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Followup to points discussion

11 days ago I wrote a blog entry entitled Points policy change thoughts and yesterday I read through the 257 comments that message generated. There were lots of helpful ideas in the comments, and I'd like to comment on a bunch of them here, in a new blog entry.

 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.

this was very interesting:

My solution is akin yours, John:
1. Consider the book listing bonus as an advance payment: when the book is mooched, the moocher pays 1 point, but the book owner receives only 0.9 points (she already received 1/10 point when she listed the book). The 1/10 reduction may also be seen as a "delisting charge" (the book is no more listed).
idea: 1.1 to mooch, or 0.9 to mooch, both possible

You're right, that every book you give away earns you 1.1 points:

You get 0.1 for listing it
You get 1.0 for sending it

That's another source of inflation.

I see two ways of dealing with this, either:

You get 0.1 for listing it
You get .9 for sending it


You get 0.1 for listing it
You get 1.0 for sending it
But the sender pays 1.1 to receive it.

I'd have to explain the +0.1 as "an advance, you get the remaining 0.9 when someone mooches your book"

What do people think of this?

 I would like to see a "not trading" status, so the books on the lists of vacationers and possible inactive, don't show up as mooch-able. This would also give a more realistic picture of the possible moochers for our inventory.

This happens already. Anyone on vacation is "not trading" and their books are removed from the BM inventory.

To put someone on vacation, mooch from them. If they don't reply after 2 weeks, cancel the mooch, indicating they were non-responsive, and their account will automatically be vacationed.

 Multi-mooches are not necessarily an incentive for non-US senders. We don't have flat-rate envelopes here in France either - each parcel is weighed, so multi-mooches would cost the sender more.
In terms of multi-mooch, from the commentary I've read, this only seems to benefit the USA with its flat-rate packages. Many of the rest of us are weight-based and while there is a tiny improvement of £/100g as the package gets heavier,
Please don't change the international points! And the multi-mooch bonus is (as lots of people have commented) only a bonus if you live in a country where flat rate mailing is possible. Here in NZ we're charged by weight. Multi-mooches can actually cost me more to send per item if the additional weight tips into the next bracket. Please keep in mind that not all moochers live in the US or UK, and what's great for you guys may be awful for the rest of us.
As mentioned elsewhere, “multi-mooching” would unfortunately not be an improvement. In Germany (as some other European countries mentioned here) we pay per weight. I have not yet posted a package where 2 paperbacks were under 500g, doubling the postage.
I agree with many other comments from Australians; it doesn't cost us less to send multiple books - but more, often a lot more, as we pay by weight and a different rate depending on the country it is being sent to, and parcel rates get put up by our postal service every 3 months. So I wouldn't want to get less points for sending internationally; which I do a lot.

I don't agree with these comments against multi-mooching.

To recap : the idea behind multimooching is that the 2nd mooch from the same person would cost you less (perhaps .8 pts) and BM would make up the difference, so the book giver still receives 1 point.

This helps save the book sender money in postage.

In most postal services in the world, it is cheaper to send 2 books in *one envelope*, than it is to send 2 books in *two envelopes*.

How much cheaper?

In France, I found that 250 grams cost the same to send internationally as 1 kilo, and a kilo is a lot of books.

In the UK, it costs £0.81 to send 250 grams, and £1.11 to send 500 grams, a 32% savings.

In Germany, a domestic package up to 2 kilos costs €3.90 while a domestic package up to 10 kilos costs €5.90

If your countries' postal system doesn't work like this (perhaps because you bump up to another postage class) then send the books in separate envelopes to save money.

 I'm finding people list books, but then when I go to their profile, they're sitting on 20+ book to send out. One woman had over 60 to send when I wanted to Mooch something. That shouldn't be allowed. Maybe a system of not allowing any Mooches if you have over say 10 waiting to go out or they've been there longer than 2 weeks. And by any Mooches, I mean you can't Mooch and no one else can Mooch from you.

A few comments about this:

1) if you think she's acting in bad faith, and doesn't plan to actually send those books (it's a judgment call you can make by looking at her bio) -- *ask her by email* why she has so many books to send. And if you don't like the answer, click the "report abuse" button.

2) there could be an honest cause for this: a good moocher who is traveling at the moment, and so has a lot of backlogged requests, but wanted to mooch a book with the points she has while traveling.

 John, I thought you might be interested - A member of another book swap told me that a rumor was going around that there are a high percentage of books that aren't received here. I have had very few problems but that kind of rumor may have had some affect on the use statistics.

We've never seen that as a significant problem at BM. Maybe 10 scamming members over the entire history of BM have managed to do that, and it happens very rarely nowadays with the new oversight controls the admins have.

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

Date................Points/Member.......Books Listed/Member

2007.8.18_________ 3.6 ___________ 9.2

2008.8.18_________ 4.8 ___________ 6.1

2009.8.18_________ 5.2 ___________ 3.9

2010.8.18_________ 5.4 ___________ 2.4

2011.1.09_________ 5.5 ___________ 2.0

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

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

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

Your math is *almost* right, but wrong in an important way. The number you're using for "points in the system" currently includes all points, including those from inactive accounts, which account for 80% of members. In order to give an accurate idea of points inflation, you need to divide "books available by active members" by "points owned by active members"

Roughly, if you divide the available points by 5 (only 1/5 of existing members are actually active) you get very different results.

However, I agree with you that this is a potentially very interesting chart, and I plan on producing a mathematically accurate one soon.

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

Click on the "report abuse" button. If someone is listing books in their inventory but not willing to send them, that's not right. They should remove those books from their inventory.

 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.

Here are a few objections I have with that idea:

1) there might not be copies of that popular book in your country. For instance, maybe there is lots of Dan Brown in the USA, but none in the Philippines. Definitely the person listing it in the Philippines should get the +0.1 for listing it.

2) It'd be very complicated, for example when/if you remove books from your inventory, I also remove the +0.1 you received. If you received the +0.1 for listing some books but not others, then BM would have to do the same when removing the books, and this would both be complicated to program, but also quite complicated for members to understand. Often, it would simply look like a bug: "why did I lose 0.1 points when removing some books from my inventory and not others?"

3) The top 200 most listed titles account for only 2.5% of the total inventory on BM. I don't think they're much of a problem.

 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!

That's a variation that might work, but there are some complications too:

1) I did mention that a wishlist bonus existed when BM started, and was removed because of the weird behaviors it caused. A common one was that people would not list books until they were wishlisted. Probably, with what you suggest, the same problem would occur, with people not listing books until 5 people wishlist them.

2) Geographic spread is also an issue here: if you list a book that's rare in a certain country, that's really nice of you, and should be rewarded.

3) a related idea that I've toyed with is that potential moochers could add a "reward" on certain books they really want, saying "I'll smooch 2 points to whoever gives me this book I really want to read"

 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.

I'm not too hot on this idea for a few reasons:

1) some of our best members have given and received several thousand books. Every book they add to their inventory enlarges our universe, and I see no reason to demotivate them.

2) same problem as above: "It'd be very complicated, for example when/if you remove books from your inventory, I also remove the +0.1 you received. If you received the +0.1 for listing some books but not others, then BM would have to do the same when removing the books, and this would both be complicated to program, but also quite complicated for members to understand. Often, it would simply look like a bug: "why did I lose 0.1 points when removing some books from my inventory and not others?"

 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.

Thanks for all the people who agreed with this -- your feedback was the cause of my announcing that change: End of +.1 for leaving feedback

 I think points should be awarded when the book is marked received. Not when accepted to send, and not when the book is actually sent. This would curtail the practice of accepting books to send and then not sending them... as there would be no reward for that dishonest and/or forgetful behavior.
I would like to see the mooch points held in reserve, and not given to the sending member until the books have been marked received.
I noticed that when I had to cancel, because the member had not responded for several weeks, their pending listed them with both mooches and sends.

I disagree for a few reasons:

1) this would hugely slow down international trade. It's not unusual for a book to take 8 weeks to arrive somewhere, and in the meantime the person who sent the book can't participate in BM until the book is received.

2) we have very little fraud of this type (people saying they sent books but didn't) as it's caught very quickly by people reporting abuse and the admins jumping on it. Also, we monitor accounts that say they're sending a ton of books out internationally on their first few days of joining. That's pretty suspicious and their ability to mooch with those points is limited until the books start arriving at their destination. Algorithms running in the background at BM mark lots of behaviors as "needing admin oversight", which simply means that an admin looks at them and monitors them by hand, applying limits as they see fit. This system of the having admins watching certain accounts has worked really well.

3) the "first day thrill" on BM would be very much curtailed if I changed this. If you're honest (and almost everyone joining BM is) it's great to list 10 books, get 3 mooches, and then in the same hour, mooch 3 more books as you package those 3 books to send.

4) BM is a community of trust, not of suspicion, and this policy sends a very clear message of trust. PBS, I feel, is a much more untrusting, suspicious place, and from what I read, the number of trades per day is much lower for most users, because of their approach.

Someone who uses PBS explains why they don't like that approach:

 I use both Bookmooch and Paperback Swap. Paperback Swap is much more stingy than Bookmooch and I don't like it as well for that reason. If I send a book using my own postage I don't get my point until it's received. Because of that I miss books I've been waiting for as my point has not come in yet. They also don't give anything for listing, etc. Why I wonder. These points cost no one. The more points people have the more they will mooch and the more others get and the busier the site. Even people who don't send, eventually you cancel and that point is taken away.

John Buckman
4 years ago


I just posted some of this in other threads, but I don't want it to get buried so I will repost here. There are some huge flaws in the current system that requires US to deactivate inactive accounts, when the system could do it automatically.

What I proposed earlier was an auto-vacation of sorts. If a user has not logged into the site in 3 months (or whatever amount of time is determined), the system sends them an automated email, similar to a mooch request, that lets them know they have not logged in in 3 months and asks if they wish to remain active on the site. All they have to do is click a link in the email (or generally log in to the site) and their 3 month clock starts over.

I think it is safe to assume that 99% of users who would ignore (or never receive) that email would also ignore (or never receive) a mooch request. A frustrating experience for the person trying to mooch from them.

They are only put on vacation. If at any point in the future they log back into the site, their account is active again, all their books back on their shelves, etc.

The users of the site should NOT be responsible for weeding out bad/inactive accounts. I understand wanting to make the most books available, and that someone may send out a book even if they have not been active in awhile. BUT most users who would send out a book will also take 2 seconds to keep their account active once every 3 months by clicking a link in an email.

Many users consider it an unpleasant experience to request a book and have the sender never reply. Sure, we can auto-vacation them. Some who have been on the site a long time may even enjoy this task. But I really doubt your newer members find it enjoyable, I think most would find it frustrating.

4 years ago
I generally agree with what you've said here. However, on the topic of the 0.1 for listing, I do think it would be nice to leave it for the first X books, or the books you post in the first X days on the site. As a newbie I thought it was really great that I could list books and immediately be able to get something from the site. I see what you're saying about having to remove it for some books but not for others, but personally I don't reckon it's too hard to explain and I think it gives a valuable incentive to newbies (especially since you have no idea whether or not your books will be wanted). I'm fine with not having it; I just think it would be nice :)

(Perhaps - though I'm not sure how well it could work - those points could expire? So say for your first 10 books, you get the 0.1, and after a week, it expires. A newbie can list 10 books, mooch one within a week, and hopefully by that time someone's mooched one of their books and they're starting to get more points in.)

