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Followup 2: intl mooch ratio change

There seems to be a few people who don't understand the recent ratio changes, with the result (I believe) that people have become worked up mostly because of misunderstanding.

I'm going to try to clear up some of the misunderstandings in this blog entry, and perhaps that will help things.

but first, I wanted to quote Stephanie as an especially clear-headed voice:

 I have read every comment, and there are a couple of points that some people seem to be missing.

If you *SEND* internationally at least as many as you *MOOCH* internationally, this new system makes your ratio the same or better. I, for example, have sent *MORE* internationally than I have mooched internationally, and the change improved my ratio.

And it is, after all, SENDING internationally that we are trying to encourage! As far as I know, there has never been an effort to increase MOOCHING internationally.

Second, why do people care, as long as the ratio stays below 2? Nothing will happen until then! A ratio of 1.8 is just as "good" as a ratio of 1.1. The only thing the ratio does is cut you off from mooching more books if it goes over 2. That's it. Really. And if that happens, well, gee, that's your key to go find another book to put in your inventory.

Thanks Stephanie!

There is a lot of repetition among the comments, so I'm going to pull out a few representative ones and reply to them. Here is one from Lavone:

 Being a non math person, I have never understood the ratio. I always looked at the # of books received and the # of books sent and as long as I was well balanced, I thought I was okay. I also looked at the explanation of the ratio which was more beneficial to me. Prior to this retro change that number was 3.44 books given for each one received. I have sent 940 books (165 international), received 361 (40 international) and my ratio is .35:1 which means nothing to me. But I now see that I have sent 2.82 books for each one received. I thought that was good but maybe now it means bad. Can I continue to mooch or will others think I am greedy? I am just not sure anymore.

I want to be able to mooch books from my favorite Canadian friend and I want to continue to send to moochers in other countries who want my books but I am confused.

BookMooch exchanges work mostly on the basis of points. The vast majority of users never need to think about their "mooch ratio".

 Is it possible to say how many members will now be pushed to near or over the the 2:1 ratio? e.g. how many people are actually going to be negatively affected by this change?

I asked Admin Mark to look at the mooch ratios of all the people who commented on the previous blog entries, and he hasn't been able to find anyone who would be over the 2:1 ratio, and thus not able to spend their points.

Bear in mind that you can still mooch 2x as many books internationally as you give, which strikes me as quite generous.

The reason the mooch ratio exists is because there are two main ways to earn points:
1) send books
2) add books to your inventory

The mooch ratio exists because without it, you could add tons and tons of books to your inventory that nobody wants, and yet be able to mooch books from others to your heart's content.

That didn't seem right, so I added the concept of a "mooch ratio" so that BookMooch is mostly about #1 above (you send a book, you get a book), with an incentive to add books to your inventory, but a limit of "2 books received for 1 sent" no matter what you do to earn points.

 This (change) certainly won't encourage international sending/mooching!
and another:
This doesn't encourage international mooching at all.

Actually, I made this change precisely because I believe it *will* encourage international sending.

Previously, with the old mooch ratio, you could mooch 3 books internationally for every international book you sent. That creates a dis-incentive to *send* that many international books, since you just earned a threefold credit for the one book you sent.

With not enough people motived to send books internationally, that means that mooching internationally gets harder.

Under the new mooch ratio system there needs to be a (relative) equality between books you mooch internationally and books you send internationally. That way, there are plenty of people motivated to send books internationaly, which thus creates a greater sphere of international mooching.

 The About/Points Explained pages still say that international mooches cost only 2 points (as of a few minutes ago). From what i can tell, this is just an adjustment in ratio calculations, but not a change to the actual point cost of international mooching -- is this correct? (It would definitely discourage international mooching if the point cost has gone up.)

I appreciate that you are trying to prevent mooch imbalance (as in the example you provided).

There is no change in the points at this time: an international mooch costs 2 points, but the sender receives 3 points.

However, there have been suggestions (on the previous blog entry, for instance) that this 2/3 disequilibrium (I call it an "incentive") should be removed, and there is logic to that argument, but that's not something happening now.

 I thought BookMooch was trying to encourage international mooching. One of the ways you do this is a bonus point on international mooching, and you have said before that we should be able to spend those points as well.

But now all of a sudden you think it is wrong to receive more books than you get, and you enforce this on us without so much as a warning.

Think for a second on a larger scale: how can *everyone* receive more books than they send? That isn't possible.

At some point, BookMooch needs to balance out so that most users are sending one book for every book they receive.

There are many people who are happy to give more than they receive (I'm one of them, and have given 7 books for every book I've received) but not enough of us to balance out against the people who receive more than they get.

Because of this reality, the total catalog size in BookMooch has been shrinking for the past 2 years, and I want to fix that.

 Dude, I understand what you're trying to do economically, but it's just as short-sighted as protectionism was. In fact, it's a form of that.

In bookmooch economic terms, you're basically putting barriers around international trade. Before, you used to have incentives around international trade. Now you have an incentive for domestic traffic and a disincentive for international traffic. (Bit more complicated than that but let's not argue trivialities.)

I don't see how the change in mooch ratio can be seen as a form of protectionism. To the contrary, what the change causes is an increased incentive to send more books internationally.

The parallel you make isn't valid: the "you receive 3 points for giving a book internationally" bonus is a form of promotion of international trade, not a barrier. The change in mooch ratio calculation promotes balance of trade, which is an important health measure of international trade.

 I appreciate your clarifications here, but in contrast to most people here I still don't feel this is a major deal.

However, I agree that the graph showing the number of books in the system *is* worrying. To me, the solution to that is to encourage more books to get into the system, not to mess with other parts of the system.

1) Getting more people to use Bookmooch. More people starting to use the site means more people adding their books to receive points to start mooching themselves (which is also an argument to not remove the points for listing books, at least not for the first 100 books or so).

2) Somehow giving existing users the incentive to add more books and more desired books.

-- I suggested before to give point bonuses for adding books that are on many wishlists, and I still think this would be a workable idea.

-- Someone else suggested the possibility of a bonus for adding books that are less than a certain age, which I think could also increase the average desirability of books added.

-- Another thing that could be considered would be to make it easier to swap magazines as well. As far as I can tell, there is currently no official way to say that something is a magazine. I suppose a binding type of "magazine" would be reasonable. Still, some people are entering magazines to their inventories but since this is currently somewhat haphazardly done it is sometimes a bit difficult to search for them. Even so, I have found and mooched a few and would happily get more. Some of the magazines I've gotten actually contain as much reading as many novels.

Those are all good suggestions, thank you.

As to getting more people to use BM, I agree, and there are improvements on their way there. However, we have to realize that the press's great interest in swapping has both waned, and also that paperbackswap has received more US press than BookMooch, so it's unlikely we'll be able to get that many more members coming to BM.

A better approach, I think, is to maximize the likelihood that newly joining members want to stay.

Your bonus-points-for-wishlisted-books actually existed for the first 6 months of BM, and was removed because it was frequently "gamed". People started refusing to add books to their inventories unless they were on other people's wishlists, and also emailing others asking them to 1st put the book on their wishlist before they added them to their inventories, so they could get the bonus. Sorry, but human nature is what it is...

I agree that there could be greater incentives for giving books that are in great demand, as well as (I think) incentives for quickly reading a high-demand book and giving it back for mooching.

Magazines are swapped on BM, however there both doesn't seem to be high demand for them, and secondly, people have abused this capability by listing lots of magazines that nobody wants, earning points for adding them to their inventories, and mooching like mad.

 John, i want to reiterate one of my concerns. Some of us are noticing that people whose proportion of books mooched internationally exceeds their proportion of books sent internationally will have mooch ratios in excess of their "real" ratio. In my case, i will have to try to avoid sending books within Canada if i wish to bring my ratio down... that, or avoid mooching internationally. Either way, this greatly distorts my incentives. It just seems silly that because i frequently take fewer points to send within Canada, despite high domestic postage costs, i'm now slapped with an official mooch ratio that is higher than my actual mooch ratio.

I have to admit that it never occured to me that there were countries where it was cheaper to send to another country than inside your own country. If that's the case in Canada, wow, and I'd like to think a bit more about what could be done in BM to deal with that.

In theory, what should happen is that inside-Canada mooches should cost 2 points, but it's not that simple because it's much more expensive to send from the USA to Canada, then Canada to the USA, which causes disequilibria.

A few people felt that I had singled out Belladonna in a negative way:

 You singled out someone's case and pointed out that they have received 3 books for every 2 they've given -- *as if that's a bad thing*. Are you really trying to make a 1:1 economy? Economies need growth to grow, by definition, dammit!
and
I would like to add that Belladonna is an extremely well respected member of bookmooch... Singling any one person out is bad enough, but why not highlight someone who is actually abusing the system, rather than berating one of your best members? For springing this on her as a surprise frankly you owe her an apology at the very least.
and
I have done no accusations of stealing and no name calling and yet I was used as an example in John's response as if I were a criminal. I have not been gaming the system but rather using it as it had been set up previously. I have a flawless feedback record and have sent close to 700 books (international and domestically)in the past 2 years. I am a good moocher and always respond promptly and communicate delays effectively. For John to insinuate otherwise is insulting.
and
I also don't think it was right to call out Belladonna directly with a link to her account. The last time I mooched a couple dozen books from her she donated half the points to a BM charity of my choosing.

I have to admit that I'm pretty baffled that people think I was criticizing Belladonna.

What I was doing was pointing out that Belladonna is an example of an excellent BookMooch citizen whose trading and behavior has been exemplary.

She had written that she felt the mooch ratio made her look like a worse mooch citizen than she actually is, which is why I used her numbers directly.

Belladonna has mooched about 3 books for every 2 she has received, however she has sent significantly more books internationally (63 books more) than she has mooched internationally. That's *great* !

In fact, it's so great, that the existing mooch ratio calculation rewards her great behavior, so that instead of having a mooch ratio of 1.5 hers is 1.15.

So... my apologes for the misunderstanding and for Belladonna feeling hurt. That was not my goal : instead I wanted to pointed out that she should be commended, and that the existing mooch ratio calculation rewards her for her excellent actions.

 Anyway, what is it to the Bookmooch economy if people can mooch more books than the ones they send? That's the incentive, right, to keep the site alive?
and
All I care about is for all of us, all of us, to be able to use the points we have paid for, with exorbitant postage fees, to mooch any book we want, when it comes available, by any means allowed.

Think on a larger scale: how can everyone in the BookMooch economy mooch more they send? It's not possible -- each mooch has to have a giver.

If there aren't enough people motivated to give, there is less mooching: makes sense, right?

And by the same token, if you pay "exorbitant postage fees" to send a book internationally, it seems reasonable that you can ask *one person* to pay "exorbitant postage fees" to send you a book. However, it doesn't seem fair to me that you should be able to ask 3 people to pay "exorbitant postage fees" to send you a book internationally because you sent 1 book.

It's both a question of fairness, and also about having a healthy balance.

 It seems that angels are now made to look like the greatest scammers of all since we accrue points by doing so much international mailing. … As an angel I give internationally more than I mooch.
and
I had never even thought about the effect that these changes would have on Angels until I read the one of the posts above. I rely so much on these wonderful people, especially those located in Australia.

This is exactly backwards to the reality of the change. Angels are now more rewarded. Two commentators got it right:

 I do not understand these fears about the Angels. The Angels mooch domestically and then send internationally -- that should only boost there potential.
and
As someone who gets and gives internationally and has seen a ratio change, I'd like to say that I think this whole thing makes perfect sense to me. John's logic seems well-reasoned and sound and I'd like to thank him for his hard work and thoughtfulness.

Thank you!

Previously, if you sent one book internationally, you could receive 3 international books. The old system diminished the incentives to send books internationally.

Under the new system, when you send a book internationally, you can now only receive one book internationally. Therefore, sending internationally is now worth more under the new mooch ratio system.

I want to be really clear about this: the new ratio system increases the value of angels and provides them with greater rewards. The new mooch ration creates further incentives to be an angel.

I'm sorry if all the economics talk can hard to understand.

 As one who sends internationally but receives dozens of requests for international mooches from members unwilling to themselves send internationally, I do think that members ought not to be able to request international mooches unless they are themselves willing to send outside their own country. And by this I mean a proven track record of actually sending internationally, not doing what some do which is to have the "ask" option but then decline anything which is outside their home country, thus giving the appearance of sending internationally without ever having to actually send anything overseas.

This idea was brought up a few years ago for discussion, and most people strongly disagreed. That's why your idea is not current BM policy.

 John, I know that you think that it's OK to count mooching internationally as 3x mooching domestically instead of 2x (to match the points), but I just want to add this:
I send 2 books internationally, I get 6 points. ?If I live in a country where there's some domestic mooching traffic, I would be able to use those points to mooch 6 books. My ratio would be 1:1 and everything would be great. ?If I live in a country with very few bookmoochers, or it just happens that all the books that I want are international, I could mooch 3 books with my 6 points. My ratio would then be 1.5:1. If I'm just spending my points, and I have little or no domestic options, why am I being penalized with a worse ratio for that?

You're right, it does seem weird, and it's an artifact of the fact that mooching internationally costs 2 points but the sender receives 3 points. As long as you stay under the 2:1 ratio, you can spend those points.

The "solution" to the problem you point out would be to get rid of the 1-point-bonus for sending internationally, and that's an idea that's currently on the table.


To reply to some of the comments:

 The retroactive nature of the change is my biggest problem with it. It's as though our currency has been devalued with no warning

Several people keep saying this, and though I felt I had addressed this, apparently many people don't feel I addressed it head on.

Ok here is why it is retroactive:

1) because I feel that receiving 2 books for every one you send is extremely generous, and that's the way it currently is (after the change)

2) because I feel that anyone who receives *more* than 2 books for each one book they give is abusing the system. I don't care if they earned the points before the old system, I still think it's wrong. Since the old system allowed people to mooch 3 intl books for every 1 they gave, *and* a 2:1 ratio was allowed, this effectively allowed people to mooch up to 6 books internationally and only give one. Once this was pointed out to me, I agree that this was wrong, an oversight on my part, and hence the correction.

3) In response to Lethe's excellent analysis of scenarios that would cause people to go over 2:1, what I (and the admins) have seen is that a moocher has to act in bad faith, such as by adding tons of books that nobody wants to earn points, in order to go over the 2:1 ratio. I don't see any reason why I should retroactively allow a six-books-received/1-book-sent situation, this would only legitimize bad faith use of BookMooch.

4) NOBODY ON THIS FORUM IS BEING CAUGHT BY THIS CHANGE. Not a single person has said that their ratio is over 2:1 and they can no longer mooch. So far, the only people who are over 2:1 are those that that have acted (I and the admins feel) in bad faith, and none of those people are on this forum.

5) BookMooch is under constant attack by scammers. It's not uncommon for 80 bogus accounts to be made in one day. The volunteer admins catch almost all of this activity immediately: the fact that you don't see scammers on this site any more is because I have instituted many behind-the-scenes changes at the admin's request, and this has been quite effective at stopping scammers. Probably half of my programming time goes into features that you never see, that are purely for the admins and for abuse/scam protection. Two years ago, things were much worse and scammers could regularly abuse honest people. This mooch ratio change was made to prevent bad faith use of BM. Nobody on this forum is over 2:1 with the new system, which to me shows that it's a good change and functioning correctly, as the new ratio is not mislabeling any honest moochers.

And the bottom line is:

6) If you still feel that you are entitled to receive 6 books internationally for every one book you send, I disagree with you. I make the rules, and if you disagree, then you can either operate within my rules or use another book trading site. The rules of the site are a combination of my personal views on fairness, my understanding (and research) on trading economics, the admin's experience and judgement, and what the admins and I think will make the site function best. However, at the end of the day, this is not a democracy: I make the rules to promote the long term health of the site, with hours and hours of consultation with the volunteer admins and the input of the community.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago

Comments



Still processing all this info... but why have you not addressed the ethical problem of applying this policy retroactively? That is probably the biggest concern here. We operated under the old system in good faith and all the sudden new rules are applied backwards — penalizing us for behaviors previously allowed and encouraged.

I don't care if you want to change things moving forward, but when you make changes that affect people's current stats, that's wrong.

I see no reason to add any more books to my inventory. I will just use up the points I have so I don't accumulate anything I can't use. And this helps BM how?

wisewoman
3 years ago
As was mentioned numerous times, the issue is largely the retroactive nature of the change and that it was sprung on everybody without warning or discussion. Could you address that please, and let us know if we can expect more unannounced and undiscussed changes in the future?
RidgewayGirl
3 years ago
John wrote: "Your bonus-points-for-wishlisted-books actually existed for the first 6 months of BM, and was removed because it was frequently "gamed". People started refusing to add books to their inventories unless they were on other people's wishlists, and also emailing others asking them to 1st put the book on their wishlist before they added them to their inventories, so they could get the bonus. Sorry, but human nature is what it is..."

This is a sound objection, but it seems to me that it would only be valid if the bonus is given all the way from one wishlisting. If the bonus starts at, say, ten wishlisters, the chance for someone to game the feature should be a lot smaller.

