February 19, 2008

VenusZine published a very friendly article about BookMooch today.

Read it at:

Don’t buy or borrow – mooch

John Buckman of BookMooch wants to spread the literary love

By Genevieve Diesing
Published: February 18th, 2008 | 9:05am

Attention, bookworms: Put down your library cards and step away from those overpriced bookstores!, an 18-month-old global trading network for anyone who likes to read, is making it possible for hundreds of thousands to share their cherished reads and get some in return.

The service works like this: Whenever you give away books, you receive a certain amount of points. When you see books that you like, you can use your points to purchase them. John Buckman, who created the money-free system, built the operation for people who not only love to read, but hate to see a good book go to waste. We talk with Buckman about the hows, whys and maybes.

What kind of a reception have you gotten so far?
Right from the beginning, there was a lot of interest, which really surprised me. After a year and a half, there are about 60,000 members listing 400,000 books to give away, and over 500,000 books have been exchanged.

What kind of a social impact can you see this service having?
I hope that more people will read more. I remember an interview I had with the LA Times: the woman who called me said she was doing the story because her 11-year-old had read 20 books in the past five weeks because of BookMooch, and she never was that interested in reading before. She loves the social aspect of money-free trading with other book lovers.

Why do you think BookMooch is superior to other sites that could fulfill a similar service – such as Amazon or eBay?
If you think “I could get $7 for this book, why should I give it away?” then by all means, go sell it on eBay. However, if you are thinking “I loved this book, I want to give it to someone else who wants to read it and will also enjoy it,” then you’re someone who would like BookMooch. Not everything in the world has to be about money and maximizing how much you get for everything. BookMooch is more about sending books off to a good home, and in return, finding books you want to read and receiving them for free. Another aspect of giving books away is that often the shipping effort is more than the cash you would get from selling it. Instead, use BookMooch to send a book you don’t want to someone who does want it, and in return you can ask someone else to send you a book you really want. It’s like getting books for free.

Could you give me an example of some of the trades that have already occurred?
Personally, I’ve given 517 books away, and this week I am boxing up and sending a variety of things, including several books by Rose Tremain, the Time Out film & video guide, several business books, and a picture book on making perfect espresso. I was so happy when someone mooched all my academic philosophy books from my graduate school days – they were doing a thesis on a similar topic, and most of those books were long out of print. Not only was I never going to reread those books, but they found a perfect new home.

Do you have any interesting stories thus far?
BookMoochers can give their points to various charities who need specific books, and thousands of books have found a good home this way. For example, we help stock small public libraries all over the world, from disaster-torn New Orleans, to a Women’s Center in New Zealand. Just today I signed up HEROES, a California-based charity helping people volunteer to help in schools. There is also the BookMooch Journal Project, where people collaboratively write books, such as My First Six Months As a Father or an illustrated version of Alice in Wonderland. Each person writes a few pages on the chosen theme, and passes it on to someone else.

What gave you the idea for Bookmooch?
I was on vacation in Norwich, England and went in a local community center that had a room with bookshelves in it and a sign that said “Leave a book, take a book.” People were meeting there to talk about books, others were flipping through the bookshelf to see what they liked. I liked the warm, friendly feel; gathering around to talk about books and give them to each other with no money being exchanged. What if I could recreate this feeling on the internet?

Any future plans for the site?
I’d really like to get libraries more involved. Not only do they have to throw away a lot of books each year that we’d like to make use of, but also they’re usually tragically under-funded, and BookMooch can help them get more books for their money.

18 Responses to “VenusZine”

  1. brett said

    Very cool John!
    A nice interview and some more great publicity!

  2. Erin C said

    Hooray for you John!
    I love Bookmooch and all this publicity you have been recieving should bring in lots more people and their books 🙂 I do agree w/everyone else, you need to get this trademarked ASAP.

  3. sarah r said

    excellent article. i was one of the people who mooched a rose tremain book from you recently- as mentioned in the interview. i feel special! : )

  4. Colleen said

    I learned about Bookmooch from the last issue of Venuszine and have been mooching happily ever since. Even my 7th grade students have benefited from my Bookmooch addiction!

