BM beyond the USA

March 26, 2008

How International is BookMooch?

28% of active members, and 32% of book titles are from outside the USA.

These percentages are about the same as when I last looked at them 15 months ago.

Here are some charts showing books and people outside the USA, all taken by putting the “Browse by country” pages into excel.

Below is the percentage of members who are not in the USA. One thing that’s interesting, is that despite this being a chart of the top 12 countries, the remaining 104 countries represented on BookMooch account for 25% of the non-USA members. That shows that members are very distributed around the planet.

United Kingdom: 25.4%
Other: 24.5%
Canada: 14.5%
Australia: 10.8%
Singapore: 5.0%
Italy: 3.2%
Philippines: 2.6%
France: 2.6%
Ireland: 2.5%
Germany: 2.5%
Spain: 2.3%
Finland: 2.1%
India: 2.0%


Books being traded are predominantly in English (93%). Of the 7% that are not in English, French (30%) and German (27%) dominate the non-English books.


Of the 32% of the books available (in whatever language) from outside the USA, three countries (UK, Canada, Australia) contribute 51% of the books. The “other” line (12%) represents all the books available from countries below the top-20. 88% of the books are provided by the top 20 countries.


77 Responses to “BM beyond the USA”

  1. Winna said

    That’s interesting.

    However it’s sad to see many inactive members from overseas. One of our reasons is because shipping is very expensive and there are not many people who know BookMooch over here, and not many have English books to trade therefore their accounts are idle with no activities of mooching and being mooched.

    I’m from Indonesia and I’ve heard of BM from another member, who is a friend of mine. Due to lack of advertising and word of mouth, not a lot of people actually know this place. If they do, most books are also in Indonesian.

    If we have more publicity for BM over here, I’m sure a lot of people will join. 🙂

  2. slj said

    Interesting statistics — thanks for publishing!

    Yet another one of the reasons I like to trade on Bookmooch…


  3. Zillah said

    I’ve been lucky to have members give me BookMooch business cards which I pass out as often as I can. I’ve spread the word by mouth too, and got a few NZ people to join.

    I’d love to be able to download and print a flier which I could put in cafes, libraries etc to raise the profile in my country.

    Going someway towards solving the ask-if-not-to-my-country dilemma would help too… (please… we beg!) 😉

  4. Winna said

    Yes! BM cards helped. I recently got 12 cards from US and Australian bookmooch members, and I gave them away with my books.. People love the cards. Wish we could have more, or something like a bookcrossing sticker will be nice.

  5. Sophie said

    I’m surprised there are relatively few Scandinavian members (not counting Finland) – maybe we need a members from these countries to contact their local press and generally spread the word …

  6. Coqueline said

    I’m with Zillah on how we need other mailing preferences other than ‘ask-if-not-to-my-country’ options to those wishing to selectively send books outside their countries. ‘Only in my region’ would be a great option for those in Europe where countries are small and sitting next to each other. I almost never get to mooch a book from my own country and therefore always uses 2 points for almost any mooches I have made, even though it might be from Belgium, which is only 2 hours away.

  7. Jo said

    I was kindly given some cards by a member from the US, I would like to know, how people get hold of the cards?
    I belong to another book site & put the cards in the books I post out on that, cheeky I know, but, if you love books as much as me, you want to know about as many available sites as possible.
    I don’t put any cards in with my book mooch books because if you have mooched from me then you obviously already know about book mooch!! 😉
    I also tell as many people as possible and had to stand up and do a presentation on the internet and I talked about book mooch and Amazon (I think the class thought I was a nutter heehee)

  8. HelenaPage said

    I have only been a member for a few weeks and am very happy with bookmooch.The sad thing is most of the books I want are in the States but inevitably they nearly all refuse to post overseas . I post overseas after all you do get three points .But it is sad to be mooched from by people who will themselves not post overseas .Hopefully after receiving my books they will have a rethink .Bookmooch definatley needs more publicity over here ,I have had a few friends join but we need to find effective free advertising .

  9. Marlene said

    Hi there. Well I just happened to receive a few bookmooch cards from a bookmoocher and I was really happy. Yes I know about bookmooch but this way I can show others in my country about it.
    I live in The Netherlands, good to see we are in the Top 20, for such a small country.
    There are not too many active members here, but I did add some Dutch books in my inventory.
    I am going to do my best to get more Dutch members. 🙂

  10. Jacquelyn said

    That link is under the ‘publicize’ button under the ‘about BookMooch’ heading and has flyers and BookMooch card info.

    I’d also like to say a huge Thank You to all BookMooch users who ship worldwide. I love mooching from across the globe. Not only is it a way to receive extra points when I send out books internationally, it helps keep my mooch ration in balance when I spend points in return on worldwide mooches.

    My one grumble would be the “Ask first” option. I’ve had some wonderful people honor my email requests and others completely ignore it.

    So, again, thanks to all of you who do send worldwide-it’s much appreciated!

    And, thank you John for such a wonderful site!

  11. Jacquelyn said

    I’d also wanted to give a big THANKS to all the BookMooch Angels too.

    I’ve had some folks really amaze me with their generosity by mooching books on my behalf.

