Is BM growing?

March 25, 2008

This weekend, while at an Annie Liebovitz exhibit in San Francisco, my friend and BookMooch member Cary asked the simple question “Is BookMooch growing?”

I didn’t really have an answer. Well, let me rephrase that. I know BookMooch is growing, by looking at the charts (ie, more members, more books) but is BookMooch growing at an increasing rate? Ay, that’s the rub.

Math geeks call this number the “first derivative”, and humanities majors call it “the rate at which change is changing”.

At BookMooch, all the chart data is easily downloaded into an excel spreadsheet, so I did that for a few different measurements about members, books and mooches.

Below are the quickie-charts I made. All the lines are “smoothed” by using a “trailing 30 days” method (the past 30 days are averaged), and all show the rate of change.

Ok, enough introductions, here’s what I found.


Newmembers1

This shows that BM has historically been adding 100 members per day, and recently this bumped up and is stable at around 150 members per day. These are people who create an account, and doesn’t worry about whether they do anything useful with that account, so this is a very rough measure.


Newmem2

This is the net growth in members, per day, who list books. In other words, this is the number of new members who actually list books to give away, minus the members who close their accounts, empty their inventory, go on vacation or have their accounts forced into vacation by virtue of inactivity.

So, this is a pretty good measure of the daily growth of active members per day.

Eyeballing the trend, it looked to me like growth might be declining, so I added the red trend line, which is a linear regression. The trend line indeed shows a declining growth rate for the first 400 days of BookMooch’s life, with the past 150 or so days showing a rise.

One reason this trend might be declining is that BookMooch initially didn’t have any way of retiring abandoned accounts. About a year ago (around day #240), this was introduced: if someone doesn’t respond to a mooch request of yours within a certain amount of time, they get put on vacation and their inventory is emptied. If that’s the case, then the decline might be due to cleaning up the first year’s worth of members. You can see a very sharp decline when the feature was introduced around day 240.


Newmembersgiven1

This chart shows the net growth in members who have given a book. This is a good measurement of each day’s gains, ignoring the effect of the past. With this chart, you can clearly see that the past 100 days have been very strong, with the growth rate doubling from 40 new members adding books to 80 new members adding books. If you compare this chart vs chart #1, you can see that the number of new members varies quickly, but that often a blip gives us a lot of new members who don’t do anything with their accounts (such as the recent big blip from 150 to 200 new members per day)

The rate at which new members who actually give a book are added to BM is pretty stable and doesn’t vary that much, and is very clearly trending upwards.


Netinc1

This chart shows the net increase is book titles available per day. When a book is mooched or someone goes on vacation or closes their account, this number goes down. This growth number isn’t increasing, and you can see the effect of heavy mooching during christmas (I assume, for gifts). At the current rate, this is an increase of about 200,000 book titles per year.


Moochesday1

The number of mooches per day is growing very quickly, with the only downturn being the spring of 2007, when the BookMooch service got really slow to use.

This is a really interesting trend and shows increasing commitment and interest from existing members. People are mooching more and more.

Now, this is really nerdy:

Mdervi2

this is the 2nd derivative of the mooches per day. In plain english, this chart shows the rate at which the rate of change is changing.

Still confused? What this shows is that mooches per month have been growing at a steady rate for a long time, but in the past 100 days, the mooches per month is increasing at an increasing rate. People are trading more books, and increasing their number of trades at an increasing amount.

Ok, data overload, I’m done.


My conclusions?

Yes, BookMooch is growing, and according to some measurements, at a growing rate, while according to others, BM is growing at a consistent rate.

Members: we’re adding about 150 new members per day, but since there are so many members who become inactive, this yields a net growth of about 30 new and active members per day. However, this “weight of the past” of old members is getting cleaned up, and might be coming to an end, as the number of new members who give a book is growing rapidly, doubling in the past 100 days.

Books: we’re adding about 500 new titles per day, but this rate is not growing.

