Why did Paperbackswap grow suddenly?

June 5, 2009

I’ve been looking at Alexa.com and compete.com to see how BookMooch is doing compared to its main competitor paperbackswap.com. For about the first two years, both sites were growing at about the same pace.

Then, sometime around January 2009, paperbackswap started doing quite a bit better, and they seem to have maintained their growth rate.

I’m wondering: why?

What did paperbackswap do that suddenly made them grow?

My own hunch comes from the fact that they never seemed to improve the site much, until the fall of 2008 when suddenly the web site design changed (improving greatly), they buried the “free charter membership for one year, then we might charge you” stipulation (so most people didn’t see it), they pushed their new DVD and CD swapping sites, and a raft of other improvements.

My gut feeling is simply that they became buzzy simply by rapidly improving their offering, and that this built up energy and excitement for their site, which translated into more blogging and eventually a few big press mentions. In general, I feel that if you create a sense of excitement and momentum around a project, that buzz, press and growth follow.

Confusingly, when I read about book swapping sites being compared on discussion forums, I usually find that BookMooch is mentioned far more than any site. For a recent example, last month the Goodreads Horror Aficionados group asked: “Paperbackswap or bookmooch” and BookMooch was the clear favorite (PBS was mentioned a few times, and no other site was mentioned more then twice) among these forum participants.

I’d love to get your thoughts: leave comments below with what you think PBS did that made them suddenly grow? What do you think BM should do? Do you have other metrics?

Using the new Wolfram Alpha search engine, I come up with this chart comparing the daily number of visitors at both sites:


and this table:


Much has been made of Alexa‘s numbers being inaccurate, but it really depends on how they define “unique visitors”. I use a web site analysis program called “Awstats” which has its own definitions, which I think are not very accurate either, namely because determining what a “unique” user is, is actually quite hard. The Alexa numbers, at 48,000 visitors per day (is that unique visitors? I can’t tell), are in the middle of my two stats (25,000 or 60,000 per day):


Compete.com shows different numbers, but shows growth in November for PBS:


This chart from Alexa shows the percent of visitors coming from search engines (i.e. google). BM used to get about twice the percent (vs PBS) of its visitors from search engines, but now we’re about equal. That makes me things that PBS started doing better in search engine placement (aka SEO).


So there are the numbers… what are your thoughts?


344 Responses to “Why did Paperbackswap grow suddenly?”

  1. Jenni C. said

    I think maybe because their layout is a little more colorful and the forums are better. I personally check both sites the same amount of times a day, because I love them both. I was originally a PBS member first, but have quickly grown to love BookMooch, although at first I was skeptic because it looks like more of a generic site. I think if you added some more color and what not you could really drive more people in 🙂


    • tcn said

      I agree with Jenni. If you check out some of the web’s most visited sites (from blogs to shopping to news) you’ll notice a very light feel so the information is the focus, not necessarily the layout. Most of the backgrounds are white with the color coming from accents. You have a very clean and readable home page, so maybe with a little color face lift, it would be a quicker initial draw. But, truly, I love bookmooch. The community is great and I’ve found lots of great books. Also, when asking for suggestions and making comparisons, please always remain true to your core values and the reasons you started this site, otherwise you’ll be apt to lose what we all love.

    • Ankeborg said

      I started out on PBS, and came over here after a while. Now I only hit PBS to get books, as I still have credits over there.

      I agree with Jenni, the graphics on PBS are very nice.. BUT I can’t mooch books from abroad, I can’t put any condition notes on my books, and I can’t choose what copy to mooch of a particular title. The advantages of PBS is also that they have a fancy adobe acrobat program that allows you to print out .pdf mailing labels for your books.

    • Nancy said

      Personally I prefer Bookmooch for its simplicity.I have difficulty getting reqests at PBS and have had no difficulty here. PBS has such a large inventory and with it’s first in first out policy it can be a long time before your book gets requested. Also I’m confused about their wrappers etc. At Book Mooch it is simple- hand write the envelope and address etc. I LOVE your system. As far as I’m concerned keep on doing what you are doing!

  2. Actually, it is good you should wonder about PBS, because I was looking at the website the other day – there is ONE major variable in all this: PBS is US-only. I suspect that US book-moochers who want to send books US-only are also users of PBS. Adding CDs and DVDs swaps is just confusing, but I can see why they feel they will get more people joining this way. However, they should have done a separate site entirely, otherwise the PBS site is most misleading about the use of the site for CDs and DVDs. I suspect this is why there is more traffic to the site. But the interface in PBS is actually not so simple of use and user-friendly. How many clicks did I have to make to understand it was US-only? Many. Question is, what is needed to make BM come top in search engines? I’d rather keep it that way, since adding CDs and DVDs can confuse people as to the the main focus of the site (*paperback*swap)…

    • Eva Marie said

      PBS isn’t a site where you can swap CDs and DVDs’ those are sister sites to PBS. It’s all seperate.

      • Janet said

        Separate yes, but ran by Richard. Swapadvd I believe also charges a 49cent fee to request a dvd. I canceled that and swapacd over a year ago.

      • Michelle F. said

        SwapaDVD doesn’t charge 49 cents when you request a DVD, but the CD site does. That’s why I haven’t joined the CD one. Plus you can transfer credits from one web site to another. For two DVD credits you can get three P.B.S. credits.

      • Janet said

        DUH! I always got that backwards lol Thanks Eva!

      • Janet said

        dang.. where’s my head.. Michelle! Thank you Michelle!

  3. Pete Jonus said

    John, we applaud all your hard work and dedication. However, this is not bad at all. They are a for-profit company and put a lot of money and resources toward making their site better and faster. BM is your joy, it is not intended to make money, just to provide book lovers with a nice and friendly exchange system. If you really wanted to improve you would have sped up the forums years ago, which you keep saying you will do but never get to.

    Thanks for all your hard work!

  4. Heather said

    I saw PBS mentioned on a few personal finance blogs as a way to save money on books with the downturn of the economy. There were comments mentioning BM, but the original articles were about PBS.

  5. SqueakyChu said

    I’m not a Paperbackswap user, but after moving from Bookins to BookMooch, I’ve been constantly frustrated here on BM by an inability to find interesting books to mooch. An easy solution to that, in my opinion only, would be to have a feed that lets BM users constantly see what new books are being added to this site daily.

    I do believe the numbers because Tim Spalding of LibraryThing has also been following the stats comparison between PBS and BM stats. He started a thread on LibraryThing saying the same thing that you are saying here.

    • Joel G said

      I agree with SqueakyChu’s suggestion about having a page where BM users can see what new books are being added.

      That might be easier said than done in terms of programming though, since BM is upfront a multilingual site, so even that “New Books Added” page has to be multilingual too.

      To make the most of adding that new page, putting more basic update elements there would be a good suggestion. Like maybe a link to your blog, a basic FAQ (the link to the BM wiki might do), the “Give a Little” page, and a link to the member’s own page. And do some bragging, John. Emphasize the fact that BM is the ONLY global bookswapping site right now. And therefore it’s the widest in scope.

    • John Mutchek said

      I agree. I use both sites and love them both, but I have way more unused credits at Bookmooch simply because it is so much harder to browse books. Search works fine if you’re looking for something specific, but browsing for say, historical fiction, takes forever to start with “A” and work through page after page seeing mostly the same books I browsed yesterday. Not to sound too negative though, Bookmooch is great and I can’t thank you enough for all the work you do.

      • Allie said

        I agree, it is very hard to mooch the books I’m interested in. One thing that paperbackswap has that I wish bookmooch had is that there is a queue for a book – so that when one becomes available, it goes to the next person on the list who signed up for it first. I work all the time and I can’t check my email very often – whenever I get a message announcing a book on my wishlist is available, inevitably it will be mooched by the time I try to mooch it. I’ve mooched one book this year and I’ve got 72 points accumulated.

      • charlene said

        I forgot the sorting of the lists when I mentioned the pros and cons (later down in comments). In PBS I use all three sort mechanisms for different reasons. Unfortunately both sites sort authors differently so it can be frustrating making sure I keep my inventory up to date.

        When I need to find books I almost always search PBS. The only time I use Bookmooch is when I need to list an older books w/o an ISBN.

    • fern chasida said

      i too agree – i use both bookmooch and pbs but find it much easier to find books i’m interested in on pbs. on bookmooch i’ll search for specific books i’ve heard about or add books to my wishlist and hope for the best.

  6. Judy said

    I use both BM, PBS and Bookins for various reasons, the main being that most of the time I am more likely to be able to find a particular title or author available on a particular site.

    BM offers great flexibility in sending out items (delays, etc.) and it is much easier to review a particular members inventory, etc. You can also add things like ARCs and ex-library books. Plus I like being able to ship or receive items internationally (although current postage rates are beginning to make me re-think this).

    But I do prefer PBS for the ability to print mailing labels directly from the site and, more importantly, I prefer their wishlist system. You know where you are in the queue so to speak and you don’t get an alert about a wishlisted item unless it is your turn.

    • Sheri said

      Actually, PBS does allow posting of ex-library books.

    • kat said

      About the wishlist system: Yes yes yes. I was a PBS member for a year or two before discovering Bookmooch, and now I’ve been using both sites for several years. As much as I love BM’s community, I prefer PBS for one simple reason — I can actually GET the books I want, because the wishlist system actually works, as opposed to just taunting me with emails (and then I click through and the book is gone already). For this reason, I always list things on PBS first, and then if they don’t move, I put them up on BM. BM is more of a way to give my books to people who want them — I don’t really assume I’ll get anything out of it except a warm fuzzy feeling. :/

      I think it’s also an advantage that PBS has a more automated workflow (requesting/accepting/delaying/reporting issues/lost in the mail/etc.) and you can print book wrappers. (With postage, too, though I don’t use that feature.)

      I guess it’s just a matter of focus — the emphasis at BM is on the community (which is awesome), and PBS is more of a professional site. I love them both but I get something very different out of each of them — I’m not sure it’s really fair to think of PBS as BM’s competition, because I think you’re trying to accomplish different things.

      • idylld said

        Kat — you express my primary beef with BM very well. I feel the same. I give out many more books than I get. It IS discouraging to get an email about a book you’ve really been waiting for, only to be told you’ve missed it.

        OTOH I feel the overall quality (literary rather than physical) of the books is better in BM. That’s why I want a better chance at getting ’em:)

      • charlene said

        It is frustrating to get the email that a book is available and forgetting to check that the owner is in the US, and then finding out that the owner of the book won’t ship to the US (and I have yet to order overseas yet).

        It sure would be nice if those emails wouldn’t be sent out and also wouldn’t be listed as moochable in my wish list too.

  7. Chrissy said

    I have an account both at both BookMooch and PBS, however I have not logged into my PBS account in months for the reason that none of my wishlisted books have become available nor have any of my books become requested. Here at BM I request and send about 20 books total a month.

    I think here at BM, people who come stay for the long run, whereas at PBS people come and go.
    The number of visitors may simply have something to do with when you search “book swap websites” or things similiar to that, PBS is the first link that comes up.

    Also, I know people who were using PBS only because they started using their Swap-a-CD site first, and then started using the bookswap site. However, when I redirected them to BM, they, like me, all but abandoned their PBS account and became loyal BM users!

    You have nothing to be worried about John, BookMooch is the best book trading website there is!

    • Michelle F. said

      I love P.B.S. and would never abandon it, as you put it. You can put up to 200 books on your wishlist (here it’s unlimited) and I have gotten lots of books I wanted that are on my wishlist. To each their own as to which site they prefer.

      I joined P.B.S. first when I read about it in the newspaper and later heard of BookMooch in a Good Housekeeping article. I’ve also traded on Title Trader, but they don’t have many books or other items that I have on my wishlist.

  8. Bill said

    You should offer a mobile site and/or Blackberry and iPhone apps. Just a thought. I spend much time on my phone and this would be a benefit for me.

    • Lori said

      I totally agree with you, Bill! So many times I’ve been frustrated by seeing an email on my BlackBerry about a book on my wishlist, and been unable to go mooch it becaus ethe site doesn’t work properly on my BlackBerry.

    • Dale said

      I use the site frequently from my iPhone with never a problem…

      • Eric G said

        I’ve used my iPhone too. It’s a bit frustrating that the iPhone won’t remember my username and password, but it works. That’s one of the merits of Bookmooch’s “clean” design.

      • justelise said

        Go figure. An iPhone owner who did not need an app to use BookMooch, yet money was still spent to create an app for the iPhone.

        I don’t even think PBS has an iPhone app, yet they still had a pretty big surge in users.

        I guess I’m just tired of hearing that iPhone apps will bring in new users, while there are a ton of users already here that would use the site more often if it was actually usable on the mobile web (i.e. on devices that don’t have Safari).

  9. Alana said

    I’ve been using BookMooch for a few months now and I love the service, but I recently signed up on PBS too. BookMooch is great, but I just haven’t been getting a lot of action either sending or receiving books. Maybe one or two a month.
    I decided to try out PBS because I had read that they have a better selection of non-fiction books, which is what I am primarily interested in.

  10. Mahria said

    I like BookMooch better.
    And, John, we could never thank you enough for your work.

    I do agree with SqueakyChu about a feed to be able to see what new books are added to the site.

    • Cheemoandia said

      Yes I think the feed letting people know what new books have been add to the site is a great idea.

  11. Stacey said

    I have never looked at Paperbookswap, but I have tried other book swap sites…and then left them within a month because they were useless – BM is the best by far – I’m addicted!

  12. John Chiafalo said

    I’ve used both and much prefer dealing with the people on BookMooch over those on PaperBackSwap.

    I’m a member of the Friends of the Smith Hill Branch Library and mooch books for them. They are using PaperBackSwap to trade books. I made a presentation at the citywide meeting of friends groups about PaperBackSwap a few weeks ago and encouraged the 8 other groups to join PaperBackSwap.

    Here’s what I think is driving the growth of PaperBackSwap.

    Referral and sign up bonus.
    PaperBackSwap gives you a free point when you refer a new member who lists 10 books. New members receive 2 points for listing 10 books. You don’t get points for listing additional books nor for acknowledging receipt of books, so point wise for an active trader you get a better deal here. You can also buy points if you don’t want to be burdened with shipping books out. The library has been using the PDF templates that PaperbackSwap provides to print flyers to give to patrons urging them to sign up so that the library can earn referral points.

    The fact that wishlist requests are handled on a first in first out basis makes it easy to set up a wishlist and leave it on autopilot. You can set a wishlist item to be offered for your refusal when your turn in the queue comes or set it so that the book is automatically ordered. This saves the librarian the need to constantly check email to see if a book they’ve wishlisted has become available and the disappointment of making requests for books that have already been mooched.

    The fact that only books in very good to like new condition can be listed on PaperBackSwap is valuable to the librarian since he knows that anything he requests through PaperBackSwap will be in circulating condition. I don’t always care about condition and rather have the wider selection offered here. Also, many of the books that I want to trade are not in good enough condition to list on PaperBackSwap.

    Browse and Search
    This is the one area where PaperBackSwap shines. You can have up to 3 very specific categories which appear for browsing on your home page along with a listing of books as they are being added. The search function allows me to search for hardcovers only in a select category or with a select keyword so that I can readily narrow my search in many different ways. I can save the various searches I construct to run later. Categories actually work on PaperBackSwap unlike here. Go on their site and look for “GAY” books and you get a list of books on the topic not books that some teenage has flagged “GAY” since they didn’t like them. I have a topic setup for “Gay & Lesbian >> Literature & Fiction >> Poetry” and it returns just the books in that category.

    I hope this information helps. Feel free to contact me if you need clarification or want additional feedback.

    Happy Mooching,

    • foggylady99 said

      For the past few months I have been using PBS for books and cds.
      for all the reasons listed above in John’s remarks, plus:

      PBS loads very fast.
      Bookmooch is often quite slow for me.
      (Yes, I have broadband)

      Searching/finding specific genres at PBS is fast and easy.

      Tracking books, orders, and other variables can be done on one page via boxes. Fast.
      PBS has a practically automated system taking the user thru each step
      of order/sending a book, and automatically removes books/cds that do not get mailed within a reasonable time, thus freeing up the queue and wishlist functions for the next book.
      I don’t have to keep checking the dates I mooched a book to see if it is still sitting on my request page.
      PBS has a “To be read” page which shows which of my books is wanted by someone else, allowing me to prioritize my reading and posting books. I find this greatly helpful, since I have tons of books to read.
      PBS has a “reminder” page to put books I may want to request someday, and it shows if they are available, then I can order in one click.

      Shortly after I joined Bookmooch, a decision was made to let a for-profit site have access to books. It seemed then that it was hard for me to find many books I wanted. The non-fiction availability is broader for me at PBS.
      Then the “reserved for someone else and here is a notice tht you cannot have this book” function was introduced, which I found most unpleasant.

      I still use Bookmooch, in fact have gotten 10 books in May.
      I like both sites depending on what I need at the moment.

    • Michelle F. said

      P.B.S. says that your book should be in GOOD condition, not very good. I’ve gotten a few books that have been read a lot such as a paperback with a lot of spine creases and wear (one of those that seems to pop open to certain pages because of the spine breaks).

    • cece said

      I disagree about the condition rules on PBS-I have received books in very poor condition-books I would not have requested if I had known they were torn, dirty, smoky, etc. When I emailed the powers-that-be at PBS I was told that it was an honor system and there wasn’t much I could do about it unless the wrong title was sent. I have those things listed in my conditions, but the senders do not always respect that. I much prefer looking at the condition notes here on BookMooch and making my own decision.
      I dislike the new PBS website-too many clicks to get to what I want, and the search engine is a Boolean default, which often gets me weird “matches”.

  13. Kathy said

    I’m a member of both and love the two of them! They each have things that I like. It would be nice to see BM incorporate all of PBS’ attributes – I’d use BM exclusively. I get more books swapped on BM and love that I earn 1/10 of points for listing, etc. The two things I love about PBS are the “Box of Books” and being able to buy credits.

  14. Cathy said

    I have never tried PBS, for the simple reason that I am not a US resident and therefore can’t join.

    So far BookMooch in my opinion is the best International swapping site of English language books. But — if I could find a similar site in my home country with a large choice of books in English, I would definitely join it. At the moment I can’t mooch at least 80% of the books I am interested in, because people are not willing to send internationally. Very frustrating.