  12. sjhenny said

    Agree that getting the word out is important, but PLEASE no stickers! The cost of shipping overseas from the states is awful and it’s apparently going to get worse with an increase scheduled for sometime in April. I recently had a request from the UK that would have cost $11 to ship. When I had to decline, the moocher responded that she could buy the book new for that amount. Even 3 pts, wouldn’t make that worthwhile. Thank goodness moochers are generally understanding people.

  13. Sandy said

    I sometimes find it frustrating that members are not posting out of their countries. That could be fine for somewhere the size of the USA but as previously mentioned the smaller countries don’t get much of a look in..

    These members who won’t send out overseas are very active at mooching from the world-wide senders though and this has been noticed by myself. Some members are more pro-active and are mentioning in their profiles that they frown upon it, some are actually checking and not sending if the moocher has stated ‘will only send to’ etc. I will send worldwide whatever the moochers own preferences but the gap is widening!!

  14. Danielle said

    As an “inside the US” person I just can’t spend that kind of money sending a book out to someone, even if it means more points for me.

    I hear your pain though on seeing how great this sharing concept is but being limited in what books you can mooch.

    The point of signing up to this site for me was to find a cheap and environmentally sound way to exchange books I don’t want anymore for books I do want. A quick USPS lookup on a package 2 lbs and about mass market paperback book sized to Winnipeg Canada is $20 for the cheapest postage. Now maybe there is a rate out there that I don’t know about, but this is the only information I have and the postage could be much higher depending on where in Canada someone lives.

    A US to US book of the same size costs $2.14.

  15. Leslie said

    I am happy to send smaller paperback books overseas but agree that the cost issue is what holds me back from hardbacks or bigger books. If I had unlimited funds I would be happy to send nearly anything anywhere!

  16. Kinga said

    I would like to join the chorus of thanks to those who do send overseas. Cost of sending from Canada and US is horrendous (I recently sent a package of my belongings from Canada to Poland and the price was ridiculous!), which is a shame. So when I do mooch successfully from somebody in North America or Australia, I am really grateful.

    But anybody, anybody at all who sends to other country deserves even more points, I think. Being stuck in Poland, the books are getting cheaper, but they’re still more expensive than getting them in the UK. So, mooching is a fantastic way of getting books and then sending them back out into the world. 🙂

    Thanks to John and the mooching community!

  17. alice said

    I would looove to get more people from Mexico and Spanish speaking countries into Book Moock. I recently found a cheaper way to send my books and tomorrow I will be sending to Australia and the US.

  18. Zillah said

    Thanks Jacquelyn! I didn’t see those fliers!

  19. Samantha said

    I really do wish more people would send internationally. I also agree that the “ask if not i my to my country” thing is frustrating to some people, and if there was a way to solve it without adding too many complicated options, I’d be for it. Personally, I ship worldwide (from the US), but note in the condition if it is too big to send outside of US and Canada. Small books I don’t mind, and I know there is a demand, since many times I list a book and it gets mooched right away even though there are 10+ other copies, simply because no one else is willing to send overseas.

  20. Doug A said

    Danielle: According to the USPS site, a 2 pound package from the US to Canada costs around $8 through First Class International. If you can fit it into the envelope and it’s under 4 pounds, a Priority Mail International flat-rate envelope is only $9.

  21. SKingList said


    I think you have some faulty information there. I frequently send books to Canada and while the flat rate envelope is an option for books, at $9 it’s often not good value. I recently sent three paperback books to Ontario at a cost of $5.50 and another individual paperback for $2.80. Slightly more expensive than the US but certainly not the figures you were quoted, which sound more like express mail rates.

    Please feel free to ping me or post to the forum ( I don’t follow this blog) if you’d (or anyone else) like more information on posting to Canada. I’m going to bump my post to the forum on this .


  22. Katrina said

    The USPS has flat rate boxes that are from $8.95, no matter how much they weigh. I don’t mind shipping anywhere.

  23. foggylady said

    Given out current and predicted economy, affordability and postage is going to worse, not better.
    Therefore, would it make sense to have Bookmooch “chapters” or sections, one for Canada, one for Europe, and/or Britain, etc.
    Surely there are enough folks within those countries who like the mooch concept and would support it at postage rates they can afford, just as the USA does.
    Amazon has both a USA and a UK site, no?

  24. Felicity said

    I’m glad others are frustrated with the ask first option. I find as soon as people see Australia in my request they say no. I like the Region suggestion for Europe but how about Ask if not in My Hemisphere. In all seriousness it would make it a lot easier for me to mooch from NZ and a lot of Northern countries are close enough that people would be comfortable with the postage to that part of the world. Probably not practical but is a suggestion.

