentage off to the giver who will save much more through lessened multiple-mooching postage costs. I have had many multiple-mooches and would not mind seeing the 10 % "discount", as defined in your statement, passed on to me. It would still be a good deal for both parties and would not then promote inflation.

John

John Vernon Scott
3 years ago
"Number 2 is something I think we could do without. Everyone leaves feedback automatically when they mark a book as received. This isn't a behavior we really need to promote as it is likely to happen without the +0.1 gift."

I really appreciate it when people do leave feedback for me as not everybody does. There are a few people who never acknowledge that a book was received. So I don't agree that this should be done without.

Regarding international mooches, I think the higher points received should stay that way. I have to spend more money to send internationally, I think thats worth getting more points for.

tipsymacaroni
3 years ago
I use both Bookmooch and Paperback Swap. Paperback Swap is much more stingy than Bookmooch and I don't like it as well for that reason. If I send a book using my own postage I don't get my point until it's received. Because of that I miss books I've been waiting for as my point has not come in yet. They also don't give anything for listing, etc. Why I wonder. These points cost no one. The more points people have the more they will mooch and the more others get and the busier the site. Even people who don't send, eventually you cancel and that point is taken away. I think the points are fine like they are. Love Bookmooch.
A. Anderson
3 years ago
I love Bookmooch as it is. I do turn my points around fairly quickly (and appreciate all the extra points I get)since most books are for my church library and jail library. I would not be able to get as many books if you cut out some of the extra books. I put all the books on Bookmooch that people tire of in the libraries.
I agree with one person, that I can't always fine the books I want so don't mooch as much as I would like, but it is not a problem since I have never gotten to a 100 points. I would like to see it stay as it is. I do agree that international mooches do take 2-4 months. I just say they are received until they get here even though there is a 6 week "lost" deadline, but if not turned in as lost it won't make any difference. I have gotten books from Austrailia, Brazil, Germany, Philippines and they have all made it!

I think maybe people need some assistance in how to package books. They should not be put in a manila envelope. If the book moves in it's package, it will probably work it's way loose. If mailing more than 1 book together, it helps to use either a box or put plastic wrap around them so they move against each other and cause damage. There is much more, but many lost books are probably only ignorance. I worked at the post office for 16 years.

Candace
3 years ago
I’ve been looking at the bookmooch statistics and I would just like to point out the following:

Date................Points/Member.......Books Listed/Member
2007.8.18_________ 3.6 ___________ 9.2
2008.8.18_________ 4.8 ___________ 6.1
2009.8.18_________ 5.2 ___________ 3.9
2010.8.18_________ 5.4 ___________ 2.4
2011.1.09_________ 5.5 ___________ 2.0

The current point system leads to an increase in average points per member because points are added to the economy each time someone mooches a book (+0.2 points per domestic mooch, +1.2 points per international mooch).

Probably, as people accumulate more points, their motivation to add books to their inventory decreases. If people had fewer points, they would probably be more motivated to add books to their inventory in order to generate some points.

This would seem to indicate that we need a point system that keeps the average points per member lower, thus motivating members to add books to their inventory and send books to other members in order to generate points.

peter
3 years ago
A couple thoughts from my experiences:

Could inactive accounts be purged? I'm sure there is a percentage of books that are listed, but are not reasonably available because the account is inactive. There are also books showing as wishlisted, but the person who wanted them is not active.

I've bumped into a lot of people recently who are not sending books they have listed currently. I understand the financial reasons, but that also adds to the draw on available titles.

I currently have a LOT of points, and have not been able to mooch many titles because the ones I want are popular. So I have had very little incentive to post the books I have - many of which are on waiting lists. After reading this I posted a bunch of them. As we have more people (myself included) mooching for charities and taking books out of the BookMooch circulation, we may have to look at how much is coming in and how much is repeating.

MissaB
3 years ago
Since posting my original comment above, I've had notifications of all other comments and read and have to agree with most.

In brief:

1. Leave point system as is - although would welcome reduction of points given if multi-mooch from same book owner.

2. Retain points for listing books and for leaving feedback. Some of us rely on these points to further mooch and it is a good incentive to remain active & keep refreshing with more books in stock.

