Feedback heard

March 18, 2008

Thanks everyone for the extensive feedback on yesterday’s blog post, detailing all the changes I had made to BookMooch.

Based on the comments, I’ve made a few changes:

  • The width of the screen is back to 100%, ie the width of your web browser, rather than being fixed at the narrower size.
  • The mooch ratio no longer shows up at all on the bio page of charities, whereas previously it was in bright red. It’s not relevant for verified charities. For the same reason, the mooch emails from verified charities no longer say “- received books, but never given any books” on the mooch notification.
  • I reworked the page which follows after the “book related to one on your wishlist” email. It now looks like this:


    you can compare this to yesterday’s version:


    Hopefully you’ll agree with me that the separate grouping for the “stop email” buttons makes sense, as well as the new wording on each choice.

    The “mooch this book” button is back (no more “get this book”) – thanks for all your comments!

  • 50 Responses to “Feedback heard”

    1. sumthinblue said

      I really love BM and appreciate all the work you’re doing for the site and for book lovers around the world, especially for us here in the Philippines, where books are plenty but spending money is limited

      I still hope you’ll bring back the MOOCH button. After all, the site is BookMooch and not GetThisBook… It just doesn’t have the same fun feeling to “get” a book rather than “mooching it” although they’re about the same thing 🙂

      Also props for bringing the ratio to 2:1, although the numbers are kind of confusing (It takes a while to figure out just how close you are to being in the red)… But anyway, it cuts away all the users who keep on listing a ton of books (or magazines) that no one wants and mooch away without actually giving anything.

      I hope there’s a way to filter out the inactive users from the listings though, as it’s such a downer when I find a book I want that belongs to an inactive member… Or when I send reminders to people who have wishlisted my books but get no response because they’re inactive.

      All in all, you’ve still done a terrifically good job on this site. Thank you thank you! I will forever be grateful for all the awesome mooches I’ve made 😛

    2. Bri said

      Awesome, thanks so much John.

    3. Wendy Stines said

      Thank you for returning the width of the screen. It was so annoying to have my wishlist all smooshed up.

      I also agree about the Mooch button. This is BookMooch and we Mooch books. It should say mooch this book!!

      Thanks for all of your hard work John. It is very much appreciated.

    4. Laura said

      I’m glad I’m not the lone nutter worrying about it – bring back the mooch button! Bring back the mooch button!

      (let’s make banners…)

    5. Kathleen said

      I am having a very good time mooching and giving books. Was (and still am) thrilled to have found this site. Must really live in my “own little world” as have never been inconvenienced with anything presented on the site, or the manner of presentation. Neither have I been inconvenienced by the methods by which I have access to, or others gain access to book. I’m a compulsive reader, modest income, very glad I am not responsible for making all of this work. to John and all volunteers who do make this work, thank you very much. Most sincerely, Kathleen

    6. Sonia said

      I agree with those who say ‘Bring back the mooch button’ It doesn’t take long to understand what mooch means. A big thankyou to all your hard work – I love bookmooch!

    7. Michelle said

      I want the Mooch button back!
      Other than that John, I am eternally grateful for all that you and the Admins do for the site. It is sooooooo wonderful to indulge my passion in this way. Big Smooches to the Head Honcho! M

    8. Matt said

      if this is the place to post site feedback –

      It is true that mooch ratios don’t make sense for charities but there are other number that do make sense.

      There is no point in giving points to a charity that has more points than items on its wishlist (unless they are extremely active). This simple rule pushes aside the _vast_ _majority_ of the charities listed. You really need to dig to find a charity that is limited by points.

      I’m quite happy to give more books than I mooch if i can give my points to charity. Unfortunately the current charity listing makes it difficult to find worthwhile charities.

    9. Thanks John. I felt positive or neutral about almost all the recent changes. I think most of them are definite improvements. The two I didn’t like were the fixed width and the mooch button, but I didn’t say anything. I see you’ve eliminated the fixed width. I’ll wait and see what happens with the mooch button.