  25. Coqueline said

    With the postal service being privatised here in Holland, it is sometimes expensive to even send books within the country after the book exceed a certain dimension (basically when it will no longer fit into a standard European mailbox slot). But the rules are too complicated that I simply opt for sending only within Europe for any sized books. I do make exceptions and ship outside of Europe when either the moocher has something in her/his inventory I’m interested in mooching and they are willing to send them to me, or that the moocher is someone I have mooched from in the past. I hope it evens out the karmic balance of my occasional mooching from distant lands… 🙂

  26. Sandra said

    Yesterday I was browsing around for some english books I would like to mooch. The majority of this books are available in multiple copies. At least for US-moochers. I really thought about rejecting in the future if the moocher is on “my country only”. But that doesn’t help a bit. I will continue sending books overseas, except for heavy hardbacks. Each time I pay about $ 10 and I’m just a poor student *grin* but I can mooch 3 books with these points I receive. I really wish more people would send internationally, but I understand if someone can’t afford to pay $ 15 for the postage of one single book. The postage rates nowadays are often just insane.

  27. Doug A. said

    Danielle: You can send a 2 lb. package from the US to Canada for about $8 using First Class International…and as long as you can squeeze it into the envelope, up to 4 lbs. for only $9 using Priority Mail Flat Rate.

  28. twiglyt said

    I’m in Canada and I prefer to ship outside the country! Shipping costs within Canada are ridiculous for anything in small packet/parcel sizes.

    I paid $11 to ship a book within Canada and $5.50 to send a similar-sized book to Australia. Canada Post has a “surface mail” option available for shipping outside the country, but not within the country.

  29. Being able to find authors and titles not easily (or affordably) available in the US is one of the reasons I’ve come to love this site so much. I accept 95% of the requests I get for international mooches in an effort to keep the good karma circulating.

    Int’l postage rates can be frustrating, but I believe that the money I would otherwise spend on new books, gasoline to get to bookshops etc balances out the costs.

    I’ve been thrilled to communicate with a couple of members in northern Africa (Morocco and Egypt). English-language books published in the US and Europe can be really expensive there… and books published in Arabic can be nearly impossible to find here in the US! So it makes for a wonderful trade, when supply and demand match. I think this is one of the most magical things about BookMooch.

  30. amberlianne said

    Some of us use the “email me first” option because we’re perfectly okay with sending paperbacks or reasonably sized books overseas but not so much okay with sending a textbook, compendium or technical manual — as a general rule if I can’t ship something overseas in a $11.00 flat-rate envelope, which holds a maximum of four pounds for overseas mailing, I won’t send it.

    Sometimes I think those of you who complain about this don’t really understand that in the U.S. we NO LONGER HAVE SURFACE MAIL!!!!! Everything we send out now has to be Priority, Express or first-class.

    Picking and choosing who you are willing to mooch to based on whether they can afford to send books overseas is in direct contradiction to the central point of BookMooch — give a book, get a book, everyone gets to read. Be assured that in order to get the 2 points it takes someone to mooch from you, they did, in fact, send out two of their own books to someone in their own country. Why should it matter to where the books are sent?

  31. Zillah said

    I personally have no problem with people choosing to send to their country only, there are many reasons why people would want to do that whether due to finances, ability, or even if they just plain don’t want to spend money on that, that’s each person’s choice.

    I’d simply like there to be a way to reserve the book in an ask first case, to give me adequate time to “ask first”. If the answer is no, no problem. The situation I get all the time though, is of the “I-would-have-but-someone-else-got-there-first” variety (often even 12-24 hours after me emailing to ask due to time zone differences etc).

    I don’t feel like it’s my ‘right’ to get a certain book or anything, I’d just like a fair shot 🙂

  32. Lisa said

    I’m surprised by the number of members in the USA who won’t send overseas. There have been quite a few books I would have loved to have read, but couldn’t.

    As an aside, I once had a mooch request from a lady in the Philippines, no problem, agreed to send – and then found out that someone who lives close to me was actually going to live in the Philippines that week. He took the book with him and personally delivered it!

  33. Zjanette said

    Another Dutch member here. I had BM cards and gave them away. After that I made my own flyers with the logo’s available on BM.
    I would also be nice to be able to show a cover scan of books not available at Amazon etc.
    If that was possible I would add Dutch books to my inventory and show people the cover!
    That would help.

  34. Sandra said

    I tried this yesterday with some of my books. You just have to find a hosting space for the picture and then include the hmtl code in the condition note.

  35. pitbullrescuer said

    “Sometimes I think those of you who complain about this don’t really understand that in the U.S. we NO LONGER HAVE SURFACE MAIL!!!!! Everything we send out now has to be Priority, Express or first-class.”

    The person who wrote this is simply misinformed. You can send books by Media Mail for $2.13 for the first pound anywhere in the continental U.S. (not sure whether it includes AK & HI). Very few books weigh over 1 lb. If you don’t believe me, check the post office website at

    I’m baffled when I see people talk about how expensive it is to send books from the U.S., etc. I’ve been startled by how cheap it is! I send lots of books internationally, and the most I think I have ever spent is $8 — that may have been to Israel. That still isn’t bad for getting 3 points!

  36. Alex said

    I’ve always wondered why there’s such a large percentage of members from Singapore, considering what a tiny country it is. It seems a bit odd. Cool though.

  37. Carrie said

    I agree with Zillah above. It is so frustrating to ask a person if they’re willing to ship and book that’s available. In between the question and answer, someone else is able to mooch it. I think it would be a wonderful idea to be able to place a book on reserve until someone answers you. Because, in my case at least, it seems like the majority of people will not even bother to answer you. If you can’t send it, it’s not a big problem, but I would really appreciate the owner of the book to take a few seconds to respond.

