Are wishlist notifs for reserved books annoying?

June 3, 2009

About a year ago, I added the “reservations” feature to BookMooch.

This feature is mostly used when:

1) if you aren’t in the same country as the book owner, and the book owner wants you to “ask first before mooching”, you can reserve the book for a week so that someone else doesn’t mooch the book while you wait to hear back from the book owner

2) if you want to save the book for a specific person (such as with angel mooches) or a friend.

One design decision I had to make was with the emails you receive when a book on your wishlist becomes available.

Specifically, if someone reserves a book on your wishlist:

  • should you still get the email telling you it’s available? (even though it’s reserved and therefore not really available to you)
  • or would you rather not receive the email (ie, only be notified with the book is currently moochable by you).

I’ve made a simple yes/no poll (below) to ask how many people feel one way or another. I’ve received personal emails expressing both opinions, and wanted to gather more opinions before taking any action.

So… click on the question to answer the poll:


47 Responses to “Are wishlist notifs for reserved books annoying?”

  1. Laura Reid said

    My biggest annoyance at the moment is tangentially related to this. Very often, I will click on ‘Mooch this book’ only to be told that ‘No one is willing to send this book to you.’ This has happened, more than once, when the person is in the same country. (I’m not complaining about the times when I haven’t looked at someone’s profile to discover that they’re in another county/don’t send abroad.) I couldn’t figure out why this was happening, so I emailed support. I was told that I was receiving this message because the book was reserved. I was confused, as I was sure that I should be able to see books that were marked as ‘reserved’.

    It’s possible that I was looking in the wrong place, if so, you can ignore this. Otherwise, I’d like it to be more obvious when a book is reserved. ie part of the listing. Or even for the refusal message to say ‘This book is reserved’, rather than ‘This person is unwilling to send to you.’

    • Sarah said

      I agree with Laura. I have had this annoyance more than once. I was also confused on how someone in my same country wasn’t willing to send it to me. Can we fix that message?

    • Alicia said

      I agree with Laura. The message can be phrased a lot better than just saying “no one is willing to send this to you.”

    • Tim said

      I strongly agree!

      When mooching a book, “No one is willing to send it to you” should be “This book is reserved for someone else” when the person would otherwise be willing to ship it.

    • KathyS said

      I very strongly agree! Just make it apparent from the listing that the book is reserved so I don’t waste my time clicking on “mooch.”

    • Lia said

      That’s been happening to me too. I’ll go to the book page and I’ll think to myself “How is this person not willing to send me a book when they’re in the same country (sometimes even the same state!) as me? It was very confusing.

      • FYI, the “no one is willing to send this to you.” message was replaced yesterday with a longer message that Admin Mark wrote, which explains the book is reserved.

  2. Eric G said

    On a related note, I sometimes get notice that a book on my wishlist is available, but the owner’s profile says that they will not ship overseas at all, and (s)he is overseas.

    • mariahj said

      That is when you can ask an angel to request it for you.

      • What’s going on here is that a copy became available that you *could* have mooched (ie, another copy) but by the time you went to BookMooch, the copy you could get is now gone (someone else mooched it) and now the only remaining copy is the one you can’t get.

        I’m going to try to patch this confusion by having the “your wishlisted book is available” give the name of the member who has it available, so you can see that they no longer do. Not sure what else to do about it.

  3. Stacey said

    Personally I keep my wishlist to a minimum and put most of my wishlist books on my save for later because I’m sick of getting all the email notifications. I use up my points as soon as I earn them so being told a book on my wishlist is available when I have no points is really annoying – as soon as I have points I work my way through my wishlist and save for laters to see whats available.

  4. N.A.Crawford said

    I think its a great idea to know if a book you want can be mooched; It has worked for me because I normally dont go on Bookmooch daily, but If I get notified, I can go and get it if it’s still there.