Mooches: the mooches-per-day rate is growing very quickly. People must be reading more, or getting an increasing number of their monthly books from BookMooch.

48 Responses to “Is BM growing?”

  1. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, Disraeli supposedly said: They are thieves, there are lawyers but to really confuscate things takes a statistician. I teach high school math/calc/chem but try not to put too much an emphasis on numbers. For my part, I think Bookmooch is the best of the book swapping sites and I pass out John’s cards every chance I get (which is quite often, being a teacher). One of the OTHER book swapping sites is so user unfriendly (though if you look at their stats, they just grew to having their 2,000,000th book on hand to lend–but books on shelves or on hand to lend does not equate to books being read, enjoyed and shared amongst friends) so my vote goes to Bookmooch. May it always stay the book reader’s friendly site that it is–perhaps if one were to look at how many times a single title has been traded (which you can see under details when you mooch a book) one can appreciate the value of Bookmooch.
    OK, just my 2 cents as a bookmooch fan,
    happy reading to all and to all a good night(book)!!

  2. This reminds me, I seem to recall that Mark Twain said there are three kinds of lies: “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics”. But I like the graphs – they are pretty!
    I think bookmooch is pretty active and growing, and easy to use, and from a pragmatic standpoint, what more could a booklover want of it? Thanks so much
    Mike

  3. Rena said

    I am definitely reading more because of bookmooch (which is scary because I read so much to begin with). More books next to my bed (in towering piles) means more pressure to get through them all! Also – conversations with other bookmoochers also lead to knowing more about books that are out there – exploring genres you might never have touched before – which also all leads to reading more. And I think this is likely the case for many others. I used to average 1-2 books per week. Now I keep my goal set at 5 per week – that’s a huge change. I’ve read 45 books since January 1 – and that’s really only because bookmooch came into my life. Thanks so much for this site!

  4. John

    Send me some bookmooch cards to pass out to prospective members to pass the word about how good a site we have!!!!
    And my first comment above should have read: There are thieves (not They are thieves . . .)

  5. Winna said

    I’ve seen newcomers with new books lately, accidentally when browsing for new books to mooch 🙂 I really think a lot of new people have really joined, which is great!

  6. sumthinblue said

    Hi John 🙂

    Over here in the Philippines, I’m glad the number has jumped from 107 since I joined in January to 141 right now.

    The titles available locally used to frustrate me, but it’s showing a lot of promise right now, and it’s quite exciting for us.

    I want to share an article I wrote that got published in a national broadsheet newspaper (Manila Bulletin has the highest circulation among our local papers)two weeks ago, a full-page dedicated to bookmooch. Hopefully this has contributed to the growth of members in our country.

    I’ve scanned and posted it here:
    http://sumthinblue.multiply.com/journal/item/244/One_Happy_Moocher_Part_2
    (I do have to apologize though, that the paper didn’t run the photo credits I submitted along with the photos in the article…)

  7. I like the idea of cleaning out long-inactive accounts. It is frustrating to find several copes of a book and then learn that all of those offering it are inactive or have not visited the site for 6 months or so.

    But I love the site! I have exchanged about 50 books in less than a year. Dealings with other members (readers! book lovers!) have been pleasant.

  8. Adam Schlachter said

    I belong to two other book swapping sites….and have been gradually shifting all my activities over to BookMooch. I’ve given away almost 50 books since I’ve joined…which was only about 2 1/2 months ago! There were books that had been listed on the OTHER sites which had nary a hit, that were mooched in the first month I listed them here. It’s definitely a great way to “recycle” your books! I like that eventually the inactive accounts will be closed. I’ve been trying different strategies when deciding who to mooch from (i.e. trying to mooch from people with a low amount of points…potentially new members) and so far…I’ve gotten very little response from them. I’ll definitely keep trying though! Thanks John for a great site! Keep up the good work.