    As an American who is now living in Canada, I can’t say I sympathize with people back home that only swap within the country. Postage up here is way more expensive. Where it will cost someone in the US a couple of more dollars to send a book to Canada (compared to sending it to someone in the US), it costs us twice as much to send it to the US. (It’s even more expensive for me to send within Canada, but that’s another story!) I can understand if money is tight, but I don’t think that’s likely for MOST people using this service. I think most people just want to get a book for as cheap as possible.

    So I’m one who will look at people’s profiles to see if they’re willing to send outside of their country. If they are not, I may not accept their mooch request. I figure if people can choose to only send books within their country, I have the right not to send books to people who choose to do that. It’s not personal–it’s just how the game is played on BookMooch.

  38. dawn said

    Is there any way that we could offer to pay for extra heavy shipping costs??? I have an “ask first” on my books, and so far have not refused any – but I’d rather be up front about the possibility that it might be too expensive for me … personally I would be happy to send off a cheque for excess postage if it were for a book I really wanted … and actually I have a number of books that I would like to list but haven’t because I know they are heavier or larger and don’t feel I can afford to be sending them, even in my own country (Canada’s postal rates are outrageous!)

  39. Zillah said

    I would be loathe to see money introduced into BookMooch because of the high possibility of abuse, worst case scenario it could even cause the ruin of the site.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Carrie- when someone doesn’t respond to an ask first request it’s just plain rude – I’d much rather have a simple “no, sorry” than not hear back at all.

  40. Kate said

    From Australia (and I send lots and lots of books overseas) I think it is expensive, but sending and recieving books internationally adds to the community feeling of Book mooch. We can only send first class air mail and I think the cheapest I have paid to send to the States was AU$17.00. The UK is expensive for us too, howeve on the flip side, it is actually cheaper for us to send to Greece or Japan than it is to send interstate within Australia!!
    I love sending my books to anyone who will enjoy them, international or not. My only limitation is that if someone asks me to send overseas who doesn’t ship internationally themselves, I like them to ask me first (and no I haven’t turned anyone down yet!)

  41. Nancy said

    I mail internationally.I can’t imagine being a reader in another country and trying to find and English language book, much less one you want to read. It does chap me though, to mail internationally to someone who won’t do the same and I will begin to reject mooches for that reason.

  42. Zillah said

    I’m pretty sure it’s against BookMooch rules not to send to someone who wont send outside their country. I sympathise (being a NZer) that it’s frustrating at times when you want a book but the owner send internationally, but refusing those people as a policy is problematic- the situation is simply not that black and white. The person may not send outside their country because they are on a low income or on a different ability spectrum, for example. A policy of rejecting those peoples mooches actually favours the wealthy and able-bodied which I think is the antithesis of what you are probably trying to achieve in the first place which I assume is a fair and more equal BookMooching experience.

  43. Zillah said

    Sorry, that was supposed to be “I sympathise (being a NZer) that it’s frustrating at times when you want a book but the owner WONT send internationally”

  44. Sophie (AU) said

    With respect, I think a lot of Americans have no idea how lucky they are in their overseas postage costs…I’ve had a number of Americans reject a mooch request, on the basis that it would cost $10-12. I don’t know what it costs other nationalities, but for me to send books to America, it costs usually $15… many times I’ve paid $25 postage. I don’t begrudge paying it, because it’s my decision, and, although the budget is very tight, I figure that if I listed it, I should send it, but when I see one US moocher after another who won’t send overseas, it does give one pause to think.

  45. Trevor said

    Those graphs are really interesting. They could be used in a marketing lecture as a classic example of the “long tail”:

  46. Michelle said

    I read about BM on the Expatica site here in the Netherlands and I was so glad to find it. I will admit it is expensive to ship overseas but I don’t mind when I am able to get books that I would otherwise not be able to get here. I really hope that you don’t go to “chapters” as someone mentioned earlier because then for someone like me it would not really be worth it since out of the 12 mooches received (and waiting for 11 more) only 2 of them were from my country. Thank you for BM.

  47. Dorothy said

    Thanks for posting that! Its good to see that we international members are doing well 🙂
    I was very happy when I heard about bookmooch, to be honest I probably would never have heard about it if I didn’t have friends in the States.
    I do think it needs more publication especially in small countries like Hungary.

    Keep the good work up! Its a great site!

  48. HipFish said

    Would it be possible to have a Mooch button option for these “ask me first” situations that takes the book out of inventory while the request is being considered? It would have to be a mooch category with a sort of “no fault” rejection option – like “declined” or some new category which just means you considered the postage and decided against it. That way you could also look at a person’s decline history and get a feel for how likely they were to actually send internationally. It would also encourage people to be careful about selecting the “ask me first” option – they would have to mean it. Do people put comments in their profile about where they will and will not ship? That would also be helpful.

  49. Matt said

    As a brand-spanking new member of BookMooch (which I found out about from the US Edition of “The Week” magazine last week) and a frequent Amazon Marketplace seller, I find this string of discussion very interesting. I thought I’d share my insight and experiences.