4 years ago
Two other big problems that currently exist...

Accounts that are "temporarily on hold" still have their books show up in search results, yet you cannot mooch them!

Another problem with inactive accounts is their wishlists. There are inactive accounts with 0 books in their inventory, meaning none of us can vacation them (nor should we the users be responsible for this...) but their wishlists are still active. Well the problem is they never log in to claim any wishlist books.

SO when it is time to list a book, I see that three people have it wishlisted. Yay! Only all three people are inactive and no one ever requests my book. Boo :( I think most of us have probably had that experience...

This also slows down the effectiveness of wishlist notification emails. Emails get sent to these inactive accounts, and deny active users a chance to receive quick notification that a book they want is on the site. I know that one of the big sources of frustration for users is not receiving wishlisted books... cleaning up inactive accounts should help with this problem as notifications will be more efficiently sent out to active accounts!

4 years ago
"A related idea that I've toyed with is that potential moochers could add a "reward" on certain books they really want, saying "I'll smooch 2 points to whoever gives me this book I really want to read" "

Oh, that's a good suggestion, I think I'm going to say something like that the next time I put up a request post! Thanks John.

I also like Becca's idea, am not sure if it needs twinging, but generally sounds good. As long as it's not too complicated...

4 years ago
Becca said: "SO when it is time to list a book, I see that three people have it wishlisted. Yay! Only all three people are inactive and no one ever requests my book. Boo :( I think most of us have probably had that experience..."

Oh, yes! Not to mention how annoying it is when you think a book you really want to mooch is available, only to find out that none of the copies are really available after all, because the person or people offering them are "on vacation" and apparently intend to be "on vacation" permanently.

4 years ago
Oh wow, I didn't think about inactive accounts getting wishlist emails! That is a huge issue especially if only 1/5 of the members on BM are currently active.

I also love the idea of the "reward" I have a good 100 books on my 2000+ wishlist that I would gladly give an additional 2 points for!

4 years ago
I kind of like the idea of being able to offer a reward for books I *really* want as well, but at the same time I don't really see how people would find out about this reward's existence for the books I want.
Hans Persson
4 years ago
I don't know if accounts "on vacation" or "on hold" get wishlist notifications. That's probably probably what John thinks of when he thinks of "inactive" accounts.

But there are hundreds, if not thousands, of accounts that are "possibly inactive" and grossly so, by 100 days+, that ARE receiving wishlist notifications. And many of these accounts have no books in their inventory and cannot be vacationed by the users.

4 years ago
I'm not sure if this could be a technical glitch, but when I searched half a dozen of terms last week, I got ten times more moochable books than searching the same names and terms today, as if people were locking down their inventories (already)?

It drives home the point that people can't find what/anything they want, though I was just going to ask an Angel again, since last week there were at least some books available only-in-America.

4 years ago
I have been learning a lot how Bookmooch works since i arrived. The best part is I have learned how to get the books that I want to read by building a book list, and checking it often, checking recent listings and recommended books. Another of the ways i found books to add to my booklist was to see books similar to those I like to read, click on the members inventory or wishlist (or both) and find books I'd like and add to my wishlist.
The idea that there are thousands and thousands of books here, and that the majority of them were not interesting to me, was fallacious. (I was WRONG) it just took time to find more I wanted...thanks for all who gave me clues and all who clicked on the accept button to help me see i would be getting some of the books I'd requested over this week. I really appreciate this! I also decided to open up to sending a bit outside the US...see my bio for more info about that~ Thanks!
4 years ago
John, here is a good example of inactive users being in the system.

I found a book I thought I might like, and could see that 6 copies are available. I clicked to mooch. One was international (and not to my country) so unavailable to me.

Copy 1 - Member inactive 405 days (4 books on their wishlist)
Copy 2 - Member inactive 370 days (30 books on their wishlist)
Copy 3 - Member inactive 294 days (29 books on their wishlist)
Copy 4 - Member inactive 58 days (5 books on their wishlist)
Copy 5 - Last here 18 days ago, expired reservation for overseas (indicating that someone probably did the "ask me" and never got a response) (2 books on their wishlist)

I mooched all 5 copies. I have plenty of points and if I get extra copies I can relist them. I'm a little skeptical that I will get any of the copies though.

Is this a reasonable thing for me to be expected to do? Most users would not do that, which is why inactive accounts proliferate the site.

4 years ago
Oh gee... so the same book I just mentioned is listed as being wishlisted by 9 people. 4 of them are officially ON VACATION! This is a huge problem with how the site is run. People on vacation should NOT be showing up in the wishlist count! I hope they are not also getting wishlist notification emails, but something tells me they are!

An additional person was inactive for 300 days with 0 books in their inventory.

Do you still think that point inflation is the biggest problem facing the site right now?

4 years ago
@Elizabeth Shorley

Would the post office employee let you take some of the forms home? That's what I do, and it makes my post office trips significantly shorter! :) If you write out the addresses and statement of goods at home, the post office employee just has has to fill out a small amount in the store.

4 years ago
John, I'm very glad that you've been devoting so much time lately to making improvements to BookMooch and discussing these and other prospective changes with other BM users. I'm also very impressed that you've been able to restrain yourself; personally, if I were faced with so much flak from so many ungrateful BM users (I'm thinking of the comments left in the wake of the ratio changes) I'd have pulled out my banhammer and turned downright despotic.

As I've mentioned multiple times, I think one of the biggest priorities for BookMooch should be to reverse catalogue shrinkage. I do see how reducing or minimizing inflation can have a positive effect on catalogue size, but I hope that you are thinking about a more direct change that could be implemented.

I do like the idea you mentioned though:
potential moochers could add a "reward" on certain books they really want, saying "I'll smooch 2 points to whoever gives me this book I really want to read"

It's not something I've ever thought of. Perhaps we could even have a forum where people could list books they'd be willing to pay extract for?

4 years ago
Wow Becca great point and fun with the yea and boo!

How about two wishlists? One with books you are willing to pay and extra point for and one that your not? I have maybe 20 books that I would be willing to pay the extra point for some I would be willing to go as high as 3 (maybe 5 books) I have a few books available on my wishlist but they are overseas and I'm not willing to pay the extra point as they are for sale at $3 at Amazon. The only problem with this is older members again like paperbackswap would have the advantage as they have the points to spare.

As for just giving 0.1 for the first 100 books... This shouldn't be hard to calculate. It doesn't have to be for those exact books! It is an addition of your books listed and the books sent out. Once you've sent out 100 books, you would never get deducted. Not a programming nightmare! Books sent plus books listed, if you go under 100 you start losing the 0.1. This is a simple algorithm. Come on this is definitely inflation that can be adjusted to a minimal 10 points. #sent + #list <101 0.1 is added or deducted depending on whether they are adding to inventory or removing from inventory. It is not certain books that get the 0.1 it is the first 100 listed/sent.
I agree with fern above that it should be capped but not for days on site but amount you can earn. 10 points is enough for a new member to start mooching.

Also on the credit earn when mooch is accepted... until you mark sent, the mooch can be canceled/rejected, I think the rate is close to 10%! I really think it should be when sent. Yes it is trust, the trust that it has been SENT. PBS does not do that. I hate the getting credit when received on PBS because I think you should get the credit when you have put your effort into packing and sending. But I also think it is wrong to get it before you have sent. Some books are months in the waiting for them to be marked as sent. It is a loan, debt, credit. I get the new people can mooch right away but isn't that what the first 10 credits above is for? The listing credits. OK if it is really for newbie how about a limit to that say the first 3 books requested will have immediate credit?

Irisin has a good point and I've heard it before and never have mentioned it on the forum. The search engine is seriously flawed, quotes don't work. If a name has initials and a common last name your scr***, like J.R. Ward for instance, even with quotes it is hopeless. I've gone to going to Amazon listing all the books of the author I want and putting in the ISBN one by one to search for certain authors. Put Karen Chance (an author) and you get 4 hits 2 Karen Keast, 1 Megan Chance, and 1 Karen Chandler. That is using the author search also, it does nothing.

Thanks for the open forum.

Amy W
4 years ago
Oh, on the 60 books accepted issue... this would be fixed by not getting points until marked sent. I don't mind waiting for some books, even months as long as the member informs me and I agree. I just don't like that they can use the point though. Until it is sent, no effort has been made. There are too many members months behind on sending that have used the points. If enough people cancel, they will be in the negative. It should be very hard to become negative in points.

I don't think there should be a limit to number of sends. I've had 20 books going out in one send alone. I think I got smooch half of those though.

Amy W
4 years ago
First time (and probably last) posting but I'm so vexed I have to speak up.
John, the prices you have quoted for UK mailings are wrong and misleading. If those figures were realistic I'd still be a bookmoocher after the end of the month.

"In the UK, it costs £0.81 to send 250 grams, and £1.11 to send 500 grams, a 32% savings."

Not true.

Those prices are correct if posting within the UK TO the UK. However, for those prices to apply the item being posted must be no thicker than 25mm. They have to DROP through a test slot at the counter without any assistance. 25mm.

The majority of single books might be within weight limits but after wrapping in the flimsiest materials few are within thickness allowance. Try getting 2 or more books wrapped and have them be below 25mm thickness.

UK mail prices are dependant on weight AND dimensions. Send something overseas and the problem just compounds. Multiple mooches make me shudder.

Those prices you have given are the very minimum it costs to mail within the UK. Most paperbacks fall within the 2 higher limits which you have not listed - £1.51 + £1.91. For single books WITHIN the UK.

Multiply the books and the costs multiply right along with them.

32% saving.....I wish.

4 years ago

I don't find it nearly as annoying as you do that people who are inactive still show up on wishlists; certainly there are plenty of people who ARE active who still don't mooch the available books on their wishlists.

I guess I regard the whole thing as more of a game--I post a book, maybe the wishlisters will mooch it, maybe someone else will, maybe no one will. It's part of the fun to see what will happen.

As far as mooching from inactive members, and needing to cancel and vacation them, I see that as something I should do as a member of this community. Doesn't take much time, and again, it's part of the fun--will this person respond, or won't they?

4 years ago
Hey Elizbeth, you could try the USPS app that prints out the custom form for foreign countries. I print it out at home. Also you could just grab a bunch of the forms at the post office. My post office puts them out in the general waiting area. The USPS app also adds delivery confirmation for an extra 19 cent in postage for domestic labels. Sending flat rate priority inside the US get delivery confirmation for no extra postage.
Amy W
4 years ago
I would like a list where I could list books at 0.5 credits as long as 2 are mooched. Certain books I would do that with but not my highly wanted ones. Of course that would be a nightmare to program and it defeats the one book sent, one book mooched philosophy. So does giving extra credits to mooch wishlisted books though. They do cost the same to mail out.
Amy W
4 years ago
Elizabeth, I've looked at your profile and keep forgetting that, yikes.
Amy W
4 years ago
I have received 2 Mooches today from UK Moochers - both of whom have empty inventories. I can only assume they are using up their points and then they are off - looks like the rot has set in already.