  5. I only joined BookMooch yesterday (19th Feb) and after listing some books on the site, had a request for one of them within half a hour.
    Have made mention of the site on my blog, and love the idea.
    I run a small book group – we meet once a month and love talking about books. I set a reading list for the year, plus we all keep a list of books that we have read as well, so that we can share our thoughts etc.
    The concept of BookMooch is great, as my shelves are getting top heavy with books, and need to pass on some to make room for more!!
    Would rather they go to other book lovers than the shops.

  6. pitbullrescuer said

    Excellent, John! I’m so thrilled that you are getting recognition for your great concept! Keep up the great work! –Ellen

  7. amber said

    Bookmooch is such a fun, easy, and wonderful site to use and it deserves all the positive feedback it’s been getting. Kudos, John!

  8. Julie Merilatt said

    Oh My God! I can’t believe you mentioned my Alice in Wonderland Journal. You made my day, John!!!

    Thank you Thank you Thank you.

    I’ve noticed my Alice Journal is now on many more wishlists!


  9. Is there any way I can help get the word out to libraries? I can’t tolerate the idea of libraries throwing away books.

    There is a thing called Library Journal. I get email from them which I don’t read very carefully, I must admit.

    Perhaps I should ask my reference librarian.


    Suggestions welcome.

  10. The Library Journal’s Internet address is:


    I couldn’t figure out how I could communicate with them as a mere person and not a librarian or other library staff member.

  11. re: Library Journal

    Anyone can submit news to Library Journal at:

    it’d be great to see a BookMooch piece in there, explaining how libraries can and do use BM. So if anyone feels up to writing into LJ, I’d appreciate it.


  12. John Clark said

    Well, I’m one librarian who ‘gets it’. I’ve listed over 1200 books that probably would net me a quarter in a book sale. In a l;ittle over a year, I’ve mooched in excess of 500 and given away nearly as many. Hartlan Public Library has much bigger Christian fiction, mystery and graphic novel collections thanks to Bookmooch

  13. Brian said

    One of the things I like about BM is that it’s international. Other trading sites I’ve tried are US-only. I may not send or receive a book from another country, but I like to know everyone’s there trading too, and that BM was forward thinking enough to take other countries into account…

  14. Breeze144 said

    Great article!

    I mooch books for myself (the avid reader), my husband (the reluctant reader who’s really coming around) and my Kindergarten students (the pint sized readers)!

    Thanks for bookmooch, John.

  15. Gayle said

    I have gotten quite a few wonderful books from BM. I even got my sister started and she loves it too. BM, you get an A+. Thanks for being here for us.

  16. Ella said

    John, I came to BookMooch when it was time for me to divest myself of several hundred dollars worth of very excellent poetry books and references. Some of those books cost more than $50. However, I wanted them to go to “good homes.” I felt those books were like the kittens I’d given away years ago when my (now elderly) cat, Rosa, gave birth. I wouldn’t sell kittens to the highest bidder, and my books are friends/family too, so I couldn’t do that to them. Since that day about a month ago, the fever has taken hold and I realized that a lot of the books on my shelves don’t need to be there just to be there — not when others could be enjoying them. This is the best thing about BookMooch. It’s like a library where I get to decide to keep books I really love sometimes. Thanks!

  17. June said

    To unload some of my books, the shelves are groaning under the weight, I ask new moochers when they mooch one of my books if there is another one they would like (free of points). I know how hard it is to get points stocked up at first. Is this a good idea?

  18. babaker1 said

    I love this site, I have to thank my friend k-kay for turning me on to this wonderful site. I save money and love getting and receiving books. Thank you so much for having this site. The only downfall is the people who post books for the points, to get books and never send the books out. I think there should be a time limit set before someone can mooch a book, to make sure there sending out there books. Or they send out 10 books and receive feedback, before they can mooch, to guarantee they sent them out. but thank you for this site.

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