    For a long time, I would not send overseas on an Amazon purchase, largely because of “perceived” cost and (in my case) the insane line I’d have to wait in just to mail the books via media (surface) mail. The automated postal machine made life a lot easier for mailing light items first-class, though it doesn’t offer media mail options. Media mail only ships within the US, but is very unreliable (things I’d ship to Texas would beat things I ship to Pittsburgh only 3 hours away, while things to Hawaii would take 5 weeks). All of my negative ratings or refunds are the result, in one way or the other, of the media mail getting lost, damaged, or inexplicably delayed. The fact the Amazon supplies funding for shipping costs made the “no more media mail” (NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!!!) an easy decision.

    I now do mail overseas on Amazon, but only for particular books (especially for those by academic presses or those I can reasonably request US$20 or more). This is the result of trial and error, really. If I said yes to every international shipping request, I might spend more on shipping than I’d get for the book (shipping priority to South Africa isn’t cheap no matter how you arrange it). I just had to pick an arbitrary price to set as the minimum standard for international shipping, and it has worked well.

    Coming to BookMooch, the “karma factor” reigns larger than in Amazon, and I like that. Although I’ll admit I’m a “check with me first before shipping overseas” person, I’ll probably ship to anyone anywhere around the world. Why? I love to travel when money allows, and know that books are so much more expensive overseas than in the US (US$25 equivalent for the newest Indridason mystery in Iceland last month). Just knowing I’m getting “book karma points” helps. If I make a friend or two in exchange, even better!

    The moral of the story…Overall, I’d rather spend $11 to mail a book to NZ, earn 3 points, recycle 4 books out of the exchange (send one and get 3 domestic), and make a friend than spend $50 on the equivalent 3 desired books at Barnes & Noble and not have money left to catch the bus home!

    And you don’t make friends by begging for bus money…

  50. Sunnan said

    I’ve got two questions to John (or others?) about this.

    1. I’ve got a lot of Swedish books that aren’t found in the American Amazon ISBN database. Any solution to this or will I have to hand-add the books? (I’m still pretty new to BookMooch, I haven’t added so many books yet.)

    2. How do I set which language a book in my inventory is in? I’ve got Karen Armstrong’s Buddha which has the same name as the English version. Or how did you get the statistic?

  51. Over the past few months, I have sent books to Canada, Ireland, England, Iceland, South Africa, Finland, and Australia. I get a little thrill at the thought of my ordinary paperbacks traveling so far! Likewise, I have received books from Canada, England, and China, and am amazed that complete strangers from so far away just want to make sure I have something to read.

    I sympathize with the postage issue, but I find the amount I spend on that pretty well counterbalanced with the amount I save by not having to buy so many books. Also, if I ever have any hardbacks to give away (I rarely read them), I donate them to a charity bookstore rather than ship them to anyone.

  52. Ashleigh said

    I think it’s great that other countries are able to participate in BookMooch. As someone from New Zealand, it does cost me a lot of money to send books overseas, however most people I’ve encountered in my short time on BookMooch are willing to send to NZ.

    One problem I’ve encountered (which no one can really help) is finding books on my wishlist from my own country. If there was a function that enabled users to easily find their wishlisted books from their own country, I think this would increase usage of BM within smaller countries (as these books would only cost one point as opposed to the international two point requirement).

    I’d also like to say thanks to anyone who has sent books to New Zealand, we appreciate you so much!

  53. amberlianne said


    I don’t really understand why it was too hard for you to understand I was talking about international rates when I said we no longer have surface mail. My whole post was about international mailing. Almost this entire thread is about international mailing. Please, read the whole post before you respond.

    I have managed to send internationally for under $10 but usually only to Canada or for very, very small books. Anything over a pound (and not to Canada) is cheaper to send flat-rate Priority.


    I like your idea of a no-fault reject button. Maybe a separate reject button, that goes into a whole separate category of statistics, that says “Sorry, I can’t afford the postage to send this to you” or something similar (in a more concise way, of course).


    And again, the whole point of BookMooch is to circulate books so everyone can read. Again, I will ask — Why does it matter whether the person mooching from you sent out 2 books within their own country, or 1 book to another country, when either way, they’re sending out books in order to have the privilege of mooching yours?

    The whole “I’ll reject your mooch if your profile says you don’t send internationally” sentiment is really not congruent with the original purpose of this site, and smacks of an attempt to commercialize things. It makes me sad, as a long-time BookMooch user, to see people now picking and choosing who they will send their books to based on things like that, just like it makes me sad to see people who have things in their profiles like “I will only send your book once you have two completed mooches.” Give a book, get a book… the whole point, my friends, is to READ.

  54. Marie said

    I just sent 2 packages (non bm related) to Canada and both were were under $5.00. Staight from the USPS website…

    1 lb and under
    First-Class Mail® International $4.66

    2 lb First-Class Mail® International 8.26

    Sedning to Canada from the US is no problem at all. Especially when you get 3 pts

  55. Joanna Collie said

    A lot of this thread seems to be about postage and “will not ship to other countries” problems. I suspect a lot of people posting to this thread have no idea of the existence of the Angel network. And it’s not that easy to find references to, unless you know it’s there to look for.