  5. Barbara said

    I would find it annoying if it happened more than once I suppose. But I would like to know a book is available and ask to get it IF it doesn’t go to the reserved for person (which is what happened to me). Would I get a notice AUTOMATICALLY if it came off reserve? that would probably be the best of all worlds.

    • Rachel said

      I would definitely love if we got an email when the book came off reserve.

    • I agree, that would be the best behavior, and is what I plan, but that’s not how it works now.

      However, you can use the RSS feed for your wishlist, and it will be kept up to date.

      • Rachel said

        Hey, thanks! Didn’t know how that worked before, but I just “subscribed to the feed” and that looks helpful.

        Won’t a reserved book still show up on the wishlist, though?

      • Rachel said

        How interesting- I can see the reserved book shows up on the wishlist, but not on the feed. Ah, technology.

  6. Melissa said

    I don’t want to be notified & I don’t want to see it up on my wishlist either or maybe where it says “1 copy” maybe it could say “reserved” next to that? I rarely get notified anymore for wishlisted books so I always check my wishlist & it is so disappointing to see that it has been reserved! I agree with the person above that I would like to know if it has come off reserve.

    • Kate Davis said

      I agree, when I look through my wishlist there are several mooch buttons that I ignore because the book is either reserved or the person won’t ship overseas.

  7. Rena said

    I like getting the notifications because it lets me know that the books are out there – and more than once I have e-mailed the person who posted the book and said that if it doesn’t work out with the person that the book is reserved for – could they reserve it for me. Any you know what? many many times I have gotten the book that way. So please don’t take them away….

  8. aqualectrix said

    Would it be so hard to make this an option, rather than a decision? Then the poll could just be used to guide you as to which option would be the better default.

    Kinda like the wishlist notifications for “related works” works?

  9. Rachael said

    I’ve found that only by stalking my wishlist am I able to mooch the books I really want (books which usually are highly wishlisted and lots of other people also want them)–in other words, if I wait for the e-mail to notify me that a book is available, I’m going to be waiting forever because someone else will have already snatched it up.

    So–it really drives me crazy when I look at my wishlist, see “1 copy available”, get all excited, click the mooch button, and THEN see that the book is reserved for someone else, or not available to me for whatever reason.

    I would really prefer it if there is a copy of a book on my wishlist that is NOT actually available to be mooched by me that I don’t see it on my wishlist or get an e-mail notification.

  10. Mark Simmonds said

    I really like the idea that aqualectrix proposed here. “Would it be so hard to make this an option, rather than a decision? Then the poll could just be used to guide you as to which option would be the better default. Kinda like the wishlist notifications for “related works” works?”

    I am also rather dependent on being able to edit my comments transactions/history and to see the details easily (right now when I click the Details button only a blank page appears). Please consider fixing that before working on the reservations.


  11. trebark said

    I dislike the reserve option as a whole. I wait for books on my wishlist to become available and check nearly every day. It is so frustrating when a book I’ve been waiting to see available is listed as reserved.

  12. Kim said

    We used to be able to see if a book was reserved before we tried to mooch it. It would show the date and time the reservation expired. I wish this feature would come back. I hate posting a popular book and reserving it for someone overseas and then having 10 people email me asking why they can’t mooch the book from me.

    • mariahj said

      I agree, the information that was shown before was great. We knew when to check back on it if the book was reserved. We also could see that if it was unavailable to us due to the member not sending out of their country then we could try to obtain an angel to request it for us.

      • Tara said

        Yeah, I agree, it was much better that way. I got a new computer and while I had no internet it was changed, I thought there was something wrong with my computer, lol.

  13. Elizabeth B. said

    I find it to be very helpful and I have been able to obtain books that I was looking for.Communication with other members is always the most important key with everything and I have met the most wonderful people : )

  14. Em said

    First, let me say that I LOVE the reserve option. I’m someone who is (when I’m employed)willing to send books overseas. But I do have the ask first option noted, since some of the books I list would cost $40 or $50 to ship and I just don’t have that kind of money, even when the economy is brilliant. I’ve actually had people get upset, in the time before the reserve option was available, because someone from overseas had requested it in email first. (It was a multiply-wishlisted book at the time.)It would be great if it was obvious that the book was reserved. It saves frustration.