I'd do the same but I have far too many points to use up as I had been stockpiling points prior to a postal increase here - more fool me!!

I'm sure I have more than enough books to stay dormant for the trial period. As I only send internationally I guess I'll just have to start buying books locally from now on, it won't be any more expensive and at least they will be new.

I am very sad as BookMooch was a very important part of my life for many years.

4 years ago
I'm a realtively new member at BM -- and so far am completely satisfied with my experiences here.

I left another swap site that I had used exclusively for a while because members would not send items out in a timely manner and others would not mark items received, thereby leaving "open" items on pending list. Both are areas I consider very important.

Thus far every item but 1 that I have mooched has been sent out promptly, packaged wonderfully, and received in good--excellent condition. The 1 item has a delayed shipping date. The member involved in this transaction advised me immediately of the delay and asked if that would be OK with me. That member's politeness, consideration, and overall courteous attitude is so greatly appreciated.

I always make sure to provide a Delivery Confirmation Tracking # on all books I send. So far, I only have one book that's been delivered that hasn't been marked as received. Probably just an oversight, so I'm willing to wait at least a week before I start bugging the receiver with an e-mail.

Again, I'm completely happy with my BookMooch experience and think I've found a home. I'm a retired lady on a small fixed income. I don't have a large inventory at present nor a large budget for acquiring new items. BookMooch, I think will help in both those areas.

4 years ago
To those who think it is OK not to credit the .1 for listing a book after the first 100 books because by then you are "dedicated" to BM and don't need the points ---
Do you also think it is OK for your employer to pay you 10% less than other employees after you have worked there for say, 1 year, because you are "dedicated" -- I think not.
I am also amused/confused by those who apparently think that those with lots of points (which have only been accumulated because we have shipped lots of books) are "hoarding" and that a cap should be put on the number of points or that points must be given to charity, etc. Would you also propose that those with lots of $ in their savings accounts be forced into 'charity' ?
Of course we could spend all those points immediately, which would have the effect of further reducing the number of available books.
4 years ago
Actually peachfuzz, I think that you are not employed by this site. The principle is send a book and receive a book. The 10 points is to attract a new customers. You are a customer, see not an employee. And yes, business do hand out coupons all the time to attract new customers. Once they see how great the product is, they stick around.

Also that is 9.09% less not 10%

Amy W
4 years ago
I just want to add that I'd be ok with getting 0.9 pts when sending the book (so that we would get 1 pt total in listing+sending) as you suggested. This is reasonable if it's not possible at the moment to cap the 0.1s given for listing books. So while I support this suggestion, I think that maybe it would be best if it were implemented in a few months, not with all of the other current changes.

and I also agree that we should manually vacation moochers who *actually* don't respond when being requested a book, not just because X months have gone by.
People may not want to log in every certain amount of months when they get no requests (something like that might just make me quit the site if I were in that position) but might still be willing to send a book (and we won't know until we try and request the book).

I'm not sure if this is how things work now, but I think that it used to be that when a user is on forced vacation and someone cancels a pending mooch from them without indicating that the user didn't respond, said book would go back into the inventory instead of being hidden. I don't think that this happens too frequently but it still may be a source of books that are listed but shouldn't be available? (see this example with a closed account: bio:ghast)

4 years ago
I think you should be able to do what you want with the points you have earned. I believe the money you spend should be the way your earn your points, postage. If you don't want to give to charity, fine. If you don't want to spend the extra money per point to send internationally fine. Charity is only a suggestion some suggest.
Amy W
4 years ago
I would be alright with the 0.1 for listing and then 0.9 for sending as it controls inflation but it would still be credit/debt in the system. Those that list more stagnate books would have more debt. Still it would fix the 1:1 send/mooch ratio. I think that is the bigger problem and it would give new members the extra with out docking older members. People would be less inclined to create new accounts for the initial bonus.
Amy W
4 years ago
andrea -- very good example.
book listed
Eoin Colfer : The Opal Deception (Artemis Fowl, Book 4)
This book should not show up in a wishlist but it does. I put it in my wishlist and it shows 1 available.
Amy W
4 years ago
I personally would fully support points not being awarded until the book is marked sent or recieved
The problem with waiting until books are marked received is that surface mail from some countries can take up to 4 months. That's a long time to wait for your points after you've spent the money at the post office. Getting points after books have been marked sent will just encourage those (few) unscrupulous moochers to mark books sent that they haven't actually sent. Which then delays the time they will get noticed and removed from the system. Those who don't send and don't communicate well get cancellations and negative feedback pretty quickly.
4 years ago
Thanks for the post, and for reading through/working through some of our input.

I would just like to reiterate that it is *not* always cheaper to send 2 books per point in Canada. Canada goes by both sized and weight (And they measure each cm believe me!). It is not usually a matter of putting them in separate envelopes if they are above usual letter thickness. I am not sure how putting them in separate envelopes would 'save money' anyway, would this not be like sending two separate parcels? And sending together for anything but the tiniest books will not necessarily save any money here. I wholeheartedly agree that it would make much more sense for Canadapost to handle it this way, but sadly they do not.

So, multiple mooches does NOT necessarily save money. I just want to make sure that is very clear in case further changes are planned. This would be another change based on what works for the US system only.

Thanks for listening.

4 years ago
I searched that book from Jenny from new zealand Eoin Colfer : The Opal Deception (Artemis Fowl, Book 4) and it says account on hold but on her page is says acct closed shouldn't there be a distiniction between them?
4 years ago
look at this member they have been inactive for 134 days and according to new policy: has received 4 :1 and i don't see it saying on vacation???
I'm confused, that means the 73 books in inventory are not available. its ridiculous. i agree with everyone who said about the reminder after certain amount days. i even saw one who had inactive account for over 497 days! can't someone like Becca said put them on vacation or at the very least, mark the book when searched with a symbol or something to say its from an inactive account? then you will know before you mooch like for example 4 available 1 from possibly inactive account type thing. I've also seen way too many where u get excited that your book u want is available like say 6 copies but the members either only send to there country or are inactive. it sucks. i also agree about more choices for sending i will gladly send to north america but would appreciate a ask me for anywhere else as i go case by case and how much i can afford.
4 years ago
I'm against making it 0.9 points to send a book. That seems overcomplicated and demotivating. (You know how 99 cents seems like a lot less money than a dollar, somehow? Well, 0.9 points seems like way less than 1 point psychologically, even though it isn't really.) It's slightly worse to pay 1.1 to receive a book, but still problematic for the same reason.

Either way, the biggest problem with either solution is that it requires a lot of explaining for it to make sense to a new user; the "1 point to send, 1 point to mooch" thing is intuitive. Intuitiveness is very important for gaining and keeping new users.

Better to just eliminate the 0.1 for listing books. Or at least put a cap on it (so new users can earn their first few points that way, but that's the only cause for inflation). I like the 0.1 point for listing books -- for all the mentions you've mentioned, John; they are good reasons -- but if you only got 0.9 for sending, well . . . that would kinda seem to defeat the reason to like that 0.1 point in the first place. Even if it works out exactly the same, psychologically, I think it *will* make people think, "Well, PaperBackSwap gives me more for mailing things!"

I really do like the multi-mooching idea. As long as the sender still receives the same number of points, that's a *fantastic* way to encourage moochers to get more than one book from the same person. I especially think it would be valuable if you launched this before (or around the same time) as the increase in points for international mooching. That way, people who mooch internationally could still potentially get a really good deal (through Angels who send them a lot of books at once, for instance!), which would lessen disfavor from the price increase.

And, I mean, if sending two books in one envelope is more expensive in your country, why not put them in two envelopes and send them separately instead? Presumably we put books in our inventories because we'd like them to get mooched. If two get mooched by the same person, you can either put them in one envelope (if it's cheaper) or put them in two (which makes it the same price they'd be going to two separate people). Even in the latter case, you may not get a discount on shipping, but you got an extra mooch more quickly. So why not? Can't see how it could hurt anybody, as long as no one's *forced* to mail things together if the price is worse that way! :P

There could definitely be good reasons for a person to have lots of books to send pending. They might have run out of money and be waiting until their next payday. They might be Angeling and waiting for the rest of the books to arrive put in one package. They might be collecting books to send to one friend and not have a totally full box yet. They might only have time or the ability to make it to the post office once a month, or something. I personally don't care how many books a person might have pending, or even if it might take them awhile to send (well, in most cases), as long as they don't go non-responsive or evasive on me.

Excellent point about the geographic spread, John, and that is something I hadn't considered with my changing-the-way-0.1-points-for-listing ideas. If so-called "junk books" aren't currently a problem, then I agree that we're definitely better off without overcomplicating things. Thank you for thinking things through. You are terrific with this. :)

Oh, and thank you, John, for agreeing with me that BookMooch is a community of trust, not suspicion. That's exactly one of the reasons I feel it's much better to award points immediately, rather than holding in reserve like PaperBackSwap does, but I couldn't put it into words exactly. The international aspect is another major reason. And the "first day thrill"! Yes! Yes, exactly! That's EXACTLY what made me fall in love with BookMooch over PaperBackSwap so quickly! Especially when you realize that's one of the aspects that makes BookMooch so trusting and welcoming, while PaperBackSwap is all wary and suspicious. One might get burned sometimes if they're going out and giving everybody a chance, but if they don't, they'll *never* find those trusting, lasting friendships that make life worth living. Where PaperBackSwap acts like a wary schoolteacher, BookMooch is more like a loving best friend. Which makes for such a better community.

Yeah. BookMooch rules. Thank you for creating it! :D

Emily Martha Sorensen
4 years ago
Amy -
My point was that all BM members should be treated equally - whether they have posted/mooched/sent 4 books or 400.
4 years ago
How is it being treated not equally if ever member gets an initial allotment for listing? You got it, I got it. I would like to see it at 2 or 3 points really. Just enough so you can start mooching before you get a request and are able to send out to build up points.

From what I understand, different bonuses have been award in the past that have now been eliminated, I believe a 0.1 condition notes? I'm not sure as I was not part of the club then. Well the older people that were here got those bonuses, and extra points that I did not and will never. Is this unfair to me? No. I have received 30 listing credits from books I have sent already, how would limiting listing credit now be unfair to me? I already got extra bonuses for starting with the club, in fact more because I've been here and the club is dynamic. I am saying all members, including me should have a cap of 10 credits or less, for books listed right now. I am not saying dock the long time members or take away points. That would be just wrong. Even if they are devalued, they still cost us money to build up.

Here is a scenario for these extra credits in the system -- So many people have extra credits and cannot spend them. We are talking right now about offering 2 credit for a more wished for book. Suddenly books are costing 2 credit per book because people holding out until they are offered 2 credits for the books on their shelf. Hey suddenly my 100 credits are only worth 50 books if they are wishlisted at all. Big devaluation, even more than the 1.2 credits per book we had, and the 1.1 credits we currently have. How would you like your well earn credits be worth only 50% now? Suddenly it is a 2:2 for wanted books. New members would be making 2 credits per send where we made 1 because we have so many points to spend. That seem more unfair.