    John, could you find a way of making it more prominent? Maybe a button linked to the “sorry, but this person does not ship to your country” message?

    (For those of you who don’t know, the Angel Network is a group of people who offer to act as intermediaries in international mooches: we’ll mooch the book you want from a not-out-of-my-country person in our country, then you mooch it from us. )

  56. Helen said

    To Dawn – if you want to “compensate” someone for having paid heavy postage costs to send a book to you, you could always donate extra points to them – that’s a better way and more in keeping with the BookMooch philosophy. I’ve done this before – a heavy book was sent within my country, so it should have cost me 1 point – I donated a second one, because it was a heavy book and the owner should have had a reward for that.

    Equally, I requested a book recently, the owner accepted the mooch and then delayed it, and then closed their account (which automatically refunded my point). She later reactivated her account and mailed out all the requests she had had (there had been some problem with her account, I don’t know what). So technically, I’d got this book for free – but I like BookMooch, and I felt she should have some “payment” for sending the book, just as she would have if it had been a normal, problem-free mooch – after all, she’d still paid to send the book. She was delighted to receive my surprise point.

    As for the “ask if not to my country” and “only within my country” debate – I would definitely love to have a reserve option when you email – some people do say they will honour requests in the order they receive them, but not everyone says this and if the request people are playing by the rules and asking first, as they’ve been told to, it’s unfair for the book to still be listed and a local (for want of a better person) to then grab it.

    I still do tend to post to people who have the “ask first” or “only to my country” option, as hey, I’m receiving 3 points. If they’re a “only to my country” person though, I am more likely to send surface mail (unless the airmail/surface mail prices are so close it’s not much difference). If they’re not willing to send abroad for some reason (usually cost), then they can’t expect speedy airmail service back. It’s not a fixed thing, but I do *reserve the option* to use surface mail for those people – the money I save then makes it more likely I can do airmail for other people (who have no mooch restrictions or say “ask first”).

    I have considered becoming a BookMooch Angel, after I saw it mentioned in one of John’s Blog posts, but I just never got round to it. I do like the idea though!

  57. Carrie said

    For those of you wanting a Hold option – there already is one – After the book is requested, it waits to be accepted, if the books is to heavy, the owner just rejects it, if the owner is willing, he’ll accept and send it. All we need to do is change the name of the Ask First, to “Will send some books internationally”, with the understanding that the book can be mooched without asking, but will be rejected if its too heavy to send. For those who are worried about the amount of rejected books on thier record, change it so that the book doesn’t count if its an international mooch, or that half a point gets added to both the moocher or the owner, or a separate reject number gets created for international mooches only.

    There is no easy, one size fits all solution here. There will be issues no matter what, but getting rid of the ask first, to a solution that allows books to be mooched, with the chance of rejection will solve a lot of problems.

  58. Coqueline said

    I’m personally not keen on the ‘ask first’ system as well. It take times, and sometimes I got a couple of emails at the same time by people who could’ve just mooched the book had they read my condition in my profile. It happened as well that I gave the asker the ‘go ahead’ and reserve the book for them but the person never actually came back and mooch. I would suggest on renaming it ‘Will send internationally on condition’, with the link to user’s profile handy, so they are encouraged to read the profile first before emailing.

  59. Christine aka DoraBeeCee said


    Just a quick comment about U.S. postage outside the U.S. – there are two ways to send that are in a way cost effective:

    1) Flat Rate Priority Box. In this box you can fit 19 or so paperbacks and send worldwide max weight of 20 pounds for a flat rate of $37 ($23 to Canada or Mexico). Now I know that is a lot of $$ at once but in return you get mucho points. It just means the person mooching from you needs to want a lot of your books. These boxes are free at the P.O. or free by ordering from the USPS web site.

    2) Flat Rate Priority Envelope. Not as cost effective but you can fit a good sized hardcover or 2-3 paperbacks for a flat rate of $11 worldwide ($9 to Canada and Mexico) with a max weight of 4 pounds. Also free at the P.O. or USPS web site.

    The Airmail “M” bags are even better as you can gets lots in them for $32, but are almost impossible to find. I have had my P.O. looking for one for me for several weeks. I send lots of books I’ve read to my sister in Germany and the “M” bag is the only way to go.

    In any of these you can put not only books, but most other media including DVD’s, CD,s, VHS tapes, etc. If it is media material, then it applies.

    The Flat Rate boxes and envelopes can also be used for domestic media at the rate of: $8.95 and $4.60 regardless of weight or destination and it goes Priority Mail (not media mail).

    I LOVE Bookmooch and fell so much better about sharing the books instead of recycling them as paper.

    Christine – aka DoraBeeCee

  60. Patti said

    Based on some comments above, I propose this as a new option to replace “Ask first” regarding international mooches:

    “Will consider international mooches as detailed in my profile. If your requests fits, please go ahead and mooch. I’ll respond.”