  9. StefanoC said

    Looking at the raw data, I don’t think the dip in the listed books in December 2007 is due to increased mooches (which even slightly decreased), but to a slowing in listing of offered books. During December, average daily mooches where 1304 (1534 in November), while new listing where 943 (vs. 1683 in Nov).

    Another interesting statistics is rotation, that is the average time a books remains listed (it can be computed as number of listed books / daily mooches). In 2006 it grew, as mooches didn’t keep up with the growth in listed books, up to around a year. In 2007 it settled at around 8-9 months. Since the beginning of 2008 it has shrunk to 7 months.

  10. Being a totally new user of Book Mooch it’s very interesting for me to get a better idea of it’s history, growth etc. Thanks for your efforts.

    Just wondering what the bookmooch cards are that I’ve seen a couple of people mention….

    Happy mooching everyone.

  11. Joanne said

    life is nothing but an aberration as are numbers — but would really like some business cards too like the one I recently received so that they may be posted in lots of great reader hang outs in the southeastern Pennsylvania region — we are always with books in hand around these parts — cheers!

  12. Melinda said

    BookMooch is certainly growing in my household… and among my friends and acquaintances. I talk it up all over the place (even when I’m at bookstores– including Barnes & Noble)!

    I definitely agree with the aforementioned quote– which, I believe, was originally said by Benjamin Disraeli but gained notice in the U.S. when Mark Twain quoted him: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” I learned the truth of that in my graduate school statistics class. It’s kind of like any of the “holy” books so often used to make various points. You can pretty much derive any meaning that suits your purpose.

    Go, Book Mooch!

  13. Tanya said

    I personally am trading books because if I can’t afford the oil for my house and the gas for my car I definitely can’t buy new books. I just dicovered this site in “The Week” magazine and it is a wish come true! Thank you

  14. I enjoyed this post and found it quite interesting. I especially appreciate your conclusions. I have a question about your “Books” conclusion, “we’re adding about 500 new titles per day, but this rate is not growing.” It’s not clear to me what this statistic measures. Here are three possible definitions of “book”.

    book: the volume in hand regardless of title.
    title: the name of the book regardless of edition.
    edition: specific combination of text and format (ISBN?).

    Which of these is increasing by about 500 a day?

    I’m not trying to be picky; just trying to understand the statistic. Do 10 copies of “The Firm” count as 10 books? Would 10 different editions of “The Firm” count as 10 books?

    There are some non-growth statistics I’d like to see. What percentage of books get mooched? titles? editions?

    I wonder if special deals significantly impact the growth rate of mooches?

    Thank you for BookMooch. I love it!

    Jon

  15. Danielle said

    In the chart “new members who list books (per day)” what occurred around 480 to cause that drop? The drop around 240 was explained by a website change to retire abandoned accounts, what occurred 8 months or so after that?

  16. Funny coincidence, I write this article about “Is BookMooch Growing?” and the next morning I get this email:

    From: Scholastic Magazine

    Hi, we're the UK's leading magazines for primary teachers. On our website
    in April, we're featuring BookMooch as our 'Website of the month'. This
    will include a short review of your website, a screenshot of your homepage
    and the full BookMooch web address as a URL link. This feature will be
    live throughout April 08.

  17. john said

    What I find fascinating is that two to three years ago, book cataloguing and swap sites were still in the I wonder if… stage. Now look how they have taken off and as in any market all manner of providers have entered the market with different functionality. Be interesting to see if they provide for different segments or complete by adding more social networking possibilities.

    I see that Librarything and Goodreads overlap with links to authors but with Goodreads perhaps better at promoting social connectivity in that you get to see your friends comments and book based activities but Librarything are clearly miles ahead re getting the book catalogue to generate links to an ever widening circle of books. Bookmooch is good at creating a community more so then the other sites but so is my UK swap site which has a better forum system. In that it has channels that allow you to set up receiving the first email of any thread from any channel. If it interests you can then response and receive all the posts in that thread.