Inflation has to be curtailed. Before is gets out of hand with too many points in the system. Getting new members into the club, a growing club, could handle the extra points. With out the growth, we must stop the printing of points that are not earned, and probably devalue the points in the system until they are spent down somewhat. Hence I think we will see a lot more of the 2 point mooching for wishlisted books. I really don't like the idea. It should be a 1:1, but that's life of any economic system.

Capping the points stops the bleed. How about we just get rid of the listing 0.1 altogether? Oh well that stops the incentive to list right? For anyone who has built up points, they don't need extra points and it won't entice them to list any more than they already are. (like me) For those that have spent down all their points, they have mooched more than they have sent. They should be building up their points by sending not listing. The only bad thing about getting rid of the 0.1 listing credit is NEW members.

Amy W
4 years ago
Please BM, clean up the inactive accounts, then we'll really see what the situation is. This ought to be relatively easy in terms of programming. Start, for example, with those that have been inactive for say 300 days or more.
Flag the accounts as "inactive: on hold", send an e-mail to the account owner offering him/her the chance to reactivate the account within say two weeks or the account stays on hold for a further month before being archived pending contact with BM.
It's a classic case of "can't see the wood for the trees". Once seriously inactive accounts no longer show up with inventories and thus books on wishlists, then we'll all have a better idea of how BM is doing, as we down here in user-land will be able to clearly see:

1. What inventory there really is in BM

2. How many active members this site really has.

At present the onus is on individual members to find inactive accounts, send mails, not receive replied, put account on hold. This is an administrative question and should be addressed by admin.

Please, take this step and then let's move on.
4 years ago
Is it not possible to have mercy with people from small countries concerning the 3 points for international?

The Netherlands has 133 members. More than a few inactive.

USA has over 17.000 members.

It just doesn't seem fair.

4 years ago
Yes, please, clear up inactive accounts! I think that would help a great deal. It's very annoying to search for a book you want, find six copies supposedly available, and discover that all of them are from inactive members who won't bother to send to you. (Sniff sniff sniffle.) Had that happen quite a few times.

I don't mind the wishlists-of-inactive-members problem as much, but I agree that it can be disappointing to see that a book you're listing is on three wishlists . . . and then discover, weeks later, that nobody's mooched it all this time because all three of those accounts are inactive.

*Are* inactive members getting wishlist e-mails? I assume so; I don't even see a problem with that, as some smaller people may be inactive only because they've traded all their current inventory and are waiting for wishlist books to pop up. I do hope vacationed accounts aren't getting wishlist e-mails, though. As vacationed accounts can't mooch, it does no one any good for them to receive them!

I don't know if it would be a programming nightmare to take care of this if it isn't already in place, though. Would it?

I like Becca's idea of an inactive account automatically vacationing itself after three months unless the user clicks on a link in an e-mail. Three months is a long enough period of time that it wouldn't seem naggy or annoying, and most people who have been inactive that long are likely to be uninterested in the site, anyway. While we can help out by mooching and vacationing nonresponsive accounts, it would be very, very nice if that problem would take care of itself after a certain period of time, as well. There are so many inactive accounts around that it takes too many people too much time to keep tracking and closing them all. Wouldn't an automated system, which pulls the burden off humans, be preferable to this?

Emily Martha Sorensen
4 years ago
I don´t *like* a few of the changes, for example regarding international mooching points, but I do think maybe they are for the best and necessary to keep bookmooch interesting.

BUT I am against an incentive for multiple mooching. For me, and maybe a lot of other people, I am counting on my bookmooch books getting mooched one at a time (it does not really happen, a bit like buses, often several get mooched by different people). But I sort of hate it when several mooches happen at the same time, because the money spent on the post office is so much more noticeable and mentally I can compare it with buying several new books - yeah I could wait and send it spread it, but I *can* not do that.

Also you know sometimes sending the books, particularly out of Europe, is not really a totally rational thing, it´s partly to send the book to somebody who really wants it. I really don´t want to and will not send many multiple books internationally, it will be terribly expensive even sent separately.

If you do decide to go ahead and do put an incentive for multiple mooching, please please do not go overboard, just stick it to 2 or 3 books. And I assume it would be OK for bookmoocher users to put on their profiles they can not send more than 1 or 2 books to the same moocher?

4 years ago
Do a number of comments here not beg the question of how do we get more people to join BookMooch worldwide? There is a danger that this site could end up for US members only if international mooching is not encouraged. There never appears to be any advertising or press outside of the States. Word of mouth is not enough. I wrote an article about BookMooch in the July/August 2010 edition of NewBooks because I felt so little was known about it over here and I felt that lots of people would be interested in joining. A group of book lovers, many of whom belong to book groups, was an obvious target audience. This was never followed up or acknowledged. Publicity seems to focus on the USA only. If it is not feasible to mooch books from abroad, the numbers of books available in other countries will shrink because there will be no opportunity to spend any points.

Link to Newbooks website, in case you don't know about the mag. Well worth looking at.

Claire T
4 years ago
I think it is perfectly OK if you tell someone you may not be able to send out a book for a while. They can then decide if that's OK for them. If it's not and they want the book more in a hurry, they can cancel the mooch and can get it somewhere else. It is not like we're unaware of how tough things are for everyone at the minute and that you can get a sudden rush of mooches. Surely, it is only if people say they are going to send something and then don't that it is a problem. I often tell people not to rush sending things, especially if it's near Christmas and you know people are busy. Hope you don't leave.
Claire T
4 years ago
Claire T, I've been thinking about this too - so many moochers from smaller (in BM terms) countries say that they have very few fellow moochers, and so have to mooch internationally. How could we persuade these moochers to - for want of a better word - evangelise? If they can get hold of a stack of BM cards/bookmarks, they might be able to spread the word. (I spoke to a woman standing at the bookshelf of a local charity shop, who was sighing and lamenting that she'd read all the books for sale - so I handed her a BM card (I keep a stack in my wallet), and told her a bit about it - she left at high speed to get back home to her computer!) In the absence of cards, just putting a signature at the bottom of your outgoing emails, or simple word-of-mouth, might improve matters.
Sophie Houston
4 years ago
Good idea. Posters in libraries would be a good idea too (assuming our government doesn't close half of them, of course. A very sore point.) There are very few book magazines around which was why I was pleased the good people at Newbooks printed the article. (The points bit will now be inaccurate, of course.....but was correct at time of going to press...)

With the UK, alot of people are spoilt for choice: libraries and great charity shops plus ebay and Amazon. I've got a Kindle too. We've never had it so good really but I am sure there are more people out there who would join, if they only knew about it! The big selling point is the friends you make and getting books to people who wouldn't otherwise have access to them.

I am sure there are other ideas we could come up with to increase membership but it would need some encouragement and co-ordination, John.... I'm sure there are lots of people out there who are willing to do their bit for BookMooch!

Claire T
4 years ago
I have a lot of BM cards and I'm forever spreading the word.

But with the new rules coming there is no reason for people from small countries to become a BM member.

I think (and see for myself) that more and more people from Europe browse wishlist first and ask other moochers from Europe if they want a book before putting it on BM.

It's the only way to keep up with BM-ers from the US.

4 years ago

The TV, of course.... Books receive very little TV exposure but this is going out at the minute. Do we not have someone out there who knows someone who can put in a good word.... There's also World Book Night coming up in March.

There are lots of book festivals over here. I've never seen any BookMooch advertising: Edinburgh in summer, Oxford etc.

The site needs more exposure!!

Claire T
4 years ago
Sophie - I agree with you, but it isn't so easy in countries where English is not the first language. I rave about BM all the time, but have only gotten one friend to join. People just aren't that interested in getting used books in English (and with only 20 members from Norway, the majority of which have listed only English books, using the site to get Norwegian books really isn't an option). I guess, it's just hard to get over that initial hump. Few members in a country means less incentive to join. Of course, it doesn't help that postage is so expensive here...
4 years ago
It is really important for the UK base to increase the number of books available because we're not going to have a need to spend any points if it's too expensive to mooch from abroad. The system will grind to a halt. People need to be able to mooch more domestically.
Claire T
4 years ago
AlineM, I know it's a lot harder to get over the initial hump, but it becomes a vicious circle - fewer books in your chosen language make it a tougher sell, but the more moochers, the more books - some kind of outreach programme is required, I think. Personally, I'm going to spend some points on BM cards and bookmarks, and then I'm going to contact people I've mooched from in, eg, Lithuania (that's just an example)and offer to send them out (refunding a point or two, depending on their balance) so that they can start to big-up BM to friends, loved ones and complete strangers. Anyone else fancy trying this?
Sophie Houston
4 years ago
PS: ad my previous comment about hardly anybody from America sending abroad anymore, which has gotten worse in the last two days:

IMO these moochers are even LESS likely to send after these changes, while - as many people from small countries like myself - we will be unable to get anything for our points anymore.

I just can't think of anything that would make American moochers send internationally apart from an (impossible) forcing system, so I do fear - like people above me - that BM will end up like all the other swapping sites we cannot participate in anymore, because they are US or UK only, and our countries are too small to have a working BM system (I checked out attempts).

*sad face*

Weeding out dead accounts is of course a priority.

Encouraging diversity in listing isn't helped by emphasising most wishlisted books - I already cannot wishlist all I'm looking for, because most of these authors are not listed at all and I couldn't wishlist their whole amazon catalogue, but I manually check for them regularly.

4 years ago
I think that's a good idea Sophie. Are there any moochers involved in World Book Night who would be prepared to stick a BookMooch bookmark in each book they give out even if some of us contributed to the cost of the bookmark. A thought.
Claire T
4 years ago
Wouldn't it be fair to split the US up in states? Mooching outside your own state would be like mooching from another country.

Just kidding. ;))))

Next time I put a book in my inventory I will browse wish lists from Europe first.

4 years ago
I created a new forum for European Moochers.

I hope European moochers will want to comment and discuss things there.

4 years ago
I've mooched lots of books from Italy (to the UK) in the past, but I've just had a very apologetic email from an Italian BookMoocher explaining that she can no longer afford to send books abroad, as on January 1st the Italian postal service tripled the cost of sending books to other countries. It is this (escalating postal costs) which is making international mooching so much more difficult, and potentially killing it off. All our agonising over points and ratios is as nothing in comparison.
John S
4 years ago
@ John S

Right! What ever happened to supporting the European Union mutually? Never mind the entire globe...

4 years ago
@Hans Persson

There is a 'request books from your friends forum... That may work for you.

4 years ago
Would it be possible, along with the incentive for multi-mooching, to add an option to click on your profile page that says you send to multi-moochers? This would be a clear notice to anyone wanting to mooch multiple books whether this will be acceptable to the person who has to send the books. Maybe it could even be programmed somehow that if you do not have this box checked, the system will not allow more than one book mooched by any person to be added to the giver's pending page. Maybe I'm going overboard, but I really like the idea of multi-mooching. I understand there are some countries where having to ship 2 or more books at a time would be a drawback, so this option would be a proactive way to prevent a lot of rejections by people who do not want or can not afford to send multiple books.
4 years ago
Well, John, you've surely had a lot of comments to read this week. Adding my two bits:

I have few complaints about this site. The only experiences that frustrate me here are the instances when I request a book, the member accepts (with no indication that there will be a delay), and does not send the book for a prolonged period. In two instances I've been certain that members were using "my" points to mooch while making no effort to mail requested books. I canceled my requests, but the experiences were frustrating. I would suggest that points be awarded only when the book is mailed (as TitleTrader does). I request a book, a point is deducted from my total. The member I mooch from accepts, mails the book and only then gets the point. I've read most of the comments generated in the last few days, and see nothing that would argue against this change. I agree with you that waiting until the book is marked as being received to award the point has several downsides, but I don't see any to waiting until it is in the mail.