Hans Persson
3 years ago
Agree totally with wisewoman. An explanation of the sudden nature of this would mean more to most members.
Also, I think that the amount of discussion online may make up for the lack of press interest, although it may not be the kind you desired...
donna
3 years ago
I agree with the posters above whose main concern was and is that this was applied retroactively. Changing the rules while the game is ongoing is one thing, punishing people for playing by the previous rules is another. Please address this and let us know what your plans are with concern to this issue. I would also like to echo Ridgewaygirls question of whether or not we should expect more retroactive changes in the future?
Bcteagirl
3 years ago
With regards to Canadian mail, when sending regionally (same or next province), it's usually cheaper/the same as sending to the US. Otherwise it's much more expansive.

For example, I'm located in Quebec, and I sent a book to BC earlier this week. The cost was ~$12.50 CAD. Sending the same package to the US is ~$8.50, and earns me 3 points as opposed to only 1.

Their system uses a "Rate Code" calculated from the sending postal code: http://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pg/prices/FSA_RateCodeLookup-e.asp

In turn, this code is used in a shipping rates table:
http://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pg/prices/CPcanada-e-01.pdf

In my example above I sent to a Code 31, so it was 10.87 + taxes and surcharge = about $12.50

And FWIW, I'm fine with the changes. I'm not complaining about BM, just about the canadian postal system...

Simon Roy
3 years ago
The one concern that I have for this change is that countries with very few Bookmoochers in them could be basically booted off of the system.

For example, Columbia has 24 Bookmooch members. It's not beyond the imagination that one of these members gain points from a Colombian moocher and then mooch all of their own books internationally. This could really cause problems for the 10 < x < 100 group (where x is the number of people in the country). At less than 10 people I think the members will be mooched from primarily internationally. If you combine this problem with a language that isn't often learned as a second language or mooched internationally a lot like Thai, you may effectively be blacklisting members of these countries from the system.

gerdaleigh
3 years ago
it's much more expensive to send from the USA to Canada, then Canada to the USA, which causes disequilibria.
This is not true. It is more expensive to send from Canada to the U.S. not the other way around. I can send a small paperback to the U.S. for about $5. Someone in the U.S. can send one to me for about $3, last time I looked. And our dollars are at about par (the Canadian dollar has actually gone higher than the U.S. dollar a couple of times recently). It is just that it is so much less expensive to send to the U.S. than to send within Canada that we all prefer to send internationally ($10 for the same paperback).

Links if you want to check the prices for yourself:

http://www.usps.com/prices/first-class-mail-international-prices.htm

http://www.canadapost.ca/tools/pg/prices/default-e.asp

Cara
3 years ago
Well, a comment here from one of the earliest moochers. I have mooched and given more than 200 books, but after a while I pretty much stopped. I had points that I couldn't use, because most of the books I wanted were only available from people who wouldn't send internationally (I'm in France, and mostly want books in English), and I removed my inventory in part because my books _were_ in demand, and because it was getting to expensive to send overseas (because most of my books are in English, and there are few people in France who want them).

But, as I was mooching books, I was seeing that people in the US were paying $9, $14, or even $20 to send them. I guess they felt that getting three points (or three books, for them, in domestic mooches) made it a good deal, but I didn't feel that it was right to expect people to pay more than the value of a book to send it. Around the time that postage went up in the US (a couple of years ago?), fewer people were willing to send books abroad.

All this to say that the majority of my mooching was international, because few books I wanted were available in my country (I read in French, but, again, most of the books I'm interested in don't show up). With the new system, I would eventually hit the glass cieling, unless I were willing to pay international postage to send out books.

What we really need is for Europe to be considered as a "country" for points purposes, so I can mooch to and from, say, the UK without paying a premium. After all, postage within the EU is the same - it's a tad more to send to another EU country than it is to France, but to any EU country it's the same price.

Kirk McElhearn
3 years ago
John, you are trying to explain all this to us, and I'm glad you are taking that trouble. But there is one thing that is really troubling me, and loads of others, and that is the retroactive character of the change. Basically, you were encouraging us to behave in a particular way and now you have stopped doing that, without even admitting that you changed your mind. It would be nice if you would say: yes, I used to do it like that, but now I understand things differently, and this is how it is going to be. Because if you had one reasonable way to run bookmooch before, and another reasonable way to run it now, how are we moochers going to know in which reasonable way to behave?

And, one more thing. In order to acquire the points necessary to go above the mooch ratio, these are basically the things you can do.
1. List loads of books that nobody wants. I do not know how big of a problem this actually is, but I agree it shouldn't happen. I think it would be doable to put a cap on it, too, and I'm pretty sure it wouldn't cause too much trouble.
2. Get books on deals. If somebody does a 2-for-1 on me on an international deal, I will have more points but I might not have the mooch ratio to spend them. Deals are often done with less popular books, or to make postage better for internationals, and to me it does not look like something you should want to discourage.
3. Win the jackpot on a BookMooch contest. Not something you want to discourage either.
4. Be loved by many people so you get lots of smooches. Definitely something you do not want to discourage.
So, are you sure you are really targeting the right target here?

wester
3 years ago
John, the bottom line is this. There are many of us who have been faithful bookmoochers for years. Who have followed all of the rules of the site. Who have received perfect or nearly perfect feedback on all of our transactions. Who "give a little" each month. Who act as "angels" for users in other countries. Who have spent thousands of dollars to do these things.

God forbid that someday I run out of money and can't keep sending books anymore. Why should I potentially lose the ability to spend points that I have EARNED by following your rules and spending my money? I realize that I am currently in no danger of having this happen, but hypothetically it could down the road, especially if you continue to change your policies and make new policies retroactive that punish people for following the rules.

If you want to change the rules, that is your right, but I think that those in my shoes would feel better if you make a commitment to us that we will be able to spend any points we earned before the change, regardless of our ability to send books in the future.

Becca
3 years ago
The ideas behind points and ratio are not that hard, and some Excel scenarios which I ran show that it is really hard to run into ratio problems without first running into negative points.

Points are like fuel for your car. The number of books you can mooch (the distance you can drive) is limited by the quantity of points/fuel you have.

Ratio is like the gear ratio in your car's transmission, which constrains how fast you can drive. You are only allowed to drive in certain gears and thus can only attain certain speeds. As long as your ratio is ok, use up all the points/fuel you want, because the specific gears used do not matter. (Yeah, I know this analogy is imperfect.)

I ran some scenarios in Excel to try to determine what kinds of moochers might be in danger of approaching the ratio limit of 2 (based on different combinations of domestic and international mooching, including angels, etc.). It was really hard to find a scenario for an active member that approached a ratio of 2.00.

In particular, moochers who mooch only 1 : 1 domestically, or who mooch only 1 : 1 internationally, or who give domestically 3 books for every one mooched internationally, have a ratio of 1. Someone who only sends angel mooches has a ratio about 0.33. If you don't send internationally but mooch 1 out of 6 books internationally (and give 5 books domestically), your ratio will be 1.6, but your points will go negative regardless of ratio (in order to avoid negative points, 6 books would have to be given domestically and then ratio is 1.33). The problems are for people who mooch internationally but give only domestically. If they give domestically 2 or fewer books for every 1 they mooch internationally, they will exceed a ratio of 2.0, but here too, negative points will limit mooching before ratio does. Those who have earned lots of points by giving and have not mooched as much will have ratios <1.0 and thus have plenty of wiggle room for spending those points when they feel like it.

This is consistent with John's statment that "I asked Admin Mark to look at the mooch ratios of all the people who commented on the previous blog entries, and he hasn't been able to find anyone who would be over the 2:1 ratio, and thus not able to spend their points."

So unless you have lots of points without doing sufficient giving on bookmooch, it is hard to get to a ratio over 2.00. That would apply only to charities, which are exempted from ratio, or scammers. (Although I agree that special cases of non-charities who have received lots of smooches does deserve ratio consideration.) I really appreciate that BookMooch attempts to protect us from scammers (a few of whom I encountered in the early days).

People are commenting as though they have had points taken away. From what I can tell, all that has happened is that corrections have been put in place to protect us from scammers who had previously been able to slip through under the prior protections.

It is not out of line for a website that discovers a security problem to immediately institute protections, without advance discussion. The storm of outrage expressed by those who are not negatively affected by these protections is puzzling.

If you have a specific example of ratio exceeding 2 : 1 **that does not involve a large amount of charity/smooches, negative points, or lack of giving**, I'd appreciate seeing what kinds of scenarios I missed. (Disclaimer: hopefully I've not made any major errors here.)

Thanks John & Team for making this all work!

Lethe
3 years ago
Thanks Lethe for trying to explain this all further but please don't imply that Bookmooch is business or such for where security problems need to be addressed immediately without warning. This is a site based on trust and a lot of people feel (rightly or wrongly) that this has been broken.
donna
3 years ago
Lethe, this isn't an urgent security matter. What is causing concern is the way it was implemented, the retroactive nature of the implementation and that long-time users are adjusting to the idea that things can change in any way at any time with no prior warning, making it a bad idea to commit too much in the way of saving points or listing new books into inventory.

None of these concerns have been addressed. The math involved is moot.

RidgewayGirl
3 years ago
John

I have read all the comments and actually agree with your suggestions to try to make it fairer. I send and mooch a bit internationally as well as domestically and the postage from Australia can be exorbitant, even domestically.

One question that seems to have been asked a number of times but I can't find a reply from you is why this change is not made as of today instead of retrospectively. That seems to me to be the biggest issue here, I am quite happy for the changes to apply from now on but cannot understand why our existing points earned should change.

Ozifarmer
3 years ago
Oh, John Buckman! You are so annoying. Still no apology for the retroactive aspect, and still no expression of any intention to make the new policy apply only from now on. A perfect example of how to move from admired to disliked overnight. Why on earth don't you listen to us? And why don't you respond to this point, which has been made over and over again?
John S
3 years ago
I just wanted to say that I received an apology (and a smooch) from John. I have also let him know that despite the changes, I will continue to be an avid moocher and Angel for those who need books from the US.

I plan on using the site the way I have always used it. If, in the future, my ratio is damaged as a result of how I mooch, I will cross that bridge at that point. Like Scarlett O'Hara, I will worry about it tomorrow.

To everyone who came to my defense, I appreciate you all and hope to see you around LT or BM. :)

Belladonna1975
3 years ago
The retroactive nature of the change is my biggest problem with it. It's as though our currency has been devalued with no warning, and this isn't a government or business that needs to do this to members in order to stay solvent.

If the points and ratio computation are going to be changed, then we'll all adjust our mooching and sending patterns to take that into account. But taking away what we've already earned makes me feel, well, cheated. Since I can barely find ways to use the points I do have, being told that I'm even less likely to be able to use them all in the future is making me think hard about whether to list any more books or just try to use my points as best I'm able and linger until whatever formula is then in place no longer lets me mooch.

I don't really want an analysis of ratios, I just want to know what the rules are. Rules that I know will still be valid for whatever points I earn during the time the rules are in effect. Surely with computers it can't be that hard to keep the points people have earned already and start the new calculating from a certain date. I've been a member for only 9 months (mooched 188, gave 288, perfect feedback), but the amount of negative commentary about this retroactive change from longtime and active participants, and the lack of explanation by the administration, is striking me as very bizarre. I've never looked at other book trade sites but I think it might be time.

And here's a suggestion regarding rewarding points: I'd be happy not to earn points from acknowledged mooches, or even from listing books. I'd much, MUCH rather see tenths of points given to people who give condition notes. Like anything else this could be scammed, of course, but so what? Most of us are honorable and would use the feature honestly.

Margaret
3 years ago
I commented on the original thread that I was concerned about not being able to use the points I have so far accrued (not many yet as I'm a new member!). However having done the maths I worked out that it would actually be really very hard to get near the 2:1 ratio by carrying on as I have been so far (sending out a little more internationally than I mooch). In fact if you use the pattern of sending 2 books internationally (6 points) and mooch 3 in return (6 points) your ratio won't ever go above 1.5. Whilst mooching in this way is your 'right', I can see that it actually isn't all that fair; why should we expect 3 people to pay expensive international charges when we've only paid to send 2 books. I appreciate the bonus points do encourage international mooching (It certainly encouraged me to do so) so I think its a good thing, but I can also see that in the long run there will be too many points in the system and not enough books to spend them on.

In short, I believe in the long run only a 1:1 ratio really works, and whilst I can see why so many people would oppose the cost of international mooching rising to match the bonus points, we have to face facts that really it will have to happen or there will be no way of spending all the points.

I can't really comment on the retro aspect as I'm new, but all I can say is I've yet to see an account (and I've looked at a fair few of the people commenting on these threads) that would reach 2:1 even if they spent all of their points today.

I think bookmooch is fab, and I'm very grateful for the hard work that must go into it to keep it running. It is hard to make the right decisions, especially when you know you'll receive flack for them, but I must say that despite my knee-jerk reaction of fear when I first read about the change, I've now read the explanations, done the maths and it all makes perfect sense.

Just my opinion!

Grace Hall
3 years ago
John - Re: Your comment about the size of the Bookmooch catalogue getting smaller over the past 2 years. I think that the reason that the total size of the Bookmooch catalog has been getting smaller is the # of electronic readers that have become so popular. I think that people are also loading the newer books rather than wait for them to become available on BM resulting in even less books on BM. Not sure how you can change that.
Betty
3 years ago
Hi everybody,

I have to say that I don't understand the retroactively nature of the mooch ratio as such a big problem.
Maybe it is because I am Italian, and so I am used to retroactive laws, :) but I think this change could be made retroactive __because__ it does not really affect anybody.
The only criticism I can give is that a week of advance warning would have not changed much, I think, and would have probably avoided some discussion.
However, I can't really believe this is the beginning of a series of retroactive laws changing completely BM.
I have the most confidence in John ethics and intelligence, and I can't believe he could destroy what he built in years for any reason.
I suggest to people complaining to ask themselves two questions; I did that and my answer was "nooo" in both cases.
- I really do believe next step will be that I find myself without points or something bad like that?
- I really do care if my mooch ratio is 0.94 or 1.07, when it is clear that it does not change anything?

Matteo
3 years ago
Thank you for this John. I'm still a bit annoyed that the change was made without warning but I understand the situation better now.

I'm also happy to hear something might be done for us Canadians. I understand it's a whole different challenge and that nothing will happen soon but it's good to know you are aware of it. I was really starting to think our postal system was not compatible with bookmooch.

Genevieve
3 years ago
I agree with Betty on the lowered influx of books. Also, there seems to be the assumption that we are dealing with a finite currency. But whilst e-readers might be taking over some of the market, used books will not be a finite currency for the foreseeable future. The main focus should be on bringing in new members and increasing the number of listed books. These changes will not be as severe as we feared (if a bit over engineered), but the explanations and discussions should have happened ahead of the change. Peace out
trimmus
3 years ago
I haven't joined the discussion yet. Although I was baffled by the ratio change at first, I can understand it now and yes, I do think it's fair, I even think that it might encourage international giving/mooching. We were kind of "spoiled" by the generous calculation before.
As Lethe mentioned, hardly anybody would exceed the 2:1 ratio - and even if they did, maybe it would be a motivation for them to refresh their inventory. But overall I don't think the ratio is a huge deal, points are more important.
Anyway, if there is a change in the points system about to come, I'd really appreciate it if you'd announce it first.

Thanks John & Team for everything you do for Bookmooch!

ayasuu
3 years ago
"Because of this reality, the total catalog size in BookMooch has been shrinking for the past 2 years, and I want to fix that."

I've been thinking on this for a few weeks now, and because of it yesterday decided to approach my bookshelf as an extension of everyone else's. I remember at one point you referring to Book Mooch similarly as follows: Imagine if you didn't have one bookshelf but (close to) 7 billion book shelves.

So I've tried to stop hoarding. Basically. Because you are right, you cannot mooch more books than you send. Which I definitely have been doing. Or at least it feels like it :P

Thanks for keeping a level head through all this, your work is appreciated greatly.

ljpbb
3 years ago
Thanks for coming back to clarify and for clearing things up re the publicity of Belladonna's account.

While I have to throw my hat in with the "please give us some warning" crowd, I'm pleased to have seen this come to a positive ending.

Yvann
3 years ago
I LOVE BOOKMOOCH
Christoph
3 years ago
Thank you so much for this very very helpful explanation (and Lethe and Grace's additions). I read both of the previous posts and all of the comments and still wasn't sure if this change only impacted the ratio or if the actual "price" of an international mooch was going up. I'm selfishly glad it's just the ratio since I'm a new-ish member and don't have tons of points. However, I wouldn't mind equalizing the cost of international mooches in the future.

I'm curious if people really use the ratios to evaluate whether to mooch from someone. Are some ratios considered worse/better than others by bookmoochers? I haven't thought to check the ratios of anyone I've mooched from.

Personally, I don't mind having the ratio change be retroactive b/c I think it would be very confusing otherwise. I think it's easier to have everyone's ratio follow the same rules regardless of how many points they had in the past. But, I already admitted that I don't use the ratios much so that's just my 2 cents.