    For me the volume in growth-books posted, membership and books mooched is linked to this wider world of social book cataloguing, and forum posts. I have posted more books and read more since joining all the sites mentioned by seeing and discussion what others have read to want to read.

    To generate more growth I think more ways of building a community around books/reading have to be explored. I do find this the weakest on Bookmooch in all the sites I am most active on.(Its lively but you almost have to stumble into it and fend off lots of how to swap technical stuff. I think could be improved by having a forum along the lines of the UK ReaditSwapit so you can focus on the channel you want in realtime and a rating/review section along the lines of Goodreads that encourages you to develop a friends network and enables you see and comment on their ratings/review.

    But I think it great that I have this growing and ever changing set of swap/cataloguing sites that have enabled me in 18 months to swap over a 1000 books, read over 200 , add over 700 books I want to read, enabled me to get books to review, and to make links with some impressive interesting people. So thanks John for your part in the Revolution!

  18. amber said

    I’d like to get some of the cards to pass along, too, if possible! I’ve got the site listed on my myspace/facebook pages for people to check out if they like to read, but I think handing the cards to people that I know are bookworms is a better way to spread the word. :o) And thanks so much for this site – I love it!

  19. I’d be interested to see (though somehow doubt it would be easy to calculate) “Books that were mooched that after they got read then got added to an inventory for mooching again.”

    After 9 months or so a lot of my initial inventory has been mooched, and I have mooched a lot of good books in return. But I haven’t put the ones I’ve read back into my inventory because honestly I am still fence-sitting about the experience.

    This has less to do with Bookmooch specifically and more to do with being located in Canada, where we have both very expensive postal rates, and also less availability of books to mooch because of all the short-sighted “Will only send books in my country” settings for moochers in the US – mailing Canada is pretty much as cheap for you.

    Anyways, like I said, not sure those are Bookmooch issues. I like the system, find it easy to use, (though wish I didn’t constantly get scooped on new mooches, but then maybe that’s life!)

    Cheers, Scott Leslie

  20. Christina said

    I am constantly added new books when I can even if I do not read them. I have been on here a month and have send out over 50 books and received about 30. I definitely read more because of book mooch and so do my kids. I have read 10 books in three weeks. I have NEVER read so much in my life.

    Christina

  21. Rachel Foster said

    I didn’t know if you didn’t respond to a mooch in a certain period of time your inventory was emptied! That is kind of scary to me because- what if for some reason I didn’t get an email?

    I just found out about BookMooch this month and I am loving it! I am spreading the word also.

  22. Danielle said

    I agree with John about the forums. It is obvious they are popular but that also makes them hard to to use, and slow.

    If there was more of a breakdown of forum by genre of book then I might actually read the emails that come from the forum. As it is the bm-discuss forum is a catch all for newbie questions, angel requests, genre conversations, deals and more.

    If a few of these things could have their own forum so that I could subscribe to just the ones I am interested in, it would be much easier.

  23. Carrie said

    One of the things that I found interesting in your graphs and numbers is that there are a lot of new people who don’t stick with BookMooch. Can you add some sort of rolling list of new members, and links to their inventory? In the forums, people will list 10 or 20 new members that they found. This encourages other members to mooch books from them, which will hopefully keep the new members to stay with BookMooch.

  24. Heather19 said

    I’m not a techy and I’m not all that nerdy (besides book-loving), but I LOVE statistics and graphs, so this is just so cool!! Thanks for sharing all of this with us!

    And I, for one, have almost completely stopped using bookstores/eBay, in favor of BookMooch. It’s just so awesome!

  25. Heather19 said

    Oh, and Rachel, there is really no reason to worry. That is basically only the case when some has mooched a book, waited several weeks, sent reminders, and gotten no response. And even if for some reason you don’t get an email, if you log into BM you’ll see that you have a request.