Second bit: While I don't disagree that the .1 point for marking a book received was unnecessary and inflationary, further constricting the economy will likely cause a reduction in transactions. As in the "real" world, modest inflation and economic growth are not only compatible but inseparable.

Thanks for all you do.

Bill W
4 years ago
i agree that something needs to be done about all of the inactve accounts.

I also belong to a UK swapping site. I list here first and if a book is wishlisted here, I do not list on the other swapping site. If all of the wishlist accounts are inactive then this is a waste of time.

As the other site has provided a lot of BM members with wishlisted books (I actively sought them)then I want to keep putting books into whichever swapping system has a reader who wants the book.

Please, please can we also have a regional level. I have mooched books from the US, listed them and they are then mooched from the US and by BM members who do not send internationally. This does not make economic or environmental sense. I am not proposing to lock books in Europe, but perhaps regional groups would mean that more people would be willing to send internationally.

4 years ago
And please can we have a feature which shows if any of my save for later/wishlist books are in someone's inventory.

Many people (especially those on ask me) are asking for multi mooches but searching huge inventories puts me off and often I decide not to mooch.

4 years ago
To chime in -
I disagree with a builtin multi-mooch incentive; lots of people offer that anyway and that is fine - I just think it should be the "seller's" choice.
I am perfectly OK with a .1 credit for listing a book, with just .9 credit when the book is mooched - and of course no credit for acknowlegement --- the result being a simple 1 credit for (domestic) mooch - not the current 1.2 points which I can certainly see is inflationary.
I was surprised to hear that only 1/5 of listed members are considered "active" -
I also strongly agree that a cleanup of inactive accounts is needed; otherwise you don't really know how many books are in the system. This would actually have the effect of reducing the number of books "listed" - but since it is agreed that many of them are not really available anyway at least you would know what is what.
I also have no problem with emails for wishlisted books to be sent to 'vacationed' accounts -- I put my account on vacation hold recently when away since I had limited computer access and did not want to disappoint or ignore a moocher, but when I could I did check in and even requested a mooch which I had sent to my new location. Worked fine. For the inactives, getting a wishlisted book may be what they need to become active again.
When mooching I do always scan inventories to see if there is another I would like and often make my choice of who to mooch from on that basis. Like Brownbear I find scanning thru hundreds of books to be a pain and would love an easier way to find books I am looking for.
Then there is the fact that the seach feature for ANY book in BM is limited --which many people have mentioned. I often use the search feature of my other swapsite to find books I might like - then see if they are available at BM where I have more points to spend.
Maybe nobody really cares what I think, but I feel better now.
4 years ago
@ljpbb - I have used the Book Search Among Friends Forum as recently as last week. I posted a list of books I was looking for and that I would be willing to smooch 2 additional points for each one and had no responses.
4 years ago
I agree with Bill W about the sender not getting their point until they send.
Claire T
4 years ago
I second Bill W and Claire T on the idea of not receiving your point until you actually send the book. This makes more sense to me than waiting to get your point until the book is marked received, especially with international mooches. Sending internationally from the US, like I do doesn't usually take too long, but I often have to wait weeks/months to get books sent to me from overseas. I don't think it would be fair to those users who mainly have to mooch internationally to have to wait to use points until the books are marked received. The only problem I see with delaying the point for the sender would be those members who have a lot of pending requests and who can only send out a limited number of books due to financial considerations. These people might then have to wait before they could mooch books on their Wishlists, etc.
4 years ago
While I agree that not getting your points until a book has actually been sent makes logical sense, I have a feeling that more people would start marking books as sent before they really were. I can see this happening for two reasons. 1) People who think "Well, I'm going to send that on Friday, and I need the points now so what's the harm?" and 2) People who accept mooches now, but never send them (and use the points they have earned) probably aren't the most honest of people, so what would prevent them from marking books as sent to get those points, instead of just marking them as accepted?
4 years ago
The member I mooch from accepts, mails the book and only then gets the point. I've read most of the comments generated in the last few days, and see nothing that would argue against this change.

My problem with the idea is that someone could mark a book sent that they have not sent and then there would be a 6 week wait domestic, 4 months international before the "lost" feedbacks would appear on the bio. That's time to mooch a lot of books. Someone not sending at all, in spite of reminders, could get vacationed/negative feedback much sooner.

edit: And the person gets to keep their ill gotten points if the books are marked "lost". And you can't leave a "negative" on their feedback nor vacation them so someone else doesn't get taken in.

4 years ago
All these comments just underline what a complicated thing Bookmooch is and what a complete headache it must be for John and his fellow administrators to run it so everyone is kept sweet!!!!!
Many thanks, John, for your patience and continued support to the site.
pamela biss
4 years ago
I guess I'm just happy to have a free place to list and trade my books. Thanks John. :)
4 years ago
Gosh some of us have really strayed from the main point of the post, hope it's not too vexing, John!

Two more comments, if I may. I think that any added points for books you want should be determined on your own. Aside from posting and waiting in the Mooch From Your Friends forum, you can sometimes email an international moocher, and offer them extra points for a books. The worst you'll get is an emphatic No! Which was they're right anyway. (Can you tell I've tried that? XD) I also think that multi-mooching should be determined on your own. You set it in the condition notes for that book (to those it applies) and maybe in your Bio, maybe in your status. I think these deals should be sorted out depending on your financial situation and on how quickly the books are going or how generous you feel.

@Belladonna1975 - I remember reading your post because I own quite a few Fables but am very much attached to my collection. Personally I own none of the books you have listed, I think quite a few people who post in that forum also comment on other posts, and I can imagine going a few weeks, but with reposting once in a while, if you like, you may find something. I wish you luck in either case.

4 years ago
I'm am on the side of not getting your points until you mark sent.

Cara - Are you arguing for leaving it the same, getting points when you accept the mooch, or not getting the point until marked received? See the point of getting the points after marked sent is that there is a trust on this site which is quite nice. Yes, there are unscrupulous people who would used points from books not actually sent but hopeful the pattern can be detected. And the way it is now, they can do that even easier.

Now I argue to change until mark as sent for two reasons. 1) if a person marks sent but hasn't sent, like your first scenario, at least they would have a deadline. Right now there is no deadline at all and the credit/debt can be used indefinitely.

I would point out some accounts, but I don't want to point fingers. None of the people on this forum has this problem, but... there is a lot of it out there. Some are actually very active bookmooch members but they have 100 plus books in their pending for months, slowly going up and down, and have used up all the points. They use this "credit" to mooch books from the system before they actually have paid any money on postage. At least giving credit only when marked sent would give a deadline, at most 4 month for International mooches.

This would eliminate mooching by members that haven't actually earned points and leave those book to members that have too many points.

Having Lost books against your account is something I always look at. If it is over 3% I have to start wondering. I believe there is a limit before the account would be flagged.

I think credit for multiple mooching Internationally... I'm really on the fence here. I mooch 3 book twice from Germany and both members sent them in 2 packages because sending them together was nearly twice the charge. It would get more book into the system for some countries. I would probably, as I already do, try to find some other book they wanted. Still wouldn't it be an extra point in the system?

How about the 2:2 for sending Internationally regionally.

Amy W
4 years ago
Does it have to be a 3 point charge for books mooched internationally?
How about 2.5 or similar?
The "price" of my books just went up by 50%, that's a huge hike on top of postal increases and in the midst of a recession.
4 years ago
@Amy I totally get your point, and I agree about appreciating that the site is based on trust. But to give you an example, today I marked as "lost" two books I was trying to get as an angel for someone in Europe. I had to wait 6 weeks (they were domestic) to mark them lost, there is no way to leave feedback or a negative rating, this account has 3 books sent, 3 books lost. The situation would be even worse with a 4 month delay for an international mooch. An account with many books pending is very visible. If the member is not communicating well then eventually there will be cancellations and negative feedback, possibly even forced vacation. So I am for keeping the status quo. Changing until books are marked sent to give points will just encourage the (very few) scammers to mark books sent that have not been sent, or an "underground" deal where the sender marks them "sent" with the receiver agreeing that the books can be sent at a later time. (I had a sender who was having trouble keeping up with her pending suggest this to me). Having a really large pending is just more transparent. I hope that made sense!
4 years ago
I guess I would like to say that I completely agree with a point that Celeste above made. I'm not on PBS, but as a "resident" with Bookmooch for the last year or two, I know that what made me decide to use this site was the fact that I could generate a point or two right off the bat by putting my books on. It's really a sales tool of sorts. Without that little incentive, I might not be on Bookmooch, but happily (or unhappily!)swapping elsewhere..:0) That would be too bad too, because I have really learned to like the people on Bookmooch!
4 years ago
As someone mentioned before, every economy needs moderate inflation to continue growing. I think the 0.1 point for adding books is exactly that! When international mooches cost 3 points, the biggest cause of inflation will be gone anyway. If you'd remove the 0.1, this might drive us into recession. I suggest thinking about this again by the end of 2011, when the effects of the changes show some trends. It might be hard to track certains effects back to certain causes when there are too many changes (causes) at once.
4 years ago
Nibbling at the edges of the "inactive inventories are so frustrating" impasse: On the Mooch page, would it be possible to list how many days it's been since each offerer logged in? Then if we're presented with a list of only people who haven't been on in ages, we'll be able to take a deep breath and brace ourselves, having an idea of the likelihood of success. Under the current system it's a journey into the depths of despair as our optimism is smothered again and again with every mouse click.

Edit: As Cara points out below, we do have this. It's the last line in each offerer's block on the Mooch page, and even has "(possibly inactive)" for the long ones. (It's been awhile since my last journey into the depths of despair. I think I've become allergic.)

4 years ago
Yesterday I made a decision about pressing *sent* as i was on my way out to the post office...I arrived there to find out that I was wrong about Saturday hours (being 2:00 not 12:00) and it was already closed.
(I won't do that again.)And yes I did think, what If I am in an accident or something macabe) hah!

Yet...this incident should not be a big deal because I am an honest person who made two simple "mistakes" the office hours weren't memorized (or they have changed) and two, I did press sent as i was leaving the house. They are in the back of my car awaiting tomorrow morning send off, but still...I did not have to do anything to prove the books were off to their destination. Now I will go let six or seven folks know what happened, and send them the books tomorrow...but whats to stop the dishonset person who is here to scam free books, well nothing.