It's great to see how emotionally invested people are in BM. I really love it and have been having a great time participating so far. I'd like to see more discussion of ideas to increase the numbers of wanted books entering (and re-entering) the system.

ShanaM
3 years ago
I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks the simplest measure of the ratio of books sent vs books received is just that - with no consideration of whether the books were sent domestically or internationally. Why make life complicated ?
peachfuzz
3 years ago
Under the new mooch ratio system there needs to be a (relative) equality between books you mooch internationally and books you send internationally. That way, there are plenty of people motivated to send books internationaly, which thus creates a greater sphere of international mooching.

Being motivated to send books internationally does not equate to being able to send them internationally. And I'm not talking financially here. Someone from 'somewhere else' must request them. And as most of those someones from 'somewhere else' are in the US, frankly they don't. They don't want to spend the two points. And some that have been requesting (especially those who can't send internationlly for some reason) probably will be less inclined to request internationally and will think twice because they will suffer a ratio penalty. You already have people here saying "Now on I will probably pass up the chance to mooch from a international member."

John, for every international send there has to be an international request. It balances out over the whole system, but one individual moocher can't necessarily achieve balance because we have control only over our requests, not over who requests from us.

People are already saying that now they can't use the points they have, there is no incentive for them to list new books. How on earth is that meant to increase inventory overall? It is irrelevant whether they are correct or not, that is what they believe and therefore that is what will happen. Financial crashes and ruin happen just as often from rumour as from fact.

...paperbackswap has received more US press than BookMooch, so it's unlikely we'll be able to get that many more members coming to BM.

Oh boy, how utterly defeatest is that!

The "solution" to the problem you point out would be to get rid of the 1-point-bonus for sending internationally, and that's an idea that's currently on the table.

OK, if you really want something to decrease the volume of international sends and totally kill off the angel network, then you've got it right there. Well done!!

crimson-tide
3 years ago
At the risk of being unpopular for a moment, I feel very strongly that we need to remember that John is the owner, operator and tech support for this site. Criticism of his personal character or motivation is wholly inappropriate. He has asked for feedback, and we as loyal bookmoochers have been given a gift in that.

I have seen over the last few days a number of folks who seem to have forgotten the incredible investment of time, energy and goodwill that John has put into this site. I wonder how many people have done something similar, and realize exactly how much investment it takes to run something like this site, financially, emotionally, and physically. We are beneficiaries of John's good will expressed to people he does not know. What an incredible man this is.

While we may not like decisions made, and even take advantage of John's more than kind offer to allow us to provide feedback, let's remember that criticisms are best delivered with a measure of kindness and forethought. John's investment in each of you has been tremendous.

I am not speaking to those of you who have remembered to address John with respect. However, I am very disturbed by some who seem to need to make personal attacks on John's character and motives. Remember the gifts John has given when you speak to him, even via this blog, maybe especially in the blog. To do anything else is reprehensible given the sacrifices John has made for us.

Thanks for hearing me.

Doug
3 years ago
Well, I am absolutely amazed that I missed ALL of the broohaha over the last few days. I have now read every one of the posts in part one and still fail to understand the math and ratios issue (yes, I am math challenged). What I did understand was when I went to my members page -my ratio is one that went up a full 1 point! I am one of those unfortunate people who for the last three years have had to pay through the nose to mail within Canada and have mostly mooched and sent internationally - including being an angel where and when I can. I just changed to not mailing within my country when it cost me almost $16 to send 2 books back east and it cost me a little over $7 to do the same to USA.
I strived to keep my mooch ratio to about .5 to 1 - thinking that I was doing right as per the TOS. Yes I still have my points - and believe me you do not want to know what I paid to earn those points! I still fail to understand how any of this encourages new or more books to be added to BookMooch? I know my mooching history looks high - but it is a combined mooching for 6 people in my family - including my 85 year mom who cannot get out to the library any more and loves receiving her boxes of books.
I too want to weigh in and say that I disagree with the action being taken retroactively. Fine by me to change the rules - but retroactively it does feel like punishment and now I feel like I want to defend my actions - when I did nothing wrong. As others have mentioned - I have also slowed down to a trickle in terms of adding new books. Why - because I have more than ample points to spend and it feels a little one sided for me to list and spend my money to send when I cannot find much to mooch in return. I have given away hundreds of points to charity and I find most of them have mega points and are not spending them either. I smooch points reguarly, I have charitied points to users - just because. I have done my best to be a member in good standing and spread the wealth.
I think we still need to find a way to create more activity, but I am not sure this was the way to go about it.
Debbie S
3 years ago
Thank you Doug, I agree. You can disagree with this change (and I actually don't, entirely) or how it was instigated or communicated, but there is no reason to assume that John's motives are anything other than the best interests of Bookmooch. Unless he has undergone a personality transplant or been taken over by aliens, I don't think he would deliberately try to sabotage this wonderful service he has spent so much time and personal resources building.
Cara
3 years ago
I have to say I'm thrilled with every change made to promote sending internationally. Although I fall in the "ask me" group to send my books internationally, I have never turned down a request and almost always spend over $10 and as much as $20 to mail one book out of the US. Imagine my disappointment when my international mooch requests are turned down. This is happening more and more; in fact, only 1 of the last 3 books I have requested from outside the country has been accepted. Typically if I request a book outside the US, that book is very hard to get my hands on and I let the owner know that I am happy to wait for the book if they can't afford to send it for awhile. The new international mooch ratio will not change my mooching (or requesting) habits at all, but I do hope it will at least get people to consider sending internationally instead of just turning down requests.
Chris
3 years ago
This is just in response to the one post you quoted about ways to improve the site. I am someone who likes to give away more than I receive - but over the past year I have found Bookmooch very frustrating because I rarely see a book available that I want. I add my name to the wishlists - and since I check my email infrequently (once or twice a day) I miss out when they become available. Can you please establish a queue for the wishlisted books?

I don't post many books here anymore because it became ridiculous for me to keep sending books out and getting little I wanted in return - I can't really afford that.

Allie
3 years ago
(I have to admit that it never occured to me that there were countries where it was cheaper to send to another country than inside your own country. If that's the case in Canada, wow, and I'd like to think a bit more about what could be done in BM to deal with that.)

Mailing within Canada seems to be so expensive that I have actually served as an angel in a recent transaction to help one Canadian mooch from another that did not send within her country. It was apparently much cheaper for me to mail the book from the US than it would have been to mail within Canada.

I am wondering if the problem that the new ratio system presents to Canadians could be solved by simply raising the allowed ratio for Canadian members? That way members who find it difficult to obtain books within Canada could request them from other countries without worrying so much about bumping the 2:1 threshold. This might also be applied to countries with very small BM membership, where it can be assumed that the majority of members must mooch internationally. Of course, this might be a programming nightmare, but if it could be done it seems like a simple way of solving the problem.

Cindy
3 years ago
In a comment to another thread I've stated that I rarely mooch domestically, because postage in Canada is atrocious compared to US postage. So I happily send books to the US and mostly mooch from the US, and I'm almost to the point of suggesting an option of "sorry, I only send books internationally" as weird as it sounds, and to ask for bonus points for actually sending within Canada... So, either way, the mooch ratio adjustment is fine with me, because this way I'm probably always around the 1:1 anyway.
Myriam
3 years ago
It was apparently much cheaper for me to mail the book from the US than it would have been to mail within Canada. Yes, as a matter of fact, some of us take the opportunity whenever we have to cross the border to mail any packages to fellow Canadians from the U.S. I even did it once for with a package to the neighbouring Province. It is, in fact, about half the price to mail to the U.S. than to someone outside my Province and (contrary to John's statement above) about half the price for someone in the U.S. to mail to me than for me to mail to them. $4 for a package of two books recently from the U.S. to me. Almost $8 going the other way. The same package would be at least $12 within Canada. A regional point system would be great. Many more Americans would be willing to mail to us (I believe) if they could set their accounts to "my continent only". And it would help E.U. members as well. I wish John (or someone in admin) would correct the erroneous statement in this latest blog post about it being "much more expensive to send from the U.S.A to Canada, then Canada to the U.S.A". We are trying to *encourage* international mooching.
Cara
3 years ago
I am new here and have listed about 14 books since just early yesterday and seven have been mooched. I am happy to send the books out and hoping that the seven I have mooched in return will have equally happy senders. What I see as a trend which I thought was highly revelatory (perhaps dissapointing, even)was that many inventory lists were filled with what I consider junk books. Things that I do not read or find in the least bit interesting. I had to build a wishlist in hopes that folks might begin to add such books to the site.
Though I am not here to offend, I am brazenly outspoken (as I grow older) and not afraid to tell it like I see it.

This site is going to cost me to get books that may not be the quality that I would buy used at another site very cheaply. if people are not adding to their inventories because they have oodles of points, the new member seeks out books that will not become available...and is here for no good reason. i may be new but deciding to join, does not mean I am going to begin to read murrder and intrique, nor romance because that is what people are offering me. it means I will struggle to find a decent book while sending off all my good books. that isnt really going to work for me. So please consider that some of us look forward to a site as beneficial and quality as the site you once entered hopefully, to exchange books, when you say you are not adding to your inventory, I understand you are somehow frustrated...but i have been here no time at all, and I am already feeling that I may have to leave. I live on a very frugal budget...sending out seven books is not in my budget, but I am a sucker for good books.
I will send them off quickly, and hope that there will be more inventory for someone who cannot fill time with squishy books. I am a busy person who can only afford to read quality books.

Please give the guy John who opened this site at some expense, and is spending quite some dough on advertising (those bookmarkers and cards are costly)....the benefit of your care for he has not only concieved of a great idea, but ACTED upon it, and can claim some success in making it happen FOR MANY PEOPLE AROUND HIM on a large human scale.

That impulse to bring book readers together to complete a circle of trade where the only money exchange is in postage spent...it's a novel idea,& seems to be working rather well and he is probably very huggable and loveable all around, as the kindhearted fellow above has implied. I do not think he is trying to destroy your point system or has no feelings over your distress. He seems lovely.

As far as my selling internationally, sorry but my child has to eat, thats how it goes for me currently, hopefully things will improve, and i do mean abundantly. I would love to send out to foreign places, and to fascinating folks everywhere, but 20 years ago i tried to send a book to Japan...it was seventeen dollars...I kept that gift, I had bought for my friend, over there :{

Take care, & I hope no one is offended by my psychic disappoinment (and the telling about it) in many of your inventories. I do plan to stick around for a while ~ so long as I can afford to do so.

;~})

Tikay
3 years ago
@Tikay

Hello! I just wanted to let you know that (from my experience)the key to getting books that you actually want from BM is building a large wishlist and checking it as often as you can! I entirely agree with you that it is ridiculous to give books and not receive them, but so many new members come on the site and send several books and are disappointed to not receive the ones they want right away. I quite often don't mooch books for a week or two- and then 10 show up on my wishlist! The odds are that some of the people who mooched books from you have been waiting for that book for a while. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't give up now! It's a great site, but there are definitely times when you have to have patience. And then there are those times when a box of 10 books arrive at your house. :)

Best Wishes
Tiffany

Tiffany
3 years ago
Thank you, John, for taking so much time to explain all the rationale behind the change. I agree that this will not hurt Angels, and I'm starting to see why you wanted to do things this way. (Though I disagree with your insistence that *this* change encourages international sending, as the change that encouraged international sending came many years ago -- *this* change only discourages international mooching.) Your reasoning is well thought out, and your concerns totally understandable.

I join others in saying that the retroactive nature of the change is the main concern here. Not even just because of what it means this time, but because of what it represents -- it sets a precedent of a willingness to change things without warning or discussion, and retroactively no less. While you may think this is a reasonable change -- and it may be -- the way it's been enacted is what has stimulated all the flaming. You've built up a lot of trust over the years (and with good reason!), so people have very high expectations of you. Ironically, it's precisely because you've earned such a stellar reputation that people are now so upset -- they feel personally betrayed.

My main concern is that this is going to primarily hurt international people. The ones I think are going to be most hurt by this fall into two groups:

1) Those who are willing to send internationally, and would love to if they could, but just don't get enough international requests. (There will be even less international requesters now, too, since it's now discouraged.) Almost the books they want are in another country -- take the example of an English-speaker living in a country where English is not the primary language. Sooner or later, this change in ratio will damage their ability to mooch anything.

I have a BookMooch friend who is actually in this situation, and her mooch ratio is now 2.22:1. It's true that she's mooched more books than she's sent, but that was not a problem before, and now it is. Suddenly, overnight, she will no longer be allowed to mooch anything till she's sent a lot more. But she rarely gets mooch requests, though she sends promptly whenever she does get one. This concerns me.

2) Those who use BookMooch to bring in international books to share with their countrymen, a sort of "reverse angel," if you will. It seems a shame to punish that behavior, when it is providing a genuine service -- bringing more book availability into an area with a dearth currently.

You are correct that BookMooch cannot survive long-term if everybody receives more than they send. That is very true. I just don't like that this new ratio does make it possible for someone to have mooched 6 (international) books and sent 7 (local) books and still be hit with a ratio that's well over the limit.

I agree that Canadian territories should be counted as different "countries" for the purposes of mooching -- I think that would solve the problem of their within-country postage being too high. I also think it sounds like a good idea for all of Europe to be counted as one "country" for the purposes of mooching, if (as one person said above) the postage is about the same between all of those countries. I think both of those changes would help people quite a bit; would anyone take issues with these?

I agree that it should not be enforced to send internationally in order to receive internationally. It's fine if other people don't want to send to everybody, but I don't want to be forced to discriminate! ;)

I do hope you don't choose to remove the bonus point created for international sending, because I've always thought it was the perfect way to do things.

I can see your point about the ratio now, though. Thank you for being so patient and not getting huffy about explaining things. You're basically trying to say: "if you send two books internationally, you have the right to mooch two books internationally" or "six books domestically" -- but *not necessarily* "three books internationally." It does make sense, from that theoretical point of view. And I thank you again for explaining everything.

I think we are all waiting for an explanation or apology or at least acknowledgement of the widespread concern about the retroactivity of the change. That seems to be everybody's primary concern now.

I think Tikay's concern about the quality of inventories is a very good one, particularly for new members, and I think the idea of rewarding extra points (or fractions of points, or whatever) to people who post "highly wishlisted" books (say, more than 10 wishlisters -- maybe 20?) is a very good idea. I didn't realize that the system had had something like that at the beginning, as that was before my time -- you were right to remove that, if it was getting gamed.

Still, I think posting a highly wishlisted book is a service to the entire community, and making the threshold high enough that it would be hard to game it would help immensely. If someone knows a book is highly wishlisted, and therefore worth a bit more to them point-wise, they might be more willing to pay a little more to pick up a copy of it to share with other people -- which might help increase the number of highly wishlisted books available.

Also, frankly, we *are* competing with PaperBackSwap here. PaperBackSwap is an inferior system, but it often has better inventories, which perpetuates itself: many people choose to post their wishlisted books there, rather than here, because it's easier to find a book there they want today. We need an incentive to encourage people to post their valuable, wishlisted books here instead, in order to build *our* inventories and *our* community. Could we all brainstorm together, at some point in the near future, to come up with good ideas to do this?

John, I want you to know that I love BookMooch, I have always loved BookMooch, and even if I lost the ability to use my 100+ stockpiled points tomorrow, I would not regret my experience on this site, nor the value I have given and received through it. Of course I want to keep on getting new books, but I also want to keep on giving, and I have never rejected a request (despite the fact that I am not in particular need of points right now!) for this reason. I hope you will be able to continue keeping this site up and constantly improving it for -- well, forever, but at least a very long time indeed. ;)

Emily Martha Sorensen
3 years ago
I ditto what Doug said :)
Hibou
3 years ago
Just a little point about postage costs in France, here too it is much cheaper sending internationally than domestically. We have a special tariff for sending books internationally (tariff livres et brochures) but within France they go by normal mail which can cost as much as double the cost of sending to US or Australia!!
sdb
3 years ago
@Kirk from France:

Kirk says: After all, postage within the EU is the same - it's a tad more to send to another EU country than it is to France, but to any EU country it's the same price.

That is absolutely not true. The EU is not one country and the shipping cost are very different. I can see that books from France, Spain and Portugal are have low shipping costs.
But sending out from The Netherlands is more expensive! Maybe we are the Canada of Europe. ;))

What the postage office here does is they look if a parcel fits through the mailbox. The Dutch mailbox!!!! And if so sending out is a lot cheeper than when is does not fit.

And furthermore, I totally agree with Emily Martha Sorensen. (look above this message)

Thank you Emily for expressing all my thoughts. My English is not good enough to do it myself but you have read every word that was in my head and wrote it for me.

Thank you.

Zjanette
The Netherlands

Zjanette
3 years ago
Zjanette,

What I meant about the EU is that from your country, it costs the same (or should, according to EU rules) to send to any other EU country.