  26. Debbie S said

    I wanted to respond on a couple of comments…….
    1) I am one of the “newbies” – stumbled on to the site quite by accident – it was a link on a local public library’s website! I am absolutely smitten with the concept! My city lost our used bookstore about 2 years ago and it felt like I lost my best friend (sniff, sniff) Thank goodness this exists and bless you for the idea!

    2)I had to respond to this post “This has less to do with Bookmooch specifically and more to do with being located in Canada, where we have both very expensive postal rates, and also less availability of books to mooch because of all the short-sighted “Will only send books in my country” settings for moochers in the US – mailing Canada is pretty much as cheap for you.”
    I cannot agree more! I have mailed out 19 books this weekend and spent $70 on postage! I rec’d 2 books in the mail today from the USA and both were under $3 to send – my cheapest one mailed has been $4 for a thin book – up to $14 for 2 books sent to the other side of my own country!On the one hand I think that the rates of postage are ludicrous……but on the other hand – god bless the folks willing to send to Canada as I am finding books I have been looking for to complete series, for several years. I decided it’s a price I am willing to pay!

    Love live BookMooch!

  27. Wanda said

    I’ve only been a member of bookmooch for 6 weeks and have definately seen an increase in newbees. Since I have a rather large inventory, I thought that I should just take some of my books out and donate them to the library since they are not getting mooched. But I decided to leave them for a little while in case any new people would be interested in them. Slowly but surely, they are getting mooched.

    I tell practically everyone I meet about bookmooch. The post office clerk, an author I met at a book signing, any friend, relative or stranger who will listen to me! I, too have little use for other book options but I do hit my library book sale because the books are very cheap and perhaps a fellow moocher might want some!

    I used to sell books on those other sites but I find my moochers much happier and nicer people to deal with. And I still get books in return so it is all the same to me.

    I Love Bookmooch!

  28. Katie said

    I was wondering if I could also receive some of those cards that were mentioned please…?

  29. Sandy said

    I would also love to get my hands on some of the business cards you sent out before. I actually recieved 6 from another moocher and was delighted! Could you sell them, to cover the cost or raffle them in some way? I know it’s another thing for you to have to organise as well as this wonderful, free site.

    I for one would be willing to pay for business cards or stickers to advertise and bring in more members – or is that another demon? More members equals more bandwidth and more work for you…..

  30. Leslie said

    I would love to see a graphic or logo that I could put on my blog or website to send people this way. I don’t recall seeing one so alas can’t promote this site that way (and I’m not good with graphics to create my own).

    the business cards, if you put it as a pdf document we could print our own (however many per page when you can buy the business cards or we can print on heavy cardstock and cut out ourselves)

  31. Carrie said

    For those looking for BookMooch cards or Posters, there is already a place on BookMooch that you can download Posters in PDF format or request BookMooch cards.

    http://www.bookmooch.com/about/helpus

    Hope this helps! Carrie

  32. astrid said

    when I subscribed I found the whole idea of Bookmooch really great, but then I found out that it is so complicated for me to add new books because its database is based on amazon and there are very few italian books, so I have to write every single detail.

  33. Stacey said

    Off subject: I simply had to reply to this comment made by Scott Leslie on 3/25:

    >>because of all the short-sighted “Will only send books in my country” settings for moochers in the US – mailing Canada is pretty much as cheap for you.<<

    Wow, that is SO not true. When I started at BookMooch, I thought I’d be willing to send smaller books internationally, so long as I was asked ahead of time. I immediately received a mooch from a Canadian (who, of course, did not ask ahead of time). My day job is at a book publishing company, oddly enough, and our warehouse has a USPS scale that will figure out shipping to anywhere using any method you like. The book in question, once packaged, would have cost over $15.00 to send to Canada at the cheapest possible rate. The same book cost less than $3.00 to send across the U.S. It used to be a lot cheaper to mail to Canada, but not since a few months back when the USPS ‘improved’ their international shipping options–which they did by ‘merging’ different services together, changing the names of those services, and pretty much tripling the price while offering the exact same quality of service as before. I used to send packages to a friend in England every now and then–a few pounds worth for about $10 – $15 or so. The same size package now costs nearly $40. She doesn’t get packages from me anymore.