3. Remove inactive members. Set a time limit of no activity to have account frozen and their inventory removed.

4. Limit requests made by members who have a certain amount of book pending to send.

5. I might suggest a 'reward' system for folks who are very active, send overseas, post quickly. Or, have fellow moochers recommend someone who could then become 'Moocher' of the week and be awarded more points and/or have their inventory highlighted on the home page/BM blog?

6. I also might suggest a 'bank' whereby those who are short on points may 'borrow' when they are low and 'pay them back' when in credit.

*

I have an inventory of over 500 books and 99% of the time send internationally and also within two days, where possible.

What irks me is that so many from the USA will not send overseas yet mooch internationally themselves. Also those who do not send books requested out for upwards of 4 months to a year. I have now decided to cancel mooches made to them as was taking far too long, but still do send books to those unwilling to send abroad.

If points are going to be reduced in the future, I may consider sending to the UK & Europe only. Postal prices have got very expensive and are due to increase from April 2011 from the UK. I do think that those willing to send internationally should get bonus points rather than less points.

Thanks.

IrishPenJen
3 years ago
What about changing wishlists to show books that would be available to an angel?

Then the moocher can select that they are looking for an angel for a book - this would cost them a point. This could then feed a dynamic list available to all angels to peruse. The angel would get the point if they mooched the book which would make it point effective for an angel.

The mooch should show who you are angelling for - this makes it easier to reserve the book for the person when you receive it. I often have trouble remembering who I mooched a book for and have to search emails. If it was simpler for me (and I got the point it costs me to mooch) I would angel mooch more often.

The points per member and the books per member analyis is interesting. It would be nice to have the points per member broken down into those who will send internationally and those who do not.

I suspect that those of us who will send have more points than those who do not - basically because we have in effect "paid" for those points in postage.

brownbear
3 years ago
i feel there is no need to award points for adding books to the systems as this may result in the system being abused as some members do add loads of books and disappear after mooching, or a huge inventory of books that are not mooched, or typed in for the sake of points.

i feel points should just be awarded via mooching. Ways to attract original moochers to add books to their inventories can be devised on less point based means. Other then that i still do think new members can be awarded with a point in order to start the ball rolling, but maybe some measures can be brought in to prevent people from signing up multiple fake accounts.

Pending sent points should not be automatically given before books are received, at least for new members without a certain amount of good feedback.

tales
3 years ago
Being a newbie to BookMooch, I like the simplicity of the points system. The thing that I wonder about is the rise of book readers. I don't have one yet, but if a person buys a book for a Kindle, is there a way to Mooch that book?
Dan
3 years ago
I agree with Brown Bear that integrating the angel system into bookmooch would improve international mooches quite a bit. I read quite a few comments above about people not sending overseas from the US. Plenty of people (myself included) are willing to mooch and send to people overseas and can get these books from those that aren't willing. Perhaps many people aren't aware of this service being available. I'm unsure of how to spread the word more with the system as is. The forum seems to work pretty well (and quite quickly I may add), but I think if there was a button for "find an angel" there would be a lot more exchange internationally, which would help the health of bookmooch.
Lisa
3 years ago
@Dan The user licenses for most if not all of the major ebook purveyors in effect only grant you personal right to read the book, not transfer it in any way as you may do when giving or lending a physical book.

That's why they're not currently allowed for trade on BM.
Except for a very few minor digital imprints, anyone offering ebooks for trade would be basically breaching their given word, may possibly have needed to hack DRMs to even be able to do so, and can't offer any guarantee that you are the new sole and legitimate owner of the copy that's been sent to you.

Aude
3 years ago
First of all, thank you for this wonderful community you have created and all of the thought you put into keeping it active, fair and healthy!

I like the system the way it is. My decrease in mooching is due to three factors I don't think you can fix- a lot of the books I want are simply not available, I am behind on my reading, and my inventory is not in demand. I was much more active in the beginning as my high demand books were mooched immediately. Now things have slowed as quite frankly, my better books have been snatched up already. The initial points are part of what got me into the program! Perhaps if necessary, you could cap the initial freebees at 5 points, or only x number of points for listing inventory per month. I have never had more than 20 points hanging around at a time, so I do not understand how could anyone wind up with 200 points in reserve. When I have extra points I am more willing to squander them on a book I would not otherwise want, but part of my willingness is knowing I can get points for re-listing it when I am done with it.