    • Jacquie said

      Hear hear! This is my biggest frustration with BM. I am British, have lived in France for 24 years, and whilst I work all day in French I read for relaxation in English. Since joining BookMooch I’ve sent out books to other people and finally – for the first time in 24 years – have more books to read than I have time for. However, the frustration of not being able to mooch books I want is enormous. Once the books are here in Europe, we need to circulate them here for as long as possible. We need a second mooching tier – “my region” – yes, a programming headache, but it would perhaps make moochability better for some of us.


  15. Laura said

    I prefer BM overall, but I agree that PBS is easier to use if you aren’t looking for a specific title. The browse feature on BM isn’t very intuitive for example I just clicked on the topic “18th Century” and just on the first page I got results as varied as “A Rose in Winter” (romance novel), Boswell’s “The Life of Samuel Johnson”, and a fantasy novel called “Elven Star (Death Gate Cycle)”. Choosing the topic “Horror” gave me “A Bear Called Paddington”, “The Hours” by Michael Cunningham, and “Prince Caspian” by C.S. Lewis.

    I feel much more connected here at BM however and I think that overall it’s a much better experience.

    • Mark Williams said


      The Browse list is being updated this week alongside of other changes like an improved search page. The topic data comes from Amazon and is far from perfect, but does seem to be getting better.

  16. Eva Marie said

    I agree with John above about the search feature on PBS- it’s far better than here at BM. I can’t search Holocaust related books here or I get everything from westerns to self-help! 😮
    But the biggest thing I think it is, and I’ve talked to many, many people about this, is the people being taken advantage of on her. Many of the people who say it’s not rampant aren’t very active. They may think they are- and they may think sending five books a week is very active. There are a lot of people who do A LOT more sending and mooching and we see people abusing the site left and right and *most times* they get away with it. They say, ‘sorry, I’ll try better” and everything is all good. PBS doesn’t stand for that.
    I use both sites and I love them both for different reasons.
    Something else that concerns me is how unproffessional BM is. PBS has librarians and other who you go to for help and my friends and I have always been treated great. There are recourses to go through when there is a problem. On here, the *some* admins are about as UNproffessional as one could get. I’ve had emails forwarded to me from known admins here that were downright ignorant. And all because they were asked for help for a problem that BM created in one instance! My friend wasn’t in any way, shape or form rude, he or she was asking questions and trying to learn about what happened. I was flabbergasted when I was reading that specific email.
    I think the admins shouldn’t have such all encompassing power- they can shut an account down just like that if they want to. At PBS, if you’re shut down, there is a reason and you’re made aware of it.
    Another thing with the abuse, I don’t know how, if at all, BM goes about checking this but I’ve come in contact with more than one person on here that had numerous accounts! One was kept in good shape and the other two or three were used to abuse others. They wouldn’t send, reject, etc. and they couldn’t care less because they had the good account to fall back on. Isn’t there some way to make sure this doesn’t happen? Or make it happen less? I know another person who started an account right after she got shut down because of abuse- the same day!
    That’s my main worry here- I don’t like the idea of sending my books to someone like that. I know it’s a risk and I do take it obviously but the risk is so much lower on BM.
    Those are my two main ideas- I love sending out the country as well as in the U.S. I love being an angel for friends and strangers, I’ve met some of my best friends on this site.
    A working forum would be nice to.
    Answers to our questions would also be helpful….I’ve asked questions before and never received any kind of answer at all. 😦

    • Lisa said

      I just wanted to second the fact that the volunteer admins have been rude to me. I emailed about a problem and needed to email back to get clarification and ask a follow-up question. She was extremely rude and told me not to contact to her again as she was a volunteer and didn’t have time to email me again to repeat information. I was really taken back by it, but what could I do? It really made me feel like BM didn’t value its members! I thought I was the only one who’d had this experience, but now I see I wasn’t!

    • Mark Williams said

      Hi Eva,

      Sorry to hear you had or a friend had a bad experience with an admin response, we would be glad to look into that for your right away. We respond to all queries within 48 hours at the most, although there are occasional spam issues, etc. in receiving replies.

      Less than 2% of members attempt abuse, and we are very quick to investigate any possible mis-use of the site, please always click ‘abuse’ when you have concerns. The kind of scenario your described is rare and one we will always investigate swiftly, but no account is closed or suspended without group discussion and an explanation.

      Mark W
      Bookmooch Team

      • Eva Marie said

        Hi Mark, thanks for the comment. I do repost the abuse, even though I hate doing it, but I make sure I always do if I see something fishy!
        I have a question for you (or anyone else)- how did you become an admin? Or not you in general but anyone? Is it people that John knows and trusts or do people apply for this? Is there anything that you needed to do?
        I’m a librarian on GoodReads and there are some things a person has to do in order to be considered and from my experience with some admins. on here (not you by the way!) it really seemed like maybe they were chosen at random and not for any particular thing they could help BM/give back to BM with. I hope that makes sense. I’ve been wondering about it for a long time.

      • Mark Williams said

        Admins are chosen very carefully through group discussion from those that have been active and helpful with Bookmooch over time. The last few chosen had already develoted lots of volunteer time in helping monitor the site and in helping people with Bookmooch.

  17. Heather said

    Funny, you should ask. I myself created an account w/ PBS just two daays ago. I have not posted any titles or even looked to thoroughly at the site yet, but what prompted me to join was availability of books that I can’t get access to through Bookmooch due to either unavailablity- or as is more often the case lately- an unwillingness on the part of the lister to send books (due to reserving for someone else or some other non posted reason) Personally, I find the practice beyond annoying. If I get a request for a book I send it- simple. I’m hoping there will n ot be the same frustrations at PBS, but who can say?

    I’m not ending my relationship w/ Bookmooch, but I’m hoping to get greater access to books. Very few copies in my hundred plus list have come available in the last year and of those fewer still were willing to mooch.

    Also- as others have mentioned PBS is going to be a paid membership- my introductory email pointed oput that fees of $10-15 per annum might be instituted following one free year of membership

    • cece said

      I have been on PBS for years and have never paid a membership fee. I do sometimes use the print postage feature, on which there is a surcharge, but that is by my choice and only when I know i won’t be able to get to the post office for a few days.

  18. S. Krishna said

    I use both PaperbackSwap and BookMooch and liked Bookmooch a lot better for a long time. I recently have had to join other trading sites though, because while I am still using PaperbackSwap a lot, I have found absolutely nothing to mooch off of BookMooch in the past month. I’m not sure why that is, and am hoping it is just a dry spell.

    • cece said

      I recently searched for two authors on both BookMooch and PBS-found one title for the first author and none for the second on BM, but 5 and 6 respectively on PBS. This is, I think, a function of the growth over there, and can be solved by bookmooch members getting out and signing up new members.

  19. Eric G said

    I discovered PBS by way of SwapaDVD. I wanted to get rid of a lot of DVDs, and had nothing to do with the points I earned. I transferred some points over to PBS and found a bunch of books there that I had been waiting for on BM for a long time.

    I have noticed that personal finance sites frequently mention PBS/SwapADVD as money savers while BM gets no mention.

    Speaking in broad terms, I prefer BM’s community oriented feel. PBS is kind of impersonal, either by accident or design. I prefer to send books on BM and I prefer to mooch them from there. OTOH, I don’t participate on the forums on either site.

    BM is a overall a better looking site. However PBS’ search does work a lot better with general terms. I also noticed a few days ago that I greatly prefer the fact that PBS seems to favor listing things by title while BM lists by author. (OTOH, that that it’s not an option on either site is a bit frustrating.)

    As someone said above, I prefer the autopilot wishlist on PBS. Periodically I get an e-mail telling me that a book I want is on the way. It’s a pleasant surprise. This is greatly preferable to finding out that I missed out on a book because I wasn’t awake at 4:00AM or in a meeting at 3:00PM. When I am unemployed and no longer need sleep, I’ll get those books I really want.

    I tend to mail out my books once a week, in waves. I’ll see little action for a week or so and then need to mail out 8 or more books. BM: 3 clicks a book (I sent it. I can send a message saying I sent it. Take me back to my listing.) PBS: 1 click a book. (I sent it.)

    If PBS adds a fee, I’m outta there. I’d be much more upset if SwapADVD added one. I’m saving money there over NetFlix.

  20. notinparis said

    Definitely a major factor has gotta be the international aspect of BM. There’s loads of similar sites for the US, but even in the UK, I’ve only found BM and one other, and they had a ridiculous system of points based on RRP.

    Where BM loses out, IMHO, is things like forums, search, and general usability. I feel quite isolated here; perhaps that’s the same at PBS and other sites like that (like I said, I’m in the UK and there’s nothing else here) but I’d guess it’s worth considering.

    • Ellie said

      I use a UK based swapping site as well as BM – Read It Swap It which is a straight forward book for book swap system, no points and much better forum. I use them about equally, often I give books a chance swapping before releasing on BM where they often go abroad. The first time I found BM I didn’t join as it looked like all the books were in America and then no one wanted to send international. But my friends from the swapping site spurred me on and I think both work well but in different ways.

      I like being able to build up points on BM and then go on a spending spree when I feel like it.

  21. jack said

    I’ve never used PBS, I’ve just had a look at their site now. As a web designer, I can safely say, that their design is cheap and confusing. It’s pretty awful to be honest! From a design stand point, you have no worries there compared to them. More colourful doesn’t necessarily mean better! Having said there are still elements of Bookmooch’s design which could be improved. I’d be happy to discuss further if you wish 🙂

    I haven’t looked to deep into their site so I couldn’t really compare much else!

    • Eva Marie said

      Wow- I’m not a designer but I’ve used PBS for a long time now and I love their site. Everything is easy to find and searching is made easy, as is the forum. BM is just as nice in those respects (with the exception of the searching IMO.)

    • Julie said

      I agree, PBS’s website is not easy to use. They hide LOTS of information, and to go back and find where they put it is often difficult.

      If there was a combination of PBS and BM, I’d be very quickly on board. I belong to both. Unlimited Wishlist on BM gets 2 thumbs up!!! Mine is over 700 books, and so PBS gets poo-poohed for that 200 book limit. I have to say, though, that an in-and-out wishlist and inventory functionality would be great. I should be able to import one in AND out. Also, being able to print postage is a great thing for those of us stuck in an office. It saves me a lot of time.

      I find BM a warmer environment, generally. I haven’t seen abuse myself, but that happens everywhere.

      Thanks for all you do, Bookmooch, I’m thoroughly enjoying you!

  22. Lisa Smith said

    I use both sites but I prefer PB Swap (PBS).

    Some of the differences that I have noticed cause me to feel “safer” by using PBS. Some of these differences allows the members to abuse the system.

    PB Swap:
    * Gives credit when book is received
    * Mailed book is lost, no book credit is given
    * Once a book is requested, member has only 5 days to mail or they will lose book credit.
    * No feedback scores – members can refuse a book without counting against them.
    * Strict book condition guidelines
    * Email members through the website. They do not know your email address.
    *Offers delivery confirmation (only 46 cents) so that once book is mailed, book credit is given to member regardless of where book is lost or not.
    *Can purchase book credit if book on wishlist is available and member has no credits.

    Book Mooch:
    * Gives point as soon as book is mooched
    * Mailed book is lost, member still gets point
    * Requested books can be mailed within the members own time frame. I’ve waited up to 3 months for a book. When I request a book, I want it sooner than that.
    * Rejects or books lost in mail count against member
    * No book condition guidelines – I have received books that should have been in the trashcan!
    * Members learn email addresses through the acceptance of a mooch. I have had members start forwarding me “junk” once they received my email address.

    • Melissa said

      I use both sites but prefer BM. Most of the points that you have for PBS is why I don’t like it.

      * I hate having to wait until my book is received before I can use my point
      * I recently mailed a book on PBS & it marked as lost (I don’t think they give enough time for lost books either) it was a heavy book & cost me more to mail and I didn’t get anything for mailing it. I was SHOCKED to find that out & I am considering not using PBS for this reason alone
      * The time limit is annoying esp. if something comes up and you can’t mail within that time. I like having the option to delay on BM even though I rarely use it.
      * I think the feedback system helps keep people honest. I like being able to look at feedback and see what my odds of receiving the book are.
      * Strict book condition – I don’t care what condition the book I receive is in as long as I can read the book. I do think condition notes should be REQUIRED on BM
      * I don’t like having to go to PBS to read my emails, I would rather they were just delivered to my inbox.
      * I do sometimes buy the postage & points on PBS but I try not to as it really annoys me that they charge for everything. They charge for the delivery confirmation & then there is a fee just to buy the postage or points .50 every transaction.

      In my opinion BM is MUCH better, the only reason I am on PBS at all is that my wishlisted books tend to pop up more over there. I would really rather not use PBS at all.

      • Evangeline said

        I share your feelings about PBS. I finally switched over exclusively to BM because of losing so many points over at PBS due to their errors, and the silly charges, horrible point system, and general feeling that they couldn’t care less. It finally wasn’t worth it!

        I would *so highly* recommend to BM management that you require book condition to be stated! I have to email every member before I mooch to check condition. PBS did nothing when a book arrived in terrible condition, though, so they’re no better in that respect. But I think required condition notes would go a long way here!

    • CDC said

      I’m not a PBS user – frankly, I don’t think I could keep up with more than one book swap site! Your comparison was very helpful though and I appreciate the time you took to write it.

      The community feel of BM and knowing that the people participating are not professional booksellers lets me be more flexible about sending and receiving books. And if I want a particular book and simply cannot wait, I know I can click through to Amazon and buy it from a used bookseller there. Perhaps I’ve been fortunate, but I haven’t gotten any books that I felt were misrepresented, not received spam and have had some very good e-mail conversations because someone had my address or I theirs. And I especially like sending and receiving internationally! So, I guess for me this activity is more of an avocation than it might be for others.

      To TPTB – the browse capabilities on BM are just terrible! That’s probably the one thing I’d really like to see changed. And forums? I’ve never gotten response fast enough to be useable. Overall, though, BM is a great place to be and I’ve recommended it often.

  23. Michelle said

    John, thank you for doing such a wonderful job. So many of us LOVE Bookmooch.

    I think that BM needs to emphasize the fact that it is worldwide, and very world-friendly. I feel very comfortable and welcome here as a Canadian member. I am trying to get the word out to as many as I can here, and I would be willing to do more, with guidance. The first thing I always emphasize to friends is that it is not just for U.S. residents, because many sites (PBS) are…and not just for book-trading, but many other things as well (like online shopping) – so we Canadians are a little used to being left out!

    I realize that increasing your American membership will give you the best bang for your buck, but hopefully increasing your membership worldwide will also help put BM on top, where it deserves to be!

  24. love said

    I am a friend of Eva but that is not why I am agreeing with her…I agree people here either do not respond or are just plain rude when they do. I emailed a admin at least a month ago for help with NO response what so ever. How long do they need to email me back an aswer??

    Also I have a problem with people who cancel without or rejecting for that matter with not even a quick note to tell you why. Does this really take that much time out of your day??

    On the forums I find them VERY slow and it taking upwards of 25-30 minutes for some messages to pop up. I can see why PBS is more desirable in this matters..Don’t get me wrong I LOVE both sites just BM could work on those few things I would be very appriciative of it….

    • Mark Williams said

      Please resend your comment as it might not have come through — we will respond right away, sorry to hear you did not get a reply.

      Mark W
      Bookmooch Team

      • Eva Marie said

        Yeah, Love, that may have been a mistake. That sucks that no one responded but I’ve had all my responses (usually from Mark!) come very fast. He’s always been polite and professional with me also.
        Maybe something didn’t go through? I don’t want you to think they’re ignoring you!

  25. Lisa said

    I use both sites and while I like BM, PBS has an edge in several categories. PBS seems to have a bigger selection of books. Their wishlist feature is better (I hate the idea of missing out on books simply because I’m not sitting at my computer the moment they are listed). They also have a much more no nonsense approach to sending out books. You request a book and then the sender only has a few days to send it to you. I know I will have a PBS book mailed out within a week, with BM, I could be waiting for more than a month. BM has more hassles with member-to-member communication. I’ve had problems communicating with BM members before, but never on PBS. I also like that you can transfer your points from their sister sites (SwapaDVD and SwapaCD) to get non-book items. I usually convert my book points to DVD points and then am able to request DVD’s I want. It is also convenient to print postage from their site.

    The only plus to BM is that you can list books in less than ideal condition and just explain that they are not so nice and see if anyone wants them. I like both sites, but always list books I am giving away on PBS first since their points are more valuable to me (I can choose from a wider selection of books and DVD’s). I have around 50 BM points now and can hardly find anything I want to mooch. I’m always using my PBS points for something or another.

  26. Theresa said

    I’m a member of both sites, and I prefer pretty much everything about Bookmooch . . . except getting books off my wishlist. I use both to get books I want (usually specific titles), and I find bookmooch more transparent, easier to use, and a little less rigid. Unlike the poster above, I find way too many clicks to get through PBS.

    The problem I see is point inflation. My PBS points are worth much more to me because I have fewer (somewhere around 5) at any given time, and I reliably get books off my wishlist after a time with the FIFO system. Likely also because of that, I get fewer mooches. (I also seem to get a lot of international mooches as a US reader of trade paperbacks.) On BM, I have tons of points (170+) because of the 1/10 bonuses, international mooches, and in general just getting more hits. This means that my PBS points are worth more to me since they can get me my hard-to-find wishlisted books. Therefore, when I get an in-demand book, even if I got it from BM, I usually list it on PBS first to try to get that point instead of having it go more quickly on BM and just adding to my point glut. Simple economics.

    • Judy said

      I agree – I routinely carry over 200 points that I find hard to use.

      If I have new books to post, I check both sites before posting and usually post first to PBS to get more points there. Plus I routinely order books for siblings and a few close friends and have the books sent directly to them just use up points (can do and have done this from both sites).

      • Eva Marie said

        I just took my points down from right around 200 to about 10 because I didn’t like the fact that I could be shut down at the whim of an admin for no reason. I had heard differently and Mark (an admin) says that there is a process but I feel much safer with this low amount of points than 200 since they don’t get used that fast…unless I want to get rid of them that is!

    • charlene said

      I do the same thing for books. I list books on PBS first, especially if I know that they’re on a wish list and its even better if is on a wish list with an automatic accept. Although if it isn’t on a wish list, I will then enter it into BM approximately 24 hours later.

      On BM, 10 emails may get sent out but no responses.