    Personally, I’d love to know that a book became available, even if it was reserved. Then, at least, I could watch it and see if it came available.

  15. Vanessa said

    I like to get the notice because it gives you a date for when the reserve expires so I can check back to see if it was mooched yet.

  16. JJA (Berlin) said

    Hi! First of all I would like to say how much I love Bookmooch and I really appreciate the work that is being put into it by everyone.

    But as all things that are great and involve a great many people…”you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time…”

    My sentiments are with Laura (first posting). “My biggest annoyance at the moment is tangentially related to this. Very often, I will click on ‘Mooch this book’ only to be told that ‘No one is willing to send this book to you.’”

    Furthermore, I also dislike getting a mail that a book on my wishlist is available but then find out that I can’t have it because the person only sends within their country or because the book is reserved.

    So it would be lovely if these problems could be solved without making things too complicated, since one of Bookmooch’ positive aspects is how easy it is to use!

    Best, Juliana

  17. Thank you for having this poll! I, by FAR, would prefer not getting wishlist e-mails when a book’s reserved. It’s so disappointing to get a wishlist e-mail and then find out the book’s reserved for somebody other than me — and it seems to happen about half the time I get a wishlist e-mail now, too!

    The “no one is currently willing to send this book to you” thing is a little annoying, too, for one reason: if no one is “willing to send the book to you,” you can’t see condition notes. Yet I frequently find situations where I’d like to ask a BookMooch angel to get a book for me, but I can’t know if the book is in a condition I prefer, because I can’t see the individual notes on that book. This isn’t a *huge* deal, but it is a bit frustrating. Might there be a way to show all the normal stuff people see when they mooch, but without the option to mooch, along with the warning “no one is willing to send this book to you”? That would make things much easier for people who want to ask a BookMooch angel to get something for them that they otherwise couldn’t. Or perhaps you could have the normal page of “sorry, but no one is willing to send this book to you,” and then have an optional link to click to look at the condition notes afterward? Would that be hard to program?

    I like the idea of making getting wishlist e-mails on reserved books an option. It looks like those of us who don’t want notifications that will only disappoint us are in the majority, but it would be sad to take away that option for those who consider it a feature, not a bug. Would it be hard to program to make it an option, much like the “related editions” on/off thing?

    Also, THANK you for caring so much about our satisfaction with this wonderful, huge database of trading, and thank you for regularly asking our opinions about stuff like this. It’s one of those things that makes BookMooch by far the best trading place online. I recommend BookMooch to practically everybody I meet, because the website is just that awesome and amazing.

    • mariahj said

      Yep, I sure would like to see all of the information that we used to see even if it was not available to us. I still have no idea why that information is no longer able to be viewed. To me, this is a much bigger issue than receiving an email or not.

  18. mariahj said

    Regarding the actual question as to whether we want the notice or not – it truly does not matter to me one way or another. I don’t think it is a big deal at all. There are so many other things that I feel are more important if changes are to be made.

  19. Rachel said

    I voted “no”, but that was if we continue to get that message instead of seeing for whom the book is reserved. I liked it far better when we were able to see the particulars about if a book is reserved. I used to keep an eye on a book if it was reserved so that if the reserve was taken off, I could go ahead and mooch. Now, I don’t know if it is reserved and I need to wait and watch, or if it is a person who won’t send to my country and I need to get an angel.

  20. MurdererDelacroix said

    Honestly, it doesn’t matter that much to me. I too have found that the only way to get more popular books is just to constantly stalk my wishlist.
    That said, a lot of the time I get the “no one is willing to send this book to you” message, and I always have to go back to the book, look at the person who has it, and see if I need to get an angel in the case that it’s just someone who is unwilling to send overseas.