    Needless to say, after seeing the cost, I immediately changed my BookMooch setting to ‘only within my country.’ I’d love to be able to send books internationally, but I simply can’t afford it at 5 times the price. Personally, I find it rather rude to call someone short-sighted just because they have a thin wallet. If I had more spare cash, my settings would reflect it, and something tells me that a lot of other ‘short-sighted’ moochers would do the same.

    On subject: BookMooch rocks! I tell everyone about it. 🙂 I enjoyed looking at the graphs. It’s gratifying to know such an awesome service is growing–whether the growth rate itself is steady or also growing. 😉

  34. Stuart Campbell said

    Like Carrie, I’m interested in the number of new members who don’t stick around. In my rather haphazard browsing for books I am always finding new folks who have joined and not had any books mooched. I have to assume that lots of the folks who don’t continue fall into this category, and I wonder if there is a more systematic way of making those folks and their inventories known to others. When their names get posted in the forums, they usually get at least a mooch or two, if not for interest in specific books, then just out of the generosity of members with plenty of points to spare.

    In addition to getting them started on mooching, it would be beneficial, I think, if they were individually welcomed to the site, with an offer of assistance. The site can be a bit overwhelming to some, and providing a little personal guidance would likely also help keep new members around longer and more active. I bet that if there was a way to make it known who the new members are, we’d have plenty of folks who would volunteer to kind of mentor them along for the first week or two. This is a very generous lot, as evidenced in the Angel Network and the bank.

    As I consider this more, in the writing of this comment, it seems to me that if an automated email could be generated to new members with the aforementioned welcome, and with a link to the discussion forum, or perhaps to a new forum specifically dedicated to new folks and their questions, perhaps this and also the Wiki (I think it would be best to keep it fairly simple), that would also help keep new folks around and support them in getting started.

    So, is any of this possible with the current system? Are there any potential downsides to any of this? Anyone else have any suggestions along these lines?

  35. Stuart Campbell said

    Considering my own question while in the shower (not only some of the best singing done there, but thinking as well ;-)), and there’s one major downside it seems to the general listing of new folks and their inventories, and that is that it would seriously disrupt the way wishlists are currently being handled. I strongly suspect that a significant number of wishlist hits come from books entered by new members, and if their inventories were available in a single listing, it seems quite likely that books would be snatched up long before members ever even received an email notification.

    Thoughts?

  36. Carrie said

    Stuart, Thats a good Point – How about listing new people who joined say, 24 hours, or 36 hours ago – that way, all wishlisted books should be mooched by those who want them, and new people will still get noticed.

    My first thoughts were it didn’t matter, since wishlisted books that are available will appear in wishlist BookMooch page and thats what I check first when I log into the site, but then I realized if I went through a new person’s list and found a heavily wishlisted book not on my list, it really wouldn’t be all that fair –
    -Carrie

  37. Jillian said

    Bookmooch is by far a more “user friendly” and customer service oriented site. I don’t have to pay money for things I rarely use and with the feedback option I can make sure that if a swap doesn’t go well I won’t be completely ignored. My only issue with BM is that I haven’t had a book off of my wishlist in a couple of months. It doesn’t seem to have as much flow of in-demand books. Otherwise, it’s pretty much perfect. I prefer a first come first serve option on my wishlist only because, like I said, none of my books have come up at all in recent times. I’ve been able to find some paperbacks, though, that I don’t mind paying credits for.