      From reading the forum it seems the biggest ongoing problem is the ask-first situation when someone asks first and someone else mooches the book. I’ve seen several suggested solutions that add complexity by creating a new on-hold state. It seems to me the simplest solution would be to simply remove the ask-first option. Either people are willing to ship worldwide or they’re not, and if a book is too expensive to mail then they can reject the mooch for that reason.

      Thanks again for BookMooch and for your continuous efforts to improve it.


    10. Jacquelyn said

      I too miss the MOOCH button!

      Love everything else. Thanks for this wonderful site and for returning the wish list/screen width back.

    11. It’s ok chaps, I’m alive and well! It really brings tears to my eyes to hear how missed I am.

      I never knew I had touched so many people….


      Mooch Button

    12. Elizabeth M. said


      Dear John,
      I like people to ask first for worldwide mooching because frankly, some months I don’t have the $$ to do it–and if you want it shipped overseas, you have to wait. Not everyone wants to wait . . . but I do give the book to the person who asks–even if someone tries to mooch in the meantime (w/in the country). I don’t mind at all shipping overseas, but I have a budget–
      Also, the “get” button had me floored the other day–I sat there a moment and decided it was a change, but for a minute I thought it was a link to Amazon to “get” the book by paying for it!
      Thank you for all your hard work to make things easier and simpler–
      God bless,

    13. irisin said

      I’m glad the list page view is stretched out again 🙂 and the regrouping also looks better.

      Re. the “ask first”, I’ve had bad experiences when I asked people before mooching (always lost out there), but still, as I state in my bio I always honour whoever mailed me first.

    14. SpongeBob Fishpants said

      Hi John, I want to thank you for all the great changes, they are wonderful. I would like to put in another shout out for a change in the ask first system. Unfortunately not everyone honors their own ask first policies and the problem seems to be increasing. I’ll try to refrain from whining…but PLEEAASEEEEEE?

    15. KathyS said

      I second the “I miss the ‘Mooch this book’ button” comments.

      Maybe it could be left for English users and just changed for non-English users? (disclaimer… I have NO idea whether that is feasible given programming constraints)

    16. Aramada said

      One of the amazing things about this site is that not only do you dedicate your time and effort into doing what you think is right, but you ALSO dedicate your time to listening to the people using it and are willing to make changes if there seems to be a consensus on it. That’s really quite wonderful.

      Thanks for the width change. And yes, I think you nailed the revised related editions email. Having the two groups of options separated makes them MUCH clearer and easier to parse.

      Also, I think the charity ratio removal was a great idea too…whether or not a charity is actively mooching or letting their points fester is an entirely different issue. Having the ratio on there was just confusing for people who didn’t understand charities aren’t required to send out books.

      Thanks again for your hard work and for taking our feelings into account. Happy Tuesday!


    17. Zillah said

      Thank you John for all your improvements and for caring what we think!

      The ‘ask first’ thing is the bane of BookMooch for me- I’m always emailing to ‘ask first’ and inevitably I get an email back to say that they would have sent the book, but someone else has mooched it in the meantime. A reserved function would be awesome- but would probably take a lot of work, and you do enough around here as it is 🙂

      There are way more positives than negatives about Bookmooch- I thank you so much for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful site even though I live in New Zealand!

      (oh and I miss the ‘mooch’ button too!)

    18. CarolynS(AU) said

      I agree we should do away with ‘ask first before mooching’ because of all the grief it causes when people miss out by doing the polite thing.
      Either you ship overseas or you don’t. If you only want to send small books say so in your Bio. If you send larger books but an occasional book is way too heavy to ship overseas then state that when you enter it in your inventory. If you have a set budget for the month state that in your Bio then it’s up to the moocher to decide if they’re prepared to wait until next month.I just don’t see the problem with negotiating after mooching since either side has the option to cancel or reject.
      I love BM and its members and have never had a problem sending or receiving from overseas that couldn’t be fixed by negotiation (and the occasional extra point!).

    19. melissa said

      thanks so much for fixing the width of the screen. I hated how clutter mine was and now it’s alot better! I can actually read it now!