I echo the sentiment against the sliding scale mooches. Rarely do I find more then two books I want from the same person, although I do look. Bundling more books together is more economical, but they are still heavier and it still costs more, so I would want 1 full point for each book I send.

I would not be against a yearly "tax" on long standing members to keep things going, or splitting the point received to .5 for marking it sent, .5 for it making it to its destination.

I have been vexed by abandoned or inactive accounts that have books I want- they keep coming up as available and it is cruel that I cannot have them! I think putting people on hold after 3 months of no activity at all, and having a way to report abuse of the system would help. Perhaps limit the number of mooches a new member can request until they have built up some positive feedback.

I think the most prudent course would be to not make any big changes to the points economy at first and start with incentive programs- perhaps extra points for speedy mailing and recruiting new members ( hopefully with higher demand books!), with a better recommending system. I have mooched a lot of books from the recently added widget that caught my eye, but were not on my wish list. Perhaps choose a few users or genre each week to "spotlight". This would get things moving a bit. Live journal has a spotlight sidebar that loads when you log in. They choose a few communities to promote and drum up a little traffic for something that has been overlooked.

It could be fun to have "biography month" or "fun trashy read month" and let people submit a book or two each from their inventory with a short teaser to entice moochers to try something new, and have it under "browse-> monthly highlights"

David&Jen
3 years ago
Let me state, firmly, NO PBS CLONES needed ... re all the suggestions that mimic PBS's format. Yup...BookMooch IS different, and therein is the great attraction. And simple is good...keep it simple aka the 'KISS' method...simple has worked well so far, yes?

***I especially like the ability, at BookMooch, to list books that aren't acceptable to PBS's 'exacting book posting standards', books for which I clearly list the book condition (concluded mooches, condition statements copied from my book history):
ie:-book condition: "Good clean spine, 8.5 X 5.5 Trade pb...BUT the cat chewed bottom right cover corner...and removed a small (less than dime-sized) piece. (repaired...hardly noticeable)" .
..and this one-book condition: "Book pretty much ok, a few spine creases... EXCEPT: first half-a-doz pages...wrinkly in upper right edge area. (Possibly a past water splash) Different cover from that shown".
...and this one-book condition: "A well-read copy, spine creased, edge tattered. (cover now reinforced with clear wide tape) ...at some past occasion, book sustained some moisture to bottom spine/end page area, visible, affecting approx 1/3rd of the last third of pages...not affecting the book readablilty. Different cover from that shown".

I, too, since my original fairly early on posting, have read ALL posts (via email notification + logging in).

Previously in my original post I neglected to mention the, to me, supreme inportance of the INTERNATIONAL aspect of BookMooch, which makes it, usually, worthwhile dealing with the USA customs forms and the higher int'l mailing out-of-the-USA costs.

But I can reveal that after ONCE mailing a large hardcopy popular/highly wishlisted book out int'l...I won't be doing that again, lol. That mailing fee cost more than the original retail book price, for a used book that had been acquired 'for free'. sigh. And you may ask, 'why didn't I cancel the mooch?'...ah well...I do dislike cancelling mooches, made all in good faith, for any book that I've listed while my account is "yes" for international mailings. sigh-lesson learned re hc's...plus I'm continuing to weed-out the hc's in my inventory, giving such to local thrift stores.

IrishPenJen's (and many other folks') list of briefs (15Jan2011) is well-thought-out, and has prompted me to additionally comment.

RE: point#1: advantage + point adjustments for multi-mooches would only 'work' well for 'USA in USA' due to the USA Media Mail rate (fairly cheap/reasonable compared to the rest of the world, even 'tho USA'ers scream loud & long about mailing costs, constantly), as the entire rest of the mailing world seems to charge by gram/weight, so 'non-USA' (sending or receiving) multi-mooching ='s more books ='s more weight ='s higher mailing cost. imho...not good to even consider for the international aspect of BookMooch. I'm USA and do benefit from the multi-request mailings at another bookclub, PBS ... BUT ... PBS is USA ONLY.