    The benefits of this option:
    — The holder of the book is making a commitment to respond. If members aren’t willing to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to international requests, I they can just check “my own country”.
    — The potential moocher gets to go ahead and request the book (and put a hold on it) instead of being told to “e-mail me first”, which is likely to let somebody else mooch the book first.
    — It should prevent some of the response delays because the holder of a book who doesn’t want to ship it internationally will want to reject it quickly and get the book back in inventory.

    The hipfish suggestion of “no fault” rejection could work well here.

    As background: I’m a pretty new member, and I said “no” to a Canadian “will you send to Canada” request because I already had a mooch from somebody in the U.S. The person in the U.S. mooched first, but the Canadian person actually sent her e-mail about 45 minutes earlier. I didn’t really want to reject a mooch from someone who got there ‘first’ in the Bookmooch system. At the same time, it seemed unfair that my profile had instructed the Canadian woman NOT to mooch until she had e-mailed me first.

    For now, I’m keeping my “e-mail first option” until we have a better one, but I’ve changed my profile to tell international moochers to go ahead and mooch instead of e-mailing me first. Someone did that anyway, so I international waters for the first time today and sent a book to Dubai, UAE. I was required to complete a very short U.S. Customs form. It didn’t take long, but I understand why some people only want to ship to the U.S. The cost is more than shipping U.S. (but not that much more when you consider the three points awarded). Still, I know people who don’t bother to go to the Post Office to get the cheaper media mail rate. They just ship priority from home or an office. It can complicated if you don’t go to the Post Office. I think it is fair to have the “only my country” option for those who want it.

  61. LMRNY said

    I have been reading and it saddens me that so many readers in other countries cannot get the books the request.
    I personally will send it if isn’t a very large book. But Personally the only reason I may not send a book over seas, is because I honestly cannot afford the postage to do so. One book that I recieved after requesting, cost the sender almost $13.00 US and I was imbarassed that I had asked for it. I wish there were a way to send books that was less expensive, for those of us on a tight budget.
    I love book mooch.

  62. Zillah said

    I think Patti’s idea is brilliant (like she said if combined with hipfish’s no rejection penalty).

    Way to go!

  63. Stacey said

    Just an idea: What about an option to set your shipping preferences for each book?

    A person might not want or be able to afford to ship their heavier books internationally (I have almost all hardcovers, myself), but might be willing to ship their teeny lil’ paperbacks internationally. So perhaps in addition to having a blanket method on the account, there could be a little option to change your method on each book.

    For instance, say I’m ‘my country only,’ and I list a tiny 1/2 lb. book that I want to say ‘any country’ for. There would be a little tick box I could check when I add the book to my inventory that says, “Offer international shipping for this title only,” and another that says, “Offer international shipping for this title only–require e-mail first.”

    Possible? Helpful?

  64. Yaya said

    Just a thought..please add the postage fee from and to Indonesia, too 🙂

  65. Zillah said

    The per book scenario would be awesome but having no idea about programming I don’t know how easy that would be to implement. Anyone know?

  66. Hi…
    I am an American living in Denmark, and recently joined BookMooch. Previously, I lived in Berkeley, CA (BooMoochs founding city!!)
    As an avid reader, I was pleased to find Bookmooch to both share and receive english books.
    Here in Denmark, they have a 25% sales tax, which makes everything, including english books rather expensive. Note that the Danish postal service had discontinued “slow-boat” affordable mail to the USA – There is ONLY the choice of airmail, and for a typical large book, can exceed US$20 – much, much more than the actual value of the book. I would like to be able to afford sending any book, any where, but this is simply not possible. I have a budget I must live by.

    I have posted “ASK FIRST” for my inventory of 40+ books. To date, I have shipped to Singapore, UK, and the US. I have rejected but a few, simply and honestly due to the high postage costs. One user was “mad” at me for my rejection, as he couldn’t seem to understand…

    I am very, very glad for Bookmooch, and look forward to a positive future.

    Thanks for all your efforts and hard work,

  67. Sandy said

    The philosophy of excanging books is that everybody here basically wants to read! Some members have said post out a book, get a book in return which is great but –
    what if the member who will only post out to their country consistently mooches from people overseas? Maybe they should only be able to mooch from members in their country as well. As I said before they can’t afford to send overeas but don’t mind other people putting a hand in pockets to post out!! It may go against the policy of bookmooch to reject requests for people who will not send their books internationally, but the members who are marked as ‘my country only’ are surely going against the policy – they don’t need to reject any internatinal requests, they just won’t accept any – is there a difference? Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

  68. Stacey said

    If it was against BookMooch’s policy to be ‘my country only,’ then ‘my country only’ wouldn’t be an option, so that was a little silly to say.

    I happen to be ‘my country only,’ and in my case at least, your claim that people who choose that option ‘don’t need to reject any international requests, they just won’t accept any’ is not true. For the most part, I can not afford to send books internationally (at least not on a regular basis) because nearly every book I put out for mooching is a hardcover book and quite heavy, and needs to be packed well so it will not be damaged in transit (so those ‘flat rate’ envelopes from the USPS just won’t do!). It doesn’t matter to me how many points sending a book internationally might earn me as I do very little mooching (the books I want–always in hardcover–are very rarely available).