  38. Doug A said

    Stacey: I don’t know what options your scale listed, but if you check the USPS website, the cost for sending a 1 pound package (around the weight of 2 paperbacks) from the US to Canada by First Class International is only $4.60. That’s almost exactly the same as it would cost to send from New York to California by Parcel Post; Media Mail is cheaper, but only half as much, not 5 times. $15 is the amount it would cost to ship a package of the maximum allowed size by this method–4 pounds, which would be a book in the size range of a dictionary. (For comparison, the last Harry Potter book only weighs 2 pounds 4 ounces, and can be sent from the US to Canada for about $9.) Any book of this weight can be sent anywhere in the world for $11, as long as it can be fit into the flat rate envelope.

    I encourage anyone who’s not sure about USPS international rates to use the rate calculator on their website. Remember that First Class International isn’t just for letters–it can be used to mail anything that’s under the weight limit and is legal to send through the mail.

  39. Jaime said

    I love BookMooch. I am always telling friends and co-workers about it and am constantly handing out the cards.

    In by pre-BookMooch days, I read maybe 1-2 books per week, but now I read somewhere in the vacinity of 4-6 books per week (or more if I have a lazy weekend).

    Because I reread books the way most people rewatch movies, if I love a book, I have to own it. There are some books that I am on my 4th or 5th copy of. BookMooch makes it so much easier to find that old favorite that is no longer in print.

    Thank you BookMooch!

  40. R. Swyear said

    I am a very new member to BookMooch and I must say, this is an awesome site! I just hope that I can find good homes for some of my books I no longer read. I really like what the site has to offer and it’s fairly easy to navigate. Well done!

    However, I do have one suggestion. When searching, I’ve been curious as to what the newest additions are to the site. Right now, it is impossible to tell what is a recent addition. Do you think there is a possibility in the future that this will be added to the search feature?

  41. Lori said

    I’m surprised by the many comments about new members who aren’t receiving much activity. When I joined a few months ago, I was innundated with mooch requests within 48 hours! In fact, within the first few weeks of joining, I sent out about a dozen books to people and was thrilled with how many requests I received, particularly considering I had a pretty small selection to start with (less than 20 books).

  42. Stacey said

    Doug A.:

    The book I was referring to was hardcover and DID weigh four pounds with packaging. As I said, and will say again, the difference was FIVE TIMES AS MUCH: $3 within the U.S. vs. $15 to Canada. The scale I was using, since you’re unsure, covers every option for USPS shipping with the U.S. and Canada–the same options found on USPS.com. It’s a commercial scale leased from USPS for business use.

    All I was saying in my previous post, which I’ll also say again, is that it is not polite to call members ‘short-sighted’ (implying that the member is apparently too dim to look up costs for him/herself and find that he or she SHOULD change their account preference) or anything else rude for listing their accounts as ‘my country only’ because they can’t afford to pay twice as much (for a 1 lb. item, which is $2.13 Media Mail within the U.S. and $4.66 for 1st Class Int’l to Canada) or FIVE TIMES AS MUCH (for a 4 lb. item, which is $3.15 for Media Mail within the U.S. and $15.46 for 1 Class Int’l to Canada).

    I said exactly what I meant the first time around; I’m not confused about shipping options. As I mentioned, I work at a book publisher and am called on to figure out the least expensive method for shipping our books to international customers every day, so I’m not just blowing smoke up your skirt, here. I’m just trying to defend those of us who have made informed decisions about how we want to list our BookMooch account, based on our own monetary limitations. If I could afford to send a book anywhere in the world for ‘just $11,’ then I wouldn’t have my account listed as ‘my country only,’ would I? But I can’t afford to shell out $11 every time someone mooches a book from me–or even occasionally–so that is how my account is listed. I’m sure that many on BookMooch whose accounts have the same limitation have the same reason.

    (Incidentally, the latest Harry Potter book in HC weighs 2 lb. 6 1/2 oz., and you’re not including the weight of packaging. I use thick bubble mailers for mooches so that the book is sure to arrive without damage from rough handling during transit. By the time I pack that book up, it would weigh close to 3 1/2 lb. and would cost $13.66 to send cheapest way to Canada vs. $3.15 Media Mail to anywhere within the U.S.–over four times as much.)