IMHO, BookMooch can ride out the economic shift/wave without adjusting the points in any way that would cause folks to mooch/ship less, internationally.

* my pet peeves: the many inactive accounts + those 'few' that misuse the site. Yes...I'd love to see these things addressed. Even those folks that have "overly long acceptance/delay/mailing" fall under the catagory of 'buyer beware' and I've learned (ie:live and learn, lol) to read the bio notes FIRST and even peruse the feedback notes for clues about shipper tendiences and past performances.

* Helpful would be perhaps even more 'instruction' on successfully packaging for mailing --- and how to cope, for the newbie, of the overwhelming mooches that happen when new, WL'd books are posted, all at once...as beginners are wont to do.

...submitted, respectfully...
Lou B/justloux (USA:UT)

Lou B
3 years ago
Thank you for all that you do for Bookmooch. I would love to see Bookmooch have a long life ahead, so I'm not opposed to having changes in the points system.

I would support getting rid of the 0.1 point for acknowledging receipt of a book. On the other hand, I think we should keep the 0.1 point for listing a book, for the reasons John listed.

Perhaps the multi-mooch option could be optional? If this is possible, I'd like to see an option for international and an option for within own country.

Please don't change the "get 3 for sending, mooch for 2" international system. It's difficult enough to find people willing to send internationally as it is, and that would make it more difficult. I would support donating points to a charity pool to enable international mooches without inflation, but I don't know if enough people would feel this way to make it work.

Hanneke van Proosdij
3 years ago
My initial knee-jerk reaction is 'please don't drop the premium for international mooches' because I think that will reduce even further the pool of books available for mooching - there are so many books on my wishlist where there's a copy available, but not to me because I'm in the wrong country!

The idea of grouping countries into 'regions' to allow different settings and maybe different bonuses for 'regional international' and 'worldwide' makes a lot of sense, as that's broadly how the postal system works, at least here in the UK.

Thinking more generally about the service, I know I mooch much more freely when I have a reasonable balance of points than I did when I had say less than 10 points 'in hand', when it felt 'risky' to spend points on one book in case something I wanted more came along before I'd been able to re-stock my points.

I agree strongly with the people above who suggest some kind of 'holding pen' for points earned for having-had-books-mooched until either the books are marked as sent, or as received. (My pending page currently has 12 books that have been waiting to be sent out for between 12 and 5 months, despite several reminders - the only reason I haven't cancelled is that I *know* I won't remember who it was who'd listed those books and only end up re-applying for the mooch next time I do a wishlist trawl, so I'd rather at least know how long I've been waiting!)

I know I've mooched / listed less in the last year than in the year before, which is, I think, a combination of
a)few of my wishlisted books coming up, either at all or willing to ship to the UK
b) having already sent out much of my book backlog, so the listing is now a trickle rather than a backlog
c) less income and rising postage costs - my book budget as a whole has dropped, rather than the percentage of that dedicated too bookmooch.
d) getting an ebook reader, so I'm more likely to buy an ebook copy if available than mooch a paper copy (otoh, most books don't have a reasonably priced drm-free ebook available, and I have listed a few paper books I'd replaced with e copies, so maybe that's volume-neutral)

Of those factors, A and B are much the most significant.

Alex Draven
3 years ago
I didn't realize there was a problem with the current points system. From my perspective, it works fine the way it is. I hope we don't take a page from the government's book, and try to fix something until it breaks.

For me, last year was economically difficult at times, and I imagine it was that way for a lot of bookmooch users. This decreased the number of new books listed, as the cost of postage does add up.

Addressing the 3 main points:

1: Definitely keep the point for listing 10 books. This is how I got started (how pretty much every bookmooch user gets started, I imagine), and without this initial incentive a lot of new users will have trouble.

2: I may be in the minority, but I think we should keep the .1 point incentive to leave feedback. It may be a minor thing, but it is a driving force behind the feedback system. I believe you would see a significant drop-off in Feedback reporting if people don't have some payback for doing it.