Kirk McElhearn
3 years ago
I'm Italian and I read in English. This new system could generate problems for me... I mooch internationally much more than I send internationally, because:

1) really a few people out there want books in Italian;
2) in Italy used, cheap copies of English books are nearly impossible to find, new ones are pricey because there is low demand (nobody here speaks English, we are the worst European country in that respect);
3) I can give away internationally only the few English books I mooched and didn't like, but I got no independent sources of "interesting" material for international moochers (I can't even mooch English book domestically because no one has them);
4) since the 1st of January postal fees to send internationally have doubled in my country O___O

Point 4 is only a marginal problem if the costs remain under the price of new English books, but the other 3 are worrying.
My mooch ratio is now 1.35, but I fear I'll see it rise steadily until I'll have to struggle to keep it under 2. I'm penalized by my country's aversion to other languages!
Any suggestion on how to avoid abandoning BM in the near future? ;____;

Il Gobb
3 years ago
I've been BookMoohing since September 2006. I love BookMooch! I'm grateful to John for setting it up and for all the hard work he's done to keep it going. I don't understand all the economics, but it makes sense that the system will fall down if everyone mooches more than they send. Lately my finances don't allow me to send as many overseas, but I've sent a lot of books overseas since I started and I think it would be hard to get my ratio up to 2 from where it is now, so I don't foresee any problems in getting books I want, for the time being. As far as I'm concerned, John's still the boss of BookMooch, and what he says goes. The fact that he wants feedback from us all is great, but he can't act on every little whinge (translation: complaint) that we have. I'm going to go with the flow, folks. Marianne in Australia
Marianne
3 years ago
@Kirk from France: You are right that it costs the same to send from an EU country to any other EU country, but unfortunately, it's not just "a tad more" than domestically, at least here from Austria and from the Netherlands as well. So I agree with Zjanette, please don't make Europe and/or the EU one country! Shipping to any other EU country from Austria can be up to three times more costly, it depends on weight AND parcel and there is no special book tariff...
ayasuu
3 years ago
Here in Finland it's also cheaper to send internationally.

I'd love to mooch domestically if there only would be historical books available. But since here isn't I can't but mooch internationally. I think I've mooched total 3 times inside Finland and given 3 times. It's much easier to mooch inside USA since it's much bigger country.

So if people won't be willing to send international there's no way I can keep using bookmooch in the future.

cyradis
3 years ago
another vote for NOT making europe one country. it is not the same to send to other eu countries as domestically from the uk. it's cheaper than sending outside the eu, but still more expensive than sending within the uk.
sophiesoph
3 years ago
To add to ayasuu & Zjanette's posts

German postal rates:
To post a book (under 500g) within Germany costs 0,85 Euro
To post it to the UK or EU costs 3,45 Euro (priority) and 3,00 (economy)

So it is not just a little bit more! I don't have a problem sending to any EU or UK addresses, but it does cost much more and should be factored in.

Mel
3 years ago
My two cents regarding Spain

To post a book between 100 and 500 g within Spain is 1.95 euro
To post same book to Europe is 6.00 euro, 3x more.

Mosca
3 years ago
I love Bookmooch and recommend it to my friends. In something over two years I have given 316 books and received 267. My ratio is .78, up slightly under the new system. That is probably because I do send books (the lighter weight ones) overseas, but few people are willing to send to me internationally.

My inventory is down. Moochers want my books but I can't find the ones I'm looking for. The Wishlist is some help.

I welcome this change. The tenor of the discussion is like when they redraw election districts or devalue the national currency. Everyone hates the old system until they try to change it; then they anticipate how much they will hate the new system. Cool it.

Nancy Gluck
3 years ago
The same here! Europe is absolutely not one country.

Italian Postal fees:
To send a book under 350g within Italy costs 1,28€
To send the same book via surface mail (the cheapest one) to any other European country you'll spend from 4,50€ to 5,50€ (depending on weight).
If the book is large (more than 350g) it'll cost 7€.
You are forced to send books as a parcel and not as a "letter" if their weight exceeds 2kg: this could cost anything from 10 to 32,65€, depending on destination countries and which kind of fee is applicable.

Il Gobb
3 years ago
@Kirk McElhearn: postage rates within EU are not the same!!!
Italian domestic rate for books (1,28 € up to 2 kg) covers also mailings to San Marino and the Vatican, that are independent states outside the EU! But if you want to post something to another EU country, or Switzerland (that is not EU), you pay a completely different fee that rapidly scales up according to weight (http://www.poste.it/postali/prioritaria/tariffe_estero.shtml).
ary29
3 years ago
Wow! So apparently the thought of making Europe one country for the purposes of mooching would be a bad idea. I withdraw the suggestion. :)

See, this is what I love about BookMooch: people speak up and discuss things. And then everybody learns things. Yay!

Aw, thank you, Zjanette! Well, I love something that you wrote, too: the description of your husband in your bio. I noticed it a few days ago and thought it was funny and sweet.

Emily Martha Sorensen
3 years ago
Basically, I chose Bookmooch in 2006 because I could send and receive books *internationally*, as most other books-swapping sites like PBS etc. send books US-only. Even if the ratio is to be 1:1 in future, I will still continue to use Bookmooch, because it is the only way for me to get access to academic books for my distance studies and English language novels.

I wouldn't have managed to arrive to my final BA (Hons.) year without it, so thank you, John, for everything you're doing.

soniaandree
3 years ago
Glad others feel the same about NOT making Europe as one 'country area'. I'm in N Ireland (deemed part of the UK) and am charged international postal rates to post to the Rep of Ireland (even though we're the same country).

That said, all post from N Ireland & the UK to countries in the EU are the same postage rates, except non-EU like Switzerland.

I understand the new system whereby if you send internationally, you can mooch internationally. This sounds fair in theory but I do worry for those in countries with small memberships who this will greatly affect and thus hinder their abilities to mooch and be an active part of BM. I would suggest that this be seriously taken into consideration, individually if need by, so that they will not feel ostracisized from the community and penalised.

My ratio is lying at 1.77:1 at the moment but I will pay little heed to it until it hits the 2:1 quota. It just means that I need to keep adding more books (and ones in demand) plus mooch more books myself domestically to stay afloat.

I foresee that mooching, both domestically and internationally, will slow down now as folk will be more aware of how they conduct this - maybe that's not a bad thing as more care and consideration will be exercised? Also, those that 'hold' requests for a long period will also reconsider how they conduct 'business' in BM. For that, I'm glad this will be/has been 'flagged' up.

What I do have an issue with is the fact that there may be more changes made without prior warning - this especially if points awarded from International Mooches is reduced and if points awarded from uploading more books is no longer to occur. I rely on both to generate more 'points' to mooch books.

Best wishes to all.

IrishPenJen
3 years ago
I send I a lot more internationally than I mooch internationally.

I really believe that doing this as a 3:1 is incorrect, as is 3:3, as point cost is 3:2. Also applying this retroactively is unfair. It might be difficult to calculate but a prior to Jan 2011 international bonus and after Jan 2011 international bonus might be less confrontational. It sounds like it really messed up some people's mooch ratios. Luckily mine jumped just from .8 something to 1.09. If you have ever mooched internationally, it went up.

I don't know what the cure is for the number of books in the system, but since the statistic is books in the system, what about how many books are being posted and mooched? I've always wanted to hear more numbers.

I believe there is too much 'credit' in the system though. Perhaps not giving credit to a sender until they mark a book sent might help.

Overall, I worry, that the new mooch ratio will discourage internationally moochers from multiple mooching... which in turn will discourage international sending.

BTW- if you mooch/give solely internationally, I believe your mooch ratio would be 1.5:1 if you used all the points you got sending.
Send 100 books, receive 100 books, have 100 points left over, mooch 50 more books at a ratio cost of 3 gives 450:300 which is 1.5:1 Still under the 2.0 ratio. Factor in the 15 credits for marking books received and it goes up to 1.575:1. Now if you sent and received only nationally 100 books, no extra credits for international and 10 extra for marking received, a 110:100 or 1.1:1 is obtained. Yes, I left out the listing of books, 487.5:300 or 1.625:1 internationally and 1.2:1 domestically. Yes definitely a hit to the internationally senders/moochers since they deserve to use their points as much as domestic since they generally cost more to earn.

Amy W
3 years ago
Forgot to add (and reminded by Amy W above)

Should members not be allowed to use their points, deservedly earned, to mooch whatever books they wish - be it locally or internationally?

Afterall, these points were fairly EARNED by sending out books/uploading more books/marking books as received - so why confine/limit their use as they see fit?

IrishPenJen
3 years ago
IrishPenJen: when Bookmooch was set up, John created the mooch ratio to prevent people from listing tons of books, using the points obtained by listing them to mooch, then skipping out. In the early days, some people tried this, but I don't think it has been too widespread because of the ratio. This said, it can slow down mooching for new members until they've given a bunch of books. So even with the points they have, they can't spend them.

The question now is whether anyone will have points from sending books (as opposed to listing a lot of books) and not be able to use them, because the hit the ratio limit.

Kirk McElhearn
3 years ago
Hi Kirk,

Thanks for the clarification Re: listing/ratio etc. I understand now the what and why & it makes perfect sense. Cheers.

IrishPenJen
3 years ago
Many of us have said this over the past few weeks. We need an extra "regional" tier: EU, Australasia, Americas, etc.
Sending within a region is usually reasonably priced and has a fairly delivery service.

Adding a regional tier could have the immediate effect of making many of those "ask first" accounts more clear; moochers would know whether the book owner is likely to send to their country or not. This would also involve asking those set to "ask first" to choose whether to set themselves to (for example) "my region: Europe"

Mooching and sending within the same country would still be a domestic mooch, reflected usually by reduced postage to send domestically. Canada seems to be a specific case and someone in BM-land should be looking at this now it's been well highlighted.

Inter-continental (worldwide) is much more expensive and should be weighted accordingly. I suggest:

Domestic cost 1 point, receive 1 point
Regional cost 2 points, receive 2 points
Worldwide cost 2 points, receive 3 points

Can someone upstairs in BM admin please put forward some official suggestions for moving this impasse/spat forward and getting BM moving again!
jacquie
3 years ago
OK, I see the reasons of why you did like you did. The fact still is that I've taken care to keep my ratio low, sending out books when it seemed to be getting to high. Now it IS too high, which means I will have to send out more books to get it lower. With the current economy, I can't send out enough books internationally to make my ratio decent. I'm sorry, but as soon as my last angel mooches has gone through, I'll have to go my country only until my ratio has fixed itself. I can only hope it does, because I do love the site.

I do wish that you'd put in this way of counting at the beginning, because my mooching habits would've been completely different. Multimooches, for example, is out of the question now. But still, thanks for a good site. :)

Annis
3 years ago
Annis: your page says your ratio is 1.47:1, that's not too high at all!
sophiesoph
3 years ago
Like cyradis above commented, in Finland it's practically cheaper to send internationally than within the country.

Actually, I'm quite concerned. There's not many books available in here, and even if there were...

Mooching locally from a Finn feels quite bad knowing how much it will cost to the sender. It seems some newbie users have given up after sending only one local mooch.
This is why I adopted a policy: if a book I want is available in Finland and in anywhere else, I'll pick the latter.

Personally I list very few Finnish books, if any at all. Would like to, of course, but...no.

Meet and mooch is usually not an option, as this is a vast country for a people (and BM-community!) this small. Aforementioned partly explains the high mailing costs, too.

So you go and hinder international mooching opportunities.
I'm not amused.

dichroic
3 years ago
sophiesoph: No, I know. :) But I have periods where I mooch more so I need to keep my ratio at least 1:1. Right now, I'm mooching a lot just to get some books moving. If I continued like that, I'd hit 2:1 in no time flat so now I need to stop mooching and only send. I figured out how to keep from going 'my country only' but who knows if it'll work out.

The problem is that I send international all the time. Probably 90% of my books are sent internationally. If the ratio had been send one, recieve one all the time, that wouldn't have been a problem. It won't be a problem as soon as I'm back at 1:1 either. As it is right now, I'm sending for more than I can receive due to having a slightly higher (but within limit) ratio. That's my own fault for mooching so much, but it'll still take some time before I'm back at sending for a whole lot of money but receiving the same amount back.

Annis
3 years ago
Thank goodness somebody has already mentioned that EU does not have the same rates in each country.
The Italian postal rates have increased for EU countries since January by a minimum of 2 euros per weight tier. And there is a significant difference sending a book within Europe or within Italy. We have a domestic rate for books of 1,28 euros ( not set by post office but by the government). Books sent internationally go by "priority post" from 250-350g = 5,50 euros, 350g-1kg costs 9,00 euros certainly more than 3 times the price of domestic sending... Sending to US has now doubled and costs 14,00 euros for a 350g-1kg book.
As "IL Gobb" I have mooched many books from abroad preferably from within Europe, apart for some very difficult books to find. At some point I shall hit the 2:1 mark even if I have been sending abroad but it is unlikely that many of the Italian books I list shall be requested outwith Italy and some of my English books have been mooched by fellow Italian moochers.
AllyBally
3 years ago
Just one quick thing that I did notice yesterday when I read this. About the US to Canada vs Canada to US. I'm pretty sure others pointed this out as well. A few weeks ago I maile a pocket book to the US. It cost me almost 8$. That same week someone from they US mailed me a book that was the same size. According to the postage showing on the package it cost them 5.01$. I don't know if this changes for bigger packages but it is cheaper to Mail from US to Canada and from Canada to US.

Forgot to mention, the 8$ is in Canadian $ and the 5.01$ is in USD. The exchange rate being what it is these days I didn't bother to convert the amounts :)

I'm also curious what the price to mail books is for other countries (depending on where they are mailing to). I know this would be a lot of work, but it might be interesting to look into those costs. I already know that the Australian postal system is also fairly pricy. The truth is, the Bookmooch system is entirely based on the US postal system and if you really want to make this a successful international exchange website, it's important to acknowldge that most countries are not as lucky as the US when it comes to how much it cost to mail books.

Genevieve
3 years ago
John, please please address the retroactive nature of the change.

You are undoubtedly a smart guy, you've unquestionably read all this feedback; you must realize that it's one of the things that is upsetting people the most about this change. Even those who agree this might be fair going forward are upset about the retroactive change.

It's two very simple questions. Why was the change retroactive? If the change is sticking, despite the uproar, is there any chance that the retroactive portion of it will be reversed?

It's a huge part of this reaction and I don't understand why you've failed to address it twice now.

BLW
3 years ago
I don't feel particularly offended by the retroactive change. Why would I be? It doesn't matter how much I feel BM as "mine", this is John's website and what he says goes. He's providing us with awonderful service for free and he's also kind enough to share with us many of his decisions before enforcing them... and sometimes enforce them he must, I suppose, without having to wait for us. This change of ratio is not, for me, a good thing, but... well, what can I do? My phone company changed my contract unilaterally last month with an explicit letter of "live with it or goodbye"... I said goodbye, but it was not a reason for taking offense ;)
Il Gobb
3 years ago
John, I just want to thank you for the time and thoughtfulness you have put in developing, maintaining, and providing a vision for Bookmooch. The reality is that you've saved each of us an incalculable amount of money, whether we are in the US, EU, or elsewhere in the world.

I have accrued over 100 points currently, and using them all today (unless I mooch more than typical from other countries) will NOT put me over the mooch ratio limit. But even if it did, I surely wouldn't complain about a change, even applied retroactively, that would benefit the overall community of moochers and givers worldwide, as decided by the creator and developer of this non-commercial site.

I feel comfortable in my assumption that with John and the other admins' attention that any concerns about countries whose postal rates are greater within domestically than internationally will be monitored and assessed.

John, once again, thank you.

ashley
3 years ago
I haven't really noticed a change in my ratio, and find the fuss about the ratios a bit baffling. I am not hugely concerned about the changes made there and whether or not they are retroactive,

I would however like to second Jacquie's request regarding the additional regional tier. i think this would be hugely beneficial.

Providence
3 years ago
@Elizabeth Shorley

Hmmm.... I understand that you have sent a lot of books within Canada, and I appreciate that, I do think it is a good thing. But you have to realize that even if many people wanted to do that, some people have other things their money has to go to- they simply can't afford it. So many people have problems with sending any book within Canada because its exorbitantly expensive for one point! I think I've probably sent around the same amount of books domestically as I've mooched, but there's so many more books in the other countries, and it works out way cheaper for me to just mooch and send internationally. If I was willing to send every book within Canada (I currently only send those that fit into lettermail, and it works out about the same price a point as the international points I get) I would have abandoned my account within the first week or two. Personally as a high-school student who loves BM, I just would not have been able to afford to keep going on BM. The within-country postal rates are so crazy that in most cases it would cost around the same or even be cheaper to buy books brand new from a place like amazon where they offer free shipping on orders over $25 than to send domestically.