  27. Whitney said

    I’m from Canada so I can’t use PBS anyway and I’m bookmooch loyal so if they made it international I still wouldn’t use them… but I would definitely use the sister site for dvd swapping. I think that’s a fantastic idea! Maybe bookmooch should look into a dvd swap section. 🙂

  28. Eric G said

    Some more thoughts on number of clicks.

    Mailing a book on PBS is a PITA. I don’t print their labels because heavy brown wrapping paper and a magic marker is cheaper and more “green” than laser toner and white paper, and I still have to wrap the books anyway since the “labels” aren’t adequate for protecting the book. So, I have to click to say I will send, and then go through a couple of clicks to generate a PDF I don’t need just to get an address.

    On, BM this is easy as I always have a list of books I need to send with addresses. Sweet.

    Marking books sent on PBS is much easier. One click per book. Nice when you just mailed a bunch of books, which is the norm for me and probably most other active users.

    On BM it’s 3 clicks per book with, to be honest, the last being the most irritating after marking 5 or 6 books as mailed and having a few more to go. 🙂

    • charlene said

      Black magic marker on the wrapper may be more green, but the post office is going to process the labels from PBS much faster, because the bar code makes processing the book more automatic. And the print is much more legible.

      • Eric G said

        I haven’t noticed a difference in shipping time. I also get a lot of “hand wrapped” books from both BM and PBS. (And SwapADVD too)

        I also tired of paying a surcharge for every package, in addition to the fee for filling my PBS account from Paypal. The postage option for their sites gets rather expensive.

    • Mary Anne said

      On PBS you can get the address for hand-addressing with two clicks–first, click on print label, then click on “if you need to hand write the address” (something like that–don’t have it in front of me). Not quite as simple as BM, of course, but not all that complicated, either, and doesn’t require pdf.

  29. Tracey said

    I am an ex-PBS user and will never go back. I did like the ability to print postage, but that came back to bite me in the butt when people weren’t “receiving” books. I ALWAYS used delivery confirmation, but the PBS people didn’t care that they were shown as delivered. PBS is prettier, and I tended to find it a little easier to use. I’ll stick with BM!

    • Eva Marie said

      PBS can’t go by the postal confirmation I was told. But they offer their own for very cheap and then you get the credit as soon as the book is mailed and scanned. I’m not trying to get you to go back but I wanted to let you and others know!
      I love BM the most- the community feel (even without the working forum) is the best. The forums work fine at PBS and I still hardly use them.

      • Cheryl said

        If you buy postage through PayPal’s “multiorder shipping,” you are charged $0.18 for delivery confirmation (there is no option to decline it). That plus the fact of the $.50 fee every time I transfer :nonrefundable: money via PayPal into my PBS account, make me disagree that it’s a “cheap” option. It feels like extortion to me.

      • Cheryl said

        If you buy postage through PayPal’s “multiorder shipping,” you are charged $0.18 for delivery confirmation (there is no option to decline it). Then there is PBS’s $.50 fee every time I transfer :nonrefundable: money via PayPal into my PBS account. It feels like extortion to me, because you only get the instant and certain credit if you use their postage, which costs extra. If you don’t use their :more expensive: printable postage system, you are at the mercy of the receiver as well as the postal service as to whether you actually get your credit.

  30. sugarandgrits said

    I just recently gave PBS at try ~ so far, I’m hating it. I’ve used the 2 credits I received for posting 10 books, but since no one has requested any of my books (leaving me with 0 credits), I’ve missed out on 2 books I could have requested. Also, I HATE the Wishlist! You have to “wait in line” to be offered books that you want! That’s crazy! I may as well go buy the book, I’ll get it a LOT faster.

    Personally, I think BM is fine just the way it is.

    I’m also a member on SwapTree, but people are always trying to swap stuff that are not of the same “value”. That leaves me with only BM to make me happy. I always have books to be mailed out each week. Here lately it’s been a little slow on my Wishlist books being available, but hey that’s just life!

    I vote BookMooch 24/7!

    Keep up the good work, John!

    • Eric G said

      I couldn’t disagree more about the “wait-in-line” aspect of PBS’ wishlist. I think it is much more fair than who gets the e-mail notification (and is lucky enough to be at a computer) first and/or who is watching RSS more closely.

      Having a life outside of my Mac doesn’t mean I deserve a book any less.

      • sugarandgrits said

        I also “have a life” outside of my PC, but that doesn’t mean I should have to wait MONTHS for the opportunity to get a book I want!

      • cece said

        I agree-FIFO creates a level playing field. If I want a book so badly that I can’t wait for it, I do go buy it. The wishlist is for books I want to read when the book arrives-not for “need it now” books. I look at both sites like that for all transactions-I have to budget my postage so I sometimes have to wait to send out books, and bookmooch allows me to do that. If the moocher can’t wait, they are free to cancel the mooch-no hard feelings. I’ll give back the points.

    • Christy said

      I have to agree with Eric about waiting in line. It’s much more fair on PBS than it is on BM. If I know I’m out of credits, or don’t have money to buy any at times, I put my account on hold. That way I don’t lose my place in line for what I’ve got on my wishlist.

    • charlene said

      About the wish list, I’m still waiting 2 years for some books on my wish list with BM.

      And if you really want the book, paying $10.35 for three book credits (approximately the same cost as mailing a book for each credit), is cheaper than buying the book.

  31. I’m going to chime in as well regarding the browse feature being problematic and a likely drawback from new visitors.

    The browse and topics features on BM are worthless. They give back such random results and most never have anything to do with what you search for. This could be very unappetizing for someone new to the site and trying to see what’s available, maybe, in the their favorite genre. Perusing the inventory on these sites is the first thing I did before signing up. Fortunately, I liked BookMooch better in the long and here I’ll stay.

    No matter what bells and whistles are on either site, BookMooch will always be better because we have John who actually even bothers to show concern and want the members’ opinions.

    • Mark Williams said

      The browse topic list is being revamped this week. It is based on subject data that comes from Amazon which is not perfect, but is slowly getting better.

      Mark W
      Bookmooch Team

  32. Liz said

    I have accounts with both PBS and BookMooch. I list books on both sites (some of my less than perfect conditioned books are on BookMooch only). The first swap site I signed up for was BookMooch. However, if asked, I usually recommend PBS first.

    PBS is easier to search, the FIFO system is very convenient, the premade shipping labels are a HUGE plus for people on the go. These are the areas where BookMooch really falls flat, IMHO. I like the fact that PBS is US only but that only comes into play for me when I get several emails a day from BookMooch telling me a book is available only to get to the site and learn that the book is only available from someone outside of the US. I personally do not wish to spend 2 points to have a book sent from overseas. I’ve only made the mistake of ordering from overseas once and I have paid careful attention to the location of the book ever since.

    I HATE the fact that BookMooch members get my email address. I get enough spam during the course of a day without taking into account Mooches. With my current spam filters in effect, I oftentimes lose BookMooch emails in the ether entirely.

    I also am a member of SwapADVD and SwapACD and I like that points gotten from one site can easily be transferred to another. I also like that points on any of PBS’s sites can be purchased for a reasonable fee.

    All of that said, (aside from the search feature at PBS) I don’t care about the aesthetics of either site. I have many points with each site and will search both if I am looking for a book.

  33. sugarandgrits said

    Oh, one more thing. I didn’t see anywhere on PBS that tells me whether or not anyone is even interested in the books I have to give away. That’s annoying to me because I’m used to being able to see who wants my books on BM. Otherwise, I’m just wasting my time listing them when I could take them to my local used bookstore, or post them on another site.

    Thanks again!

    • Eva Marie said

      PBS doesn’t have a feature that will let you know that but if you have a decent amount of books listed you get orders.

      • kat said

        If you list a book and it’s on someone’s wishlist, it will be marked as such on your bookshelf (while waiting for the other member to respond). Kind of a pain since you still have to list it first, but they do tell you somewhere.

    • susan said

      On PBS there is a way of knowing if a book is on anyone’s wishlist before listing – you click on wishlist on the homepage and put in the ISBN and it shows you if anyone is waiting for that book.

      • sugarandgrits said

        Hi Susan, the only wishlist I can find on the homepage is my personal wishlist, under My Account, My Lists. Could you explain further? Thanks!

      • osha341 said

        Susan: Type in the ISBN at the top of the page and search. PBS will go to the book and you will see if any has this book on their wishlist. I use it first thing when I have books to swap and if no one wants the book at PBS I go to BM and put in the ISBN there to check there also. I’m like alot of people, less points on PBS then BM.

    • Shirley said

      On the PBS homepage, place cursor over the Search tab to get the dropdown box. Click on ClubWishList and you’ll get a screen to enter specifics of the book to search existing wishlists. To get a clue on what the chances are for your book to be reqstd, there is a time-consuming little option. Place the book on your reminder list, then go look at your list. If copies are available, it will display how many which might give you a feel for how soon yours might move.

  34. Lisa said

    On PB Swap, their wishlist is better. You have a place in line to get the book and when it is your turn, you get an email from them. None of that “reserving a book” mess like in BM. I talked with one member about soume of her books and she told me they are reserved for someone else. That shouldn’t be allowed! If that’s how they want to swap books, that’s fine but it shouldn’t be done through a book swapping site. It should be done privately. The books I read seem to never come up on BM but they come up faster on PBS. I get lots of books for my daughters from BM.

  35. silver1881 said

    I had the same experience with PBS as sugarandgrits – used my 2 credits, and then no one requested anything so I had to let several items on my wishlist pass me by. I love that BM gives points just for listing things. Those 1/10s add up! I also found the PBS site very hard to use. My only problems with BM, really, are that it can be hard to find anything to mooch, and that the last three times I tried to mooch something (all of which I was really excited about!) the requests sat there for over a month and the sender never responded, so I had to cancel.

    • Mary Anne said

      When I first joined PBS and had used my 3 free points (now they only give two), hadn’t gotten any orders yet, and saw some books I wanted to get, I bought three more credits. I think the price then was $2.50 and now it’s $3.00; either way it’s a bargain (although it was more of a bargain before postage went up). After that initial purchase, I’ve always managed to have enough points at PBS to get the books that come up on my wishlist or that I really want. If I should run out, I know I can always buy the needed credits.

  36. ermama said

    I have to say, I think that one thing that makes PBS a lot more user friendly is its forums, as other people here have mentioned. I like PBS forums mainly because I can offer deals on my books in the Book Bazaar, and this moves a lot of books fast and gets me credits when I need them. I personally like BM better, it is friendlier and I like the international swapping (it is so neat to know that some of my books are spread all over the world, LOL) but I would love it even more if the forums actually worked.

  37. Clifford B said

    One difference between the two sites that I think would have a huge effect here lies in when book credits are awarded. At PBS, credits are awarded once a book has been received by the person requesting it. This is an excellent incentive for a participant to send out their books in a prompt manner. While I do not mind waiting a week or two (or longer, if there is some inevitable delay I have been told about by the sender), I find it frustrating that the person I have mooched from has already received credit for the mooch, though they have not yet done anything to merit it. In a similar fashion, I think I would be faster with sending out books myself if I had to do so in order to receive the credit.

    One drawback to this scenario is international mooching. There, I think there ought to be some compensation up front — maybe one credit for accepting the mooch, and the other two credits when the book is received.

  38. Andrea said

    I just joined BM last week and I like it alot better than PBS. The only downside of BM is the postage, but on the other hand PBS adds all kinds of fees that add to the postage. The people on PBS are not as friendly as BM. As for Swaptree, I have not had much luck there.
    Thank you for your hard work.

  39. Whitney said

    Another point about being a Canadian… so many people from the states only send to their own country. Tons of my wishlist books come up but I can’t mooch them. Then someone from the states who only sends to their own country tries to mooch books from me. I have begun rejecting people who only send to their own country because I don’t want to send a book to someone who I can’t possibly mooch from in the future. I think that if people will only send to their country there should be a block that they can only mooch from their own country as well. That way it’s more fair to people from Canada or the UK and it might make Americans more inclined to send to other countries as well.

    • Rosemarie (Freecyclor) said

      Whitney, have you asked for an Angel? BM Angels will mooch a “my country only” book and list it as reserved for you.

      While I’m not an official BM Angel (poor old pensioner lady), if an angel request on the forum isn’t answered within a day or so, I will angel the book. Being able to get “furrin” books is a big part of the fun here.

      • Whitney said

        I have utilized an angel before but when it’s a very popular book there’s no time to find and contact an angel before the book gets snatched up by someone else.
        People outside of the states really don’t get the selection that people in America do. And it’s only a couple of dollars to send to Canada and only a few more dollars than that to send to the UK or most other places in the world. There’s nothing wrong with rejecting a book if the owner finds that it’s going to cost too much to send. I had to reject a book just the other day when I found it was going to cost $19 to send to California.

      • osha341 said

        Whitney: I enjoy sending books to Canada, APO, FPO’s etc. which doesn’t cost that much more and it takes no time at all to go to the USPS (post office) internet site and type up a customs form. I just think that people here in the US don’t know how to send books to you guys, it’s no big deal since most of them have to go to the post office anyway. BM should have a link set up for the custom form and when people state that they will send to their own country it means North America. Here’s the link people, use it – https://webapps.usps.com/customsforms/ Use the Form 2976 for books, I believe, that are under 4 pounds. You can use this this form for all over the world for small books.

      • Ellie said

        I live in the UK and I have received books from America that have been marked between $5 and $8 for first class airmail.

        I will post anywhere, I don’t care if the other person can afford to do international or not as I still get my 3 points (and we do still have surface mail over here).

    • Peggy said

      I agree completely. I had a comment on my profile saying I would send internationally if the moocher would, and I got an e-mail from an admin saying this was not allowed and they would shut down my account if I refused a mooch because the moocher wouldn’t send books outside their country. So, I stopped doing any international mooches. I was always happy to send to other countries but don’t want to go through all that trouble for someone who isn’t willing to do it themselves. I’m not sure why this rule was implemented but it makes no sense to me.

      • Dale said

        I do send internationally, but I have to disagree about the prices to mail. A book that cost me about $2.50 to send in the US costs about $15.00 to send to France or the UK and about $20.00 to send to Japan or Australia. I’m still happy to send the book, because I’ve lived abroad and know what it’s like to try to find just the book you want to read. But, really, I’m just giving the person a gift–often the cost of the mailing is just about the cost of the book.

      • Marian said

        Whitney, it doesn’t only cost a couple of dollars to send to Canada. USPS has done away with all options less than priority for international mail, so a book is going to cost *at least* $12.30 to mail to Canada (or any other international mooch) from the U.S. Personally, I never reject an international mooch, but it may take me a very long time to send it. I figure I can afford about one international mooch every two weeks, but lately, I’ve been getting 3-4 requests per month, so you can see that they pile up.

      • John98109 said

        I believe a 1 pound package to Canada costs $5 not $12, which is roughly the same as the U. S. domestic first class rate.

      • Eric G said

        Yes. A 1 pound package to Canada is $5 first class.

      • Marian said

        John98109, you’re right. I just checked. I wonder if they changed that when they changed the postage rates, because the last time I send a book to Canada, the cheapest rate was the $12.30 (online price) priority flat rate envelope.

      • Rosemarie (Freecyclor) said

        Peggy, I just set my account to “Ask first” which gives me option of refusing to send a book internationally (although I never have.)

        I think in a lot of cases, it is just unfamiliarity/unease with the very simple customs form. It would be nice if some of that information or links were readily available in BM.

      • Mark Williams said

        Canada has remained quite afforadable for U.S. members. The $12-13 USPS flate rate priority packet works quite well for other countries as it can hold 2-4+ paperbacks. So quite a few of U.S. ‘ask first’ members have a 2 book min. international mooch limit.

  40. Whitney said

    ALSO people who haven’t logged in in a certain number of days should have their account deleted. Say if someone hasn’t logged in in 90 days their account is automatically closed until the next time they decide to pick it up and begin using it again. When searching for a book I always come across accounts that are still open with books in the inventory that haven’t been logged into in 250 days. Those accounts just get in the way and make the site feel messy and disorganized.
    I try to encourage Canadian friends to use the account to get more books moving through Canada, but a lot of friends have ended up cancelling because they try to mooch from people who aren’t using their accounts… they don’t know that they should check a person’s feedback or account usage before they mooch a book. I have had numerous friends join and cancel for this reason.

    • Mark Williams said


      Any account that does not respond to a requests for more than 7 days is vacationed when a member cancels with ‘did not respond’ as a reason why.

      • Eva Marie said

        I so agree with you Whitney!
        Mark, she’s saying it because then people come and take it off vacation and their books are shown again and then we think they are available. That sucks a lot to have that happen. I have wishlisted books “available” from people who haven’t logged on in over a year or two! Why keep those accounts? I would make a time frame and when people sign up let them know that if they don’t log in for such and such a time period they’re going to be deleted and their points gone. I’m sure you guys could find something worthwhile to do with the points. Or just delete them. Anything would be better than letting stagnant accounts fester.

      • Whitney said

        That does weed out some of the dead accounts, but a lot of the time no one has mooched from the person in a few months so the account goes unnoticed.
        I think having an automatic account deletion after 90 days would really help things out. And maybe a warning e-mail at the 45-day mark so the person can decide if they want to sign into their account and continue using it or just call it quits altogether.
        I bet it would get rid of a lot of the accounts that are sitting unused and I think it would just clean up the site a bit better.

      • Jeff C. said

        I agree with Whitney. I recently had this problem with two books I put on my wishlist. I reserved one book from a Canadian member, as I am in the US, but the person did nothing. I sent a reminder and an email, still nothing. My reservation lapsed, so I reserved again, also sending out another email. Nothing. The account was still active even though the member had not signed on for just under month.

        I contacted an admin (through the Abuse function), and she put the account on “Temporary Hold”. However, the book still showed as available on my RSS feed and my wishlist. I contacted the admin after two weeks, and she put the account on Vacation, and that has taken that book off my wishlist and RSS feed.

        On the other book, the member (from India) had not logged on to his account for over 700 days, and his books were still showing in inventory. I contacted an admin, and she put the account on Vacation, which took his book off of my wishlist and RSS feed.

        But I wanted to stress that none of this happened automatically — I had to contact an admin before this was done.

        As a post script, the admin I dealt with on these occasions (Becky), and Mark, whom I have dealt with before, have been VERY pleasant and patient with me and my questions (above and beyond), so this is one person who has nothing but good things to say about BookMooch admins.

      • Mark Williams said

        There has been some consideration of auto-vacationing inacative accounts after six months or so, and as this seems a popular idea it may well be implemented in future upgrades.

