Pamela Poole, a fellow moocher who lives in Paris, suggested I take a look at, a site that allows individual artists to sell their hand-made works, for ideas on community and “web 2.0 stuff”.

I absolutely fell in love with this site. The layout and color scheme is beautiful, simple, yet under-designed. I like what they’re doing with typography, using 3 color (black, orange, blue). The only use of drop shadows is on the buttons, which makes sense. They group things with light grey borders. They sucked me right in, and I went through 24 screenfuls of teapots, ending up buying three, which is something I never do.

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Look at how cleanly they group the shopping cart information, with boxes around each product, and a green checkbox to indicate a successful order.


I’m writing about Etsy because this is the kind of feel I’m trying to do with BookMooch.

Looking at a book detail page like this one:

there are similarities, with the soft colors, search at the top, and clarity of layout.

However, they’re doing a lot more with typography, grouped details using background colors and a lot fewer linked items (all those linked topics in BookMooch are perhaps a bit overwhelming) to distract. Note how they use a pale blue for hyper-linked items, so they don’t _scream_ at you visually like the default dark, underlined blue at BookMooch does.

The clincher is the hilarious photo page of the Etsy staff, in their white lab coats and little signs with their names on them, and the personal touch of a signature.


Now, what I didn’t see a lot of is the “web 2.0” community stuff Pamela was suggesting I take note of.

Anyone have suggestions for community/outreach/web 2.0 stuff that they’d like to see at BookMooch?


When I designed the main menu of BookMooch, I repeated all the main tasks both as tabs atop the top bar of the screen, as well as buttons in the main menu. I assume that people have gotten used to that, but I find that I never use the buttons, I always use the tabs. As I add features to bookmooch, the urge to remove those repetitive main menu buttons will increase.

What do people think? Could the main menu buttons that repeat what the tabs do be safely removed?


I’ve long wanted to set the fonts used at BookMooch, but have avoided doing it for various technical and lazy reasons. Until today, the font that you saw BookMooch by was the default one in your web browser, which sometimes made things a little ugly.

One thing I didn’t like was how my buttons are set to VERDANA (the only place fonts were set) but some browsers would use Times Roman for the text. For example, that’s how Firefox did things:


the window above is how BookMooch looked in Firefox/Mac until today. My graphic designer really likes Verdana, and that’s what I tried initially, but look how much space it uses (I had to make the window a lot taller to accommodate the same text)


what I settled for was using Arial on the text, and leaving the buttons as VERDANA, because the buttons look good that way. Having two slightly-different san-serif fonts on the same page is a huge design no-no, but it seems to look ok, if you don’t have a graphic designer background (smirk).

So here’s what the new fonts look like:


they take about the same amount of space as Times Roman, but the overall page is a bit more clean. Well, I’m sure it’s all a matter of opinion, but I like it.

Note that I am *not* hard-setting the font size, so people with bad vision who like to make their fonts bigger, can continue to do so. At BookMooch, I’m sure a good part of my audience is older and has less-than-perfect eyes, which is why I don’t use small type on the site.

If anyone sees any font mistakes, ie places where Times Roman creeps in, or anything else weird, please let me know. I tested the new site with Firefox Mac and Windows and Ubuntu Linux, IE 6, Opera, Safari and OmniWeb.

G4 TV did a short wrap-up of various trading sites, on PeerFlix, MyComicShop, BookMooch and Lala.

They blogged it and it’s also a TV segment off their home page.

There’s no way to link directly to a show on their web site (sigh) but if you search for “bookmooch” or view the videos for April 7, 2007, or look for a show called “Attack This: Trading Websites”, you’ll be able to see it.

A BookMooch Wiki

April 7, 2007

WikiiThere now is a BookMooch wiki at:

It houses the FAQ, as well as lots of helpful information about using BookMooch. Lots of people have been contributing to it, and it looks to be doing great!

For those that don’t know what a wiki is, think of wikipedia, only for bookmooch. Anyone can edit, add information, etc, on any topic related to BookMooch.

My thanks to Derek Lackaff for running the wiki and putting all the information in.

RecomsarFrom the BookMooch wiki,:

BookMooch Recommendations is a recommendation engine written by Mikko Saari that checks the books you’ve mooched, matches that with other users and produces some recommendations based on their mooching history.
Getting good recommendations takes plenty of mooching and some luck. If your mooching is somewhat eccentric, you will either get very good recommendations (if someone is eccentric in the same way) or something quite random (if you’re alone in your eccentry). The system is currently bit of a work-in-progress. Using the feedback form is highly recommended, as that will make it easier to improve the system.

BmjournalparentschildrenKen Samson recently launched the BookMooch Journal Project, which I think is a truly wonderful thing. Ken has a page at the BookMooch Wiki that describes the project, or you can read this except from his About page:

The BookMooch Journal Project was born out of a brainstorm I had after someone at BookMooch mentioned the ‘1000 Journals’ in a posting on the forum. Intrigued, I looked it up on the web and was struck by the sheer genius of a collection of traveling journals, with thousands of participants around the world adding art to a journal and passing it on to another journaler.

Reading further, I learned that because of the small number of journals in relation to the huge potential pool of participants worldwide, there just wasn’t a very good chance of getting to participate. As the 1000 journals website says: “Unfortunately, you’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery than of getting a hold of a journal.”

I decided that BookMooch, with it’s thousands of book-loving members, created an ideal pool of limited participants to engage in a small-scale art-journaling project. Thus was born “The BookMooch Journal Project”

Advanced search

April 6, 2007

AdvsIt’s not entirely finished yet, but I’m really excited about this, so I’m making this feature available right away…


find it in the “browse” tab.

You can now search within a topic, and include terms that you want to NOT match (ie, exclude books that have this word). You can also display more search results per page, and easily restrict your search to books published in a country.

StopIn the “topic” pages you’ll now find a new “search this topic” button.

There are several more goodies for advanced search that will appear in the next few days — I still have several more days of work to do on it. I won’t pre-announce those features, I’ll just let you know when they’re available.



A new “email address lookup” feature (in “about bookmooch“), to find a member given an email address. Useful for finding a friend’s BookMoooch account name.

A BookMooch power user is a…


I emailed this question to the discussion list and received a very large number of great ideas:

Moocher Augustus
Moochus Augustus
Super moocher
then the disease would be moochophilia?
Swami Moochananda