    If you do remove this feature, then what I would like, is if someone has a reserve on a book that I have on my wishlist, then I get an automatic email as soon as it comes off of reserve status.

  21. Carrie said

    I would rather not see get an email for a book on Reserve – but my pet peeve is seeing a book on my wishlist that is reserved – especially a book that has been reserved for a very long time. Is it possible to indicate in the wishlist if a book is reserved?

    Also, on those members who are on temporarily on hold – I don’t want to see these books on my list.

  22. Dovile said

    I too quite like the idea that aqualectrix proposed above about making the WL notifications for reserved books an option. I personally couldn’t care less for them, as I only use RSS to check my WL, but maybe some people need them, so it wouldn’t be fair to take this from them. Like someone suggested here, maybe no WL emails for reserved books could be a default setting, but those who want to receive them could simply choose on their bio to receive them.

    The “no one is currently willing to send this book to you” thing is much more annoying to me, because if no one is “willing to send the book to you,” I can’t see condition notes. And I often would like to ask a BM angel to get a book for me, but I can’t know if the book is in a condition I prefer, and I have to either go to that persons inventory and click ‘show details’ (and some inventories can be really large); I have to email the owner or sometimes simply to try my luck.

  23. andrea said

    I would prefer not to receive a notification if it’s reserved, I think that this is (and the fact that people scanning their wishlists can’t tell if it’s reserved) the reason why many angels don’t use the reserve feature and prefer to use an angel listing instead.
    One more thing, there would be wishlist emails for Only to my country books, right? (so that one can look for an angel…)

  24. Jennifer said

    I agree with the poster above who stated that it would be nice to have the option to choose, just like we do with “related works.” Complete with indication of when the book reservation expires. Also, an indication on the wishlist of whether or not a book has been reserved would be nice.

    One of my biggest pet peeves, however, is when a book is listed on my wishlist by a user that has been inactive for a hundred plus days.

  25. Joel said

    Yeah, I’m really only interested if the book is free and clear. The only advantage to knowing that there is a reserved book is so that I could ask the owner for dibs if the other mooch doesn’t go through but that gets complicated and I don’t like to do it.

  26. Michelle said

    The only thing I wanted to add to the discussion above is that I often receive multiple e-mails about a book that is on my wishlist that is either reserved or has already been taken by another person. That is also confusing, especially when i’ve responded to the first one. (If the book is taken, why do the e-mails keep coming, when the system only shows that one copy available?)I also support not notifying users if a book is reserved, only if it is available.


  27. Mary Anne said

    I would be just as happy not to receive notice that a book on my wishlist is available if it is reserved for someone else, but I’m curious to know if a notice will be sent out if the reserve period expires and the book becomes available for general mooching.

    However, when it comes right down to it, I don’t actually get many notifications of available books. I’ve acquired most of the books that were on my wishlist by scanning the list regularly to check if any books are moochable.

    OTOH, there’s the notice I’ve received several times telling me that “A book related to one on your wishlist is now available at BookMooch.” I’ve yet to figure out how a fiction book by author A is “related to” to a non-fiction book by author B but the system seems to think a relationship exists.

    Although I rarely get notices that books on my wishlist are available, just in time for this discussion I did get one. When I clicked through, I got a page with the message that the book was “no longer available” with three possible reasons why that might be so. When I checked my wishlist, I found the book shows up as being moochable, but when I click on the mooch button, I end up at the same page as when I clicked through from the email notice. Confusingly enough, however, when I click on the book title, the book page shows one copy available from someone in my country. I assume that the book is reserved, but it really is both confusing and annoying that there is nothing to indicate why a book that is supposedly moochable isn’t actually moochable.

  28. […] 5, 2009 Based on the results a recent survey conducted on this blog, I decided to change the email notifications you get when a book on your […]

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