    • kat said

      I only log in when I get a mooch request or wishlist notification. Which means I could go months without coming by the site, if I don’t have a lot of books in my inventory or on my wishlist. I see how the auto-vacationing could be abused, but I think the current system is still better than if I had to remember to log in every x days or else.

      • Whitney said

        As I said to Mark, maybe an e-mail after a certain amount of time warning that if the account isn’t logged into it will be deleted, that way people who utilize the account every couple of months can still make it clear to the administrators that it is being used. I think that would make everyone happy and clean things up. 🙂

    • Chris said

      I agree 100%. It is so frustrating to be looking for a book only to find those with the book haven’t logged in 100+ days. 90 days of not logging in should be enough to cancel their account.

      • Eva Marie said

        I’m just happy that it’s being thought about personally. I like to know things are being thrown back and forth and questions are being asked about if it’ll make the site better or not. Thanks for explaining that Mark!

  41. Kaki said

    I don’t belong to PBS, but have been considering it. Like many other folks have mentioned I’ve seen a definite decrease in the number of titles available on my wishlist. I’ve also noticed that when books do become available they’re very often marked as unavailable to mooch/reserved. That’s especially irritating when I get the RSS feed notification that the title is available and get to it in a matter of seconds.

    I’ve been holding off on listing more books for quite a while and so currently don’t have enough points to mooch. This hasn’t bothered me since checking my wishlist daily reveals no books I want in the US. (I’ll occasionally mooch from overseas, but only for titles I really, really want since the extra point and wait time does matter.) I’ve been meaning to sit down and compare the availibility of titles I want on both sites (and Bookin etc) to see where I should list the things I have to get the most bang for my book. I assume others are doing the same and BM is losing. Sad, because I’ve loved BM for several years now.

    I do like getting extra points for sending overseas, and I almost always say yes to those mooches. I also like being able to delay and will NOT join a site that gives me a set period of time to send. Some weeks, that’s just not possible since I work from 8-5 and have a hard time leaving my office when we’re busy. The delay feature and the ability to communicate with other users (and refund points when they would prefer that to waiting) makes this a flexible and pleasant place to be! (On the other hand, I LOATHE requesting a book and then not hearing back from users. I’ve ended up canceling way too many books for lack of communication.)

    I also appreciate the fact that a sender does get to keep points when a book goes missing. I’ve two books disappear in the Post Awful now, and it does happen. Occasionally, the mail hiccups.

  42. RidgewayGirl said

    I love the international aspect of BookMooch, knowing that that old paperback will really be appreciated where I send it. I also like that I can find here books by some authors, mainly British, who are not published here, or published earlier elsewhere, as well as books published in foreign languages, which are expensive and difficult to find here.

    The forums for BookMooch located on the LibraryThing site works brilliantly–no need to worry about the forums here.

    I like the element of trust built into the BookMooch system. I like being treated like an adult and not like a potential scammer. Abuses do occur, but they are very rare, much rarer than the extraodinarily brilliant mooch — like notes included, or book prettily wrapped, etc…

  43. Susan said

    There are definite functionality advantages to the PB site, the search and browse features being the prime example. My only real reason for ever using PBS is book availability, today I was able to request two books that have been on my wishlist here for nearly two years. If those books were available here I would abandon PBS in a second, there are more things to hate about the site than to love. The site is very cold, and there is no sense of community, which may sound weird, but after being a BM member for so long it feels odd to not even be able to see the other parties transaction history, or to know where your book is coming from. It feels like I’m part of a community here, which makes me comfortable in coming back to the site continuously, whereas I am likely to forget PBS exists. For some reason it also bothers me to be told I will be prosecuted if I don’t send the book, it’s not that I didn’t plan on sending it, it’s just another aspect of how corporate the site feels. I am not allowed to tell a moocher I have a broken leg and I will send it out in two weeks, mail it in five days or else!! I am with sugarandgrits on not being able to know if anyone wants my book in the first place, it would do much better in the hands of charity or a local bookseller than on my shelf waiting for some off chance a person on PBS wants to read it. The fact that no one requests your books makes me think the site is full of looky-lous who try out the site and abandon it forever, which is a big problem because you can’t have your point until the other person marks it received. That is the thing I hate the most about the site….I don’t have the book anymore, but because someone lost interest in the website I get nothing in return. At least I would have got credit at the used bookstore. I do love the FIFO wishlist, and the fact that I get more use out of my points, but it’s certainly not my go to site.

    • Mary Anne said

      I don’t want to sound like a shill for PBS because I love both PBS and BM and find each has its pros and cons. But, I think some of the complaints you make may come from not really exploring the site or using it to its max. For example, yes, you are “allowed” to tell the person requesting a book that you won’t be able to send it out in the time frame specified by the site. You use the PM button on the book request to contact the requester to make a private arrangement. During the last year and a half my life has been very disrupted by a number of family issues, and I’ve done this several times. Everyone has been very understanding. Although I tend to prefer BM’s more laissez faire attitude when it comes to mailing out books, I also see the value to the way that PBS does it. As for a sense of community, it all depends. I’ve gotten into some great conversations with people who have requested books from me and with those from whom I’ve gotten books. Plus, the forums at PBS offer quite a lot of opportunity for all sorts of interactions with other members on topics ranging from specific genres of books to what’s going on in someone’s life aside from books as well as setting up local meetings with fellow swappers. Although I don’t participate myself, there are even game-playing groups and book challenge groups. I haven’t had time lately to see if they still exist or not, but some time back there were two sort of related lists–one where people could ask for items they wanted (for whatever reason) and the other, designated a Random Acts of Kindness list, where people offered things they were willing to give away to anyone who wanted them. Mailing costs in both cases were taken care of by the sender. The opportunity for community is there for those who want it, but not everyone chooses to get involved to that extent. You can also look at people’s wish lists and inventories and some people have journals.

      As for not getting requests–I think part of the problem is exactly that the membership is so large. It’s unfortunately a bit tedious to do at PBS (one of the very big cons), but you can find out how many copies of books you’re offering are available on the site. Sometimes the number is daunting, especially in genre fiction. Most of what I post is of that type, so I expect my books to move slowly. OTOH, some of my less common books are posted at both PBS and BM, and I don’t see much difference in the frequency with which they are requested at one site or the other–it just seems to depend.

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with preferring BM over PBS or vice versa, but it’s too bad when someone’s reason for disliking one or the other is based on a mistaken impression of what’s there.

  44. Sarah said

    I used PBS first, and I didn’t care for it. Hardly any of my books were requested and I never had any credits for books. A blogging friend told me about BM and I fell in love. I get requests for about five books per week, and I always have points available to mooch. I did like that you can print your postage and shipping label at PBS, but it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I also like how PBS does their wishlists. I like “waiting in line”, so to speak, rather than trying to beat 700 people to a mooch when one of my wishlist books becomes available. This is the one thing about BM that pisses me off to no end. I have never gotten a wishlist book because of this.

  45. Steve said

    It could very well be that BM is making people wait at least 72 hours before they can post books for ordering, for its lack of growth.

    For example I signed up on tuesday morning (6/2) and as of right now I am still unable to add ANY OF THE books that I want to offer for ordering. I wouldn’t have a problem making new members wait until they successfully fill an order before ordering from someone else, but to leave a prospective new member waiting 3 days is just BAD MEMBER SERVICE. If this is normal I KNOW EXACTLY why growth is slow.


    So as a member of PBS and their DVD site (by the way, the only charge is on their CD site and it is .49 per CD), Swaptree and Frugal Reader with more than 375 items sent out, I would suggest that better customer service and quicker response to concerns would help with the growth of BM.

    Of course I could be wrong but 3 days of waiting is quite a pain in the… a.. well, you know. I would also say that were I not a big reader this problem would send me clicking my way to find another site that provides “INSTANT ACCESS” TO AT LEAST LIST THE BOOKS SOMEONE WANTS TO MAKE AVAILABLE FOR OTHERS TO ORDER.

    As a new member (in waiting) I do hope this sheds some light on what might be the problem

    • Mark Williams said


      The majority of new members are cleared instantly or within 24 hours.

      Some do encounter delays for specific reasons related to site security, so there may be a delay of more than 24h for a small percentage of new members (as was the case with your new account).

  46. Lisa said

    I use both PBS and BM and love both of them for their differences. I love being able to suggest and reserve books for friends(BM), so that people that I have traded with are rewarded by giving and getting books from me. But I also like having a wishlist where I can see what position I am in(PBS). Most people that gripe ” I don’t want to be #145 out of 150″ don’t realize that at PBS you can only have 200 books on your wishlist(which I don’t like)so you have fewer choices.(paperback, mass market or hardback, hum? which one?) If you choose all of them you only about 1/3 of the 200 books. But if you put a book on your wishlist as soon as the ISBN is available, you are often on the wishlist months before the book is available in print. I’m one of those people who are looking for that book months before it is available if this is an author I love. I don’t think that you should be able to jump in there the same day it comes out and get it when everyone that has it on their wishlist has waited months. But at BM the wishlist is unlimited(which I love)so you can have a thousand books on your wishlist. That way you may not get that ONE book you want but you will get something and generally several somethings. If there is that ONE book you want, buy it and then offer it on BM. Someone has to buy these books new. You can’t expect to get everything you want on PBS or BM. They just allow me to be more selective in what I decide to buy. I have found that the Harlequin, light romance book moves much faster on BM than on PBS. Because points on PBS are harder to come by unless you buy them, people won’t waste a point on a book that they aren’t absolutely sure they want. Since we get a tenth of a point on BM for listing a book and for acknowledging receipt of a book, points are easier to get so I may try a book that I otherwise wouldn’t. We are able to offer deals buy 1 get 1 free on BM that while not impossible are not easy on PBS.
    I have to agree that seeing what books are listed each day on PBS are great especially if I’m in a window shopping mood. This would be nice on BM. I love being able to ship internationally, I have made several friends who have all told me at length the lack of cheap paperbacks overseas. I love being able to pack up a box of romance books and send them to a friend in South Africa for around $20 especially when she tells me that 1 could cost her as much as $50 if she can even find them. The thought of not having enough to read is as horrifying as the thought of not having enough food. I find the people on BM more thoughtful and the people on PBS more demanding. I like seeing who has mooched and sent out a certain book on BM. I often will email someone who has received a book(BM) I’m looking for to request that they reserve it for me once they finish it, especially if they are someone I have dealt with in the past. Can’t do this on PBS. As I said in the beginning, I use and love both for different reasons, so hope BM doesn’t become a cookie cutter copy.

    • Eva Marie said

      PBS is changing their wishlist feature soon- they’re working on it now. It’s going to be umlimited and also more like the wishlist feature on the DVD site.
      **I hope no one thinks I’m advocating PBS- I LOVE LOVE LOVE BM and I want to stay here forever. I just wish I trusted it more and I wish some of the things that are wrong with the site could change for the better. BM has the potential to be the #1 swapping site in the WORLD, blowing PBS (and any other) out of the water but it seems like suggestions and thoughts go unheard and things go unchanged. I don’t mean MY suggestions- I’m one of a million I know but sometimes everyone comes up with great ideas and nothing happens. Things just stay the same- with problems.
      Here’s another thing that could be very easily fixed- the listings. So many are so wrong. Author names spelled wrong, titles totally wrong or spelled wrong, missing words, etc. Why not have a few volunteers- TRUSTWORTHY ones- who can fix these things? Just like on GR. When I have time and I have a lot of time, I fix listings all over GoodReads, it’s not only fun but I’m helping the site and it’s members.

  47. opus17 said

    I started out with PBS. Main impetus was that I had a pile of books which I wanted to get a new home for, but found that my books were not moving fast enough (a symptom of the FIFO wishlist). This all changed when I also listed them on BM about 6 mos later. I also really like the international aspects of BM and I happily send overseas. What PBS does well though is the FIFO wishlist, although when there is a problem with a book, they are COMPLETELY hands off! This is where BM shines, in my opinion. I like the transparency, and the assistance when something is amiss and the non-profit aspects. On the other hand, I am concerned that I cannot seem to find books to spend my points on, because I don’t seem to find the books I’m interested in. If an email notification comes in that a book from my wishlist is available, I am usually not at my computer and it is either gone or has been reserved (annoying).

    I wished there were a hybrid between the FIFO wishlist and the email notification system that could be implemented, that allows those of us with beaucoups points to be able to use them eventually.

    Finally, I suspect that the number of visits to the PBS site are somewhat inflated due to the fact that they send incessant notifications about every little activity, which forces you to go to the site logging an event ;-). If BM did the same, say 5 notifications for each mooch traffic would likely increase similarly.

    • opus17 said

      oh BTW to continue with metrics, you automatically are logged out of PBS, due to inactivity necessitating another login (which would of course be tracked as another event). Personally, I wouldn’t be too hung up about the metrics quoted, but look at books listed in inventory, transactions, and inventory turn overs (much harder to come by). Questions about other more meaningful metrics are definitely called for. Just ask how many people here stay logged in for hours?

      I bet PBS has a much larger ‘depository’ of titles that will never move whereas BM has greater turnover. To me the question is not how does BM get more activity, but how do we get larger inventory…

  48. DENNIS DE ROSE said


    • Eva Marie said

      PBS does have options where you receive your credit(s) right away, some people just choose not to take advantage of the feature. It does cost extra though and that’s why most people don’t use it I think. I only recently started using it myself and I like it a lot- I think it’s very much worth it.

  49. Brian said

    PBS – Pro: The visual presentation of the books. Wishes are granted to you only and they seem to more books. I got Cryptonomicon from PBS mush faster than from BM. One BM user has 15000 in his wishlist. How do I get past him for a rare book?

    Con: Pushy emails, less time to send. Hard to search inventories and chose a particular sender.

    • foggylady99 said

      Re: “pushy e-mails”…..

      On PBS, there is an optiion under “settings” to decide which, if any, e-mails you want to get.
      Since I have access to online anytime, I chose not to get any e-mails from PBS. Everything I want to know can be found on my account page there, so that works for me.

      Also, another pro for PBS is that a wishlisted book will stay on my acount page for 48 hours, ( Unless I have it on automatic order ) until I decide to order or to buy a credit if I need one, or to cancel the wish.
      On BM, I found my wishlisted books either gone before I got to the site, or the book was reserved or in another country.

  50. Meg Wolff said

    Bottom line, I find more books that I want are available at PBS. There are 14 books that are on my wishlist/save for later list here at BM that are available right now over at PBS. I have 80 points here at BM that I am going to have trouble using because the books I want are not or are rarely available, when not “reserved” for other members. I love BM and love to swap here since I like to share my books with others, but I have more success getting the real books that I want at PBS or even Swaptree.

  51. Darcie said

    I LOVE BM and haven’t used any other sites for swapping books. I would really like to see a more flexible search tool to find books that interest me.

    This is not in your control, but I wish more members would respond accurately about when they would ship a mooch they’ve accepted. Either a note on their profile, or a short text when they accept letting me know there will be a delay would really help a lot.

  52. Steve said

    Oddly enough about 30 minutes after submitting the post above I was “activated”!

    Still, if that is what is required to get going, growth will be slow, I think.

    Anyways THANKS to the person that got my account going!

    • Mark Williams said

      There was a specific issue with your new account which we resolved Steve, but as above, this is not standard for most new accounts.

  53. Tiffany said

    I haven’t been on any other book swapping site other than Bookmooch, but I really like the way when a user has the “ask me first” feature and then you “ask” them the book is reserved for you. Some people can take a while to reply and I like that you are able to know that the book is not going to disappear while you wait.

  54. Mel Wardlow said

    I have been a member of BOTH Bookmooch and Paperback Swap. The following are reasons why I like the sites.

    While I do like this site, I have to say that I think the point system may take a little too long to get something you want. Does this site allow you to buy points??? Anyway the reason I do use this site is that if I can’t find it on paperbackswap it might be here.

    Paperback Swap allows you to get what you want as long as you have one credit for a hardcover and paperback or 2 credits for audio. This makes it quicker to get books. You can purchase credits.

    • Eva Marie said

      You can’t buy points here Mel but *usually* there is no need for it because with the listing and marking received points, not to mention the extra for overseas, there are usually an abundance.

  55. linda said

    I loved BM at first as I used to receive notification if a book was available. Now I never get any notifications of books on my list (and my list is long). My points just sit there. Once in a while, while browsing, I may find a book I want, but it will end up being in Asia or someplace. And the majority – the Majority – of the books I have mooched, were in pretty rough condition. The last one I attempted to order didn’t arrive for two months, so I canceled the transaction.

    I receive about 3-5 books a month from PBS. I send out about the same. They are mailed/received quickly. They are overwhelmingly in very good condition. Never had a problem with them. I still love Bookmooch, but if I’m not receiving any books, what’s the point?

    • Eva Marie said

      Linda- have you mooched a lot here at BM? That’s awful about the condition of the books but I can tell you from personal experience that it’s NOT usually like that! I’ve mooched a little under 1,000 books in I think less than a year (give or take on the #’s and time frames) and I think I’ve gotten 1 book that was in pretty poor condition. Some have been used (of course) but most have been brand new- good condition.
      That’s really not the norm here.

  56. susan said

    I also use both sites – PBS first – and each has it’s different best qualities.

    I LOVE the fact on PBS that I’m able to see which books were recently listed so I don’t need to search my favorite categories every day. It also lets me create a “saved searches” list – one click and everything in that search appears. On BM the searches are random and I need to type in each one every time I visit. I also like that they’ve got an “auto request” – if a book is on your wishlist and you are next in line and you’ve got the points – there’s no need to confirm – it’s just accepted for you.

    And I agree that requiring books to be sent quickly is much better – some people on this site seem to feel that it’s ok to wait a month or so.

    But this site often has a bigger selection of the fiction that I want and I am able to write to ask a question before mooching – that isn’t available at PBS.

  57. Suzi said

    I’ve been using both sites for a couple of years now, but I’ve noticed PBS’s increased offerings this year. I think they must have gotten some buzz early in the year, and the rest has been a domino effect: new people came in posting books other people wanted, increasing the selection. This brought older members back because stuff on their wishlist was finally showing up, while also continuing to bring in new members who were able to find books they wanted. I know that I’ve shifted most of my books over to PBS because, for me, that is where the action is – I’ve been able to find far more books there than BM in 2009.

  58. Jeff S. said

    I love BM myself and totally agree with sugarandgrits – I would absolutely H8 waiting in line to get a book! Here, if you don’t have time to read a wishlisted book – for whatever reasons – you just don’t respond to the E mail. Easy enough. I can’t always read every book on my Wishlist immediately!