I'm thinking say it isn't at all wrong to protect a site, with good policy and I was just thinking that whatever can be put into place as a rule to protect the honest folks, (so that we will get the books over scammers) should not be something anyone would want to argue over I like the way so many are voicing their opinion here, and the way John appears to be taking every word into account. But I am with the few who are saying let's keep it is good to make rules that protect and enhance a great site like this. Even if your bottom line isn't what is was one had to save up points here, so if they were used sooner, there would be no loss. I have tried to keep it close to a one book for one ratio, but I have requested a few extra since many folks dont accept for a long while in my opinion.

I am waiting to cancel many mooches that have not been responded, If anything...the very thing i would enhance first on this site (personally) would be the idea of having a quick response courtesy, and giving some credit for speedy service. And something be done, so that when we order/request books, they dont appear on our page as mooched...since we may have to cancel, and never recieve the book. That just makes a person look a bit greedy, and I don't want folks thinking I am not genuinely generous. My generosity may be that I don't mind getting books that looked like they have been thru the grist-mill, while sending out nearly new books, nearly everytime. My generosity might be that I send very quickly every single time, or decide to go with first class mail...stuff like this.

Whatever happens, I absolutely will not be able to keep up the momentum on this sending & mooching spree, that I am currently on. And all my "maybe I'll pass along" books are already listed here (except magazines), since many (of my maybe 400 book library) books are "to read asap" on my shelves I plan to keep if they become important to me through reading them. I have four children who may like them too.

I will only want to send most of my books out AFTER i have made time to read them. So my inital 25 books swap in about five days, looks like i am going to be a good swapper, but I am fairly sure i will never reach this momentum again....ALTHOUGH I AM WILLING to {thrift shop for bookmooch wishlists} I suppose, but I will need to get ink in the ol' printer and print up a list to take along with me next time. My memory isn't worth a bag of old bananas, anymore, so I am going to bring along a list of the top 50 or 100 books wishlisted next time. WELL at least I can't remember a bunch of bad *stuff* from my past either...haha, theres always a silver lining to things, i guess.

Take Care All~

4 years ago
Just an FYI that I'm on a 3 day vacation in Disneyland (in Anaheim, California) at the moment, and won't be able to answer any questions posted here until Thursday, at the earliest.


John Buckman
4 years ago
HOORAY FOR DISNEYLAND!!! Have fun JOHN!!!! (Kiss Micky Mouse for me!)
4 years ago
I think not getting points until the book is marked sent would not work... you'd just end up getting a lot of people marking the books as sent when they're not really, and then sending you a note saying that they're not going to be sending the books for the next week (day, month, etc.).

Not giving points until the books are received would not be a good policy. As John pointed out, it doesn't seem very trusting. Also, what about the books that are never received? I've sent out a couple of books that got lost. Mayhap the moocher never received it, but I did package the book, pay the postage, and send it through the post and it wouldn't be fair to withhold points for something outside the sender's control.

4 years ago
On the Mooch page, would it be possible to list how many days it's been since each offerer logged in?
This information appears on the "mooch this book" page under each individual book listing.
4 years ago
The type of inflation we want is more book into the system, and then more points. I believe the 0.1 listing generates as much or more than the extra point for international mooching but I don't have these stats.

BTW Doug - PBS does give an extra 2 credits for the first 20 book posted. I find this to be a little skimpy. I think they used to give 3. In order to start the mooching, you got to have points.

Tikay - I always always marked sent as soon as I have the book packed with the delivery confirmation. 1. I put a bit of effort into packing. 2- Sometimes I put postage on from home, still it might take 2 days for the book to get picked up, but I paid. (again effort and money spent) and 3- The moocher can cancel until you mark sent. If you send and then don't get back to your computer for a day, the member could have canceled and then you are out real money until you sort it out. I've had two friends this has happened to. I have never taken over 24 hours to send out a package after marking sent. If something happens to even delay it a day, I send a message that they are label (paid) and ready to go out the next day. If, god forbid, something happens like an accident, I think most people would be really understanding. If people write me and tell me something happened, I'm am really, really patient. Don't tell me anything, don't answer emails, and I remember and avoid mooching, unless they have a really incredible book. :-) Never have done it.

I'm partial to Disney World **grin** but have a great time anyway, John!

Amy W
4 years ago
@Amy: I haven't really thought about whether the listing of books or the international sending generate more points, would be interesting to know, though.
4 years ago
I am new to this site, but why is there no "bidding"-part in mooching books? That a book that is really wanted would earn you more points, with the minimum being what it is now.

A pain some people who tried this site before me have is that they were always too late to mooch books they wanted.

Davy Buntinx
4 years ago
I support what you're trying to do and I love BM, being an affectionate user since 2009, but I have to underline John S & silver-thistle's remarks.

It's true that the Italian postal system has tripled fees for shipping abroad, AND (just as in the UK) our postal fees depend BOTH on WEIGHT and DIMENSION of the envelope, making multi-mooching not convenient.

If I was to send abroad more than one book in the same package I'd be really sorry because we simply don't have flat rates. I don't want to annoy you with the table containing the complete cost/dimension ratio (in case, it's here -, so I'll give you some examples.

To send a single paperback to the USA I have to be sure that it is 381mm long, 305mm wide... and ONLY 20mm thick! In that case, if it's between 100gr and 250gr, it costs 7,00 euros. If it's between 250gr and 350gr it costs 8,50 euros. But this is very rare, because the vast majority of them exceed that limit of 20mm., so sending a single paperback abroad from Italy costs 10,00 euros if under 350gr.

Sending TWO books in one envelope, even if they doesn't exceed weight restriction, implies a huge cost rising because they'll also surely be more than 20mm thick. Shipping them will cost from 10,00 to 25,00 euros, depending on their weight.

Sending the same two books in two separate envelopes would cost from 20,00 euros to 28,00 euros, so sending multi-mooches for Italians is hardly an option. Mooching internationally a used copy of a book could cost more than buying a new one.

Please, don't assume international multi-mooching is cheaper: for many of us (especially us Italians) this is simply not true ^____^

Oh, and good Disneyland vacation ^_____^

Il Gobb
4 years ago
"In France, I found that 250 grams cost the same to send internationally as 1 kilo, and a kilo is a lot of books."

Sorry, John, but that's parcel post rate that takes a very long time, and the cost is 22.50 euros, for which I can buy probably three books new on Amazon import from the UK. I'm doing that now anyway for the books that never come up on BM in Europe.

To be perfectly transparent, the post office rates from France to the US are:

1. book rate (document économique): 250g - 3.05 euros. There is no rate for 1000g.

2. priority rate (document prioritaire): 250g - 5.60 euros. 1000g would cost 10.80 euros.

3. International parcel post rate 22.50 euros for both weights.

As you've pointed out elsewhere, the French government subsidises postal services (paid for with my taxes). That 1kg parcel to the US at 10.80 euros would cost 4.05 euros inland.

These rates are searchable on

A fall in BM usage is quite simply economical: the cost of living is too high for everyone, everywhere. Postal rates are only part of the economic equation, and thank heaven they're relatively low here, because we're still paying 1.30 euros/litre for diesel (I reckon that's about 40% more than the US equivalent). I'm not opening a spat on which country is cheaper or more expensive, but if BM usage is down, then it's part of the _world_ economy and everyone's cutting back.
4 years ago

You're in my neck of the woods! Have fun in Disneyland!

4 years ago
Re: encouraging to re-list wishlisted books

I know plenty of people do use Bookmooch as a sort of for-pay worldwide interlibrary loan program. For them, re-listing books is a way of life. It keeps the bookshelves clean and keeps books in circulation. Bravo to them! But that's a choice, and not a requirement.

Me, I use BookMooch to mooch books. To keep. I send a book (that I own but don't want) away, and then it belongs to someone else. They might read it, re-list it, or tear it up for an art project -- that's their right. When I receive a book, it's mine, and I expect the same rights. (This is why I get a bit annoyed by those BookCrossing books in the system -- the sender often seems to think they retain some degree of ownership over what is now my book.)

BookMooch, in my head, is not a loan facilitator. It is a trade facilitator. There is a difference. It has no business telling me what to do with the books I've received.

4 years ago
jacquie said...

"To be perfectly transparent, the post office rates from France to the US are:
1. book rate (document économique): 250g - 3.05 euros. There is no rate for 1000g."

jacquie, I just wanted to point out that there's a price difference between book rate ("tarif livre et brochures") and economic rate ("tarif economic").

with book rate, at 250g - 500g, a book sent within Europe will cost 0.87 euros (yes, 87 cents!). to the rest of the world, the same book(s) would cost 1.45 euros. yes, we are very lucky to live in France ;)

and it rarely ever takes longer than a couple weeks to get the book delivered... even though the people at the post office will tell you otherwise.

for more information about tarif livres, including all the prices, check out this page on the post's website:
(click on "Champs d'application / Tarifs" for the prices)

happy mooching!

4 years ago
BLW - hear hear! I'm going to stop feeling guilty about
(a) mooching a book and wanting to hang on to it for a while - sometimes other people read our mooched books too, and

(b) mooching a book that is unlikely to ever go back into BM circulation.

Given the above, it is therefore unsurprising that the number of books in circulation within BM is falling. If even 10% of the books mooched don't go back into circulation, then that's a theoretical 10% decline in available books providing the rest of the membership remains stable. We should be happy that someone finds a book they want to cherish. Every time that person looks at that book on a shelf, there's a feel-good factor for BM!

Books may also be taken out of circulation for other reasons. The Amazon price display is certainly making me look at some of the new books on my shelves. If I can a few of them for the displayed Amazon price - sure, it may take a while - then I can buy more books with those euros, books that might go back into circulation on BM, eventually.

Yes, BM is a sort of worldwide lending library, but to increase books in circulation we need (i) more members and (ii) more people willing to send their books further afield.
4 years ago
Thanks Hibou, but the problem is that if La Poste opens parcels and finds books in English, they're going to say that they don't respect the rule "Important : L'offre Livres et Brochures est un produit lié à la politique d'aide à la culture française dans le monde. Le contenu de votre envoi doit impérativement respecter le périmètre de l'offre." Books sent under this tarif have to meet the requirements of promoting French culture thoughout the world ;-)
4 years ago
Following Ilgobb's comment, I copy and paste here what I wrote in one of the previous threads (Coming: 3 point intl mooches)

Sorry but I think the decision of increasing to 3 points the cost for an int'l mooch will kill int'l mooches, especially in many little countries such as the European ones.

I live in Italy: since January posting a single paperback abroad costs me 7 euros ( i.e. 11 US dollars ) to European countries and 10 euros ( 1.e. 14 US dollars ) to the US.
Multiple mooches improves the situation only marginally: 9 euros ( i.e. 13 US dollars ) for European countries and 14 euros ( 1.e. 18 US dollars ) to the US for two paperbacks, perhaps three but only if very slim.
Besides this quantity, fees increase exponentially, such as 30 euros, i.e. 45 US dollars for sending out a little package, with no more than 6-7 paperbacks.

Please compare these rates to the cost of 1.28 euros ( that is 1.70 US dollars ) for posting a paperback nationally.

The extra point earned in int'l trades barely compensates me of the additional postage costs whenI send books abroad, and I have been forced anyway starting from January to accept only multiple mooches, since they're the only ones I can afford.