Tiffany
3 years ago
So in the end your idea of encouraging international sending is to discourage international mooching. I seriously doubt people will be willing to mooch internationally as often as they used to if any 1 mooch is worth 3 books on their ratio. And for there to be international sending, you need people to actually mooch books from overseas users. It doesn't matter if you're willing to mail internationally, or if you have a lot of inventory, if no one will mooch from you.
xeyra
3 years ago
Thank you John for explaining all this in a much simpler fashion. I now understand this and can appreciate why it is a sensible decision. I still agree with most people, however, that it is wrong to penalise people for decisions made in the past in good faith and that any new rules need to be clearly explained and only affect future transactions. People can accept then that they might have to make the odd compromise or choose to opt out. It is always better to take people with you when changes need to be made. I hugely appreciate all the work that is put in to BookMooch and hope that John and his team do not feel too bruised by the debate. My thanks also to all the kind people I've mooched from and long may the site continue.
Claire T
3 years ago
"the total catalog size in BookMooch has been shrinking for the past 2 years, and I want to fix that."

I'm wondering why more immediate measures haven't been taken to reverse a trend that threatens the very survival of BookMooch itself. Isn't rectifying this a way higher priority than fixing an "oversight"? I understand that this change to ratio calculations might keep some people from mooching more books than they deserve to, but it seems like the effect this change will have on catalog size is minimal, if it's affected at all.

Michael
3 years ago
If I have an especially heavy book that will cost me $13.00 to mail to BC, I've learned to say "No, Elizabeth, do not list it". Much healthier response.

The problem with that solution is the heavier book may be a highly wishlisted book that a moocher in another country might love. My solution is to write in the condition notes that I will not send that book domestically. I will, as other Canadians have said, always send books under 2 cm and usually send paperbacks, especially if a second or third is mooched as well. I have rejected, I think, only a couple Canadian mooches outright. The most recent was for a mass market paperback which was readily available at Walmart or a drugstore for under $5. The moocher was in a major metropolitan area and would have no trouble finding it. It would have cost me $10 to mail. If the moocher had not been understanding, I would have purchased it for her from Bookdepository and saved myself $5. I live in B.C. there are more moochers here than when I started, but still only a handful in comparison to the greater Toronto area (I am tickled that I get invitations to Toronto meet and mooches, it would be cheaper for me to go to the Bay area ones). Rarely do I get a mooch request from a fellow Canadian that will not cost me $10 or more to send. Betterworldbooks now has free shipping to Canada. Bookdepository does as well. Both sources would be cheaper for a mass market paperback than the cost of postage to me.

Cara
3 years ago
 The retroactive nature of the change is my biggest problem with it. It's as though our currency has been devalued with no warning

Several people keep saying this, and though I felt I had addressed this, apparently many people don't feel I addressed it head on.

Ok here is why it is retroactive:

1) because I feel that receiving 2 books for every one you send is extremely generous, and that's the way it currently is (after the change)

2) because I feel that anyone who receives *more* than 2 books for each one book they give is abusing the system. I don't care if they earned the points before the old system, I still think it's wrong. Since the old system allowed people to mooch 3 intl books for every 1 they gave, *and* a 2:1 ratio was allowed, this effectively allowed people to mooch up to 6 books internationally and only give one. Once this was pointed out to me, I agreed that this was wrong, an oversight on my part, and hence the correction.

3) In response to Lethe's excellent analysis of scenarios that would cause people to go over 2:1, what I (and the admins) have seen is that a moocher has to act in bad faith, such as by adding tons of books that nobody wants to earn points, in order to go over the 2:1 ratio. I don't see any reason why I should retroactively allow a six-books-received/1-book-sent situation, this would only legitimize bad faith use of BookMooch.

4) NOBODY ON THIS FORUM IS BEING CAUGHT BY THIS CHANGE. Not a single person has said that their ratio is over 2:1 and they can no longer mooch. So far, the only people who are over 2:1 are those that that have acted (I and the admins feel) in bad faith, and none of those people are on this forum.

5) BookMooch is under constant attack by scammers. It's not uncommon for 80 bogus accounts to be made in one day. The volunteer admins catch almost all of this activity immediately: the fact that you don't see scammers on this site any more is because I have instituted many behind-the-scenes changes at the admin's request, and this has been quite effective at stopping scammers. Probably half of my programming time goes into features that you never see, that are purely for the admins and for abuse/scam protection. Two years ago, things were much worse and scammers could regularly abuse honest people. This mooch ratio change was made to prevent bad faith use of BM. Nobody on this forum is over 2:1 with the new system, which to me shows that it's a good change and functioning correctly, as the new ratio is not mislabeling any honest moochers.

And the bottom line is:

6) If you still feel that you are entitled to receive 6 books internationally for every one book you send, I disagree with you. I make the rules, and if you disagree, then you can either operate within my rules or use another book trading site. The rules of the site are a combination of my personal views on fairness, my understanding (and research) on trading economics, the admin's experience and judgement, and what the admins and I think will make the site function best. However, at the end of the day, this is not a democracy: I make the rules to promote the long term health of the site, with hours and hours of consultation with the volunteer admins and the input of the community.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
I've stopped international trading and did so some time ago. This was because I had a lot of members asking for my books usually from the USA and Canada. It was beginning to cost a lot of money to send books out (even with printed paper rate and surface mail). I quickly accumulated points at 3 points for every international mooch. I once added up the mooches and found that over 75% of my books sent out through Bookmooch went abroad.

I also found that I couldn't get my hands on many books that I actually wanted through international mooches. Refusal to send or just not outside my country type of members were making it harder to spend my points. So, I'd accumulated a lot of points but kept getting internatioal requests!

Thus I felt that I had to go 'only my country' to cut the money spent on postage with no real return (unable to mooch or books not arriving)I also made a promise to myself not to mooch internationally when I wasn't able to send internationally.

So, now It's come down to not wanting to put inventory on my list as they will most probably be mooched - I'll get more points that I may not want to use, and it's costing me money to send out books. I don't want to be mean spirited by refusing a moocher, so I would just not add to my inventory.

Sandy
3 years ago
re: Canada:

 I am wondering if the problem that the new ratio system presents to Canadians could be solved by simply raising the allowed ratio for Canadian members? That way members who find it difficult to obtain books within Canada could request them from other countries without worrying so much about bumping the 2:1 threshold. This might also be applied to countries with very small BM membership, where it can be assumed that the majority of members must mooch internationally. Of course, this might be a programming nightmare, but if it could be done it seems like a simple way of solving the problem.

That's a really intriguing suggestion, and actually it's not a programming nightmare at all for me to do this. Thank you for suggesting something quite useful, and on top of that, novel!

Before I make this change, however, I'd like to hear from any Canadians who actually get prevented from mooching because of their mooch ratio. I (and the admins) will look into it.

Another possibility that I've discussed with the admins, is letting admins over-ride the 2:1 ratio requirement for specific members. This already effectively exists for charities, and could be a solution if any Canadians get unfairly bitten by the mooch ratio change.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
I have to agree with Emily Martha Sorensen above that--

"Also, frankly, we *are* competing with PaperBackSwap here. PaperBackSwap is an inferior system, but it often has better inventories, which perpetuates itself: many people choose to post their wishlisted books there, rather than here, because it's easier to find a book there they want today. We need an incentive to encourage people to post their valuable, wishlisted books here instead, in order to build *our* inventories and *our* community. Could we all brainstorm together, at some point in the near future, to come up with good ideas to do this?"

OK, not going to argue the inferior system or not. I consider it different and yes, I love bookmooch more. I trade on bookmooch more. I find the people here more active and communicative. I am able to send multiple mooches much easier. Saving wishlisted books then offering them to members that mooch one book from me. The problem I see is with the extra points in the system. Giving a .1 indefinitely for listing, devalues the send 1 book receive 1 book. And then receiving a point for marking received, although might encourage faster 'received' puts another .1 in the system with no book sent or money spent. I can understand the extra point imbalance for sending internationally (not to Canada for me) but not the continual .1 adding up in the system. By my addition I have 75 points just from the tenth points! I have 117 points altogether. I feel that I have 75 points I haven't earned (well maybe 10 of them). I would rather smooches because I've earned those.

My suggestion-- give tenth of points only for the first 30 or say 100 books listed. That would be 3 to 10 extra points for those just starting in the club. This way instead of listing books that may not ever be mooched to build up points, members would list wanted books that are mooched more rapidly to build up points. Since you give the points to the sender before the receiver marks received, there is no reason for a boon to mark received. Maybe I missed the reasoning on the tenth points?

Also as stated above, members shouldn't get points for books until they send them as that is when they have "spent their money" else we are dealing with credit. I understand the trust of the system, but I think the credit should come when we've trusted the person has actually "sent" the book. I try not to have delayed books as they are credit, debt (we've heard a lot about that lately) in the system.

Of course this shouldn't be done retroactively :-)

I don't think the ratio question will be much of a problem since you only require a 2:1 ratio and not 1.5:1. It might discourage mooching internationally, not sending but who sends if someone doesn't mooch.

Still think it should not be retroactive and should not be 3:3 but 2:3 as points are.

As for Canada, I wish I could set my status to 'US and Canada or ask me first' as I will send even big books to Canada and the only reason I have an 'ask me first' is for hard cover and weightier books overseas. I agree with Cara that a sender should be able to reject a request within country if it cost too much, especially for a wishlisted book that would be convenient for a Canadian to send Internationally. It is the postal service that is wrong not the member.

Amy W
3 years ago
John, I am one of the people who you apparently characterise as “scamming the system” (or verging on it). I have a lot of fairly esoteric books in my inventory. Despite the fact that I didn't enter them purely to get points, my listing of poetry books is something that is now going to look fishy.

One of the things I loved about BookMooch was that there was none of this judgement before, about what books are “worthy” and which aren't. I've listed things in awful condition (with copious condition notes) that none the less have been snapped up. Other books have sat in my inventory for over a year and then suddenly found the person they were looking for. It's this eclecticism that makes BookMooching so much fun – you genuinely never know what is out there, or who will want it. I loved that. It's not all about the latest bestsellers, it's a community of booklovers, trading all kinds of books for all kinds of different reasons.

But this latest explanation (and I do get that this isn't a democracy, and I still love the place, dammit!) feels very much like two commandments: thou shalt seek out and list popular books; and thou shalt not keep thy mooches, but return them to the system.

Looking at my inventory and my bookshelves, this makes me a very bad moocher indeed.

Joanna Collie
3 years ago
If I send an international mooch, I receive 3 points which allows me to mooch 1.5 more international books. Colour me stupid but I really don’t understand how I can get 6 international books for every 1 international mooch I send.
Lola Soleil
3 years ago
 I am new here and have listed about 14 books since just early yesterday and seven have been mooched. I am happy to send the books out and hoping that the seven I have mooched in return will have equally happy senders. What I see as a trend which I thought was highly revelatory (perhaps dissapointing, even)was that many inventory lists were filled with what I consider junk books. Things that I do not read or find in the least bit interesting. I had to build a wishlist in hopes that folks might begin to add such books to the site.

Welcome to BM and thanks for your very kind words.

I do hope you stick around, and I agree with you that there are too many "junk books" in the system.

This is partially the result of the "used book store syndrome", where all the good books are immediately taken, and what remains over time is a larger percentage of junk vs good.

It's also partially caused by an inflationary monetary policy that's been in place at BM since I launched it, which served it well during its first few years of rapid growth, but which needs some revisiting now.

The most common complaints I hear about PBS (paperbackswap) vs BookMooch is:

1) BM members: I have tons of points but can't find any books I want

2) PBS members: there are books I want, but it's hard to earn points (though I like being able to buy them) and the wishlisted-books-go-to-senior-members tends to favor older members at the expense of new members

PBS has a strict 1:1 system, with extremely dampened printing-of-points (as far as I can tell, points are only "printed" by buying them with real cash)

A monetary policy somewhere between PBS and today's BM seems best to me.

None of these problems are new to exchange systems, and my actions are guided by wiser minds than I, such as the famous article titled "Monetary Theory and the Great Capitol Hill Baby-Sitting Co-op Crisis", where their exchange system moved between too little and too much currency, and the article is extremely illuminating.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
Before I make this change, however, I'd like to hear from any Canadians who actually get prevented from mooching because of their mooch ratio. Actually John, speaking for myself, I don't think the mooch ratio is that big a deal for most Canadians. Out bigger problem is our strange postage system and the fact that it costs more for us to mail domestically than internationally. BTW, please correct your statement that it was much more expensive for Americans to mail to us than the other way around. It is, in fact, the reverse by almost 2 to 1. I think the people who would benefit most from a ratio adjustment would be those like Andy from the Philippines, who are net importers of English books into non-English speaking countries and who generously share their books with their compatriots.
Cara
3 years ago
Ok here is why it is *not* retroactive:

No, it *is* retroactive. Your reasons explain why you think the retroactive nature of the change is good, NOT why it isn't retroactive.

Since the old system allowed people to mooch 3 intl books for every 1 they gave, *and* a 2:1 ratio was allowed, this effectively allowed people to mooch up to 6 books internationally and only give one.

I'm sure this is me just not getting something obvious, but wait. I give a book internationally and get three points for it. Those three points somehow add up to 6 books I can mooch internationally? Wouldn't I need 12 points (not 3) to mooch 6 books internationally?

I would have to earn those 12 points somehow, whether by sending more books internationally or sending more books domestically. But the points, however they were earned, would be mine to spend.

Do you mean 6 books domestically, not internationally? But even that math doesn't work (admittedly, I'm pretty math challenged so this whole scenario I'm seeing could be entirely wrong).

If we are worried about inflation, why not start with a smaller change like removing the tenth of a point we get for listing books and marking books received? Not retroactively, of course!

This decision was *not* made with the input of the community, as you claim. And that's worrisome; I know you have the right to make whatever changes you want, but there was not even any warning about this one. If you can make retroactive changes like this, why should I invest in this site when my ability to use the points I've gathered could change at any time, without warning?

The result of this change is that I don't want to stockpile many points because I could lose them when the rules are changed. So I'll stop adding books to my inventory in anticipation of future mooches, and I bet half the community does the same. This will make for a smaller pool of books to mooch, which will make for fewer mooches, which will ultimately spell the end of the system.

What if you decide to take away that extra point on international mooches — and make it a retroactive change? I don't know if I would be in the negative, but it would definitely drain the points I have accumulated. That is why I don't want to get too invested any more. This has shown us that you will make changes that affect our ability to use the points we've earned, that you think it's fine to go back and change the rules and apply new rules to previous behaviors. This is why we feel our trust has been broken.

I respect the fact that this is your site and it's not a democracy. I get that, and I appreciate all you've done in creating and maintaining the BM system. I love this site. And that's why I and others are so concerned about these changes. We want it to work too.

wisewoman
3 years ago
 1) Those who are willing to send internationally, and would love to if they could, but just don't get enough international requests. (There will be even less international requesters now, too, since it's now discouraged.) Almost the books they want are in another country -- take the example of an English-speaker living in a country where English is not the primary language. Sooner or later, this change in ratio will damage their ability to mooch anything.

I have a BookMooch friend who is actually in this situation, and her mooch ratio is now 2.22:1. It's true that she's mooched more books than she's sent, but that was not a problem before, and now it is. Suddenly, overnight, she will no longer be allowed to mooch anything till she's sent a lot more. But she rarely gets mooch requests, though she sends promptly whenever she does get one. This concerns me.

This absolute a valid concern, and I'm sorry your BM friend is now over 2:1 due to there not being many people who want to mooch from them. I'm guessing that they're mostly listing non-English books, but mooching English books, which causes a demand-imbalance, since most users of BM are English-only readers. I hope that the solution to her problem is to get more other-languages-beside-English users to BM.

However, on a larger level (the comments on this forum back this up), what I've perceived is that many more people have their "ask first" request denied when they try to mooch internationally.

The problem seems NOT to be that people aren't willing to mooch internationally, but that people aren't willing to send internationally. The new mooch ratio change should help with exactly that problem.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
Joanna I don't think that you are a bad moocher at all. Your ratio is low you have plenty of points to cover your gives and you only have a few books listed. Esoteric books are great just for the reason you mentioned.

John,
Thanks for your explanation on the retroactive nature of this change. I actually agree with you on both issues. It is your site and thank you and the others that keep it going. Also people should be sending in order to receive. It is a good ratio as I said in my last post.
Amy

Amy W
3 years ago
 I agree that Canadian territories should be counted as different "countries" for the purposes of mooching -- I think that would solve the problem of their within-country postage being too high.

This is another intriguing, novel and helpful suggestion.

Yes, absolutely, each Canadian province could be treated as separate Country, especially if that more accurately reflects postage rates in Canada.

-j

John Buckman
3 years ago
 I also think it sounds like a good idea for all of Europe to be counted as one "country" for the purposes of mooching, if (as one person said above) the postage is about the same between all of those countries. I think both of those changes would help people quite a bit; would anyone take issues with these?

I'm more hesitant to do that, as I live in London half the year, and I can tell you that it's much more expensive for Brits to send to Europe than inside the UK--about 3-fold more expensive--which is why I think the 3-point-for-sending-internationally works well and is fair for UK members.

Note that the UK is the 2nd largest user base for BM (Canada is 3rd).

What I do think is a good idea, is having an extra "will send" setting for members of Europe, something like:

- I will send only to my country
- I will send anywhere in Europe
- I will send anywhere
- Ask me first

That's on my todo list.