    I don’t (and never will) use PBS because it’s a for – profit, pay site. One major thing that drew me here was it was FREE. I can handle paying for shipping vs. buying new books. It all comes out in the wash . . .

    I think u have 2 remember that numbers can “lie.” I’m a Sociologist and I can tell u that stats can hide what’s really going on in a cloud of data! There is a reason the PBS numbers went up vs. BM – but, what is the reason? Should it really matter? Only if it really starts to affect BM (but our numbers seem pretty stable). I would choose stability over worry and change where stat results are concerned!

    Lastly, remember that u can’t please everyone. People r very different. If u keep making changes to please everyone, you’ll be “chasing your tail!” My advice is 2 follow majority opinions and grievances with changes. To qualify that, it would have 2 be a “true majority” – not just people who chose to answer a survey.

    I say keep doing what you’re doing! John, u do an awesome job of maintaining this site/ service! Who, among BM users, would take it over (or would have the time to take it over) if U couldn’t continue? They would have to fill a huge void and most wouldn’t volunteer themselves. Moochers – just keep using word of mouth if u like using BM. Word will spread.

    Have a Great Day, all!

    • Mel Wardlow said


      The site itself is free. You do have to pay a small fee for credits and postage but I look at it this way it is better than paying full price for a new paperback. I am getting Odd Hours in paperback which just came out and I am not going to have to pay full price so I am happy! Also, the money that you spend to buy stuff helps to run the site and many members like myself want to do their part.

    • sugarandgrits said

      Jeff, I agree 100%! You explained everything alot better than I ever could! Thank you!

      Even though I LOVE BM, if everything starts changing ~ I’ll be looking elsewhere for my books.

      • Eva Marie said

        And you don’t HAVE to buy credits- that’s optional. The only cost at PBS is the same as here at BM- postage and supplies.

      • Terri said

        plus fees…
        go BM go!

      • Mary Anne said

        Uhm, what fees? You only pay fees at PBS if you use certain services that they offer. I don’t use them and I’ve never paid a fee of any kind. I did “buy” three book credits when I was new there and hadn’t yet had any requests for my books, but, again, it was my choice to do that. I considered it a convenience and was happy to spend the money; I’ve never needed to do it again.

  59. Brenda said

    I belong to both, and have for over a year.

    Point inflation is an important point. PBS points are just worth more than BM points. PBS gets most of my newer books listings because the points are more valuable to me. I have seen trading BM points for PBS points go as high as 1:5. I’ve often seen BM users complain that they can’t find anything to spend their points on, but on
    PBS if you end up with a surplus of points, you can sell them on their message boards. I usually have over 100 BM points, it would be nice to think of them as something valuable. It would be nice to have a listing of books that ARE available RIGHT NOW, to encourage impulse spending.

    I love the international sense of community on BM, and wish that could be followed up more. Maybe by fixing the forums and making them more diverse.

    It has to be mentioned that when something is broken on PBS, it’s fixed in hours, not weeks like on BM. I love the site and the people and understand that it’s not for profit, but not fixing what’s broke devalues the site.

    PBS must have a good PR person, because they’ve been mentioned on Oprah and in People magazine. Word of mouth is great, but will only take you so far. Also, as far as traffic goes, to use the very active PBS forums, you have to be logged into the site. So users who log on just to read the discussion boards count as traffic. Until recently, you had to log onto PBS to read your PBS mail, and that counts as traffic too. Fix the BM forums and let them become active, and BM’s traffic numbers will go up too.

    I like that the WL systems are different, not all swapping sites have to or should, be the same.

    • sugarandgrits said

      In reference to the “It has to be mentioned that when something is broken on PBS, it’s fixed in hours, not weeks like on BM.”

      Just a friendly reminder ~ John does all/most of the work on BM himself. Since BM is a FREE site, not for-profit like PBS, he couldn’t possibly afford to pay others to do the work for him.

      You’re doing a wonderful job, John, keep up the good work!

      • Eva Marie said

        I think the point is that there are people willing to HELP John. Not just pass out cards- help out with other things. There are a lot of friendly people on this site- if the call went out- there WOULD be volunteers!

      • Terri said

        after all the mixed signals ive been reading on this post..id be worried about random volunteers..
        i like this site because it is free and it is an honest old fashioned approach to the “pay me” generation of the web..
        this almost reminds me of the old “Virtual Places” chat days of the web.. real people, less fluff. most of the posts ive read that were negative of bm seem to be people who claim to be members of that pbs site.. i have never been there, and dont think ill go. i like the laid back approach of BookMooch.

  60. Rosemarie (Freecyclor) said

    I’ve only been on BM for a year or so, but have traded over 500 books in that time. BookMooch’s international feature trumps anything on PBS for me – I abandoned my account there. There is also a much more collegial feeling to BM, which I much enjoy.

    The only feature on BM that I think needs improving is the genre classification. Most of the books I list are automatically classified as 18th century, even though they are not.

    This site is a treasure.

  61. Mark Williams said

    I was first drawn to Bookmooch both as it is the only trading site with a truly international dimension, and for the many book-related charities which the site supports.

    I remained for the community feeling, great personal contacts and friends made, and fun projects like BM journals.

    PBS and BM are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to site rules and controlling member behavior (what books can be listed, when they must be sent, etc..) so in this regard, they each appeal to different personalities.

    This kind of discussion is helpful as I believe both sites can learn from each other in many ways. I also think there are advantages to both sites having major distinctions as this presents a choice for those trading books, and after all, some do join both 🙂

    • Mary Anne said

      Count me as one of those people who belongs to both sites and likes that they are distinct from one another.

  62. Tania said

    I actually joined BM and PBS at the same time but they way I see it they (PBS) seemed too… picky about the books I could list. I live close to NYC and visit Strand often for their ARC selection which is very cheap but I could not list these books at the time. Some books I wanted to list were not in the best condition either which many readers in BM don’t mind as long as they know beforehand. To me the BM atmosphere is much more relaxed about the books you can post and how fast they get to you. This of course frustrates some but most people are perfectly fine with being delayed for a couple of days or with a beat up copy of a great novel.

    Just my thoughs…

  63. becca said

    I have accounts with both PBS and Bookmooch. Most of the books I wishlist aren’t very common so I like having the two different accounts. Overall I like Bookmooch better because it is more relaxed, friendlier, and I love being able to list/read condition notes, swap books with people in other countries, and reserve books. The good thing about PBS that I wish was here is the search cababilities. I hate not being able to find all the books by a particular author with only a couple of clicks. Too many other things are listed from a search here. It’s even worse if I’m looking for books by an author with a very common name.

  64. D. Fox said

    I find that ever since BookMooch decided to only send emails to random people notifying them that a book on their wishlist was available (as opposed to sending the message to everyone who has a book on their wishlist on the same time), I’ve found BM to be much less useful to me in terms of actually getting most of the books I want… so ever since that change, I have been using BM much less than before. The waitlist system at PBS, on the other hand, means that if I wishlist something early enough, I have a much better shot at eventually getting that book. They’re both great services and I still do use both, but when I look at my patterns of use over the past year, that is the major difference I see.

  65. Michelle Fidler said

    P.B.S. has more members and more books to trade, therefore you get offered books faster than on B.M.

    What I don’t like about BookMooch is the reservation system. I go to my wishlist to see if anything I want is available and then it says no one is willing to send it to me. This is very disappointing, especially if it’s a book that I really wanted. And no one has reserved any books for me. So either get rid of the reservation feature altogether or make it more like P.B.S.’s.

    Also, once I tried to reserve books for someone else (she had ordered a book from me and I checked her wishlist and had two I was willing to part with) and she said she couldn’t mooch them. So I un-reserved them and she was able to get them.

    Where P.B.S. excels is in the wishlist area. I get more books that I want. Don’t get me wrong, I do like BookMooch and have gotten lots of books that I really wanted. P.B.S. will hold your book for 48 hours before releasing it into the system or to the next member wishing for it. You can also put it on auto request so if you have a credit it will automatically be sent to you. You know your wishlist position on P.B.S. Of course here it’s first come, first served (if it’s not reserved) and you just have to grab it quickly. I kind of like that about B.M. Sort of like the after Thanksgiving or Christmas sales — try and grab the last one; it’s exciting.

    The P.B.S. wishlist will put you in line for a book in the order that it was requested. If there are 35 others wishing for the book then you will be 36. Sometimes you will get the book sooner than you think if a lot of people are trading it. I was at # 80 or 100 for a new paperback mystery and it took about four or five months for me to be offered it and that was a lot sooner than I expected. More members equals more copies to go around.

    • Mark Williams said


      The term ‘reserved’ is used both for out-of country ‘ask’ resequest and holds for friends, etc.. But the great majority are ‘ask’ requests where that member actually got to the book first.

  66. Maridele said

    I originally joined bookmooch and was skeptical about PBS. But lately bookmooch has changed and not in my opinion for the better. People can put so many restrictions on who they mooch too that although I have a substantial list of books I’m wishing for, I cannot get any of them because I’m not someone’s friend or it won’t be mailed internationally. I know if I request a book from PBS, I am going to get it when my turn bubbles to the top. I’ve found I’m getting less and less from bookmooch. I’m sad about that.

    • Eva Marie said

      I agree and it saddens me also. I happen to agree with all you’ve said though. I hope it changes back to how it was before it’s too late.

      • jennie said

        I agree. The ‘reserved’ function has really changed my experience of BM for the worse.

  67. Al said

    I suspect advertising. I very often see a link in Gmail for Paperback Swap.

    • Mark Williams said

      Quite so Al, others have noticed this as well. I think this advertising with Google could explain any recent change more than any other factor.

  68. Terri said

    I currently have books on my requested list that have been there for months…. I stopped canceling them because I have so many canceled transactions due to non-response. I have plenty of points, so I just let them languish.

    I use both sites, they both have their advantages. I like that BM is more user-generated and self-policed. PBS has so many rules to follow, but at the same time I like that they do have a mandatory timeframe so I am not waiting indefinitely for books……

    Love the FIFO wishlist on PBS. I have so many points on BM that I just randomly smooch people I don’t even know anonymously. It just doesn’t make sense to keep all those points that I’ll never use.

    Hate the FIFO inventory on PBS. When I order a non-wishlist book on BM, I can choose from whom to mooch. Do not have that option on PBS. Love the feedback feature and the fact I can see what kind of “citizen” someone is on BM. And my books get requested much faster here on BM too. (Which is why I have so many points to spend, but sadly very little on which to spend them)

    I have to say that both sites have good points and bad points, but I really believe PBS is more user-friendly and their forums rock. I gave up on the BM forum about a month after I joined. I know there are BM forums on other sites, but why do I need to go to another site to talk about this one? Makes no sense.

  69. FJBryan said

    I have had (or still have) trading account with Titletrader, BM, PBS and Swaptree. Based on the three-four years I have been swapping, here is the obvious and the not-so-obvious:
    –internationally, BM rules. For those of us who travel and have books in two or three locations to read or trade, it works well.
    –the points allocated for posting books, reporting receipt and feedback, are better on BM than on the other sites.
    –the wishlist functionality is better on BM than elsewhere. Fewer clicks, better lists (although it is silly that I must scroll to the bottom of the first page listed to click “Show All” when that button should be at the top, next to the related editions button).
    –the quality of books listed here is, IMHO, better than what shows up on PBS, TT, and ST. That is, those 3 sites are swimming in 2000 copies of the latest Harlequin romance, bestseller author, and true-crime stuff. I can actually get odd, unusual, out-of-print things here that I cannot get at those sites.

    However, BM runs into problems with the following:
    –a longrunning debate over in the TT forums about other trading sites has had many many people chiming in saying that they don’t like BM requiring a positive trade ratio. They don’t want to be required to ship books out before they can get them in return. This is a core issue for BM, as it goes to the notion of community (you get out something once you put something in).
    –similarly, for those who favor PBS and TT, they praise the ability to purchase points if a book comes up that they want and want immediately. Same problem, slight variation.
    –the chatter at ST is that they don’t like points period. They prefer a system that requires people to go one-in-one-out, with no stockpiling of points. That argues against TT, BM and PBS, and frankly, I’m seeing a lot more movement–more items in all media–at ST than on any of the other 3 sites. ST is (I believe) taking the lead away from TT to allow folks to swap between media seamlessly (book-DVD-game-CD). Lack of maintenance and untended user abuse issues is what will kill the TT site in the end.
    –the waiting list idea at PBS appeals heavily to folks who like order and some predictability. This is particularly true for folks who do not sit on their computer working all day; the notion that the system will ‘stand in’ for you and order the book when it is your turn has big appeal.
    –the “what’s new that’s been added” feature at PBS/ST makes the site appear more dynamic to the casual observer than BM. How many books have been added? What are the newest titles? Maybe I’ll see one that I forgot I wanted when I got home today.
    –the search function in BM does not work. Period. If I get occult, child’s lit, and travel returned when I ask about 18th-century history, eventually I will stop asking. For a new/prospective user, this lack of functionality is a big turn off. Amazon may be at the bottom of the problem, but it is a shortcoming of the site that new users run into first.
    –the forums software is buggy. I have broadband at home and T1 at work, but I cannot count the number of times I have tried to log in to the BM forums and get bounced with some error message. This does not happen with the other sites’ fora, and frankly, if what is being marketed here is ‘community’ then the forums here need to in better nick electronically.

  70. John98109 said

    I’m a member of both so here are a couple of thoughts on the differences.

    Pro-bookmooch: I feel I may be losing out on possible wishlisted books with PBS’s stringent guidelines as to “postability” – the active folks there get in an uproar over the tiniest “infraction”, such as an underlined word here and there, a tiny stain on one page, etc. Bookmooch puts the burden on the sender via condition notes, which I strongly perfer – a much more mature approach!

    Pro-PBS: The general membership doesn’t get a crack at a posted book until *AFTER* it has gone through the wishlists (in chronological order). I am *NOT* advocating a FIFO system here at all, what I would like is for posted books to be unavailable to the general Bookmooch membership, until the day after the last (random) wishlister has been emailed.

  71. shaun said

    i just want to say if your forum feature was better ( one like pbs ) where you could sell off your unneeded credits , and offer deals on your books ( like 2 for 1 ect. ) your site would do better.

    • charlene said

      I put my specials in my status message. When some one is mooching for a particular book, they see it (whereas on PBS they have to find it in the forum and I have to keep bumping the message) and can decide if they want to get other books.

      Since I have an accross the board special on all my paperbacks (except technical books) and a limited special on technical books), it gets listed in every list of books in my inventory).

  72. Sue said

    As a Brit living in France, the only site worth using is Bookmooch, no other site caters for our needs, you either have to be living in the Uk or US. I only started swapping books about a month ago when I saw Bookmooch mentioned somewhere, I was really impressed so started looking for similar sites, there aren’t any for someone in my situation. I looked on PBS, found it very confusing. I will stick to Bookmooch thanks.

  73. Amanda said

    I love book mooch. I had a very bad experience with PBS will never be on that site (because I cant for one).I had somebody hack on to my computer and made different ID’s I let them know what happen. They were very rude to me and suspended my ID. Then they had the Gaul to ask me my age. I was very upset and gave them a piece of my mind after that.

    Book mooch admin were very nice about it,after I told them what happen. I told them the ID that I was on and they were nice enough to delete the other ID’s.

    I like Book mooch because it is laid back. Ive had some experience with not getting books,or people not sending books. The admin were very nice and told me what to do in a timely manner.

    I think the layout could be better,and the forums could be better also. I have posted on the forum several times and none of there were submitted.

    That’s my only complaint,Ive gotten more books from this site then I did at PBS.

    I prefer Book mooch over PBS any day. Ive made some good friends from this site to.

  74. Michelle said

    I love all of the changes that you have made today.

  75. Jillian said

    Well, I’ll be perfectly honest. I see a LOT of my wishlist books going to other countries. PBS is only US, from what I understand. The first in first out option is really helpful because I know that I will, EVENTUALLY, get my books. Right now, I haven’t had a wishlist book in AGES. And, often, when I actually saw them on my wishlist, they were reserved for someone in another country or they were offered by someone on another country who wouldn’t send them to me. My base offerings, then, would go to them, because my credits were worth more to me there. I know I’ll use those credits. I might not use mine here because I may NEVER see my wishlist books here. They get grabbed before I can get to them.

  76. Stina said

    I recently joined PBS, but don’t have 10 books to list so no use to date. The reason was simply that I have found it nearly impossible to get books from BM for the past few months. I have a good sized wishlist, and get emails that books are available, but either they are gone by the time I get to the site or mostly they are reserved for someone else.

    I’d really appreciate some change that would give a better idea of when I might get a book- the wait-in-line system seems better for this reason. Better search capacity would also be a big help- there are many other books I’d consider if available.

    Since I have a ton of points, and little hope of getting books, I’m largely looking elsewhere (possibly PBS) for new books and not adding to my inventory.

  77. Vagabond said

    I also have a PBS account but haven’t touched it in a year. It just seems impersonal & I don’t like all of the talk about paying for things. And, the website is just too busy.

    I’ve told several people about bookmooch & that fact that I have received 200 books for free. People seem to have the “that sounds just too good to be true” attitude.

    An improvement to bookmooch that I would like to see is, some type of access to my wishlisted books that are available. I don’t like having to check my email to know what is available because these emails sometimes get lost in the massive spam I receive & by the time I get to it, the book is gone.

    International Moochers: I only added the “please ask first” because I do have a limited income & at least want to reserve the option to turn someone down because of finances. Since I’ve only received about one international request a month, I haven’t turned anyone down yet. If finances ever became an issue, I might correspond with you & maybe delay shipping for a month or something agreeable to both of us. I’d love to find a home for a book I no longer have any use for, even if it means I send it internationally.

  78. Michele said

    I belong to both Book Mooch & PBS & vastly prefer Book Mooch. Why? I hate the constant nags from PBS. You go to list a book & a pop-up appears Are you sure you can post this book? You try to send an e-mail & another one shows up Are you sure you want to send this e-mail? If you get a request for a book on Friday night well before the time you can actually send it on Monday you receive nagging reminders that you haven’t sent the book yet after accepting the request. I know! The post office isn’t open, for goodness sake! I’ve also had multiple picky picky e-mails from moochers on PBS saying “I don’t want this book if it’s ex-library” after it was listed by ISBN as a recent paperback, not hardback ex-library. Book Mooch has been almost entirely free of the incessant harassment PBS is riddled with. Long live Book Mooch!