    However, I also would never mooch internationally. This isn’t due to some form of ‘fairness’ on my part (the “I don’t send internationally, so, to be fair, I won’t mooch internationally, either” mindset), but because if I’m going to use that many points to get a book, I might as well buy the darn thing from Amazon.

    It isn’t fair to assume that everyone across the board is doing things in the most abusive way and for the most malicious reason that you can think up. Nor would it be fair to impose some kind of ‘policy’ like the one you suggest already exists. No one should be forced to send books internationally when they don’t want to or can’t afford to or simply haven’t the time for the hassle.

    As to stopping people who won’t send internationally from mooching internationally, I couldn’t say. It wouldn’t affect me in any way, since that’s what I already do, but perhaps it might not be fair to someone who has sent hundreds of books to people in their country, has a pile of BookMooch points, and only wants one book that happens to be located outside their country.

    I mean, look at it like this: If a person earned three points by sending three books to three different people in country and wants to blow them all on getting one book from out of country, why shouldn’t they? After all, by the time you add up the cost of those three they’ve sent inside their own country, they’ve paid the same amount in postage (give or take) that it would have cost to send a book internationally! Personally, I think someone who’s doing things that way is just being illogical; if you’re going to spend three points to mooch internationally, you might as well send internationally (you’re not saving yourself any money this way if you don’t!). But that’s that person’s decision, and if it’s illogical, then oh, well.

    Anyway. That’d be my buck-fifty (inflation).

  69. Coqueline said

    Small correction: mooching internationally only costs 2 points, but gives the sender 3 points.

    That makes the above reasoning even more valid. If you’re going to mooch internationally on regular basis, you might as well send internationally to cover the balance. But if you don’t and prefer to earn the points by multiple national posts, then it is also your right to do so.

    I don’t believe it is a common occurrence for a ‘my country only’ person to purposely *only* mooching international just because s/he can. If there are two copies of a book available that they want, one from a local member and one from an international member, it’s only logical that they mooch it from the local guy. If they mooch an only copy of a book internationally because someone voluntarily decides to send international, why can’t they? It could only means that either the book is only published and available to a certain country or that the book is less in demand in that country. Either way books get circulated.

    I won’t be too happy if there is a new rule imposed that I’m only allowed to send books to someone overseas who are willing to send overseas as well even though I don’t mind if they don’t.

  70. Stacey said

    >>Small correction: mooching internationally only costs 2 points, but gives the sender 3 points.<<

    ::smacks self in head:: Duh! See how often I mooch internationally? 😉

  71. Sharonae144 said

    On the ask first issue – I put in my profile to mooch first, ask later for international mooches. That way the book is out of circulation and can’t be snatched up by another moocher before I could replay to my international moocher.

    I later took that line out, because I never rejected an international moocher anyway, so why bother to make them ask at all.

    But I agree, there should be a way for an international moocher to “reserve” the right to be first in line when they have to fire off an e-mail request to be allowed to mooch.

  72. mdorothy said

    One reason it’s hard for me to send out of the US is that I have to go to the Post Office when they’re open and mail it over the counter. Usually, I send my mooched books via a postage machine that some US Post Offices have. The machine weighs the package and sells you the postage with a credit or debit card. I can go in the evening or on the weekend — usually the machines are available 24 x 7. I, too, have been frustrated with an e-mail asking me to send outside the US, and then having the book mooched before I could agree to send to the member. I think I’m thinking about changing my option to WILL send internationally. But then I have to go to the PO in person each time . . .

  73. trishtrash said

    Rather than trying to decide, as a generality, if one can afford to send every book on one’s list overseas, perhaps it would be easier – on the user, not the site manager 😉 – to have the option, with *each* book, to send internationally or not, as you list it (make it a required field, unlike the ‘condition’ notes).

    Just an idea.

  74. Cherelle said

    I regularly send books all over the world from Australia. The cost of sending a book overseas usually equates to the cost of one new book from the bookstore. If I send one book overseas I get 3 points. This means I can mooch 3 books from within Australia for one point each. 3 for the price of 1.

    The better news is that if I send my books overseas I am building points more quickly to donate to my chosen Bookmooch charity – the Auckland Women’s Centre Library.

    Not only that but it’s really great to know that my books are travelling all over the world. I’ll often go to the web atlas to see where my books are going – opens my world as well.

  75. Graceann said

    I am more than happy to send internationally. What does concern me is that apparently my inventory is not of interest to the majority of moochers, while the books I WANT are not often available (and when they are, they are from folks who don’t ship outside the US).

    My biggest gripe is that nine times out of ten, when I write someone, pursuant to their instruction, to find if they would be willing to ship outside the States, and my message is simply ignored. I don’t mind hearing “no,” but I am really annoyed at the lack of courtesy displayed by not bothering to answer at all.

  76. mina said

    I am from Indonesia.
    Many Indonesian bookreaders know about Bookmooch. I’ve talked about Bookmooch in my 3 blogs and book forums, and many are interested. But the postal fee sometimes cost more than the book itself, ranging from $7 to $20.
    Even worse: The post office staff in my town just don’t understand the concept of surface mail, I have to explain it to them, but sometimes I just give up and pay. Heck, they don’t even know that United States mean America and United Kingdom means England.
    What or who determines the postal fee?

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