-j

John Buckman
3 years ago
 Just a little point about postage costs in France, here too it is much cheaper sending internationally than domestically. We have a special tariff for sending books internationally (tariff livres et brochures) but within France they go by normal mail which can cost as much as double the cost of sending to US or Australia!!

I'd forgotten about that, but you're absolutely right that the French government underwrites the sending of culture to other countries: music, books, and movies.

Thus, if you send a book from France to another country, the French government makes it really cheap to do so.

Does anyone know about other countries with such a policy? (this is different from the Canadian postage issue)

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
Hi john,
thanks for replying to the comments. At first I was disappointed by the ratio change, but to be honest it made me realize that receiving more than 2 books for each sent book would be abusive.
I'm not complaining about my situation. But even if a member can decide whether he mooches locally or from another country, he doesn't really control who mooches from him. Which leads to the question: if we want to keep mooching from other countries, but get mostly requests to send books to our own country, what can we do? Find some obscure reason and just reject them all? This is not always related to the language of the book. We just can't choose who will mooch first sometimes.
atch
3 years ago
- I will send only to my country
- I will send anywhere in Europe
- I will send anywhere
- Ask me first

That's on my todo list.

Please also "I will send anywhere in North America". thanks

Cara
3 years ago
It strikes me that Mark's reason for not announcing the change in advance may well have been the overwhelming response and variety of wished-for solutions given when he offered ideas for possible changes. It must have taken him ages to read all the responses.
Taking those into account he arrived at a change that ought to encourage people to send abroad more if they wish to receive books from abroad, without changing the points awarded.

John quoted Mark (admin.) who explained
"I can see how it does seem unfair, but he didn't have a way to make the change and not have it reflect one's entire trading history."

Many responses here seem not to have read what was written, or to have misunderstood it, or gone off about some side issue. Let's try to make this change, and listing Amazon price in wishlists (which should encourage the buying and putting into BM of some books) work to make Bookmooch more vibrant rather than nitpicking about varying postal rates, a BM friend in Laos regularly crossed borders to get an affordable postage rate! We know the playing field is not as flat as a pancake, but its easily understood system has been one of the things BMers have valued.

tennantfamily
3 years ago
Gill and Mark: I understand that, but John is claiming that he makes decisions based on the input of the community. This used to be the case, but it clearly isn't any more.
wisewoman
3 years ago
I really appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions, I think communication is very important here. Going to try to be extra-nice since you are taking the time to explain things to us. I would like to echo a pair of questions a Wisewoman asked if I may:

"Ok here is why it is *not* retroactive:

No, it *is* retroactive. Your reasons explain why you think the retroactive nature of the change is good, NOT why it isn't retroactive.

Since the old system allowed people to mooch 3 intl books for every 1 they gave, *and* a 2:1 ratio was allowed, this effectively allowed people to mooch up to 6 books internationally and only give one.

I'm sure this is me just not getting something obvious, but wait. I give a book internationally and get three points for it. Those three points somehow add up to 6 books I can mooch internationally? Wouldn't I need 12 points (not 3) to mooch 6 books internationally? "

I can understand the arguments as to why the changes are necc, but also am having a very hard time understanding these. Like some other members, I will be receiving but not sending books for a while.. I am concerned about what other changes may be coming given this precedent. Can you please address the concerns expressed above? I would really appreciate it. Thank you in advance :)

Bcteagirl
3 years ago
Thanks for explaining the ratio system in more detail, I think I finally understand! Anything to get people to send more books internationally is very welcome-I find it so frustrating that I am unable to mooch a lot of the books on my wishlist as they will not send internationally. Also, many of these people then expect to mooch books from overseas-is there any way to discourage this? I have recently refused to send a couple of books overseas for the simple reason the moochers would only send domestically within the USA, and I felt that this is against the whole ethos of bookmooch-but does this make me look like a bad book mooch member?
Jo Gadsden
3 years ago
John - I'll try to be polite, but I'm becoming more and more exasperated by your obtuseness in refusing to address three concerns:

1: The retroactivity of your action. You simply repeat, "Oh, no, it's not!" like somebody arguing in a schoolyard. Please explain why it's not.

2: Your words: "The old system allowed people to mooch 6 books internationally ... and only give 1." wisewoman and Bcteagirl have both asked for an explanation of this extraordinary claim, and both have, so far, been ignored.

3: If we are not allowed to spend points we have earned, what is the point of earning more, and what is the point of smooching points to other members?

John S
3 years ago
@Wisewoman
"No, it *is* retroactive. Your reasons explain why you think the retroactive nature of the change is good, NOT why it isn't retroactive.

Since the old system allowed people to mooch 3 intl books for every 1 they gave, *and* a 2:1 ratio was allowed, this effectively allowed people to mooch up to 6 books internationally and only give one.

I'm sure this is me just not getting something obvious, but wait. I give a book internationally and get three points for it. Those three points somehow add up to 6 books I can mooch internationally? Wouldn't I need 12 points (not 3) to mooch 6 books internationally? "

I think this gets at why the change is being implemented. For you to earn those extra points as you said, by shipping books out, I'm thinking your ratio will absolutely be fine, and thus there is no need to be worried about this change. The reason for the change is that it would be possible for someone to earn the extra 9 points by listing a whole lot of "junk" books they never intended to send.

Andrew Scruggs
3 years ago
Also, this really shouldn't discourage people from listing more books. If you're actually planning to send those books out, your ratio is going to be absolutely fine. This should only discourage adding books to your inventory that you're never going to actually send out.
Andrew Scruggs
3 years ago
Andrew: in that case the solution is to put a cap on the number of tenths of points you can get by listing books in your inventory. Very simple.

I am not listing more books because I am afraid something else will be done that will retroactively affect the points I have earned in good faith. I'm not concerned about my ratio; I am concerned because of the retroactive nature of the change.

It's like the speed limit being changed from 45 to 35 MPH on a certain road. Would it be fair for the police to send tickets out to everyone who drove 45 MPH on that road when the speed limit was 45 MPH? Of course not... even if the police and powers that be were absolutely, morally convinced that it was "just wrong" for people to have been driving 45 MPH on that road all those years before the limit was changed. See why this is a problem?

Like I said earlier, what will prevent John from deciding it's "wrong" that people got an extra point for sending a book internationally — and applying that change retroactively? Everyone who has ever sent a book internationally will take a hit. That's why I don't want to invest much more in this site by adding more books to my inventory. I'm paying real money to send books in order to get points, and it's not fun finding out it could all just be taken away as the result of someone realizing an "oversight."

wisewoman
3 years ago
Not a math genius, but if I'm correct, that's the way the six-for-one worked:
In the old ratio system, giving 1 book internationally counted as 3 on the ratio. Mooching one, however, counted as 1.
You give a book internationally: you get three points and on the "given" side of your ratio, 3 (i don't want to say books because it's not books, it's just numbers) are added. books mooched: 0 / books given: 1.
you now start mooching internationally (doesn't matter where you got the points from, most probably from listing books noone wants) - you mooch three books and spend 2 points each. since the international mooch only counted as 1 on the ratio, it's only now that you reach 1:1 (books mooched: 3 / bookes given: 1).
And since a ratio of 2:1 is allowed, you could go on and mooch another 3 books internationally before hitting the limit. So it would be 6 books mooched internationally and 1 book send internationally.
I really hope my calculation is correct and understandable...
ayasuu
3 years ago
This is a well stated message:

 The problem I see is with the extra points in the system. Giving a .1 indefinitely for listing, devalues the send 1 book receive 1 book. And then receiving a point for marking received, although might encourage faster 'received' puts another .1 in the system with no book sent or money spent. I can understand the extra point imbalance for sending internationally (not to Canada for me) but not the continual .1 adding up in the system. By my addition I have 75 points just from the tenth points! I have 117 points altogether. I feel that I have 75 points I haven't earned (well maybe 10 of them). I would rather smooches because I've earned those.

You have explained the problem well, thank you.

The reason the system was set up as it is, is that by creating currency, the economy grows and is highly liquid. However, once the economy stops growing, these sort of inflationary policies (ie, +.1 for leaving feedback) need to be revisited so that inflation is halted.

This ratio change that is current topic, is likely to be the first among several changes in how the system works. I'll be blogging soon about some other changes I'm looking at.

What I will be doing in the future is giving you guys at least a week's notice before a change, and the chance to gripe about it on this forum.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
 John, I am one of the people who you apparently characterise as “scamming the system” (or verging on it). I have a lot of fairly esoteric books in my inventory. Despite the fact that I didn't enter them purely to get points, my listing of poetry books is something that is now going to look fishy.... Looking at my inventory and my bookshelves, this makes me a very bad moocher indeed.

You're putting words in my mouth, which I think is both unfair, especially since I disagree with your assessment.

Your ratio is 1.27, which is perfectly honorable. In no way would I suggest you're scamming the system.

What I suggested was bad faith was listing tons of books you know nobody wants, and then spending all the points, and having an extremely high ratio.

That's not your case at all: many of the obscure books you list are apparently interesting to people, which is fantastic, as the original goal of BM was to create a vast communal library, and you (with your "esoteric books") are absolutely contributing to that.

I also want to point out that your comment is fairly aggressive, and you might get a better response from me by being a bit more generous in your tone. Civility breeds respect.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
In response to a few US moochers above who've complained that they send internationally but other people don't want to send back to them... One thing I've noticed is that some of the books I have here in Australia would cost only a few dollars on Amazon.com if someone in the US wanted to buy them.

However, if they request such a book from me, it'll cost me over $10 to send it to the US.

I have accepted all requests to send my books to the US so far, but it's obviously costing me more than the book is 'worth' so I'm happy to get bonus points for it!

Thanks John for all your work on Bookmooch.

Jo_in_Australia
3 years ago
Ouch.

John, I'm trying to explain something that is a genuine issue for those of us who don't make a habit of buying books at garage sales etc specifically for BookMooch listing. You're pushing that aspect of the site, and making comments that suggest exactly what I said: that people like me are not the sort of moochers you want. I don't think of BookMooch as a glorified lending library, and I keep the books I enjoy. Up until now I thought that was a perfectly legitimate way of using the site. If trying to get some sort of clarification of that position is considered “aggressive” then I apologise. It's actually more along the lines of “despairing”.

Joanna Collie
3 years ago
I'm a little uneasy about the talk about "junk" books. I think that most people eagerly list everything they have available when they join. If it happens that one of those books is the 30th copy of a John Grisham mm paperback, it doesn't necessarily mean they are trying to scam the system, even if it does seem like there are more of those available than the community needs. And amazingly, I have had some of those paperbacks mooched from me, so there may be somebody out there who wants one.

I also listed dozens of children's "chapter books" which might seem like junk books to some, but my inventory of those has been very nearly cleared out. In fact, in the last two or three weeks I have had a number of books mooched from me that I originally listed when I joined the site two years ago. It was clearly a matter of the right person coming along at the right time. And I have mooched any number of odd, old, or beat-up books that would no doubt have been regarded as junk by some, but I was delighted to find them. That odd book that it seems that no one wants might also be a book that one person very much wants but is incredibly hard to find.

I see, however, the very real problem of potential scammers listing lots of books they don't intend to send. I know that there are many "mooch and runs" on the site. Most of my transactions that I've had to cancel have been from this type of person who listed, mooched, and never sent. Rather than discourage people from listing any type of book, however, I'd much rather see the .1 point taken away for listing books in the inventory. I see that as a useful tool to allow accrual of enough credit for a newbie to mooch a book initially to get hooked on the system. If the worst someone could do to scam the system would be to take one free book and leave then it probably would be something the BM economy could tolerate, especially as I don't expect that everyone signing up would be doing that. Established members who are already seeing the benefit of the system don't need the incentive. But I hate the thought that people are going to feel they have to justify their inventory and perhaps be discouraged from listing that odd or old book that is the very one that someone may be delighted to find.

Cindy
3 years ago
Wisewoman,

As I see it, the difference is that John feels he is closing a loophole that he had not thought about before someone brought up the issue to him. On the other hand, every time he has talked about limiting points generated through listing or international sending (things he originally let happen on purpose), he has never suggested applying the changes retroactively. Being able to send 1 book internationally and receive 12 was technically possible, but was not at all something that was encouraged or even supposed to happen. I just don't see how anyone needs to worry about retroactively taking away points, as it's kind of a slippery slope argument, and wouldn't make anywhere near the economic sense that this current change makes.

Andrew Scruggs
3 years ago
I want to apologise for calling some books junk and not being interested in murder or romance...actually I am interested in everything on the planet, but i don't feel I have the time to read about those things. And what woman alive, and many men...are not interested in ROMANCE...but to read about someone elses ideas about romance does not suit me, in particular I suppose. (I was raised by bohemians...so why would it)
I admit I will make time for watching...murder, intrigue, and romance in a movie or on a television show, without a qualm...I just have PiCkY ways with book selection and my reading time.

Please forgive me for being biased about the books listed, I have already found many I will obviously enjoy and this site will benefit me. No one should have a knee-jerk reaction to what one person has to say anyway...and more Childrens books are always coveted from this direction...my daughter is an avid reader...reads as well as any adult at just eight...I'd like to find more books for her, in inventories, anytime. My favorite mamaw read those romances and my lovely papaw read the westerns...and they were my favorite people ever...it wasn't really meant to be a judgment...per se. So SORRY!
"One mans junk is another man treasure" will always ring true.

Tikay
3 years ago
 What if you decide to take away that extra point on international mooches — and make it a retroactive change? I don't know if I would be in the negative, but it would definitely drain the points I have accumulated.

I would not do this.

Furthermore, I agree with how Andrew has characterized me:

 As I see it, the difference is that John feels he is closing a loophole that he had not thought about before someone brought up the issue to him. On the other hand, every time he has talked about limiting points generated through listing or international sending (things he originally let happen on purpose), he has never suggested applying the changes retroactively. Being able to send 1 book internationally and receive 6 was technically possible, but was not at all something that was encouraged or even supposed to happen. I just don't see how anyone needs to worry about retroactively taking away points, as it's kind of a slippery slope argument, and wouldn't make anywhere near the economic sense that this current change makes.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
Ayasuu wrote:
 Not a math genius, but if I'm correct, that's the way the six-for-one worked:
In the old ratio system, giving 1 book internationally counted as 3 on the ratio. Mooching one, however, counted as 1.
You give a book internationally: you get three points and on the "given" side of your ratio, 3 (i don't want to say books because it's not books, it's just numbers) are added. books mooched: 0 / books given: 1.
you now start mooching internationally (doesn't matter where you got the points from, most probably from listing books noone wants) - you mooch three books and spend 2 points each. since the international mooch only counted as 1 on the ratio, it's only now that you reach 1:1 (books mooched: 3 / bookes given: 1).
And since a ratio of 2:1 is allowed, you could go on and mooch another 3 books internationally before hitting the limit. So it would be 6 books mooched internationally and 1 book send internationally.
I really hope my calculation is correct and understandable...

Yep, that's right.

Let me explain how, under the old system, someone could get 6 intl books after only sending 1 book intl:

1) first, list 90 books that nobody wants, obtaining 9 points

2) they do receive one intl mooch, and send the book, earning 3 points, and a 1:3 mooch ratio credit

3) you're now at 12 points. Go mooch 6 books internationally, at 2 points each. Each intl mooch, under the old system, only counts as 1 book.

4) You have now received 6 books internationally, and only given away one book internationally. You have zero points, but your mooch ratio is: 1 given = 3 divided by 6 books mooched = 6 -- this is a 2:1 ratio.

5) Now, if you're really nasty, you empty your inventory and your points go into the negative. What do you care? You just got 6 books internationally and only had to send out 1.

--

After the mooch ratio change, this kind of behavior isn't possible. The "worst" a dishonest person can do is receive 2 books internationally, after having only sent 1.

BTW, in the scenario above, they can even cheat about step 2, by setting up two accounts, in different countries, and appearing to send internationally when actually they're trading between two accounts they control. Nowadays, though, there are admin tools that spot that kind of thing almost immediately.

The new 2:1 reward for dishonesty isn't great enough (I think) to make it worth scamming BM, so they go away and don't bother us.

Hope that helps explain things...

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
 Actually John, speaking for myself, I don't think the mooch ratio is that big a deal for most Canadians. Out bigger problem is our strange postage system and the fact that it costs more for us to mail domestically than internationally. BTW, please correct your statement that it was much more expensive for Americans to mail to us than the other way around. It is, in fact, the reverse by almost 2 to 1.

Ok, fair enough, I actually have no idea what it costs to send from Canada to the USA, and judging from the comments from Canadians on this blog, it seems that there are lots of opinions on the matter (grin).

I was taking at face value the assertion by others that it was cheaper for Canadians to send to the USA than to other Canadians, and from that assertion assuming thus that Canadians could send to the USA cheaper than the other directions.

At any rate, this postal rate by country stuff is a mess!