Should it not be any longer the case, that is, shouldn't the extra point being available any longer, I'll be forced to stop sending books abroad: it will be cheaper for me buy brand new books instead, which is just crazy!! So I'll try to spend my points as fast as I can, and then probably I will switch my account to "only domestic shipments", or perhaps close my account and switch to some other swap system, since BM subscribers in our country are too few and English books available in our country are too rare to make it worthwhile. So the objection, "you can anyway take advantage of points earned in int'l mooches for domestic mooches", in little countries such as ours does not apply. Whatever advertising to BM you can do, subscribers will be very few in absolute figures.

Want to do an exercise John? I have 900+ books in my wishlist. As of today, NONE of them is available in my country.

John and others: what would you do if you were in our shoes? To send a book abroad the rates are at least 5 or 6 times higher than sending books domestically. And I cannot use the 3 points from an int'l mooch in Italy, since nearly nobody here has English books.

So, if you take away the extra point, which was the only advantage left, the only one allowing us to go on mooching internationally, what's the point of mooching for us?

Pity, I had lots of fun with BM in the last two years.

4 years ago
Thank you Amy~ well... Thank You all..I have read all the posts (here) for days now, and am enjoying this learning experience. I plan to go to a local thrift shop tomorrow which I found today while looking for books. They sell books very cheaply and I will be looking at the list of my friends and the top wanted wishlists now, and buy whatever I can for the people on the site.
My biggest frustration is my own impatience with the speed of response (I think it isn't too terrible to not accept after six days but, man oh man, I wish the books I mooched would be accepted a bit ~faster~ )still...who's to say what time means to the next person, I suppose...haha, I'll just leave that to those silly physics forums...
4 years ago
BLW said: "(This is why I get a bit annoyed by those BookCrossing books in the system -- the sender often seems to think they retain some degree of ownership over what is now my book.)"

Just for the record, BLW. Bookcrossing works exactly the same way. The person who "releases" the book no longer owns it. The person who "catches" the book is free to do whatever he or she wants, free to "read it, re-list it, or tear it up for an art project".

Bookcrossers love to see their books travelling indefinitely, but if someone wants to keep a book forever and ever that's wonderful too, no?

4 years ago
Quoting MarchRose:
"So, if you take away the extra point, which was the only advantage left, the only one allowing us to go on mooching internationally, what's the point of mooching for us?"
I fully agree. I also live in Italy and, having quite small inventory, every point that I can get extra, when giving books and then mooching again internationally, is precious for me. Without that incentive, I see no reason to mooch books from abroad! I'll try to mooch and give away as many books as possible before the trial period begins and then I'll probably just quit mooching books, or wait patiently that some very rare copy in English language pops-up in my country.
4 years ago
Dragana, I don't think our taste in books coincides much, but keep an eye on my inventory. I don't put up a lot of books, but I'm fairly regular. About one or two a month. I have also implemented a new policy (for me): books are available first in Italy for two weeks, then Italy and Europe (zona 1), then Italy, Europe and Zona 2, etc.
4 years ago
yes jacquie, you're right. however, even their 'rule' is very vague... how would you define French culture? a book in French, sure. but if it's by a Canadian, does that count? what bout a book in French, by an American? does Les Bienveillantes count because its author has dual nationality? or what about a book in English translated from French? or a book involving French places / characters / recipes / etc?

so to prove that the book does not deal in French culture, I think they'd need to do more than open the package -- they'd need to read the book. and perhaps make their 'rule' a little bit clearer as well ;)

at any rate, at my local post office they've asked me a few times if the package contained a book. they've never asked me if the package contained a French book.

4 years ago
It'd be very complicated, for example when/if you remove books from your inventory, I also remove the +0.1 you received. If you received the +0.1 for listing some books but not others, then BM would have to do the same when removing the books, and this would both be complicated to program

You don't have to keep track of which book earned the listing points. For points purposes, all books are the same. A simple check on the inventory size in sufficient.

when listing:
if (#books in inventory) < threshold -> add 0.1 points

when delisting:
if (#books in inventory) <= threshold -> subtract 0.1 points

IMHO, I'd keep the 0.1 point incentive regardless of the inventory size. I understand that the concern is that someone would list a lot of books into bookmooch, use the points to pick up some "valuable" ones, and then abandon the account. A better way to stop this kind of abuse are the mooch ratio limits already in use.

4 years ago
@StefanoC - unfortunately some people have actually already scammed at BM by listing many books, some non- existent, asking for books and then not sending any out that had been moovhed from them and disappearing.
BTW- someone here in Italy actually did this in the past few months.
4 years ago
I have an idea, and although it could cause some inflation, I'm really hoping it will help others. I am constantly finding that there are people on here that say they're willing to send lots of books, but they actually don't and they're just receiving rather than sending, furthermore, I have come across, and I've been guilty myself at times, that people are taking a long time to send books, occasionally there is real reasons, such as weather conditions. My suggestion to speed up sending, and therefore possibly interesting more people to send worldwide, is to have an incentive to send, some people have said that we shouldn't get the points until after the person has sent the books, I agree that this wouldn't work, and may not help bookcrossing, but there must be someway in interesting people to send books off quicker, I'd be hapy if you could think about it!
Jonathan Currinn
4 years ago
I'm not sure how to fix the situation as I tend to agree with the incentive of 0.1 points for putting a book in your inventory, but, I wanted to share my thoughts. In my opinion, an important issue, is members not listing books simply because they have so many points they cannot justify the cost to send them out when they don't really need any more points based on the infrequency with which books on their wishlist become available (international or not). Unfortunately, I don't know that there is a quick fix to this - I wish more of my wishlist books were available on BM, but they just aren't and I can't make anyone add them to their inventory. I would say maybe it's the genre(s) I read, but my husband and I share an account and he has plenty of more mainstream/bestseller type books on our wishlist, too. I still add books to the inventory when we finish them, but I am definitely feeling the build-up of points (i.e., money spent) that is not being used on a consistent basis. Books available on my wishlist or immediately available when I do new searches seem much spottier and less "rich" these days than when I initially joined BM. It goes in little spurts, but overall seems down.
4 years ago
I don't understand all the complaining about not receiving a book quickly. I've got over 200 books in my to be read pile. Doesn't everyone? I can wait a while for it. I've had over 40 books mooched this month; I've already spent $60 to send them out. The rest will have to wait a bit. I can't afford to spend that much on postage every month. If you send out quickly you get scammed a lot by people listing stuff on your wish list. I have a lot of points as well as a big wish list so I see people listing a lot of books from my wish list who have no sent or received books. Wait a few days before sending stuff out. Let the system weed out the scammers.
Jay Moore
4 years ago
I think that there should be a not-trading-now option aside from vacation. There are times when I can mooch but not send (on vacation for instance), but for my account to be active to mooch w/o possibly getting requests I'd have to take all of the books off of my list (which I did, but it was a huge pain to re-add them all).
Kate Wisdom
4 years ago
While the Paul Krugman article is an interesting lesson in macroeconomics, I think that it's applicability to BookMooch breaks down at some point. After all, in classic inflation, the price of goods goes up because too many dollars are chasing too few goods. That isn't the problem at BM--the price of the "good" has remained stable no matter how many "dollars" are out there. Thus, I don't see how reducing the number of points that people have is going to increase trading. For every person who says that he or she is not going to add any books to their inventory because they have more points than they know what to do with, there will be another person like me who adds books because they wish to get rid of them and then mooches freely because they have a lot of points. Those extra .1 points have given me a lot of freedom.

I belong to both PBS and BookMooch. At PBS I'm almost out of points. Although I add to my bookshelf, the number of books requested from me has gone way down, but the number of wishlisted books I've received in the last year or so--many of them books I've been waiting for since I joined PBS in early 2007--has gone way up. So, even though I received an initial three points for joining and also purchased three more points for cash early on, I'm now close to running out of points.

So, as Krugman talks about in his article, I'm currently hoarding those few points I have left. If a book is available in quantity at PBS, I won't request it, assuming that I'll be able to obtain it later if my points total picks up. OTOH, if the book is available here at BookMooch, I'll go ahead and order it because I have an abundance of points. I'll even order books that are of somewhat questionable interest to me because I simply don't, at this point, have to worry about how I'm going to "pay" for it.

The PBS wishlist works on a FIFO system, AND it tells you where you are on the waiting list; for many of my books, I'm getting close or have even reached number 1 in line. But, with so few points, I have to be extremely judicious in which books I request, so I've even been putting some of my wishlist books on hold, which is rather a bummer when I've already been waiting for a long period of time.

The point is that having a lot of points may or may not discourage a member from adding to his or her inventory, but a shortage of points will absolutely keep someone from ordering an available book. In the end, how could it possibly help BookMooch's trading volume to make points scarcer?

Rather than reducing the number of points members can collect, perhaps a more creative solution is required. Failing something really clever, maybe, as at PBS, people could sell their points in these forums. If John doesn't like that idea, how about donating points to a "bank" that members can draw on when their supply of points is low? Perhaps someone can come up with a kind of interest system for borrowers and/or some type of reward for donors.

One thing that I much prefer at PBS (there are other things I prefer at BM) is the FIFO system for the wishlist. Although I've waited a very long time for many of the books I've been getting lately, the fact is that I have some level of confidence that, eventually, I will get the book. If not, I know that it's not because someone else saw an email sooner than I did or because someone else happened to log on just after the book became available but simply because not enough copies of that book are coming into the system to satisfy demand. I realize some people here dislike the FIFO system, but I feel it is much fairer--and I kind of think that it might help some people, at least, "spend" their points.

One thing I'm totally against and really hope that it doesn't happen is raising the points needed to obtain books in high demand. One point for one book (international mooches aside) seems both the fairest way to do it and also the least complicated. Please don't change that.

4 years ago
@MaryAnn: Regarding a bank for mooch points, there is an unofficial one already at There is more information in the wiki pages as well.
4 years ago
I have to take exception to your thought that if someone is not sending books at the moment that they be reported as "abuse". I happen to be one of those people-I'm not in a position to be shipping books at the moment for a variety of reasons-none of which I should have to explain. I've posted as much on my home page (which apparently people don't look at like I do to see whom I'm mooching from) and I follow up w/ an email. I do, however, use my points for friends, kids, my church etc.

Maybe you could put a separate classification from "vacation" for those of us who are just not shipping at the moment.


