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Book swapping

Do you use www.BookMooch.com or any other book swapping portal? What do you think of the one(s) you use?

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/738126.html, where there are comments.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2011 03:16 pm (UTC)
I have a Bookmooch account and used to use it a lot. These days I use it less because I've decided to phase out paper books in favour of the Kindle; I am intending to use up my existing points, but I am not listing any more books myself, so eventually the points will run out. The service itself is fine, though. I mooched about 70 books in total; only one failed to arrive, and Bookmooch re-credited the points with no problem. Most users are very friendly. Possible issues I can think of:

1. Mailing books out can use a lot of spoons, especially if you have to go to a post office and queue. It worked much better for me once the Royal Mail introduced self-print postage, because that meant I could pay online and then "post" it directly from the office (our facilities team happily deals with franked personal items along with our work mail).

2. If you accept international requests, it can get a bit expensive. If you use the "Ask me first" setting, though, it's okay. You get more points for sending abroad, but it's a flat rate, so depending on the country in question, the extra points may not always feel like sufficient compensation. You can also choose only to send within your own country.

3. The range of books available is not always great. Airport novels are very easy to pick up; anything out of print or otherwise obscure may take a very long time to come up. Cookbooks (a particular interest of mine) hardly ever turn up at all; I guess people either hang on to them to use or else feel embarrassed about the ketchup stains, or something ;-)

4. A few users will get a bit cheeky and demand that you "gift" them extra points for particularly rare books or for sending to expensive countries. I always refused - as I see it, the deal is that you take the hit when you send abroad in exchange for the opportunity to mooch from abroad yourself, and similarly with rare books. Very occasionally, people react to the refusal with rudeness. (On the flip side, one user sent a very sweet note and voluntarily gifted me points after I sent her something she'd wanted for a long time, so that was a nice surprise).

5. Some users are a bit clueless, so sometimes I would request a book from overseas and the other user would ask me what it would cost them to post the book, as if I somehow have better access to pricing info for their postal system than they do. For some reason this seems to be happening more often recently.
Aug. 18th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
When I buy a book, read it, and don't like it, I usually give it to a friend or the library. A friend in our bookgroup says I should use a swap group, but I have a thing about books with perfect condition. I don't have many paperbacks, either. He mentioned Paperbackswap (ewww, I just ran through the SFF books and I wouldn't read any that I saw). He also mentioned Swap.com which swaps more than books, but does swap hardbacks. (Also not books I'd read.)
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