  79. thekoolaidmom said

    I use both, and usually favor BM first, but one thing that excites me with PBS is that I can watch my place in line to get a book advance. I’ve watched Betrayed (House of Night) go from 143rd on the waiting list when I started, until I was 14th last time I looked. And it tells when the last copy was posted, how many last week and how soon you might get yours (I should get my Betrayed within the next week).

    Also, I do tend to trust the senders at PBS more (sorry!). Maybe because I know they’re active because the auto-requestor just grabbed my book, and why would they post if they weren’t? Or because they won’t get their point until I mark it received (which is one of the thing I love about BM, the honor system, but a lot of people have taken advantage of that. People suck, sometimes.)

    Sometimes I decide to post to PBS because I know it’ll be auto-grabbed and I can send it out right away. However, I really prefer the BookMooch set-up for requesting. I can choose who to get a book from, rather than who’s next in line (they may not even be around anymore if it’s a book with a lot of copies available) And I enjoy the internat’l mooching going on on BM.

  80. Cissa said

    I’m a new BM member, and while I love it- I have to say that I often prefer PBS. I am very fond indeed of the way that one can get the mailing info and packaging printed automatically on PBS. I also like that requests for books are first in, first out, meaning that in the fullness of time I will have a chance at even desirable books, even when I am only online for a few hours a day.

    On the other hand, BM has allowed me to send off a number of books that had been languishing on PBS, and I’m delighted to have them find new homes!

    So- I like both.

  81. Lisa said

    I do not use PBS .
    Here are my concerns about using BM . . . BM was a very fair exchange when I first began to use it. I used to receive notification if a book was available and it REALLY was available. Now weeks go by and I never get notice of any of the 200+ books on my wishlist. When a book does become available, it is reserved for someone else. I enjoyed the old system which was random.
    Currently, I would rather give my books to my local library than pay the shipping on books I am giving away. I love BM and love to swap here since I like to share my books with others, but I would like to get some books too.

  82. Francoise De Smet said

    I like BM and it’s the only site I’ve used so far, but I agree that it is very difficult to find books on BM. Basically, if I hear of a book elsewhere, I first check my local library, then BM.

    But to browse the site to see what books are available is too difficult because there are not enough subcategories. The browse categories are way too general. I’ve never build a website, and so don’t know how difficult this would be, but if there were categories and subcategories that could be filled in when someone offers a book, that would make browsing much more rewarding.

  83. Arica said

    I belong to both BM and PBS. I think both sites have good points to them. I think it is easier to get points at BM then PBS. I like that I can get books from overseas on BM. I also like the fact that I can enter in the book’s condition that I am giving away and by the same token see the condition of the book that I am mooching. You cannot do that with PBS. Some of the things that I like about PBS is the site is monitored fairly closely so when problems arise the owners have pretty quick responses. I also like that I can print out postage with delivery confirmation on the PBS website. It saves me a trip to the post office. I think there may be more members on PBS because there is a larger selection of books or at least the books that I look at. One thing that I like about BM is you can see who has a book you want and what all the traders have on their bookshelf to see if you want to order another book from them. You cannot do that with PBS until after you have ordered a book and then you can only see the bookshelf of the person you ordered from not everyone who has the book. Another thing I like about PBS is that you seem to wait less long to get a book. Once you order a book the person with the book has 5 days to respond to your request. Once they say they will mail a book they have to put in when they will mail it by. If the person does not mail when they say they will they do no get credit for sending the book. I like this because sometimes my books that I mooch at BM seem to be in limbo for a long time. At BM you can see what kind of a trader you are mooching from. You can see the cancelled requests and what their feedback score is. You cannot do this at PBS. I like the forums at PBS more than BM. My computer always seems to freeze up when I try to go to the forums at BM. The big problem with having accounts at multiple trading sites is keeping up with the requests for your books and mooching books. There are times when it hurts you. For example someone at one site ordered a book from me and I sent it out. A few weeks later someone from another site ordered the same book because I had forgotten to take it off my shelf. I felt bad about having to decline a request. Also you have to be careful about which books you order. I have almost gotten the same book twice because I ordered it from one site and forgot and almost ordered it from another site. If you are interested in swapping DVDs or CDs PBS has sister sites for those which is nice and you can transfer credits between the sites as long you have accounts at with the sister sites. This can be nice at times. My biggest problem is I order books faster then I read but I love going to the mailbox to see what present or presents the mailman has left for me. Its great to see those packages after a hard day at work.

  84. Carol Mitchell said

    I am very surprised to hear that PBS warned people that there would be a fee eventually. I looked for bookswapping sites when I found myself with several library book discards that I wanted to be sure went to good homes. Most of the books I want are available on alibris or bookfinder, so I would not use any site I had to pay to use. As a matter of fact, one reason I joined bookmooch is that with my low income, I was tired of having to pay money I couldn’t afford or lose books from my wihlist when they were available to me only for a few days. Is PBS really for-profit?
    I have noticed that even though I can log into bookmooch several times a day, the books I want most are very likely to be gone by the time I try to mooch them. The only other advantage I can see that PBS has over bookmooch is that on the rare occasions when I am trying to find a book to give as a gift, the books are likely to be in better condition. I think bookmooch’s greatest advantage is that one gets points immediately-the ability to download postage and get immediate credit at PBS not only costs extra, but it requires a printer that is in good shape. I don’t have and can’t afford one, and there was a time not so long ago when I had to use library computers. The other thing I really like about bookmooch is the database-on PBS, I couldn’t even add many out-of-print books to my remainder or wishlist. The ability to add books to the lists by going to other websites is good, too, although it would be nice if it were easier to use. I had to get help to figure it out because I couldn’t understand the instructions. I also have duplicates on my wishlist and buy later list because I didn’t know how to use it, and for quite some time, I couldn’t change my status page because I couldn’t find it. I’m an old lady(g) and I’m only learning now how to do things on the web.
    Overall, I think PBS’ big advantage is that it’s better known, so probably more publicity would help bookmooch.

  85. April said

    I am a member of both and have been for a long time. I like BM for many of the reasons listed here. I am not happy with the forums, which I can’t get to load half the time (and yes I have cable internet and a decent computer). I really! like that I can use my points to mooch envelopes. I like being able to get extra points for sending international.

    However the wishlist system is the ONE thing that led me to look at other sites. I dislike that system however I respect that others enjoy it.

    Just my $0.02

  86. Crystal said

    I looked a PBS and even signed up for an account before I found out about BookMooch.(On http://goozex.com of all places, a video game trading site.) What turned me sour on them was that I read on the site that they could, or would, charge me for using the site after a year. I knew better to than to get myself started on a site that might charge me later.

    I think the upcoming forums will probably help a lot, it will also give us users a chance to get to know y’all mods. An give us an easy way to help out others. Maybe have some kind of ‘grand opening party’ for it when it’s ready?

    Also something y’all might look into for later is getting a twitter, and/or a friendfeed, account to pull more people in. You could answer questions, or ask them. Post minor updates that aren’t ready for a blog entry. If you have those already for the site, perhaps put them on the front page? Or at least on a contact us page.

    • Mark Williams said

      A Bookmooch Twitter page would be very cool — Bookmooch is powered by volunteer effrots…. So any volunteers?

      • Chris said

        I would love to volunteer. Let me know what I can do.

      • Eva Marie said

        I’m not on Twitter but if you’re looking for volunteers for possibly other things (that I’m able to do) I’d be happy to help.
        I couldn’t very well say there are people who would volunteer and then not do so myself! LOL

  87. David said

    I use both and one thing I like about PBS that I haven’t seen mentioned yet – you can search for audio books easily. Probably as a result, there is a much larger pool of audio books available. I’m pretty new to both, but so far have been using my PBS points for audio books only.

    Also I think the BM system may have too many extra points added into the system. Listing low demand books at 1/10 each creates points that can be spent on high demand books. PBS users who want a high demand book can only be part of the demand for it if they have listed books that someone took. BM users who want a high demand book are competing with everyone who has listed lots of books as well as those who have actually given many. This added to the lack of FIFO makes the BM wishlist less helpful for many as discussed by others already.

  88. April said

    Sorry I also forgot to mention: I would probably use BM more if I could do “deals” again. 2 for 1 etc, or offer more points per wished for books. I dont know if this is not allowed anymore as I can never get on the forums…but I dont see the point in me having 20 points and no books that I want..when others may have the book I want and need lots of points. I get MANY more wishlisted books at PBS and that is why I add to my inventory more over there than here…my points are not worth as much to me as I have nothing to spend them on.

    • Carrie said

      You can still do deals, and offer extra points for wishlisted books. The forum isn’t very much fun, but you can sign up to get it by email. Also, if you are on LibraryThing, there’s an active BookMooch group.

  89. dlee said

    I like Book Mooch most of the time. But I have run into to some very whiny people with excuses a mile deep as to why the can not ship in a reasonable amount of time. Easy solution, people should not post more books than they are willing to ship. I do also use Title Trader and What’s On My Bookshelf because I can easily see what books are added each day/everyday/all day. So I agree with others who say the solution to that for BM would be, to have a feed that lets BM users constantly see what new books are being added to this site daily. I will post many of my books first on title trader because I am always running out of points on that site. Why? Because I can almost everyday find something I want.

    • cece said

      Your point about not posting more books than they are willing to ship has a flaw. How does a poster know which books, or how many, will be mooched at one time? I recently had a moocher request 12 books at the same time-and that size mooch put me over the amount of postage I can pay per month. I had two choices-refuse to send the books, or delay sending the books. I asked her to wait until my next postal budget period due to the large list of books. Since we are, in effect, giving gifts, I think everyone can be sensitive to the cost to the sender.

      • Eva Marie said

        She probably was meaning more of the new member listing 75 books at once type deal rather than what happened with you. That was happening a lot until BM put a reminder up to let people know that their books WILL probably be mooched and to list a few at a time so as not to get overwhelmed.
        What happened with you is totally different- no one could place any blame for that.

  90. trudy said

    I’m a UK bookmoocher, so I don’t use PBS, but I’ve tried other sites such as readitswapit and BM far exceeds all the others. I wouldn’t want the layout or look to change, it is very clear and easy to access information. The first site of some other swap sites was enough to put me off; logging into this site is the same kind of feeling as picking up a much loved book and looking through it’s well read, familiar pages. The point system allows points to be saved until books I really want become available – other sites I had to directly swop a book with the requestor even if they hadn’t a book I wanted or I had to refuse the swop which didn’t feel good. I really enjoy being part of the bookmooch community and no other site is able to tempt me away, I tried others but I’m sticking with the best! I will keep spreading the word of bookmooch! Quality isn’t always about quantity. It’s important to keep the essence of bookmooch. Thanks John for a really well thought out, friendly and interactive site! A real treasure.

  91. davesmsperfect said

    I personally like PBS better for many reasons:

    1. The site is more user friendly. I strongly dislike how this site is set up.

    2. More books available. BM doesn’t have hardly any books I want available.

    3. User to user contact. I’ve noticed more spam email since sending emails to members on here. I like being able to PM then & do my contacing through the site.

    4. The Wish List system is much more organized. I’ve never had a book posted to me on here but hundreds on PBS.

    5. I like their credits system better. While it’s nice to get a partial credit for posting, I like having the option to buy & transfer from their sister sites.

    6. PBS has a great community. I am a regular on their message boards.

    7. Their book listings [book covers & information] are more accurate & are able to be edited by users.

    8. I love that they have mailing labels you can use for FREE! I personally pay the extra for the postage labels but it’s very nice to have the option.

    I could still go on but won’t. I think instead of focusing on PBS, the website owners should focus on just improving the site & listening to what the users want.

  92. Frank Brown said

    I agree with the majority of the comments made so far. I also have accounts at both sites. I much prefer BM except for a couple of items. First, categories don’t work – please fix it! I would also like to see a priority queue for wish list books – give precedence to those who have waited the longest.
    And the reservation system – I hate seeing books marked available that have been reserved for others – they are really not available!

    BM is a welcoming environment. Sometimes, I think that the PBS people took lessons from the Gestapo. “You will do it MY way in my timeframe, or else”. On the other hand, I’ve been burned a couple of times by BM members who said they were going to ship books and then disappeared…..

    Personally, I print my labels using USPS’s Shipping Assistant (available on the web site). It does cost $0.18 extra but that is for electronic confirmation of delivery. In return I get professional-looking labels and packages that seem to travel faster to their final destination. I will NOT pay the fee for the PBS-printed labels, even for the quicker crediting.

  93. Marie said

    I’ve used almost all the book trading sites and I have to say PBS is my favorite. Why? Because the ability to get books is relatively fair. It’s first in, first out. (for the most part). You put your books on your WL, when you rise to the top, you get the next book in line. You can post to others but that is usually done by those in trade groups/forums and it’s a small portion of the over PBS membership.

    I find getting books here incredibly frustrating and I see the same folks getting books over and over again. Seems BM favors those that have all day to hawk their WL or stalk those whose last mooched their wanted book via email to ‘reserve and send them the book when they are done with it.’ and frankly I find that very unfair. It’s been months since I mooched a book and I don’t even bother to check in daily like I use too. I’m sure some time soon I’ll probably close my acct due to lack of use. But for now I hold onto my points hoping for a change here…I just don’t see it coming. *sigh*

    BTW…I do love the concept here, I love the charity but it’s not enough to keep me at this point. I need to get something out of a site too. I like much of America am on a budget and sending books w/ out getting some sucks frankly.

  94. Christina Spear said

    For me the biggest advantage that PBS has over BookMooch is the FIFO system for the Wishlist. I rarely get wishlist books at BookMooch. I have to sit all day hitting the refresh button and jump on one that happens to pop up. I don’t often have that time. So, although I have sent out a few books, I am not able to get as many in return. I am able to get more at PBS. The other BIG advantage is the boards/forums at PBS. They work great there and are impossible to use here. They are very slow and any questions I have posted have never showed up so I gave up trying. Actually, I went to PBS and posted the question and had it answered over there. But, with that said BookMooch has the advantage of being international.

  95. Sianeka said

    I’m active both here and at PBS. I think the growth on PBS is due to their fostering of “community”. Their forums are a LOT easier to use than here. I’ve also volunteered for a number of their interactive community groups – as a Tour Guide (to help answer member questions) and as an Image Editor and Data Editor (volunteer groups that submit revisions to fix missing or erroneous database listings).

    There is no easy way to add book descriptions or images here. No Tour Guide program to help out newbies get used to the site or to answer questions. I’ve become an Angel here and recycle by offering Trees of the World listings as well as promote site by using BM bookmarks, but those are the only programs I know about to help out here.

    Because of the inconvenient forums, I rarely post there, and hate to have to use them to get answers, but they are the only real resource. (I keep up to date with BM members by receiving and reading a daily digest of forum posts, and feel I “know” some of the regulars but have not really made myself known as a presence here because they are not very user friendly.)

    • TheInfamousJ said

      Yes … please let your users help you keep your database up to snuff. And please let us help you upload book covers and fix bad database entries. I’ve run into a few during my bookmooching journeys and really have wanted to help.

  96. Sianeka said

    Also, I use PBS Preprinted postage all the time, even to send out my BM books! I like the fact that I can get Wishlisted books held for me at PBS, instead of hoping I’m able to get my Mooch request in first. (I’ve had books mooched away from me while I was typing in my Mooch request – no longer available once I finished submitting. Not to mention no notice beforehand that the book I’m trying to mooch is reserved for someone else.

    I like the fact that we can list condition notes here, and I like the fact that this site is international. I like the Angel and recycling programs (which I utilize).

  97. Marie said

    I’d like to add PBS customer serivce is much more helpful. I’ve had problems at both sites and PBS is much more responsive. Here they might as well just said……..”too bad, so sad.” Because they couldn’t or wouldn’t help me and I was out my points.

  98. Tammy said

    Well, PBS has the ablity to print mailing labels (with or without postage) Bookmooch you have to hand address or copy & paste over to paypal.

    PBS has FIFO WL, Bookmooch no and it seems to me that 90% of the mooch offers were in the wee hrs of the morning, when I certainly am sleeping.

    Pretty much exactly what Sianeka has said about mooches being reserved but offered to everyone is extremely annoying.

    There is no help, the forums are something out of the 80’s they are hard to use and I never got a reply or anything showing my question ever posted.

    PBS is much more user friendly and frankly I’d rather wait my turn in the FIFO WL.

  99. Emma said

    I love BookMooch. I give and get books regularly on this site. Recently I signed up for PBS because there were a few books I had not been able to get on BM. I still haven’t got those books. In fact, I haven’t gotten any of the books on my PBS Wishlist, nor has anyone requested the books on my PBS Inventory.

    In the last month or 6 weeks I have heard PBS mentioned on two different occasions on TV shows during segments about saving money during our troubled economic times. I’m wondering if the TV exposure has had an impact on PBS’s increase in activity.

  100. Britney said

    Honestly, I was a BM member, but I left for one reason: non-responding senders. On PBS, requests time out if the sender doesn’t respond in the allotted time, and senders’ credits are held in limbo until the book is received. Here, the credit is transferred right away, so a sender can mark a book mailed and not send it for as long as they want, and after waiting more than a month for some books to not be marked mailed at BM I decided I wasn’t going to bother anymore. (Not to mention a few books that went lost here that I suspected were never sent.)

    PBS, I found, also had better site load times and fewer downtimes than BM does.

  101. Lilly said

    I have been a user of PBS for a couple of years now, and I joined Bookmooch earlier this year, and I have to say that I agree with most of the things that members had to say before me. I do love both sites, and they each have their differences, but the main problem about BookMooch is the difficulty of finding books to mooch. Colors would help, like having a smaller version of the graphic of the home page (my sister, who is not a member comments on the graphic every time I log on the site). But above all, I think it would help to have a flowing list of books that were recently posted, and some kind of a waitlist for books that multiple members are mooching, that way everyone would get their book. I love and collect Everyman’s Library Hardcovers, but I have not been able to mooch any, because I can’t ever find them, and wishlisting does not help. To be quite honest, I often use my PBS wishlist to mooch books from here.

    Also, having a printable postage in the works would give the option to print postage to those that are willing to pay a few extra cents for the convenience and it would bring in some extra money to help maintain the site.