4 years ago
You happy (not so) few in places like the U.S. or the U.K., who can alway get the book from Amazon, please remember that the price of overseas shipping from Amazon is often more than the (original) price of the book (so OK it's 1 cent, but $15 shipping!). In Israel as in many small countries, international mooches are almost all there is. No Aunt Sally, no "thrift" shops to speak of, even in Jerusalem, and new books cost like . . . new books. In any case, I am an old lady, and it's not the new books that appeal to me. Bookmooch is a real lifeline. Right now I have books on the way to Trinidad-Tobago, South Africa, Ireland, the U.K., Sri Lanka, various parts of the U.S.,& Turkey (3 of the books to the U.S. are going to people who do not ship overseas). I am still awaiting a book from the Philippines, Venezuela, Japan, Finland, Texas, Canada.
I have a backlog now because I only get to the Post Office every 2 or 3 weeks and a case of the flu has kept me home for a while.
There's more like me than you would think, so keep us in mind
4 years ago
1.Just a thought rergarding wishlists, particularly for other European users and I don't know what people think-could a couple of people buddy up and print each other's wishlists off and check for availability in their local charity shops etc and then buy and list?
I am imaging trying to make it work a bit like the Angel network in the US. I get a real buzz when I list a book that I then find is in demand.
2.I agree with the comments about inactive accounts, these must be removed as soon as possible-if you really aren't interested in BM any more get off the site!
3.I still don't think the points changes will encourage people to send internationally.
4.I donlt like the idea of people offering extra points for books they really want-this will cause book inflation, which we are all trying to avoid, and lead to a possible two-tier system-those that can afford to offer extra points and those who can't.
Jo Gadsden
4 years ago
About multi-mooching:
I've been told by postal workers here in Austria that the USA will no longer accept packages over 500g sent by the national post from outside the USA. This means if a US-American multi-mooches from me and it's more than 500g, I have to go to DHL or UPS or FedEx because the regular post won't send it at all. Apparently this is against terrorism.

Have any other non-US bookmoochers heard this? They know me at my post office because I'm such an active moocher.

4 years ago
USA will no longer accept packages over 500g sent by the national post from outside the USA What seems to be happening in some other countries is that they are accepting the packages but charging a surcharge. So far no word from Canada Post about either restrictions or extra charges to the U.S.
4 years ago
@ Benjamin: Nice to see a fellow Austrian here! I just made the same experience at the post office two days ago. You can send it via EMS at the post, but it costs a lot! Up to 60 € per package. As far as I know, UPS, DHL etc. aren't cheaper. All we can do is split the books (when multi-mooching) into packages that won't exceed the weight limit and not send heavy books to the US. And yes, this affects other (European) countries as well, just not every country to the same extend.
4 years ago
Has the U.S. Post office gone completely bonkers? Or do they secretly want to abolish public postal service in favor of "private enterprise?"
Whatever happened to the International Postal Union. There was a lovely international cooperation for the common good.

Maybe we need two Bookmooch frameworks: one for inside the U.S.A., and the other for everywhere else in the world?
An "admission charge" for packages?
They already make incoming air travelers feel as welcome as the bubonic plague; now they want to virtually ban books with too much information? Why stop at 500 grams -- I can see this steadily shrinking to zero. Could this be a plot of the Kindle people? e-books?
Does the U.S. still have a Postmaster General in the Cabinet? or in the closet?

4 years ago
Heather, it couldn't be because of terrorism, they are quite aware that terrorists have money to burn. It is sheer cussedness. I don't think they are alone in their anti-literacy crusade. If it can't be twitterred or go on an i-pod (or kindle or blackberry or other electronic fruit salad), it shouldn't exist.
4 years ago
> Has the U.S. Post office gone completely bonkers? Or do they secretly want to abolish public postal service in favor of "private enterprise?"

It's no secret. A number of powerful but incompetent businesspeople think a postal system could "make some real money" if it didn't have to deliver to rural addresses, or in fact have to deliver at all. In much the same way that the health care system could make some real money if only healthy people used it. (But why would they do that?)

> An "admission charge" for packages? They already make incoming air travelers feel as welcome as the bubonic plague

Or in fact any air traveller, whether coming in, going out, or intracity. And then they complain people aren't travelling enough!

Mail, people, what's the difference?

>Why stop at 500 grams -- I can see this steadily shrinking to zero.

Naturally. "He wants MORE." "Yeah, that's it!" (_The Wild Bunch_, I think?)

> Could this be a plot of the Kindle people? e-books?

Nah, that's just an excuse.

> I don't think they are alone in their anti-literacy crusade.

Careful folks, look where questioning his wife's literacy got Giles Corey. ("The Crucible" by Arthur Miller)

4 years ago
Giles Corey is the one who stayed mute and got "pressed" to death. Did you mean John Proctor?

There used to be a satiric pseudo-scientific magazine called the Journal of Irreproducible Results, which ran an article proving conclusively that the most efficient way to run a hospital was to eliminate the patients.

4 years ago
Giles Corey is the one who refused to plea either way and got pressed to death, but his wife was brought in because he openly marveled about all of her reading.
Kate Wisdom
4 years ago
I agree with most of the efforts to reduce the points inflation. It seems silly to get rewarded for acknowledging receipt of a book.

Honestly, the feature I'm most annoyed with is the reservation of books. Every time I do a quick audit of books in my wishlist I find books available, but reserved for one person, and not opened up to the general population. I get only a small handful of wishlist emails since the reserve books option started.

This is also a major reason why I have over 100 useless points sitting in my account with nothing to spend them on. I can't get rid of my points surplus no matter how hard I try. I've donated 100 points to charity and I still have more than I will ever be able to spend. As a result, I've stopped listing books on BookMooch. Why should I? I will spend money to mail them to someone and then get another point I will never be able to spend. I have boxes and boxes of books that I know will be mooched as quick as I post them but they'll just sit here until I give them away to the library. How many others are in this problem? I can't be the only person.

I wish there were some way to use the points to mooch copies of ebooks. I've started converting some of my library to ebooks in order to conserve space in my tiny apartment and could easily spend all the points buying people's unwanted copies of ebooks. With all the rights issues (especially with Amazon) I don't see this happening any time soon.

I apologize if this came across as harsh, but it's how I feel.

4 years ago
@ John

I realized just now about your remark: "a kilo is a lot of books".

Well, sorry to contradict, but one Kg is NOT "a lot of books" at all.

One kilo is:

- 3 standard paperbacks ( 300 pages or so )
- or 1 tradesize format paperback + 1 standard paperback
- or 1 thick paperback ( 500 pages or so, like fantasy books by TOR for instance ) + 1 slim paperback
- or 5/6 extra-slim paperbacks like series romances ( Silhouette and similar ), max. 180-200 pages each.

Just to clarify.

4 years ago
My main objection to any of these points is that you don't seem to taking into account that these methods are going to be hideously penalising those of us who don't get a lot of mooch requests. Taking out the rewards for listing books, or for giving feedback, means that it'll be harder for me to get points and thus participate in the site. (The obvious solution, I know, is to list more books, but I DON'T HAVE MORE TO LIST. I rely entirely on the automatic points I get.)

I am with those who say that there really is NO BENEFIT to multiple mailings - silver-thistle's assessment is really accurate.

I do like this site, but it feels in some way like I'm being discouraged from participating.

4 years ago
One thing I don't get - if the incentive is to reduce inflation, what's the point of "paying" less for multiple mooches? I agree with silver-lining, he describes pretty accurately what happens if you mail anything larger than a small paperback in the UK.
From my perspective and I think for many people not based in the US, increasing the cost for international mooches to 3 is not very helpful. I do get a lot of international requests, as a vast majority of moochers are based outside the UK, and one of the incentives for accepting them is that so far shipping internationally has in the past been very much worth it in terms of points.
4 years ago
The problem I have with the multi-mooch system is that I'm already coming across users (I think all have been from USA) who have put their status as may be willing to send worldwide but with a statement saying only if you mooch x amount of books at a time. Some users are asking for 4 books to be mooched.

To me this & any other conditions stipulated by users goes against what Bookmooch stands for & makes the system much more complicated than it should be. Althugh I do understand why these users want moochers to multi-mooch due to how their postal system operates.

I rarely find a user who has more than 1 book that I want to mooch & I don't think I should have to spend points mooching books I don't want just to get 1 I do. I know I can relist the books when I get them but this involves a lot of extra work for no real gain.

If a multi-mooch system is implemented I'm worried that more users will state if you don't mooch x amount you can't have any of my books.

4 years ago
I dont mind the change in "price". As I'm in Europe, in the small country of Belgium, I've only ever tried two "in-land" swaps, the rest of mine are all international, even when I look form books in my native language - Danish.

For us "over here" it can be irritating to so often see "not to your country" or "only to my country", as it is most people from USA writing this, but they dont mind trying to mooch books from us "non-USAns".

4 years ago
When are the changes described in the previous entries going to take effect? I'm still getting 0.1 points for listing new books and only being charged 2 points for mooching a book internationally.
Ed Hahn
4 years ago
Is there anyway that you can make it possible to put your inventory on vacation only and still be able to be spend pts you've already earned? I get really frustrated when I get an email that a WL book of mine is available only to get to their profile and find out they're months behind in shipping. Or when someone may be away from their inventory but wants to spend their pts without having to remove all the books they've posted. Before my last move I deleted almost my whole inventory because I had quite a few pts to spend and could receive books while living with my parents for 2 months. But I couldn't take all my inventory books with me. Since I had around 30 pts-I deleted most of my inventory. If I could have just put my inventory on hold but kept my account off vacation for WL mooching, I would have packed up my posted books and just unheld them when I got into my own place again.

I had to stop sending international because I just don't have the money. I keep my PBS bookshelf on vacation most of the time and autorequest WL books. I just post WL books as I need pts. Here, I just don't list any books until I need pts. So I've stopped requesting international mooches because I don't send international. The one time I asked, I was told no by the sender because I don't do international. Well I did before my husband left me. But I just can't anymore.

I really think this could help with some of the frustration over book delays.

4 years ago
You said...In the UK, it costs £0.81 to send 250 grams, and £1.11 to send 500 grams, a 32% savings.

Not true! We pay domestically for weight and thickness.
A packet of two books up to 500g will measure more than 25mm and so we pay £1.95, an increase of 115% odd!!
If it goes over 501g , easily done with two thicker books, we pay £2.36 (150% odd)and so on...the cost goes up.

4 years ago
"To put someone on vacation, mooch from them."
This is not possible when they have their inventory set to "only to my own country".
Lots of journallers have this preference but will send journals abroad if asked. However if they have become inactive there is no way to get their inventory closed - and actually I hate it when journals go off the radar and get lost because someone's inventory has been closed through lack of activity.

As for the recent comment about UK postage, whilst accurate as far as it goes, sometimes packing two books side-by-side rather than one atop the other, will just get under the LL dimension increment, but we also have to be aware that the PO will surcharge if the package gets warmer and the air expands it - I have had this happen with packages the post office officials passed as within the correct dimensions!

4 years ago
"Encouragement to re-list books" is not only chuzpah, but counter productive. Instead of new books, this will mean the same old stuff circulating endlessly. Are we to become a lending library? If I mooch a book for a one-time read, I re-list it, but there are books I want to keep and re-read,and once found, will bloody well be kept. This is one of the dumber ideas (of many) that have popped up. I urge a moratorium on any more "solutions" until we see how the current crop works out (or doesn't). Remember: IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT. Also, too many cooks spoil the broth. Also, fools rush in where . . . In other words: Enough, genug, basta, assez, υπερβολικός.

To Msright: I will be happy to send you any book(s) you like from my inventory or to "angel" mooch for your from anyone else in Israel.

4 years ago
two books package: Send the two books side by side instead of on top of each other - that way the package doesnt get too big for the mail box.


4 years ago
That'd only work if both books were under 25mm in thickness (once packaged) and could be kept stable. If one is more then it is classed as the higher price automatically.
Sometimes it is cheaper to send seperately.
4 years ago

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