    20. amberlianne said

      Nice! Fixed the screen width problem in less than a day!

      This is why you are awesome, John.

      I like the email change as well, and the charity change.

      I concur with the “we need to do something about email first on international mooches” thing. For one, I’m sick of having my emails ignored and never responded to while someone else ends up getting the book, and for two (for two?), I don’t like looking like I have a ton of rejects because I actually *do* reject mooches when I’ve received an international email first.

    21. zzzkatzzzz said

      thanks so much John for ALL you do!!!! i appreciate it VERY, VERY MUCH!!! i esp love how you allow for overseas shipping to count as giving 3 books instead of the 1 book as this now allows us to use the extra points we get. plus my ratio is much better now.

      about the “ask first”. i ALWAYS honor the requests of those who ask first! i think i even had to either reject a request or they ended up canceling because someone asked first. tho I do honor those who ask first, i do believe that there should be a “holding” of the book being asked about so that it cannot be mooched why the question is being considered. i know you have worked & continue to work very hard to improve this site. thus, i hesitate to suggest something that may have you working harder, but i feel that including a “holding” of a book would make this site just about PERFECT (since this seems to be the last remaining issue that pople keep complaining about).

      keep up the great work!

      take care,

    22. tudorpot said

      I can’t seem to find the change in the related editions/wishlist email.

      The mooch button is missed.

      Thanks for all your great work and listening.

    23. Delania said

      Welcome back Mooch button, you were missed! and thanks John for everything =)

    24. Maria said

      Thanks for all the great changes! It’s nice to see things improving for the better.

      One thing I would love to see here is the ability to upload pictures of book covers. There are so many books that are just a blank, with almost no information about that book. Is that in the works anytime soon?

    25. Nic said

      Personally, I reject all international moochers who don’t email first, and if I have multiple emails, it’s first come, first served – provided they meet the other criteria (willing to send overseas themselves).

      I think the “ask first” button gives the inventory holder more flexibility, and I’d hate to see it go. It’s hard enough to get moochers to offer books overseas as it is without talking away their discretion to accept a mooch according to their circumstances that particular day/week/month.

    26. Greg said


      Not sending to people who are not willing to send overseas themselves is against BookMooch rules.

    27. Margot said

      Yes, it is. It also shows a lack of understanding of people’s budgetary and other life constraints. Not to mention, you get extra points for an international mooch, so it’s slightly cutting of your nose to spite your face.

      Great changes and updated changes, John. Thank you.

    28. Zillah said

      I’ve missed 7 books this week due to ‘ask first’.

    29. Butch Heth said

      Well, after reading the overwhelming response, I’m changing my status to ship anywhere. It seems to fly in the face of all BM is about. I’ve gotten so much value from mooching, I should well afford to spend the extra $$ to send overseas. SPREAD THE LOVE!

      …and thanks, John, for all you do.

    30. Maria said

      Actually, it really is worth it to me to send internationally. You do get three points for sending one book, and if you add together the postage for three hardcovers sent in the US, the cost isn’t that much more.

    31. Stephanie said

      For the people who are having such a problem with “ask first”, why not send the “ask first” email, then right afterwards, go ahead and do the mooch? Then you’re in both queues, and you can cancel the mooch if the book is too heavy or whatever.

    32. susan bondesen said

      I agree with sumthinblue concerning the ‘inactive’ moochers.. If someone has not bothered to log off and has not been active in months (you have generously provided ways to ‘take a mooch vacation’)…it would seem like a good house cleaning would be in order. One can always re-join later..
      Bookmooch has been such a life saver after our library closed..
      Thanks so much!

    33. Deborah Morrissey said

      OK, can you now do something about screen width for those of us with narrow screens? I use a slate in portrait orientation, and I hate having to scroll sideways to hit any button.

    34. Cynthia said

      I’ve been in the position of having a very nice person ask first and having another very nice person mooch in the meantime. I e-mailed both – the first to see if they still wanted the book the second to let them know an overseas person had e-mailed first as requested so was checking with them. An “on hold” option would be great. In the meantime, I think I’ll change my bio to say go ahead and mooch, but may have to cancel if it’s insanely expensive (so far has just been moderately expensive).