    Another part of BookMooch that I am trying to work with is the fact that many members are not willing to send books right away–I have had to wait as long as 2 weeks for someone to send me a book, and after I gave them a neutral feedback, they contacted me via e-mail to let me know that BookMooch is a friendly site and I was not being friendly ( I thought that contacting me to tell I was not being friendly was less than friendly). Maybe it would be helpful to have an option on the profile that displays approximately how much time it takes for a certain member to accept mooches and send books away?

    There are many things about BookMooch that I do love. First and foremost, is the story behind the site–what you are doing John is truly amazing. I love that members can get portioned credit for posting books and acknowledging receipt–those things really add up. Being able to attach descriptions and post ARC books is great too–I am always willing to accept books that might be used, or are ARC’s (reading these is twice the fun–you get to catch the spelling errors) which PBS does not allow. I think it’s a great site, but there’s always room for improvement.

  102. TheInfamousJ said

    I use both sites. Here are my observations:

    SecondLife never deleted or got rid of its old accounts and its graph looked very similar to that of PBS, however if you log in to SecondLife, it looks practically deserted. Lots of first-timers who come, look around, and then leave. Similar thing with PaperBackSwap, I think, which is being reflected in the numbers.

    The BookMooch numbers reflect a core userbase of early adopters who keep returning to the site. As word of mouth spreads, so too will this number. You will end up with a more loyal userbase.

    Though, I sort of do wish that there were a mobile-friendly version of the site. I recently purchased a smart phone and attempt to log in my “received” and “sent” from the post office when I either receive or send the books. Your website, as it is right now, is very un-mobile-friendly. However this is a pipe dream and I know it probably won’t happen.

    Something that I hope may happen would be the ability to rather than “borrow” points from the Bank of Bookmooch, is the ability to purchase points. If I get a wishlist email and don’t have enough points, depending on how badly I want the book (and I do want them badly), it would be faster for me to shell out $4 and buy a point and snag it, then to go through the lengthy point borrowing application process, wherein I lose my chance at my wishlisted book. Plus, it would help offset your costs of running the site.

  103. Cass said

    I love Bookmooch because it’s free, and because it’s easy to use. I have mooched and sent tons of books. I’ve found new authors I would never have thought to purchase from a bookstore. I like that there are no particular rules other than send the book, and be responsible for condition notes.

    I looked into joining PBS, but didn’t like the idea of paying a fee of any kind. Here, it’s mooch a book, send a book, period. I believe that PBS was mentioned in some press; I can’t remember specifics (Self magazine may have been one)–that may have accounted for more people joining.

    Anyway, the people who are frustrated seem to be those wanting popular books. In a way, BM is not really for popular books or books just published–and you certainly can’t get rid of some books that were over-bought (like “The DaVinci Code.”

    I’ve also found a lot of out of print books that I wanted. I tell people about BM wherever I go, and I mention BM on forums occasionally when someone needs to get rid of books. I even go to used bookstores and keep in mind what’s wishlisted on BM, so I can buy the book, and then send it on to someone who mooched it.

    • Mary Anne said

      I’m not sure what fee at PBS you’re talking about. At the present time, the costs at PBS and BM are the same–free. If you want to print a label with delivery confirmation, yes, there’s a charge but you don’t have to do that. Some people like it, use it, and don’t mind the cost. I don’t use it. As for a membership fee, PBS has been up front about admitting that at some point they might start charging an annual fee, but so far they don’t. As long as it’s a reasonable amount, I wouldn’t actually have a problem with that–it costs a lot to run a good website and I don’t think I can expect everyone to do so just for the fun of it or out of the goodness of their heart. Of course, once again, that’s a personal choice–there are sites I visit now that any fee at all would be too much.

  104. Shirley said

    I used to find the FIFO wishlist policy at PBS irritating. That’s back when I was getting books on my BM WL. Lately, that has really dried up. I think more and more books are being listed as reserved on BM. Before that, I got far more books from BM than PBS. Now I get more from PBS. However, I still don’t like FIFO and really hope BM doesn’t change the WL policy. That, plus the feeling of community and the great folks I’ve met here, keep me at BM.

    • Mark Williams said


      Most reserved books are being held for ‘ask first’ international members who did farily get to the book first.

      • Shirley said

        Thanks for the info, Mark. I thought there were lots of reserves for friends that were tying books up. Then I’m stumped on why so few of my wishlist books are available any more.

  105. Leslie Wulf said

    I am a 100% book mooch fan and user I would say that the increase in PPS is they have been getting a lot of press. Their PR firm has been doing a good job and that turns into now members.

    I would like to see BM in the press and meida more it increase users and add more invatory.

  106. Mark said

    I think the on-site community aspects are a big pull at PBS for various reasons. Member forums are sorely lacking here currently.

    PBS also offers users bonus credits/postage credits for referals, hence more incentive to actively go out and recruit friends and family to the site…or total strangers via forum signatures etc. When I see people talking about swap sites, PBS generally gets the first mention from anyone with a referal link to plug.

  107. Brian said

    I am a member on the following 3 trading sites, plus LibraryThing. Here are my stats, and some notes on what I like and don’t like about the various services.

    41 given
    17 received
    R:G ratio 0.41

    48 given
    45 received
    BM-style R:G ratio .94

    35 given
    19 received
    BM-style R:G ratio .54

    As you can see, I simply get more books on PBS than I get on BM – whether you measure that my ratio or absolute numbers. However, BM does seem to have a user base with tastes most similar to mine (technical, history and marketing.) PBS’s selection also aligns with my history preference.

    FR’s selection is awful. I don’t read much fiction, and it seems all FR has is Romance. I can’t remember the last time I sent or received a book on FR. Their user base just doesn’t trade the books I want to read. Unfortunately that was my first trading site, so most of my best books were requested there before I found other sites. I now have a ton of points I can’t use at all because there are no books there I want. I do like that they give/charge 1 point for paperbacks, and 2 points for hardcovers since I had a lot of hardcovers that are more expensive to send.

    Both PBS and FR have an “auto-request” queue feature. I set up my wish list and just wait for books to arrive! BM doesn’t do that. On BM, I have to pounce every time I get an e-mail; but every. single. time. the book is no longer available.

    It is almost impossible to browse books on BM. There are no cover images, and you can’t change the sort order. Books with no author show up at the top of the list, dominating the first several pages of results. It’s much easier to visually parse a list of book when there are images. Parsing a list of textual author names and titles takes entirely too long. I have never found a book on BM that I didn’t already know about.

    Though it does appear that the BM Topics list has been cleaned up recently, it needs a deeper hierarchy (so lists are shorter), images, and sortable columns. For example, paging through the History Topic one page at a time in alphabetical order first by title (when there’s no author), then alphabetically by author is literally impossible. The only books I’ve ever added to my wish list on BM are books I first found on other sites (Amazon, LT, PBS) then enter the ISBN on BM. For that reason alone, BM reamins my backup, not my primary trading site.

    Though BM has a great blog and I enjoy hearing the thoughts that go into the site, both FR and PBS have much more engaging user communities. PBS even has recipes. I use that to store mine so I can find them again during the holidays, even when I’m out of town, rather than rummaging through an index card file with all kinds of junk in it.

    PBS includes a running total of the number of books available to request in their service. Currently it’s at 3,38,401. That’s impressive! Neither BM nor FR reveal their inventory.

    I like the BM site design better – much cleaner – but PBS and FR definitely show you all their options up front.

    PBS creates a printable mailing label. On BM, I have to either hand-write the address, or copy it into a document, add my return address, and print it out. Though that’s not a reason not to use BM, it’s a tedium that could be easily fixed.

    The BM ratio seems backwards. If I give more than I get, I’m contributing more than my share to the community. So why is my ration less than one. Rather than 0.41, my ratio should be 2.41. It’s just optical, but I think it matters.

    As far as SEO goes, like Amazon, PBS does include the book title in their URL. I’m not sure when they introduced that. Neither BM for FR include authors or titles in their URLs.

    Keep up the good work, please make browsing easier, and add auto-request!

    • Amanda said

      I was on frugal reader for a short time,before I joined BM. Though there admin is a lot faster then most.The book selection is pretty weak for sure. I agree on that.

      • Marie said

        Took me awhile to figure FR out…seems most of the trades happen in the forums in the ‘trade groups’. If you join them…you get way more books. But still I get most of my books on PBS

  108. MurdererDelacroix said

    To be honest, Paperbackswap was recommended to me long before I heard of bookmooch, but I never requested or listed any books.

    (I eventually found bookmooch not through word of mouth, but Stumbleupon. I had been giving a lot of lit-related sites thumbs up, and I came across bookmooch. I read the rules and got pretty excited; hey, I can finally get rid of those old magazines and strategy guides I have piled up! I listed about 13 books my first day, and half of them were scooped up within a few hours. Man, was I excited.)

    I don’t think I’d go over to PBS, because they’re way more formal and strict about everything compared to bookmooch.
    First of all, I didn’t like a lot of their rules. Books have to be in great condition, mailed out really quickly, it’s all in the US (most of the books I’ve mooched have come from other countries), and you have to wait in line for books. If I wanted a popular book, I’d be sitting around for quite some time. On here, we have all kinds of great stuff like angels and the lottery, and I always get excited whenever a charity mooches my books!

    As for why PBS is more popular? Probably because it has WAY more publicity. I hear about it all over the place, and they can afford to advertise. As for Bookmooch, I really had never heard of until I came across it on stumbleupon.

    BM isn’t without need for improvements. Aside for browsing the way many people have mentioned before, I’d love to see people with similar tastes, like the “connections” on librarything. If someone has mooched similar books to what I’ve mooched, or listed similar to what I’ve listed, I might be interested in what they have in their inventory!

    • John98109 said

      Not exactly “great” condition, but no water damage, stains or tears. Most folks at PBS I believe would accept a well-used book that isn’t falling apart, but there are some core, regular users who report minor infractions (underlining one or two words in an entire book, a small stain on one page, etc.) with gusto.
      One has up to a full week to mail a package, which I don’t find unfair or onerous.

      • MurdererDelacroix said

        As someone who’s still in school and only has one or two days a week to get to the post office, mailing out within a week isn’t always doable. If something from BM takes me more than 10 or 11 to get mailed out, I’ll notify the moocher via delay, but with the “need to get it out in 7 days” thing on PBS, I feel rushed. I know 7 days is easy for a lot of people, but not me. D:

    • Eric G said

      I really don’t understand where this idea that a FIFO automatically means a longer wait comes from. It only means a longer wait if you have good success with the first pounce first served method…which means *you* have a shorter wait and few others do.

      I get wishlisted books much more quickly on PBS than I do on BM. Part of this is due to higher volume, and part of this is because the stars don’t have to align properly for me to have a lukewarm chance in hell of getting a book.

      Today I missed my third wishlist book for the week. That’s not faster. It’s never.

      • MurdererDelacroix said

        I’ve only missed a few books I’ve had wishlisted on BM.
        Maybe it’s because I have more obscure tastes than most? (Well, most of the books I mooch, anyway.)

        As for why I don’t like the “wait-in-line” system, I don’t like the idea of being in a queue, it’s such a disadvantage as a newer user. But, a few days ago, I really lucky and got a book that was on at least 100 wishlists. I’ve only been here two months. If everyone with the book wishlisted was active and this was on PBS, technically I’d have to wait for the book to be listed 100 times. That idea’s pretty depressing.

  109. waywardcats said

    I am also a member of both sites and will stay on both because both have advantages and disadvantages that others have mentioned. PBS’ waitlisting makes it easier to get books that are really popular. But what I like best about BM are the ability to get foreign editions and to give excess points to charity (since I am trying to get rid of many of my books).

    I will note that I always accidentally leave a BM bookmark in my PBS traded books though. 🙂

  110. nancy said

    I looked back over my transaction list here. Whatever change you made last June/July- that’s the problem. Book store? Wide open RSS Feed? Reserve system? Random emails? Whatever it was, it killed the traffic. Prior to that, I averaged 9-15 mooches a month here. This past month, I had 3. I maintain the same WL at all three places I trade. In May, I got 7 books from PBS, 4 books from Swaptree, and 3 from BM. The books are being traded, just not here. There’s no explanation why the available books to me would be consistent for a year and a half and then just die except one of the explanations above.

  111. I list my books on all popular sites. pbs may be up because when you read the forums in titletrader, many people are unhhappy because the owner don’t attend to problems on the site, frugalreader has no subject search engine,and you have to know the title of the book to find a book or just look on books added from the last time you logged on to find a book to request .

  112. cindy said

    the reason ppl prefer pbs is bookmooch is harder to find books on here. when one searches, a list comes up and we have to click on each one to see if it is a paperback or hardcover, etc. also, there is no way to refine one’s search to say, look only for paperbacks. also, we get points for EVERYTHING! this should not be happening as all the books will be gone b/c everyone has so many unfair points.

    those are the TWO MAIN THINGS YOU GUYS NEED TO IMPROVE. i am a newbie to both sites and these are the important things i noticed. also, the search takes longer than on PBS once i type something in and hit search. please improve and members will like better.

  113. cindy said

    also, none of the books i want are ever available here as compared to pbs. on here, they are always gone or not even listed! what’s up with that? points are being given away wayyy tooo much that is why there are no books left.

  114. Cyndi said

    This may have already been mentioned above, but one of the features of PBS that keeps me coming back is the ability to buy credits and postage. Having said that, I love both sites and think they both have their pros and cons.

  115. Debbie1can said

    There is probably not a lot “new” I can add as to “why” that has not already been said. I heard of PBS first and attempted to join – only to find it was US only – bah phooey! I found the link to BM quite by accident – on my local library site!

    It must depend on what genre you are reading or looking for in terms of wishlist hits. I have a combined wishlist and inventory of 5 people’s books and wishes and I find most days I get at least one if not more wishlist hits. Whether or not it is still there when I go to get is another story.

    I have found that BM really slowed down with the lack of a decent forum. Now that most folks hang out at LibraryThing, it has gotten pretty darn quiet. Thanks John for making that a priority!

    I too had one experience with a female admin that was less than pleasant. I was quite frankly stunned by the cutting remarks when in fact it was an innocent mistake! So much for administrative fairness. Mark W has always been great!

    My most annoying complaint I think would be the people whose status is “ask first” and then either they do not answer or say I have decided not to send to you. Why then do they have ask first status if they will only mail in their country? It’s very annoying!! I agree there are some people who make me wait up to 4 or 5 months before mailing my book -but they have no problem spending my points in the interim!!

    For me, I have been finding more and more people willing to mail to Canada. I have seen many, many postage stickers and the cost of mailing one paperback book to me is usually less than $3….which I am told by those that mail, is very little different than mailing the same book in the US and they get 3 points!!! We need more brave senders :)It costs me almost double that to send to the US 😦

    Because I have not been on PBS I have no comparitor but I can say with only a few exceptions, I have had nothing but extremely pleasant experiences with folks on BM! I have had the good fortune to meet in person with some moochers from both my own country and the US. All without exception are fantastic people!

    I have also mooched many books and offer them back as fast as I can read them to keep them circulating. I am not going anywhere!

    I believe I saw someone above say that it’s not always about quantity – it’s also about quality – and you rank #1 in my books!

    It is admirable that you put yourself out there to get the feedback – good and bad. It’s a thankless job in many ways – so let me thank you for all you do for us and keep up the great work!

  116. osha341 said

    I’m also on both PBS and BM and I solved the problem of searching by using PBS and then saving the results in a text file. I then import the file into my BM wishlist or save for later where I then check for moochable books on BM. It’s not easy but until BM gets the search capabilities updated that’s the only way to go for me. I do enjoy the Amazon search here because you can find so many different versions of one book title throughout the world that’s why I’m glad BM doesn’t have a limit on the wishlist like PBS which sucks with only 200. And the following:


    – Faster mailing times sometimes less than a week for a book to arrive. I detest on BM to having to keep reminding people to send the book when they have accepted a week or more ago. Delays are OK I can wait until the person can send it that way just don’t accept and then leave me hanging in the wind.
    – The newest books are available if you have wishlisted the books way before it’s even printed.
    – Email that a book is available and I have 24 hours to accept it. I know if I get an email from BM that a book is available that it will be gone by the time I can get to the site and mooch it so BM emails are a waste of time.
    – Tags – I use this optional item to tell people what condition the book is in and I tell people to check the book before ordering. Doesn’t always work so I do like BM better with the condition section and it should be mandatory that all books have conditions posted. Tags are also a great way to find books in different categories, i.e. paranormal, LARGE PRINT, etc., maybe BM can use this and require tags to be used.
    – Do not like being timed out when I’m doing something else like eating. BM has it just great and I can leave and come back and still be online.


    – Excitement of the hunt and getting the book before someone else does. Blood pressure goes sky high but what the heck that’s what the pills are for.
    – Sucks when I can’t check the site while I’m a work so I miss out on available books during the day cause someone else it first.
    – Feeds, enjoy this so I can do something else and then check it off and on.
    – Do not enjoy that everyone has access to my wishlist and they can copy it to their own list so I have alot of books on my save for later. PBS lets you restrict access to the wishlist, to everyone, or to everyone except your friends.
    – Reserve, BM is great about this and I use it alot for saving books for friends that want the book.

  117. Jasmine said

    I was a heavy PBS user before I found BM.

    I love many things about BM:
    – Community!
    – Feeling like I can communicate with people in a friendly way – not like I’m a vendor or purchaser.
    – Being able to delay a book
    – Receiving parts of a point (makes me more likely to want to give points to others)
    – Points for posting – Encourages me to post books that aren’t “mainstream” but that someone may search for

    But…there are issues and areas where the PBS system works better or where BM can be easily updated to be even better than PBS.

    One important systemic issue: PBS has more books and more desirable books. I think it relates to the point system here – while I like it, I think it devalues the books. So people get a book here…but post it on PBS (see earlier posts on this). Which repeats the cycle. Not sure how to fix it – but a big challenge.
    1) WISH LIST
    As mentioned by many, PBS’s is just better. I especially like the auto-request but anything would be nice.

    Basically, I lose track when I’m waiting for a book on BM. I can’t tell if people are sending me a book, have forgotten about me, are off the grid, etc. I *never* request a book from BM if I actually need it in the next month or 2.

    My preference:
    – 4 days to reply to a mooch. Then moocher receives an email “want to cancel or want to remind”.
    – 4-5 days to send a book. Then moocher receives an email “want to cancel or remind”.
    – During mooch: let requester say if they are in a rush to receive the book (bonus item).