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
I wrote:
 Ok here is why it is *not* retroactive:

and wisewoman wrote:
 No, it *is* retroactive. Your reasons explain why you think the retroactive nature of the change is good, NOT why it isn't retroactive.

Yes, you're absolutely right, that was a typo on my part. You got me!

ps: I fixed the typo in my message above, so hopefully others won't be confused by that mistake in my sentence.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
In response to Tikay, who commented that " i may be new but deciding to join, does not mean I am going to begin to read murrder and intrique, nor romance because that is what people are offering me. it means I will struggle to find a decent book while sending off all my good books.", as a retired English teacher, I would like to point out that some of the mostly highly respected classics were indeed about "murder, intrique, and romance." Having said that, I do understand that she is referring to current genres of writing, but I question anyone's ability to categorize books as good or decent based on genre. There are excellent writers in all genres and, equally, horrendous writers peddling so called "serious novels." Tastes in reading are as numerous as the people who read and no one has a right or reason to cast aspersions on someone whose reading preferences differ from his own.

Concerning all the hoopla about ratios and points, I suggest we all take a deep breath and visit Borders, or, better yet, Amazon.com, lest we all forget what a value we're getting, at whatever ratio, compared to the cost of a "fresh off the press" hard back book by a well known author, plus shipping!

Kat Roskow
3 years ago
@Elizabeth Shorley

Yes, I agree with you. :) Somehow I didn't catch that you meant EVERY mooch. :) Thanks for clarifying!

Tiffany
3 years ago
Hi John,

Thank you. I can’t believe I understood the math. My ratio before was like 0.66:1 (meaning I gave more books than I received, which is technically not accurate), but now it’s 1.21:1, which feels just about right (I’ve received 526 books and have given 372, 213 of which were sent internationally).

I’ve been a member since March 2008 and have switched status several times—from worldwide to own country to ask first—often because of financial reasons and floods of mooches and angel requests. I’m sure others have done the same and I wonder if putting a clearer account of a member’s local/international mooching history on the mooch ratio and relevant pages can encourage international sending more, something like this:

Received
Local: 305 (2 pending)
International: 221
Subtotal: 526
Intl adjust: 442
Total: 970

Given
Local: 159
International: 213 (3 pending)
Subtotal: 375
Intl bonus: 426
Total: 801

Mooch percentage: 970 / 801 = 121.10%
Mooch ratio: 1.21:1

Explanation: 1.2109999999999999 books received for each book given

Re: retroactive argument: I agree with you that mooch ratios have to be recomputed. But, the mooch ratio remains 2:1 right? And there isn’t any adverse effect on anybody after the “re-computation;” and that people who have earned their points can still use them without going over the ratio.

I think members should look at the mooch ratio and see it as BookMooch’s bonus for its members, and not a limitation. When I joined, it was at a Wow 5:1! That meant:

10 books given = 50 books received; 50 = 250; 100 = 500; 500 = 2500 books

When it became 2:1, I thought, well, it’s still a great deal, at least it still isn’t 1:1 (like in PBS, so I read somewhere).

10 books given = 20 books received; 50 = 100; 100 = 200; 500 = 1000 books

My mooch ratio now is 1.21:1 and I have some 50 points to spend. I hope I reach the 2:1 ratio, as BM promised me 2 books for 1.

Thank John for BookMooch!

czar
3 years ago
Butting in on the Canada postage issue:

Just a suggestion. Would it work if there are established US angels who can and would mooch books from one canada member to another (in different provinces)?

czar
3 years ago
At any rate, this postal rate by country stuff is a mess! -john

No kidding! I *live* here and it makes no sense to me. And reading some of the comments from the E.U. members it sounds pretty confusing over there too. I wish you luck trying to figure out a way to make international mooching happen fairly and smoothly in spite of the confusion. I am sure you will be up to the challenge!

Cara
3 years ago
I think making Canadian provinces separate "countries" for points would work best, from what little I know of the high Canadian postage. It really is cheaper for Canadians to send to the US _and_ other countries than to send to a different province. Likewise, it is cheaper for US members to send books to Canada than for Canadians to send books to the US.

However, markwp has said that there are similar postage problems in other countries, so I'm not sure how the exceptions would go.

infiniteletters
3 years ago
Butting in on the Canada postage issue:

Just a suggestion. Would it work if there are established US angels who can and would mooch books from one canada member to another (in different provinces)?

Feel free to butt;) I've seen that suggested on a Canadian member's bio. It seems really strange to do that, but I suppose for a desperately wanted book it would be a solution. I have sent books to some of my American mooching buddies before with a request that after they read it they please mooch it to a Canadian mooching buddy next. I usually just smooch my fellow Canadians extra points whenever I mooch from them.

Cara
3 years ago
Tikay - I hope you didn't think that my post referencing junk books was directed to you. I was responding to a series of comments in the conversation by different people and definitely not upset, just trying to point out a different point of view. If there is one thing I've learned in my two years on BM it is that somebody, somewhere, will eventually want to mooch just about anything. I used to be more selective about what I listed, but now list just about anything after seeing some of the most unlikely things mooched and people seeming very happy to have them. (And like you, I don't read romance, westerns, or mysteries, no problem with that!) I encourage you to hang in there with Bookmooch. I've found the key is putting lots of books on your wishlist and then being patient. If you are willing to be patient you will be amazed at the wonderful books that will eventually pop up. (Also check your wishlist often, and consider adding an RSS feed for your wishlist so you can see wishlist books that come available even when you are not on the site).

Czar - Would it work if there are established US angels who can and would mooch books from one canada member to another (in different provinces)?

I have already done this, and I'm sure it has been done by other members as well. In order to make it practical the Canadian member would need to smooch the angel since in a case like this the angel would only be receiving one point at the end of the transaction. (The angel would spend two points to mooch the book initially and then receive three when re-listing it). In my situation the book wasn't terribly heavy, so it wasn't that expensive to mail. The person I was helping offered to smooch, but I told her that since the book was one that looked interesting I would be happy to just be allowed some time to read it before passing it along. In the end she smooched me anyway, and I think we were both very satisfied with the transaction.

Cindy
3 years ago
After the mooch ratio change, this kind of behavior isn't possible. The "worst" a dishonest person can do is receive 2 books internationally, after having only sent 1.

But what prevents them sending one internationally and receiving 6 from within their own country?

crimson-tide
3 years ago
Not sure if it would help or not, but would having your points you get from internationally sending and receiving kept separate from your other points help. Or even make some books cost more than 1 point. Maybe base it on the amount of wishlists the book is on somehow. Probably no help, but i agree something needs to be different.
Hoopy
3 years ago
crimson-tide
More or less it cost you 3 times more to send that book internationally so in effect you have earned you increased domestic mooches. To be allowed 6 book mooches domestically with the 2:1 ratio, you have to 'give' at least 3 domestic books say at $2.38 per books, $7.14. Sending 1 international book even small paper back overseas is going to cost you more than that, hence the international sends are weighted more both for points and ratio as they should be.
Amy W
3 years ago
John, thank you for the further explanations and clarifications, especially about the effect on angels; I'm glad that worry was unfounded.
J'aime
3 years ago
So, the loophole we all didn't know was here is closed and we can now start mooching again.

Can we? I have tons of books to put on BM. But I do that one by one (or two by two) because I know they are wanted and will be mooched (internationally) right away.

Until now that is. One book had 12 emails out and the other 9.
But no moochers so far.

Don't be afraid of your ratio please. I mooched a book yesterday and my ratio went up from 1,44 to 1,45. That means I can mooch another 55 books before getting into trouble. Right?

Go Go Go!
Keep on mooching.

Zjanette
3 years ago
To Joanna and anyone else worried about the term "junk books":

I don't think anybody here would use that term to describe anybody else's reading preferences. It does sound inherently judgemental, so I can understand people misinterpreting it, but I'm pretty sure all those who've used the term mean by "junk books" are books that it's very likely nobody in the community would be interested in.

Which is NOT the case with eclectic or esoteric books! These might be low in demand, but *any* book with just one copy in the system is inherently *valuable* to the community, because somebody might want it. It might take years for that somebody to discover it, but somebody might *always* want it. Esoteric books in inventories are, therefore, awesome. They may not be the most popular or wishlisted, but they're extremely important to the community.

So when people say "junk books," they aren't talking about what you post at all, Joanna. It sounds like the books you post add wonderful variety to the community. :) What people are thinking more about are "the 150th copy of some fiction book that was faddish five years ago and few people care about now," etc. While those might still get mooched, and it doesn't do any harm to post them (especially if you're the type who offers 2-for-1, or writes detailed condition notes, or otherwise makes books available in a particularly attractive manner to prospective moochers), it doesn't particularly help the community to add yet another copy of an already-oversupplied book.

Now, I don't think there's anything wrong with adding yet another Dan Brown or John Grisham book to the system, even though they really are not needed. I'd be a hypocrite if I did, as I like to post every single book I have and don't need, even if it's oversupplied, "just in case" someone might want it. (Wry grin.) But I certainly don't think 200 copies of any single book are any more helpful to the community than, say, 10. What we really need more of is variety!

John, here's a prospective idea. What if those 0.1 points are *never* given for listing books that already have, say, more than 10 copies in the system? Might that help cut down on potential abuse? Or help encourage people to donate those to charity instead or something? I don't think that would be unfair; it's not a punishment, as people can still list those books if they want (and potentially earn a point if it gets mooched). It's just a lack of reward, because the listing itself does not give anything to the community, so it wouldn't need rewarding.

I'm not sure if this would cause any problems with scammers creating nonsense listings instead, but I *think* that would be easier to catch (as it would be more obvious) than people who just post a whole ton of popular books and nothing else when they initially join. The latter could, after all, simply reflect a new member's reading tastes.

Conversely, it might be a great idea to give an extra 0.1 point or something to people who post a book with more than 5 (or 10?) wishlisters. Those two in conjunction would balance each other out, and might help shift BookMooch inventories just a little more towards variety. And I'm sure we would all love to see more variety!

I'm also okay with the idea of putting a cap on how many books a person can earn 0.1 point for in their inventory. Say, 100 books, or 10 points total? That seems reasonable, and it wouldn't hurt anyone long-term, as anyone who's listed more than 100 books has probably got dedication (and sufficient points to start mooching) towards the site, anyway.

If you eliminated the 0.1 point for listing in that manner -- so it helps new members, but doesn't get overly inflationary for older ones -- then an extra 0.1 point or whatever for adding wishlisted books would also become more motivational for older members. Obviously no points or tenth-points should be taken away retroactively, but I don't think that's something you would ever plan on doing. :)

Eliminating the 0.1 point for marking a book received, in every situation, also seems fair. It's not necessary; anyone who's planning to stay active in the site is *going* to mark books received. The incentive might help newer members remember, but I've always thought it was a bonus that was nice but totally unnecessary. I think that, to most people, "telling the person who sent you the book that it arrived safely" (especially when the system provides a way to do this with very little effort) would be an obvious common courtesy.

Yay for the regional "I'm willing to send to" ideas! I would love to see "willing to send anywhere to North America" as an option; I think that would convince a lot of US moochers to open up to Canadians. I also think it would help a lot of Canadians be clearer about how they'd prefer to send; I've seen loads of "ask first" Canadian moochers who say something along the lines of "US moochers do not need to ask first," and this would help to clarify that. Maybe even create slightly less of a barrier for US members mooching from them?

I got a chuckle out of this:

"What I will be doing in the future is giving you guys at least a week's notice before a change, and the chance to gripe about it on this forum."

Thank you for that. A week's notice will, I think, go a very long way to alleviating startlement, dismay, and/or disappointment over changes that one might not agree with. It will also give people a chance to get used to things -- and everyone appreciates a little advance warning about changes, even ones they would love to see.

"Gripe" was a fair choice of words, too. (Humorous, in fact, in my opinion.) Rather a good-natured way to remind us that a) we are allowed to complain if we're unhappy, and b) you even provide a means for us to do so if we feel the need, to each other and to you.

John, thank you so much for responding personally to so many of the things my long post mentioned! I got a real thrill out of seeing you respond personally to things I said. (Grin.)

I think I'm finally grasping why you say this ratio change will help encourage international sending. I still don't think it does directly -- the original change, with the bonus, did -- but indirectly it *may,* if there are many people who have been willing to mooch internationally but not send internationally (in the United States, for instance). As I don't really know a lot of people who don't send internationally, and I live in the USA, I have no way of judging how big a deal or how widespread this may be. But from what some folks outside of the US have been saying, it sounds like it's a lot more widespread a problem than I realized.

I do still think this change has unfortunate implications for people in smaller countries who can't control the number of mooch-requests they get, but it's possible this is just one of those situations where you can't fix everything.

I'd like to see something to help out folks who mooch international books (from the US, for instance) in order to share them with their countrymen in smaller countries. I think that helps build BookMooch in their countries, and does a genuine service (and at their expense, no less). The way the ratio is now set up, this could damage their ability to continue doing this, which would be sad. Perhaps some sort of official "reverse angel" thing could be set up to recognize those rare people and make sure they are not punished for the genuine service they give their communities? Is that something anybody would like to see?

John, I'd like to thank you again for all the work you do for our site. I never realized how much effort you did behind the scenes, and I think we all need reminding to be totally appreciative of this. :) I hope every new change you decide to make will genuinely help improve the health of this site. I would love to see BookMooch thrive more every day! :D

Emily Martha Sorensen
3 years ago
It's interesting how differently people genres of books and gluts of titles. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Popularity tends to vary from country to country. I also belong to readitswapit in the UK and for several years I have actively sought books which were wishlisted on BM. I have lot count of the numbers of copies of Kite Runner, Thousand Splendid Suns, Change of Heart and House at Riverton I have got and have been snapped up by international moochers, mostly in the US.

Readitswapit is a 1 for 1 swap, so the other person needs to want one of my books as well. If someone on there wants one of my books but I do not want to read any of theirs I see if any of the are wishlisted on here as I then ultimately get rid of a book. Space is a premium for me which is why I have been doing a 3 for 2 for ages. Yes, postage is by weight from the UK, but posting 3 books together is still cheaper than 3 singly.

By doing this I've made space and amassed a lot of points, so if anyone in the UK wants to do the same you will find 10s of copies of those books above on readitswapit! They have a glut but Bookmooch has a dearth.

I've been spending my points by asking for US angels to get me books landlocked in the US. Please, please can we have a wishlist feature which shows books which could be angelled. I had to open each item in turn to see if there were any copies which could be angelled v no copies at all. I specifically chose ones to be angelled by people in the US but I know that there were some in the Philippines - to find those again would mean opening each item again :-)

I've also listed papercraft magazines which are snapped up by US moochers. They are no cheaper to send than books, but according to one lady "they are way better than ours!".

brownbear
3 years ago
John, a setting for "Europe only" would be fantastic! I can't go off "my country only" for a couple of months (due to flu and a back problem, I've earned even more pitiful amounts in the last couple of months, plus my wages have got lost somewhere between banks AND there's a tax bill due on 31 Jan - okay, enough whining), but Europe only would be perfect. And what I will also do is, if I mooch a book from one of the less-represented countries on BM, I'll then offer that moocher a book from my inventory and send it off, thereby keeping the flow going ... that way, I can keep costs down but still be able to get books out to a wider selection of people. Thanks again!
Sophie Houston
3 years ago
Europe only is great. But maybe we could consider: Europe YES! and for worldwide please ask first.

But I have "ask first" now and I don't think I will ever say No.

Zjanette

Zjanette
3 years ago
I'll repeat a comment I made in the other thread/forum. It would be really nice if all the people who had their mailing status set to "ask first" would then respond when asked. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to mooch something and have received no answer at all.

I don't have a problem with "no, sorry". I have to say no sometimes, depending on my financial situation, or how big the book is, or whatever. I completely understand. I do have a problem with no answer at all.

Hayes
3 years ago
Karen is right. I check my pendingpage regularly these days. Often no emails.
Zjanette
3 years ago
Good to see that future changes are going to be posted one week before implementation, to give us all a week to 'gripe'.

Am I missing something here, or have several valid points, that John himself has said he will look into/consider been raised through the collective 'griping' on this and other forum threads. It may not be a democracy but surely the man himself can now see some value in giving fair notice.

Go on John, admit it!

As for junk books - is there such a thing? But please don't get me started on the fourteen year old US womens magazine that I saw listed the other day. It wasn't alone either.

donna
3 years ago
Thanks, John, for your explanations, and apologies for getting cross with you.
I would like to add that, having looked at many other forums (fora?) elsewhere, I am most impressed by the literacy and courtesy of BookMoochers.
John S
3 years ago
Amy W
I understand the numbers. :-)

I was replying to John B's post referring to how this new ratio change will prevent the scammers running off with six books after only sending one. His example was to do with sending one internationally and how they can no longer mooch six books internationally before they run off. But they can still mooch six books domesticaly and then run off.

Is there a concrete difference between books from 'elsewhere' and books from with our own countries? Is it somehow OK to run off with six domestic books, but not with six international books???

crimson-tide
3 years ago
Amy W. says
Also as stated above, members shouldn't get points for books until they send them as that is when they have "spent their money" else we are dealing with credit.