3: Please, do not mess with the international points ratio. Sending books out of the country is expensive, and the 3-points earned is the only thing that makes it feasible. I've sent quite a few books out of the USA over the last couple of years, and the cost is generally 3 times what a domestic shipment is, so it works well. If that gets cut at all, most people will stop shipping internationally, because it won't be cost effective.

Thank you for your time.

Martin T. Ingham
Maine's well-fed starving writer.

Martin T. Ingham
3 years ago
I totally agree with Emmy, who said:
I really appreciate that even though it is free you are continually working to keep it updated and running cleanly. ...and I believe that any changes necessary to maintain this ideal are completely acceptable.

As always whenever I read one of your updates I really appreciate the thought and concern you put forward for your users. I really enjoy reading your updates and getting a chance to not only learn about the running of the website but also to have a say in the proposed changes.

Thank you so much John for all your hard work!

PS I'm very glad to see the comments offered do not include any nastiness or flames.

Jean Z in Dallas

Jean Z
3 years ago
I find I often try to mooch 2 or more books from an inventory at a time. The problem is that tastes change, people change, reading habits change as we grow and flow with what interests us.
We are like little sponges that sop up those things affecting us directly, children for one example, when I joined my son was 9, now he's 13 and those same books have lost interest for him. I mooch fewer because it takes both of us longer, lately, to read. Some of the people I mooched from in the past, have dropped international shipping, and I have stuffed 4 book cases full of books I mean to read and have, as yet, just not found an extra moment to read.
A decrease in points, while being a good thing for the requestor, would be a bad thing for the receiver as it would no longer be worth it.
I think there are a number of obsolete accounts lying around, and some people, for whatever the reason, have points galore. I saw one account with over 300 points that were not being used.
My opinion for the moment is to let things lie until you see a bigger decrease, the economy is on the rise and so is leisure time. :) But that opinion I may choose to change tomorrow! ;)
janie
3 years ago
I could see the advantage of discount "mooching" from one person, where the third book may cost less than a point or what have you, but I also like how the system is now. I wonder if the decline in mooching has anything to with (aside everyone being a bit tighter on finances and postage going up) the rise in teh kindle and i-pad etc...where you don't get an actual book that you can trade off.
I have found this to be a wonderful site in the years I have been here, but understand change happens.
Merwyn
3 years ago
I'd love to add: I would LOVE a way to say I'll send to Canada as well as the US. Shipping to Canada truly is so close to US rates that I always refund Canadian moochers a point. It's just not that costly.

But shipping, for instance, to Japan is more expensive. (And US Post does not allow for MediaMail shipping outside of the country.)

Also: John, you work so hard at this and you're a superstar. Thank you so much for all you do.

Em
3 years ago
IrishPenJen wrote:6. I also might suggest a 'bank' whereby those who are short on points may 'borrow' when they are low and 'pay them back' when in credit.

We got that:
Unofficial_Bank_of_BookMooch

I would also like to remind everyone that you can cancel an unresponsive mooch and select "the owner did not respond" to put the account on vacation. That should "hide" their inventory and remove the book from your wishlist.

Cara
3 years ago
without the 3 point international system, I probably would not participate. Frankly, I have found myself sending out books at a greater cost than the books are worth. The only consolation is that I get 3 points for it. I mean, it feels kinda stupid to spend $12 to send a book that can be had on Amazon.com for $0.99 plus $3.99 shipping. Granted, this is not the case in all countries, but that doesn't lessen the financial sting.
Just my 2 cents.

On another note, I used to be much more active, but I've had less time to read lately, and thus, less motivation to mooch books and send them.

Tim
3 years ago
I think the multimooching idea is eminently sensible. People already do it all the time. On sheer postage cost grounds, you could even knock more than 10% off per book, but you have to keep the incentive there too, so 10% sounds great.
laddiebuck
3 years ago
I just got an incredible shock. It's the first time I've been on BM today. Mine has gone from about 0.85:1 to 1.35:1. I won't be able to use my points before I run out of ratio. Most seem disinclined to send OS already & it's getting harder to use postal services internationally anyway, so this is just another nail in the coffin of international book sharing.

There may be some good reason for this, but I can't imagine what it is and I certainly wasn't warned about it. It seems exceedingly cruel to regular users to have installed the change retroactively too.