    35. Zillah said


      That kind of defeats the purpose of ‘ask first’ don’t you think? If you’re just going to mooch anyway, I mean. I can see people getting upset about that…

    36. Nic said

      Greg – I either have a choice of flatly turning turn any overseas moochers, or of having a comment in my bio which I hope encourages them to participate inn this *worldwide* site. I was under the impression I could turn down any overseas mooch for whatever reason – here, I’m being open and honest.

    37. Nic said

      Margot – I’m a person with a disabling health condition, who doesn’t work full time (and sometimes can’t work at all). I’m also a student studying for a degree. I think I understand about budgetary and life constraints. When I can’t afford to mail overseas, I do change my status, but equally, I don’t then use my points mooching from overseas either. That’s a personal decision based on my own sense of fair play, I guess. There seems to me that the majority of persons here are not prepared to mail overseas, and this in an international site. If I wanted only to have books within my country, I could exclusively use, for example, ReadItSwapIt, and I’m sure other countries have their own equivalents.

      As for “cutting my nose off to spite my face” – if I work on the fact that an average book costs £0.83 to mail to the UK, and £2.97 (surface) to the US, then the extra points don’t actually balance in terms of cost although it’s near enough for me to keep this option open.

    38. Leah said

      I agree, miss the Mooch button. Also still concerned about the mooch ratio. I have a ton of points and can’t balance that w/the mooch ratio. If I were to use all of my points my ratio would be way out of wack. Frustrating. I feel as if I can’t use my points.

    39. shirley horsman said

      I can understand why some people might not wish to send overseas for various reasons but may I humbly put the view from the other side of the bridge…
      I joined fairly recently and have given most of my current inventory books away on the site quickly but, try as I might and after giving some points to charity, I still have over 90 points which I am struggling to “spend” because most of the books I want are with people not willing to send overseas!!
      I joined this site very enthusiastic about it but my disappointment about not be able to get books is now in the forefront, which is a great pity.
      Is there any way around this problem apart from me heavily using (particularly US) angels?

      -Shirley, UK

    40. Winna said

      I have a recently upsetting experience from someone who put his status as able to send worldwide. I had previously mooched the same book from someone else, but she had not responded for over 10 days despite being logged in. So I canceled the first mooch and mooched the book from the person who was able to send worldwide (and he was the only one who would).

      The next day he rejected my mooch and changed his status to ‘send to my country only’. Personally I was upset because I wanted the book for so long and the excuse just didn’t make sense. He should’ve changed his status long ago before causing mix-ups like this.

      The status is very important in BookMooch. I’ve had people mooch away although my status is ‘ask first’. Nobody is polite enough to email first, perhaps maybe they’re afraid somebody else beats them to it. I agree on the ‘hold’ button. It’ll make things so much easier on everyone. Or we can state where we will be able to ship: Asia only, US only, Europe only, Canada only, etc. That way people won’t need to ask.

      One more thing, people who’ve been inactive for over 100 days… I think it’s a good idea to put their accounts on vacation so their books don’t end up in the search result. I sometimes get excited finding a nice book and it turns out the only owner is inactive for nearly a year. If he/she decides to come back, he/she can re-activate the account.

    41. Winna said

      Oh and about the mooch button being back, thank you! This site has improved greatly and we’re all happy about it.

    42. Jennifer said

      Thank you for your continual attention and improvements to this site. This is definitely the best book trading site out there.

    43. Jessica said

      I like all you have fixed on the wishlist notifications. I see one downfall to it though, I can be picky with my books as to whether I want a hardcover or a paperback. I don’t know if other people are like that but I know I am. And the new notifications do not tell you in the e-mail which edition it is. So you have to go the more details page, and then to the detail page of the book, which in turn (if this is a highly wishlisted book) it would already be gone in that time, especially if you have a slower computer. Thanks for this website and all you’ve done..that is the one downfall I see in the new wishlist notifications I see in my opinion. Don’t know if anybody else would agree?? Thanks, Jessica

    44. MissMac (UK) said

      The ‘on hold’ button would be a wonderful idea. You’re damned if you do ask first – because someone always beats you to it and most people go with the person who has mooched from their own country – and you’re damned if you don’t because then you’re in with a good chance of being rejected for being rude, or there’s the odd genuine person who honours the email request they’ve had first from someone else.

