Friday, August 11, 2006

Recycling books a new way

You know those people who borrow books and never give them back. Moochers! Don't you hate that? But what if when you gave them a book you got one back. Neat idea? That's the plan offered by BookMooch. A way to exchange books you've read for new ( to you) books.

When you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch. Once you've read a book, you can keep it forever or return it into the BookMooch system for someone else. And it only costs you the postage to send the books. You receive points: a tenth-of-a-point for every book you type into the system, and one point each time you give a book away. In order to keep receiving books, you need to give away at least one book for every two you get. BookMooch is connected to several charities to which you can give your points - children's hospitals, Library funds and African Literacy for example, (or you can give your points to the owners of BookMooch) but this is purely optional. You can request and get books worldwide ( points are increased to compensate for higher postage costs) and you can post feedback as with e-Bay. "If you keep your feedback score up, people are most likely to help you out when you ask for a book."

The brilliant idea of BookMooch is conceived, designed, written and administered by John Buckman who also runs the online record label Magnatune as well as several other web sites with his wife Jan.

"If you're passionate about books, you know how emotionally difficult it is to throw a book away, even if you will never read it again. You want to find a good home for your books, have them find someone who appreciates them. Also, you may be interested in trying a lot of books out, and keep the ones that are great. It's a great crime to have a book disappear, out of print, for none to read... our goal is to make more use out of all books, to help keep books from becoming unavailable. The worst thing that can happen to a book is for no-one to be able to read it."

The founder obviously loves books. He says, "... I love everything about them. What better way to share the wonderful experience of owning and reading books than by starting an online exchange?

I've got stacks of books on my shelves that have been read once, but will never read again. The local used bookstore would be only interested in a few of them and will pay next to nothing for even those they do want. Plus, it's a hassle.

The books could be thrown away, but I just can't bring myself to do that. There's got to be a better use for these perfectly good books.

Why not give books away to people who want them?"

We have a feeling this will be very popular. It is too good an idea to fail. We are signing up!


mamie said...

Sounds like a good idea! I'll be interested to see how it works for you Canary! Keep us posted.

canary said...

There may be less for the book sale though...

Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)