    *

    Lori:

    I agree. I had no idea this new member/no mooches thing was a problem. When I joined, I relieved my bookshelf of a ton of things I wasn’t using anymore–mainly cookbooks–and I was running myself ragged for a week trying to fill mooches in a timely manner! Of course, I learned my lesson and I only add a few books at a time now, but I’m surprised to hear that new members are having trouble getting mooches. Maybe their listed titles just aren’t very popular…?

    *

    A problem I do have, though, and maybe it’s just me, or just my e-mail provider, is that I tend to not get e-mail notifications that a book on my wishlist has become available until hours, or even a day after it has become available. In fact, one day last week, I reloaded my wishlist in hope (as one does) and saw one of my books had just become available. I immediately mooched it. Literally a day later, I received the notification that a book on my wishlist was now available, and it was that some book that I had mooched from that same person! I double-checked, and the member hadn’t added an extra copy; the e-mail really was referring to the one I’d mooched the previous day. I check my e-mail constantly (I’m always at a computer one way or another), so I know it really did take that long for the notification to show up in my In-Box. Is anyone else having this problem, or should I just assume my e-mail provider is being slow? I get newsletters every day, and they always show up on time right around 9AM…

  43. Mary Anne said

    Since discovering the book swap sites, my reading hasn’t increased–it was already very high–but I have branched out a bit more in what I read. That has been in part because I can sample new authors and/or genres without as much of a financial investment but also because I discover books through discussions, etc., that I wouldn’t otherwise know about.

    OTOH, my book _buying_ has decreased, mostly because I now have more confidence that I will be able to later find a book on-line that is no longer available in the stores. I’m not sure that will make authors, publishers, or booksellers any too happy. So many different industries and businesses are having to adjust to both the opportunities and the challenges of the cyber world.

    On another note, I cannot locate Bruce Dressel, whose comment was the first on this thread, by any means that I can discover here at the site. Perhaps I am doing something wrong. I have a question for him; any suggestions on how to contact him? Thanks.

  44. Doug A said

    Stacey: I apologize for making an incorrect assumption, but since you’d put your story in the context of shipping smaller books, I didn’t have any reason to think that the one you were referring to was a large one. (You’re correct about the weight of the Harry Potter book–I misremembered it between looking it up on Amazon and posting it here–but the point in bringing it up was as an example of a large book that many people would consider too heavy to ship internationally, and to provide some context for how much a large hardcover weighs.)

    Regardless, my point still stands: The cost of international shipping is a continuum, not a constant multiplier. A new member reading your first post might conclude that the cost of shipping to Canada is always 5 times the cost of shipping within the US, and they should get the information to be able to make an informed decision. You have every right to decide as you see fit; another member might see the same information and decide differently. (Some might feel that the cost of shipping a 1 lb. package to Canada being slightly more than twice as much is more than balanced by getting three times as many points for it, for example.) The cost being 5 times as high is the worst-case scenario, not the typical one, and is partially mitigated by the existence of other options.

  45. lexy-lou said

    a newsflash for all those commenters making polemic statements about statistics: one can lie and otherwise deceive in _any_ language. there’s nothing particularly profound about disparaging people using numbers and charts to try and communicate.

    one may as well say are dishonest persons, liars, and people who use words.

    sheesh!

  46. Rhonda (duh) said

    Just a note to say that I run a convenience store, and I put a new poster on my board about every 2 weeks or less. People are definitely taking the web address. I get excited every time I have an empty flyer! The more that disappear, the more book choices we have on the way, or so I hope.

  47. Megan said

    Like everyone else (almost) I’d love to get my hands on some of those cards to give out to people. I love being able to mooch rather than buy new and I love knowing that my books are going to people who will appreciate them.

  48. virginia emerson said

    Kindly send some cards so that I can help recruit a few more members. Thanks. Virginia

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