I don't understand why I'm to be penalised for mooching overseas, even if I could get someone to agree to send me something. I give 2 points for the mooch and my mooch ratio is increased by 3 books?? I can't even support those willing to send overseas by mooching from them because I will be hit with a penalty for doing so.

It seems to me a very strange and nonsensical thing to have done.

catsalive
3 years ago
One thing which is affecting wishlists and making them bigger than they need to be is a bug. If you mooch from your wishlist, it does not always remove the book from your wishlist. I recently listed 3 books which I had mooched and were still on my wishlist/save for later.

This has happened to at least one other moocher that I know.

brownbear
3 years ago
@ Cara - really? I didn't know that was the case. That's not what the cancellation page says will happen "Note: the points will be given back to you, deducted from the book owner, and the book will be relisted."
Alex Draven
3 years ago
Alex wrote: @ Cara - really? I didn't know that was the case. That's not what the cancellation page says will happen "Note: the points will be given back to you, deducted from the book owner, and the book will be relisted." Yes, as long as you select the reason that the owner didn't respond, they will be put on vacation. One of the neatest little changes John initiated some time ago.
Cara
3 years ago
neat indeed :D I must have missed that announcement.
Alex Draven
3 years ago
This sounds like a good idea,postaging multiple books in one lot is much better than sending them separately
Ozifarmer
3 years ago
For some reason, the majority of the books I could list in inventory, are thick, heavy, hard cover books & most of the books I end up mooching are thin,light books. I simply can't afford to pay $3-6 postage on a heavy book,& then get up to 3 thin books in 1 package that is $1.50 postage, in return. So I end up not listing most of the books I have & they go to the thrift, which is not a bad thing, it's just that many of the books are hard to find, many are gift quality, & I would like BookMoochers to have them. I have no idea how to rectify this problem with points, perhaps 2 points over so many pages in a book, or over $3 shipping? I don't know how feasible that is, how to implement it. Perhaps a list for moochers to list books they have but can't afford to send & if someone wants it, they pay the postage, with no points given or recieved? Don't know how feasible that is either. Any other bright ideas? Anyone else not listing heavy books due to shipping costs? I do wonder how many books BookMooch is missing out on due to heavy books only earning 1 point, the same point given for a 32 page children's book. That really bothers me. I could order 7 childrens books, use up 7 points & the postage could be less than 1 heavy book I send out for 1 measly point. I also end up not mooching children's books as much as I would like to, since it irks me that I spend a point on this tiny book & only get a point for a 500 pg book. I did this only once, getting 3 children's books in 1 pkg that was about $1.75 shipping & felt so annoyed that I spend an average of $9 for 3 books, that I swore not to get any more children's books off BookMooch. I used up 3 points for about 30-50 pgs total for the 3 books.

I like it when people mooch several books from me, as I'm in the USA, it cuts way down on shipping even though I'm charged by weight. I have nothing in inventory right now as I'm waiting to have a number of books of a similiar ilk, so that when I list them, it is more likely for someone to mooch more than 1.

naja sorella
3 years ago
@naja I don't think there'll be changes on the 1 book 1 point policy, but what I've seen done and would probably do if needed, is to set the condition notes of the heaviest ones to require including them in a 2 or 3 books mooch.
Aude
3 years ago
@naja I can also imagine that you ask for either as Aude said, a mandatory multi-mooch for those books, or you say because their heavier and if you won't mooch more than one book, you need to smooch a point, maybe? I think it's curious that your heavy books are so expensive, maybe mine haven't been as heavy, but the heavy ones I sent were... 5 dollars with media mail? Which is more expensive, but I sent a lighter one to England once... and that was almost 4 times as much. :P

Maybe this comment is stupid. Hope someone else can give you a better idea.

ljpbb
3 years ago
Thanks Aude & lipbb for you suggestions, both are good ideas.
naja sorella
3 years ago
because their heavier and if you won't mooch more than one book, you need to smooch a point,

I'm afraid you can't do this, it is against the TOS of Bookmooch, you can't ask for extra points for a book. You can offer to pay more books for a wishlist book you want. Others can offer to give you an extra point if they notice the book is bigger. You can ask for multi-mooch.

Cara
3 years ago

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