Omigod, “The Googles of Tomorrow”

February 27, 2008


The Independent has a story today about BookMooch which I’m very excited about. I blogged about my interview with the journalist last week and he had told me the story would be today.

After the call last week, I talked about it with my wife Jan, and we both thought I might have “blown it” by giggling slightly when the journalist asked me “what position I had in the company” and volunteering we were “just a few people”. Small companies usually aren’t newsworthy.

Thankfully, the journalist is a good guy (and knew about BookMooch already, from his own research) and not only kept us in the story, but we’re on the newspaper’s home page and in the tagline for the story: “From a book club taking on Amazon to…”

Below is a small extract of the story, and the entire thing is at:

IndiehomeThe Googles of tomorrow

From a book club taking on Amazon to the loans firm shaking up banking – Tim Walker meets the creators of the next digital superbrands

Where do you want to go today? The future’s bright. I’m lovin’ it. These are the mantras with which our brands have mesmerised us. Microsoft and McDonald’s aren’t just consumer products – they’re lifestyle choices. But all that is about to change. Or so says Robert Jones, director of brand consultancy Wolff Olins. He and his colleagues recently identified some of the next generation of brands. “The creation of myths around 20th-century brands is under threat,” Jones explains. “We’re too well-informed and too sceptical to believe in image. What brands have to do in the future is not create a big idea that people buy into, but be useful for people. The days of pure consumerism in the classic economic sense are over. Consumers are also creators, who interact with brands such as YouTube, and who make ethical rather than purely financial decisions when they’re buying things. This is the age of the post-consumer. There’s a French word for it: ‘consommacteur’.”


IndiearticleBookMooch is a simple but attractive concept: an online book exchange. John Buckman, the founder and CEO (right), had his eureka moment in Norwich. “I was in a community centre, with a bookshelf that had a big sign saying, ‘Leave a book, take a book.’ People were socialising and recommending books to each other. I thought: ‘Could I recreate that feeling on the internet?'” Now he has his answer, with about 50,000 BookMooch users worldwide.

When you log on to BookMooch for the first time, you list the books you want to give away. For every 10 you list, you can ask for a book from someone else. Every time someone takes you up on the offer, and someone takes a book from you, you can ask for a book from someone else.

There are some 750,000 titles to choose from. If you send a book abroad you can claim three books in return. This sounds like bad news for publishers, but, says Buckman, “publishers are usually very excited by the idea of fans interacting directly with some sort of book site. They’re happy to hear people are passionate about books. People correspond when they pass books along. When you read a book that you love, you want to give it to someone else so that they can experience it.”

The personal touch is one of the keys to BookMooch’s success: “BookMooch asks you to do something in the real world,” says Buckman, “which makes it meaningful and emotional.”

12 Responses to “Omigod, “The Googles of Tomorrow””

  1. n8ux said

    Great story – congratulations! Hope it brings more activity to Bookmooch… Rich

  2. Joe said

    Cool! Glad to hear the site is getting positive press!

  3. Kathleen said

    Noticed when I clicked on the Amazon link beside one of my wishlist titles, was directed to the Amazon.UK site. I’m “cross the pond” and went back to to look. Does my going from bookmooch to click for you? Hope so, cause I don’t really want to order books from the UK, when I can order them stateside for much lower S/H/ Just curious. K Ps am really enjoying the site and the interaction.

  4. Mark Williams said

    Great write-up!

    The article really seems to feature Bookmooch with the lead bio and fab pix 🙂

    Don’t be too surprised if the venture capitalists start knocking on your door…

  5. Erin said

    Way to go! That’s awesome! I talk bookmooch up all the time to different people.

  6. Linda H. said

    The Independent?? Wow. You have hit the big time. Congratulations.

  7. Melanie said

    Beautiful!! Congratulations…also did you know you made it into “O” magazine (Oprah’s) this month in their list of ways to cut back on expenses? I saw it there last night…I’m already a Bookmoocher but was happy to see you there!

    Keep up the great work, I hope one day my own site will make it to the big times!!


  8. Thanks for mentioning that BookMooch is in Oprah’s magazine. It’s a short mention on ways to save money, and is also online.

    The url is:

  9. shirley horsman said

    Just what I have been looking for! I discovered BookMooch via the article in The Independent – am a bookloving grandma who just graduated MA Literature and want to share good books with lovely people around the world rather than hoard them. Had some very friendly replies already. Not found many of the authors I like on site yet but hopeful.

  10. Ruth Garde said

    How fantastic to see bookmooch getting the publicity it deserves. Lets hope it draws more people to the site!


  11. Desley said

    Sounds a great idea – I would love to participate as an experiment.


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