      I would love a ‘hold’ button – it would solve an awful lot of problems.

    45. Laurel said

      One solution I recently used was changing the condition notes on a book to say “This book is reserved for “Jane Doe” from “Another Country” who emailed me about it first.” I know that’s not what they’re for, but it seems to work.

      Anyway, as a result of reading this I’ve also changed my status from “Ask” to “Will send Worldwide”, explaining in my status notes that I can’t afford to send heavier books. I hope all international moochers are able to find someone who will send worldwide, since several of them have generously done so for me.

    46. nitya said

      hey all, i am new to the site and thank you john for this brilliant concept and execution.

      i agree with shirley : it’s really frustrating to find all kinds of wonderful books only to find that the owners do not want to ship abroad.

      does it make sense to keep it mandatory from the site’s point of view to be willing to ship abroad if you want to mooch from abroad ?

      i don’t want to be petty and withhold books from people who don’t ship abroad themselves, so i have been accepting mooches without checking.
      on the other hand, i am beginning to feel that it doesn’t quite seem to balance out for those of us not in the USA.

      i understand the point system is supposed to take care of this, but what’s the point of all the extra points when one can’t spend them on anything ?!

      also agree with the “on hold” button.

    47. misskitty_79 said

      Wow John!
      All the changes are really great. Many, many thanks for so much hard work. 🙂

      I’d like to make one request, something that I’m sure you’ve heard before, but which doesn’t seem to have been mentioned here at all (which I’ll admit, I do find a little odd): It would be absolutely wonderful if it were possible to filter a user’s inventory by genre.
      The reason I say this is because, sometimes, when I mooch a book from someone with a large inventory, I’d like to check & see if they might have other books that I might possibly be interested in mooching as well, but if they’ve got more than a page worth of inventory… well, it just makes it really difficult, especially if there are authors/book titles that you aren’t sure whether or not they’re your “style”.
      Make sense?

      Any way… Thanks again!

    48. rrranch said

      I’ve only been with Book Mooch a few months but have made some great international friends. I, too, am on a budget, but strongly disagree with the “ask first” option. I sometimes spend $30 a week sending books. Can I really afford to send that much every week? Nope – but I do try to set some $$ aside (my personal accrual system) on the weeks when I only have one or two US books to send.

      When I find I can no longer afford to send overseas, I’ll change my designation.

      I also agree “fair is fair”. A person shouldn’t expect to “mooch” internationally if they aren’t willing to send internationally.


      I LOVE this site and appreciate the hard work and effort that goes into keeping it up and running. I also appreciate the great “moochers”.

    49. Winna said

      Agree with Nitya, because people in the US usually can get 3 new books by sending out 1 book overseas, while the rest of us in Asia, for instance, can only get 1.5 books by spending the same amount of money shipping overseas because not many people have bookmooch accounts and we usually find books we want from other countries.

      I know that condition notes aren’t mandatory too, as they’re not that important to some people. but what if people who think conditions matter want to mooch from others who do not care whether conditions are good? It takes ages to email each other asking about conditions, and just today I got a nasty email from someone mentioning “I don’t have the time to talk about book conditions” or something like that.. Isn’t it better if everyone lists their condition notes or have options they can tick, such as: “I dont remember the book condition, email me for details.”, “spine is creased”, “very good condition”. It might help greatly.

      One more thing… people who put “Email first before mooching” DO NOT always respond to emails. I’ve had 2 or 3 good books gone just because the owners do not receive my emails, and someone else already mooched the books by the time I wanted to resend the email.

      Agree with on hold button!

    50. Zillah said

      I hate it when people don’t respond to request emails, I’d much rather have a polite ‘no’ than be checking my email frequently waiting to hear back…

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