I wholeheartedly agree! Perhaps we could even suggest that only half of the amount be awarded when the book is sent, and the other half upon receipt, and the recipient pay .1 over the price (whether that be 1 or 2 or 3 points) at the time of mooching and receive the .1 back upon leaving feedback. That would leave an incentive to leave feedback whilst not burdening the system with inflationary points.

John says
"Does anyone know about other countries with such a policy? (this is different from the Canadian postage issue)"

No, john, but I do know that books sent to the Philippines have to be collected at the PO and unless the recipient is able to persuade the officials that the book is "educational" they have to pay an import tax.

Also I am delighted to hear that you do not frown on inventories carrying unusual and rarified topics of books. I am constantly amazed at what people want to mooch from our family's varied and strange collection! My favourite was a book where my condition notes described the cover and fly-leafs as being a work of art created by bookworm infestation! The recipient was delighted with it!

@Wisewoman
I was afraid you are one of the people I felt obviously had not read carefully what John wrote since you claimed he said the change was not retroactive, whereas he actually said "Here is why the change is retroactive. However he now says it was a typo and he has changed it, so you were right, and the mistake his. Also having read the entire forum I concluded that John's solution, while not one that anyone had suggested, was based entirely on the responses he had received, bearing in mind that he was seeking to create a system where outward bound books would equal incoming more nearly.

@Heather say
"they have paid for those points"

No they have not. If they earned three points worth of ratio by posting abroad then they have earned sufficient for someone to send them one book from abroad, not more.

@John Buckman and Joan Collie
The Overview of Bookmmooch says:
Give & receive: Every time you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch. Once you've read a book, you can keep it foreveror put it back into BookMooch for someone else, as you wish.
and
you need to give away at least one book for every two you receive.

I do feel that it is high time these statements were amended as they are misleading and obviously not what you wish for John.
Joan and I have both felt within our right to keep books mooched permanently. I keep a particular couple of series I have mooched, which I share with my family visitors as they are good holiday reading. I have always asked for a change to be made in "keep it forever:" due to the fact that you may not keep forever BMjournals mooched, but if you prefer people to recycle popular books it might be better to suggest "you do not have to relist all books in your inventory but are encouraged to recycle wishlisted books and BMjournals promptly."

re Emily Martha's suggestion of not getting a .1 or listing a book where more than 20 or whatever number decided copies are already available AND adding an extra .1 for listing books which feature on more than 20 wishlists, sounds brilliant to me!

"Perhaps some sort of official "reverse angel" thing could be set up to recognize those rare people and make sure they are not punished for the genuine service they give their communities? "
Perhaps such people could be set up as import charities, with a more generous ratio allowance, or where ratio was irrelevant?

Again, John, thanks for (rarely) losing your cool with fairly "robustly worded" comments. We are passionate about Bookmooch, and so it sometimes sounds aggressive, but I am sure almost everyone appreciated the time and effort you devote to it!

tennantfamily
3 years ago
Since you quoted my economic post, let me quickly reply to your response. You wrote:
"I don't see how the change in mooch ratio can be seen as a form of protectionism. To the contrary, what the change causes is an increased incentive to send more books internationally."

And if senders initiated transactions, that would be great, but that just isn't how it works. You've imposed a global cross-border restriction on international mooching -- people won't want to do it as much, to avoid risking their ratio. But every international send needs an international mooch, so the total international traffic decreases. If senders initiated transactions, the opposite would be true. I don't think you've thought this through.

Beyond that, it's rather disingenuous of you to cherry-pick the one comment of positive tone out of the flood of negative and neutral feedback you received to start your post, then quote someone who says they don't quite understand the maths, and try to make that seem representative of all the comments we've posted. It looks like you're ignoring the users and listening to yourself. There is a time for that, and you've obviously decided this is it -- you're wrong, but only time will tell.

laddiebuck
3 years ago
As in Canada, in France it is much cheaper to ship internationally than to send something domestically. I think it's because of an internal postal convention establishing book rates which still applies in France, but no longer in the U.S. It's more complicated to get the rate - you have to wait in line and talk to a real person instead of using the machines they're trying to get everyone to use. But it's cheaper. If there were a way to say, "I'll send internationally, but not in France", I would take that option. But I don't get many requests from France anyway - all my books are in English - so it's ok.
C.Kirby
3 years ago
Lethe: if you just set points to 0, the equations are explicitly solvable, no guesswork needed. Ratio is never going to hit 2 while points are greater than or equal to zero if smooches/2-for-1s and all the rest of it are ignored. But many comments I saw on the site were from people who got points from smooches or did 2-for-1s.
laddiebuck
3 years ago
I'm pretty new to Bookmooch - and when I first started sending and mooching internationally I understood that it was good form to mooch more than one book from an international shipper. Therefore - everytime I've mooched something internationally I've searched their inventory and found something else to mooch as well - even if it wasn't something I was really all that interested in. So I've sent 5 books internationally - but I have 7 on their way to me (3 of which I mooched only as a 'thank you' for being Angels) and now I feel as though it looks like I was abusing the system. In the future I guess I will just smooch a few points to Angels rather than mooching additional books.
KatieBell
3 years ago
KatieBell, I certainly don't think it looks like you're abusing the system. You could have still mooched up to 10 international books for the 5 you sent and been alright, if I understand correctly. But I would say that I don't think you should feel pressure to get multiple books unless you actually want them. I mean, it definitely helps someone out to be able to send multiple books at a time to save on shipping, so if you do find that someone you're mooching from has other books you'd like, it would definitely be good form to mooch those at the same time. But otherwise I wouldn't say you have to go out of your way to find other books to mooch. Then again, I'm pretty new too, so I'm not absolutely sure.
Andrew Scruggs
3 years ago
I live in the UK and although "technically" we are part of the EU, in practice we don't use the Euro and it costs more to send to France, Germany, Italy etc than to send books within the UK. It also costs more to post to the Republic of Ireland, which as a previous poster noted, is the same land mass as Northern Ireland, but I have the opposite problem to that poster as it costs her MORE to send to N.I. whereas I can send books there by domestic second class mail.

I also belong to Readitswapit - thanks for the "heads-up" on how I can use the two sites in conjunction with one another to swap out books I no longer want in return for books which are in demand on Bookmooch - had never thought of doing that before.

Still trying to think of how I could help the poster in Italy who has nothing to offer the international market and a dearth of good English books to mooch domestically. One solution for people like this MIGHT be to allow them to become "hubs" from which people could mooch Bookmooch bookmarks and cards.

Jan Johnson
3 years ago
 But what prevents them sending one internationally and receiving 6 from within their own country?
and
Is it somehow OK to run off with six domestic books, but not with six international books???

You are correct, someone wanting to scam BM could do this. However, I have to strike a balance between preventing potential scams and mistakenly preventing honest people from doing things that are quite reasonable.

I could go into a lot more detail, but basically we're not seeing many people trying this as a way to cheat the BM system. Generally, people who want to cheat BM are in countries where there aren't that many BM members, so they do most of their mooching internationally.

So, the current ratio seems like it will work well in preventing actual abuse we see but allowing enough leeway so that honest people can go about doing what they do.

-j

John Buckman
3 years ago
 I have always asked for a change to be made in "keep it forever:" due to the fact that you may not keep forever BMjournals mooched, but if you prefer people to recycle popular books it might be better to suggest "you do not have to relist all books in your inventory but are encouraged to recycle wishlisted books and BMjournals promptly."

I like your suggestion and will do it shortly.

-j

John Buckman
3 years ago
John, thanks for answering our questions. I know there are a lot of them to address and we appreciate your time. As Bcteagirl said, communication is so helpful in situations like this!

I wasn't trying to "get" you on the typo in your statement about the retroactivity, btw. I thought it was what you really meant and it just didn't make sense to me in light of the reasons that followed.

It's good to know there will be no retroactive change to the bonus point for sending internationally. A week's notice of any major change is also a great idea (though I'm not sure dismissing all comments as "griping" is exactly diplomatic or even true).

Gill & Mark: I'm a copy editor, so I usually try to read things carefully. Apparently you and John are just on the same wavelength! :)

wisewoman
3 years ago
 I wasn't trying to "get" you on the typo in your statement about the retroactivity, btw. I thought it was what you really meant and it just didn't make sense to me in light of the reasons that followed.

I know, I was trying to be a bit funny, as it was obvious from the text that followed you're "getting me" (grin) that you understood what I wrote despite the initial typo.

 A week's notice of any major change is also a great idea (though I'm not sure dismissing all comments as "griping" is exactly diplomatic or even true).

Sorry, I was again trying to be a bit funny by referring to the discussion as "griping". I think many people understood that, as one person wrote
 I got a chuckle out of that
and another wrote:
 If "griping" brought forth such gems, let more griping commence!

I agree, lots of good ideas came out of this process, and the big lesson I learned was to give people time to voice their thoughts and concerns before changing things.

-john

John Buckman
3 years ago
I don't mooch or send Internationaly. And to be honest my mooch ratio is on the small side because I don't use this site often. No offense people this is like my secondary site if my first site doesn't have my book on my wish list but now I am going off topic. (If only I could my books quicker than I might be able to get more.)
novelwriter (Mel)
3 years ago
Hi all...well in response to Kats "as a retired English teacher, I would like to point out that some of the mostly highly respected classics were indeed about "murder, intrique, and romance." Having said that, I do understand that she is referring to current genres of writing, but I question anyone's ability to categorize books as good or decent based on genre. There are excellent writers in all genres and, equally, horrendous writers peddling so called "serious novels." Tastes in reading are as numerous as the people who read and no one has a right or reason to cast aspersions on someone whose reading preferences differ from his own."

I was not casting anything on anyones preferances, and I later realized it sounded sort of glib or superior. I did not intend it to be a judgement. I have already written that, and apologise again to anyone who may have taken offense to my "junk books" statement.

Yet John understood my meaning, and I think many do also. i read to learn more than to relax with a tale. I want facts, more... truths, and read about 'lives' that were actually lived...that i can relate to and learn from. I personally (me myself) am just not much into fantasy or flights of intimate romantic fancy. Thats just like having to much sugar in the diet...for me, personally.
I try to focus on my need for a really healthy "mental diet" thats all. If other GOOD PEOPLE eat ONLY what I consider "Sugery" things...it isn't making me FAT...so I don't mind at all what others feed themselves on/ READ...BUT I STILL WANT TO SEE SOME SALAD ON THE MENU,when im ordering something, ya know?!

That's about all I am going to say on the topic, I didnt mean to be unkind. I hope the above analogy? metaphor? helps.
I read DH Lawrences Women In Love as a youth and really thought it was NOT a good book, and we all know how applauded that guy is...haha...so I am REALLY PICKY about styles of writing I guess. BUT ALAS I LOVE The adaptation into FILM, of these tales. I love EMMA, and THE NOTBOOK and many GLORIUS romantic stories, when they are very close to what I find to be true about LIFE.
Thanks for your allowing me to explain further about exactly what I meant and what I like to read. I enjoy many genres...I had only just gotten here and somehow I was looking at about ten inventories with nearly all romance, nothing else. Then I found a few that also had CRIME...and I am sorry but I was basically SHOCKED, and very nearly left just then. So...thats my POV, surely others have been "rocked" by this? I thought readers were exploring things more...I am still basically non-plussed by the amounts or lack of things to learn from...
~mayhaps i am just a wierdo, many think i am...and overly STUDIOUS? I am wondering...
Tracey

Tikay
3 years ago
"I'll repeat a comment I made in the other thread/forum. It would be really nice if all the people who had their mailing status set to "ask first" would then respond when asked. I can't tell you how many times I have tried to mooch something and have received no answer at all."

I am wondering about something sort of similar. Being here about four days, and i have sent off 13 books...and I seem to only have four books "accepted" in my many requests, I am now almost begging people at just click accept so I will be a fair "player" not requesting too many books one for one is fine with me.
Are folks going to be sending the books that I request without a word...is that common? There is no confirmation on the part of most people~ no communique? Seems a bit odd...like myself...LOL

Tikay
3 years ago
Bookmooch emails frequently get caught in spam filters, too. You might try a direct email at the end of the week, and if that gets no response cancel and move on. I've gotten a few emails about ask first requests that I never saw, and emailed some people who tell me that was the first contact they got.
Jennifer McGaffey
3 years ago
You are correct, someone wanting to scam BM could do this. However, I have to strike a balance between preventing potential scams and mistakenly preventing honest people from doing things that are quite reasonable.

Ah . . . so NOW we are getting closer to the reasoning behind this ratio change. It is to try to reduce the international scammers, and those of us who mooch internationally on a regular basis are the ones who will be ‘paying’ for this new security measure by means of our mooch ratio.

John, in a previous thread you stated:
I've received many emails from people who have noticed that certain users have hugely imbalanced mooch/give numbers. Often, they would be mooching hugely more books than they were giving. They'd be mooching and giving internationally, but with the old ratio system, you could give as few as 20 books internationally, and receive 120 books internationally (2:1 ratio at a 3x bonus point).

Well you can't do that now of course, but you CAN still give as few as 20 books internationally, and receive 120 books domestically (2:1 ratio at a 3x bonus point).

So the imbalance is still there, the inconsistency is still there . . . only now the only people who can take advantage of it are those in countries with a large member base and a very large volume of books, so that they have no trouble finding what they want domestically. In other words, the good ol' US of A!!

In your original post on this thread you stated:
That didn't seem right, so I added the concept of a "mooch ratio" so that BookMooch is mostly about #1 above (you send a book, you get a book), with an incentive to add books to your inventory, but a limit of "2 books received for 1 sent" no matter what you do to earn points.

So now it works for some and not for others. Once again members in non US countries are disadvantaged.

And again: So, the current ratio seems like it will work well in preventing actual abuse we see but allowing enough leeway so that honest people can go about doing what they do.

The 'honest' people in the US can go on mooching six domestically for one sent internationally, whereas the rest of us who are forced to mooch internationally have obviously been bordering on abusing the system and must be curbed!

Frankly John, as well as being grossly inequitable, I find this insulting.

And don't tell me I can also mooch six books domestically for every one sent internationally, because I can't. They are just not available. If you do not understand this, you understand nothing about your own site.

crimson-tide
3 years ago
OK, this is totally off topic, but I've seen several comments about emails that were not received and had to ask: is anyone else having emails TO BM not answered? Several times over the last few months, I've emailed tech support about problems with my account and got no response at all. The most recent time (this month) I wrote every day for a week before the problem was finally taken care of, but still no response. The situation with my account was remedied, but I don't know how or why it happened anyway. Isn't it just common courtesy to respond when a member has a problem?
Kat Roskow
3 years ago
Same here. I get no answer from Tech support.
Zjanette
3 years ago
Kat and Zjanette, please remember that the BM admins are not full-time paid employees, but people who volunteer their spare time to help out - they have jobs and lives and other calls on their time, so that may explain why you don't always get an immediate response or follow-up to any issues they may have dealt with!
Sophie Houston
3 years ago
I know. But sometimes it makes you wonder if emails arrive. Because lots of emails from BM to members also get lost in cyperspace.
Zjanette
3 years ago
As much as I love BM, that part (no tech response) really sucks. During the week that I couldn't get an answer (and my account was locked up,) a book I've waited months for came open on my wishlist. Unfortunately I was blocked from mooching it and now it's gone. Guess I'll wait another 6 months for it. I wish John would address this particular concern. When you can't call and nobody answers email for days, it's so frustrating I want to just throw in the towel!
Kat Roskow
3 years ago
I said 'I have always asked for a change to be made in "keep it forever:" due to the fact that you may not keep forever BMjournals mooched, but if you prefer people to recycle popular books it might be better to suggest "you do not have to relist all books in your inventory but are encouraged to recycle wishlisted books and BMjournals promptly."'
You replied 'I like your suggestion and will do it shortly.'

-j

but this has not been changed after 4 months, and the points are still given incorrectly too, which I find totally misleading for newly joined Bookmoochers. Trades descriptions would have something to say about that in the UK!
Perhaps your idea of shortly does not coincide with mine (I take it as meaning the day before yesterday ;-))

tennantfamily
3 years ago
"John - Re: Your comment about the size of the Bookmooch catalogue getting smaller over the past 2 years. I think that the reason that the total size of the Bookmooch catalog has been getting smaller is the # of electronic readers that have become so popular. I think that people are also loading the newer books rather than wait for them to become available on BM resulting in even less books on BM. Not sure how you can change that."
Anna
3 years ago
The loaning of e-books for 2 weeks sounds a lovely idea.

Journals are also meant to be kept for no more than 2 weeks before passing them on to another member to work on, and they also remain the property of the creator (original giver).

However it needs constant watching - I am spending a vast amount of time and energy chasing up people who have kept journals for a year or more, thrown them away, held one as ransom for one of their own in one case. Of over 700 journals created since 2007, approximately half appear to be stalled, lost or missing, and losses in the post do occur.

Whoever volunteers to run this forum will be taking on a full-time voluntary job!
Gill

tennantfamily
3 years ago

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