    (I love the “delay” option in BM. Sometimes there’s a problem sending – I like to be able to easily say something to the moocher.)


    4) BOOK GUIDELINES – I like that on BM books can have a range…but it makes for a real hassle looking for books when I care about condition. My preference: Book posting with condition categories and an option for comments.

    I hate the “excellent/good/etc” categories (hard to describe older books, etc) and suggest these types:

    Book Categories
    – Ready for your library or to be remooched a dozen times (excellent or very good condition OR excellent or very good condition but is older)
    – Ready to be read and remooched many times (very good or good condition OR excellent but with an issue – like a trimmed corner)
    – Ready to be read and maybe remooched (is in good or goodish condition)
    – Ready to be read carefully and remooched if it’s a hard-to-find (is in goodish or poor condition and is an older book)
    – Ready to be read in the sauna (poor condition, has been washed/dropped in water/gnawed on/etc)

    a) Allow requestor to indicate requirements if they have them when they send the request – faster than email.
    b) Check box for bookcrossing – easy for poster & moocher.

    I’d love to see you sell points. It would allow you to make some of the suggested changes without having to sacrifice too much more of your time.

  118. Mark Ressler said

    At PBS, there is no feedback system to punish me for someone else’s mistakes, like there exists here at BookMooch! They are committed to making everyone happy (harder than it sounds) and try to keep the interpersonal hatred down to a dull roar. So what if I can’t find the book I promised I would send??? Priority is given to the next holder in line or in the case of rarity, the book becomes unavailable and the request becomes a wish. I do not receive negative feedback after I spend an hour and a half digging in 2 dozen different places looking for a book that I know I have somewhere (WHERE IS IT?!?) But to explain what I said earlier, here at BM, I once had an American girl request the German version of a Stephen King novel. I reminded her that the novel was in German, and she cancelled her request, giving me negative feedback! I was incensed and asked her why she would do such a thing and she gave some lame excuse – completely unjustifiable! This kind of situation should NOT be allowed and/or the inappropriate feedback should be removed! Although I have been equally incensed by some automatically generated messages from a PBS sister site, this kind of silly feedback situation simply would not exist over there! Thanks for your time…

    • Mark Williams said


      That does sound unfair. If you have tried to resolve such a siituation and been unable to do so, you can click ‘abuse’ and we admins can help mediate the issue.

  119. ary29 said

    It seems that we have gone astray from John’s original question, so I join in in adding my suggestions for improving BM. I’m Italian and came here through http://www.anobii.com – which is Hong-Kong based, but has a huge Italian community. Several Italian anobians have come here – the Italian interface helps a lot for that – but many get frustrated because they cannot add their books by ISBN. The reason is simple: Amazon never started trading Italian books, so they are mostly unknown to their database. That was a problem with aNobii too a couple of years ago, but they solved it brilliantly by making a deal with IBS.it, one of Italy’s favorite internet bookshops. After that, I never had to manually enter an ISBN-coded book again! If the same could be had here on BM, Italian mooching would surely increase both in users and in books.

  120. PaperBackSwap is, in my opinion, an inferior version of BookMooch. It does have books available sometimes that BookMooch doesn’t, so I use it sometimes, but I get requests for my books far less frequently, I can’t send or receive internationally, and I find *having* to print out those .pdf files to get somebody’s address extremely annoying. Also, no condition notes? Not ever? Booooo!

    On the other hand, PaperBackSwap has useful forums. They also have, under their umbrella, SwapaCD and SwapaDVD. I haven’t yet used SwapaCD, but I’m a very regular user of SwapaDVD, and I like it. If there were a DVD-offshoot of BookMooch, I would probably like it better (since BookMooch is so much better than PaperBackSwap in almost every way), but as long you have no interest in making one (and I’m guessing you don’t), BookMooch is completely awesome, and SwapaDVD is quite adequate.

    If there’s anything BookMooch should improve, I would definitely point to the forums. I’ve looked at the forums before — because there are several posts I’d like to make — but every time I look at them, I get de-enthused at the prospect of posting anything. So I’ve basically been waiting for the last year for the forums to get improved before I start posting anything. ^_^’

    I’m surprised to hear PaperBackSwap supposedly gets more traffic than BookMooch — that’s bizarre. Still, it might be a factor that PaperBackSwap only has PMs for members to communicate with each other (while BookMooch uses people’s e-mails), so that forces people to go back to the PaperBackSwap website more frequently if they’re having a personal conversation with another user, while BookMooch is more considerate and doesn’t do that. And of course the “three different sites for swapping things under one umbrella” thing is pretty handy and neat. And I imagine there are people who think it being US-only, providing .pdf files for print-outs, and using FIFO for everything are all superior (while I consider all of those inferior to BookMooch’s far more friendly, flexible, and less stiff ways of doing things).

    • Sarah said

      You do not *have* to print out a .pdf on paperback swap to get the mailing address. There is a button to hit if you just plan to hand-write the address. It says “To hand-write this label click here.” or something like that. Then it brings up their info for you on your screen.

      • Eva Marie said

        They also don’t NEED condition notes because no one should be listing poorly conditioned books.

    • strawberry queen said

      I use both sites and I find BM inferior to PBS. What good is it to send books out and not find anything to mooch in return? I mail 10-15 books per week and have 48 books points. Of the 258 books on my wishlist, NOTHING is available!!!!!!!!! I have 37 book credits in PBS and could use everyone of them right now! Requested 4 books from there yesterday.

  121. Leslie said

    I use PBS, BM and FrugalReader. They all have their pros and cons which is why I am on all 3 sites.

    My biggest frustration about BM is the forums. I would love to be more active but any time I’ve tried it takes forever (and I’m on a cable modem) and it was hard to follow. PBS & FR do have better forums, at least for ease to view.

    I do like the international option of BM and while I can’t send right now, I have sent many in the past and I like the thought of my books traveling abroad!

  122. Kathleen Wagner said

    I like Bookmooch. It is the only trade site I use. I registered at PBS, but I don’t want the hassle of using both sites. Most of the interaction with users has been wonderful!

    There does seem to be a general disinterest when an issue is raised. The forums would be useful, and probably even enjoyable. It’s pretty sad that a different site has to be used to communicate among ourselves. A certain volunteer here has been vile on several occasions. That has left a bad taste in my mouth. I do feel that as users we are basically on our own. That’s okay. Understood.

    I just strive to be the best moocher I can be, and I even recommend the site to people at work. BM is a good site, a useful site. It really can’t be a fun or any kind of community oriented site with no forums, IMO. That is really too bad, but it does do what it promises. It gives users a place to share books.

  123. Marina said

    My two cents:

    What I see as the greatest strenght of BM is its international dimension, while there are a lot of other sites that are USA only, BM is truly international and with its point system actively encourages people to send internationally, thus making available a wider selection to its members.

    …And that probably comes out as a problem for some US members, for instance about the reservations.

    Folks, in my experience the great majority of ‘reserved’ books comes from ‘ask first’ accounts where an international moocher actually asked, and the book is put on hold until the owner answers, contrary to how it was before, where many internationals had books snatched under their noses by domestic moochers, no matter that the international had asked first.

    The change has finally made the playing ground level, and many internationals have actually started to °use° the ask-first option (I know I did).

    The forums definitely need improuving, that’s true, but at the moment one can use e-mail to post and receive messages and it’s also a great way to find angels fast.

  124. Gina said

    I use both sites. I have more books listed with BM than PBS simply because I get more requests from BM members than PBS.

    I used to use titletrader.com but that site is awful. Searching was a joke and even after you posted books you had to wait for someone to request a book and leave positive feedback before you could request a book.

    I have had (and still do) books on both wish lists (BM and PBS) I like PBS better for wish list items. I know I will get it eventually on PBS. I have missed books on BM over 10 times because by time I checked my email the book was taken. I hate that. The auto-request feature on PBS is great.

    The search is better on PBS than BM. They let you refine for audio, hardcover, paperback and such.

    I usually put wish list items on both sites and usually get them from PBS first. Any book that I really want to read right away I wish list on PBS with the auto-request feature on, because they have a specific time frame to mail it to you once they accept your request. Not so on BM, just this week I canceled a request on BM because I had been waiting over a month. The status was listed as accepted but was never sent (this from a mooch request from April) I requested it from another member on May 27th and am still waiting for a status change to sent.

    Also when mooching a book from BM, when there are many copies available from many senders, I always look thru the list to see who has been on the site the most recent hoping they will respond faster. If someone has not logged in for over a month and did not put themselves on vacation why are they still listed as someone you can mooch from? You know that they are not going to send it, they have not logged into their account for weeks!

    I have given tons of points (100 to be exact) away on BM simply because I have so many and have found nothing to mooch. Wish list items have been sitting forever. Some for over six months or more. I feel that my PBS points are worth more because I can usually find books I want.

    Basically I use BM to give books away and PBS to get books. I have sent books all over the world on BM but have gotten very few. Sent 104 received 31 on BM. Sent 42 received 27 on PBS.

  125. Deborah said

    I think part of the growth of PBS has to be attributed to the show “Oprah” and the magazine, “People”. I know after hearing about PBS on Oprah the number of members increased. Here is a quote,

    “People loved you! You are O so great! Club members should have gotten a big ego-boost when both People magazine and Oprah’s magazine recommended PBS for its ease of use and its principle of reducing waste and saving money. Thanks to all of you who are swapping your books and proving every day how well this club works! We’ll keep working hard every day to make the site even better.”

    Additionally, while I love BOTH sites what I love about PBS is that once I receive a book I can click a button and have it removed from my “to be read” book shelve. This way, what I have “mooched” is kept PRIVATE.

    One comment on the Oprah and People articles was that with PBS you can print postage right at their site, get a tracking number and monitor if the book has been received whereas other book sites this was not an option. Now they finally added an option if a book is 8 ounces or less to send first class, cheaper than media mail and quicker to receive. What I don’t like is that there is a surcharge of 38 cents to do this, so I still print my labels via PayPal where I also get a tracking number.

    Finally, with PBS I can click on a button, “Tell others” send my friends the site address and get a credit for a book for all who join. I am a school teacher and printed out your address and the PBS address to let my colleagues know how to trade books for their classroom and personal pleasurable reading.

  126. Jen said

    I really don’t get it, either. I’m registered to both sites, and I have far more activity–and more immediate activity–on BookMooch. I actually prefer the format of BookMooch as well because it’s more simple.

  127. Jennifer said

    I used to love PBS but lately it’s very slow. (Is it because everyone else is hoarding credits for wishlisted books like I am?). I like that I can buy points on there and not get punished for requesting more than I send out (no mooch ratio). I also like the availability of books I want and the FIFO wishlist. I use the TBR list on there to see which of my books are wishlisted and I’ve been trying to read those first. You can also use the search wishlist feature to find out if books you want to post are wishlisted. And there’s another trick for seeing how many copies of a particular book are posted (to see where you are in the FIFO for people requesting your book)- you can put the book on your reminder list and it will show you how many copies are listed. Some of my books have over 200 copies posted so they will probably never get requested on PBS, but at least they have a chance here.

    I’m hoping that PBS never starts to charge for their service and I’m hoping that the planned change for the wishlist never happens. If either of those occur, I’ll probably leave the site and shop at used bookstores more again. I’m also hoping BookMooch gains in popularity and there are more books available here. But I have to say, I’ve been encouraged to broaden my horizons and looked for books I hadn’t previously thought of and found some classic gems. For example, I’m slowly collecting the Sword and Sorceress fantasy anthologies and when I couldn’t find more here, I did some research and found out about other female-centered fantasy and SF anthologies, so I was able to request four of them.

    Finally, I used to be a member of Title Trader too, but that site has very little support now. There are a bunch of scammers, I can’t find books (or many CDs or DVDs for that matter), and recently all of my trades had problems so I pulled my inventory and I’m just using up my points, then I’m leaving.

  128. animlgrl said

    I prefer Bookmooch. I use PBS and Bookins as well, though Bookins is pretty much off the radar. I find that PBS tends to be more active for me if I post more books…which makes no sense….if I post more, then suddenly the ones that have been on my wishlist are available faster?! Same on Bookins.
    I too like that you can send internationally. I find the fact that you can put the condition of a book extremely helpful. And while it may not be as ‘colorful’ as PBS, the ability to communicate with the people you mooch from is nice as well. On PBS, it is much harder to know who the book is coming from. The selection on here is much better. There are way more books from my wishlist available here than on PBS, which is why I keep coming back 🙂

  129. Paul Mazzoni said

    You already mentioned the link between SwapaCD and SwapaDVD, so I am sure they help to drive traffic. PLUS, you can transfer credits between the 3. I bet as people realize that their CD selection usually stinks, they probably move over to the book site. Plus, I believe a DVD credit gets you 2 book credits as well, so that’s tempting.

    Another thing is that PBS allows you to buy credits to get a book, while I don’t believe you have anything like that at BookMooch. It usually runs about $3.50, and to get a textbook, that’s a pretty good deal!

    I use both sites and prefer Bookmooch. I will go to BookMooch first every time. And unlike the others, I would not suggest changes to design. I think the simplicity actually makes BookMooch more unique and I like the link over to Amazon for reviews.

  130. Erin said

    One huge advantage that PBS has over Bookmooch is that you can print the postage at home. It saves a trip to the post office, so I will often post books first on PBS and if no one wants it then I’ll put it on Bookmooch. I think there’s room for Bookmooch to make some money off of selling postage, too (like a 50 cent service fee).

    • Mark Williams said


      True, many do prefer on-site postage. But many BM members use Paypal free e-postage, and others pay a few dollars a month for Stamps.com or Endicia e-postage.

  131. Carol Dickerson said

    Really, there are only two comments I want to make. First, I love BookMooch and never look anywhere else.
    Second, lately I’m mooched books that have been rejected because the owner already gave them away on PBS and forgot to update their inventory. This is really, really, irritating and I’m starting to wish the owner was penalized for it by losing a point.
    I take the time to carefully select who I mooch from based on how recently they visit the site, states close to mine to save on postage, and how many books they have in inventory so I can try to mooch more than one at a time.
    At the least the person who screws up their inventory should offer a free book with no points taken.

    • Chris said

      I am a member of PBS and it is routine for me when I am sending a book out to remove it from the other list. However, I am posting nearly read books on BM only. I have much better luck with BM for both sending and receiving books

  132. Chris said

    I originally became a member of PBS. I learned of BM when a PBS member sent a BM book marker with a book. I became a member right away. Books that had been on my inventory list for months at PBS were mooched right up on BM. I liked the fact that I could buy credits at PBS, but since I get 0.1 points when I leave feedback and post books it works better than my buying credits. I like how PBS will figure postage out for you…complete with delivery confirmation (an added bonus I use so I can prove books have been delivered. BUT I opened a stamps.com account and can get books ready to mail from home without going to the post office. Having a postage option at BM would be great. I wouldn’t have to pay a monthly fee for stamps.com

  133. Jessica said

    I think that PBS users are really motivated to tell others about the site by the promise of free points. I also think that BookMoochers don’t need to be bribed to tell others. I think just having some tools available to BookMoochers to get the word out would be great. For example, I would like to become a “fan” of BookMooch on facebook or possible post a blurb on my page telling my friends about my favorite book trading site. Not sure how to do this. Maybe we could have a tell a friend/ tell a stranger campaign month and set a goal to get new members signed up or new books listed.

    • Carrie said

      Hello – there is a BookMooch group on Facebook 🙂 Theres some activity within it, but I don’t think members on it actually go out and recruit other people.

      • Jessica said

        Do you have a link or something? I searched BookMooch and found a BookMooch application, two groups (BookMoock Greece and Bookmooch en español) and four “people”, but no general BookMooch group.

  134. charlene said

    I use both sites (and a few other minor sites). Both have pros and cons.

    Paperback Swap
    1. Wish list is first come first served.
    2. Easier to find the books by genre and subtypes (especially computer books)
    3. Guaranteed mailing. If the book isn’t mailed w/i a certain amount of time it is canceled. No “I have too many books to mail out so they’ll go out next year” messages.
    4. Printable mailing labels.
    5. Transaction list can be filtered by books shipped or received and if successful.
    6. Can search my wish list, reminder list or my bookshelf w/o having to list the entire thing or paging through list.
    7. Has a category for Books I’ve Read (although this by ISBN only and not title/author).
    1. Points are harder to collect.
    2. Only can put 200 books in wish list (which doesn’t include related books).
    3. Sometimes the latest books aren’t in their db so can’t put in wish or reminder lists.
    4. Have to enter all info for books w/o ISBNs.

    1. Easier to get points.
    2. Can sit on mailing books a little longer.
    3. Wish list can be as large as you want.
    4. Get points as soon as book is requested.
    5. Easier to list books w/o ISBNs.
    1. Can wait forever for books to be sent out (many more scammers – sign up get points order and never send).
    2. Some really weird related book emails (sorry can’t give examples because I’ve deleted the email)
    3. Can’t really browse easily for books.
    4. Difficult to search my transaction list so I can remove books from my Paperback swap booklist.
    5. No mailing labels.
    6. Can be difficult to get popular books because by the time I read the email the book is gone.

    • Chris said

      I don’t like the first come first serve system on PBS. They offer up the books to people who have been inactivate or don’t have the points. On the flip side they offer you books from inactivate members. You don’t get the option of picking who you want to get the book from.

      I agree 100% about having to wait to for someone to mail books out. Some members will come out and tell you they only mail on this date, but a good number of them will put off mailing for 2 weeks without a word. Yea you can cancel but if there isn’t anyone else with the book, you are stuck waiting for the book.

      • Eva Marie said

        If you order from an inactive member the order shifts after a certain amount of time, it doesn’t just languish.
        When they offer a wishlist book to a person before you same thing- they have 48 hours to respond or it goes to the next person.

      • charlene said

        I have had much worse experiences with inactive members on BM than I ever had with PBS. Especially ones who seem to enter a bunch of books just so they can get books (with the better point system). Right now I have 3 books I’m waiting to see if they’ll send the book or not.

        As far as the problem with the people not having the points, that has to do with the fact that it is harder to build up points on PBS than BM.

  135. Shannon said

    paperbackswap.com is more descriptive than bookmooch.com. When I recommend “bookmooch.com” to another person, I usually have to repeat it.

    There are pictures of books on paperbackswap.com.

    The site is easier to browse. Mud fins ugly, but easy to browse.

    Both sites, however, have an annoying way of prompting for a login before you can browse members. How will you know what it’s like to be a member if you can’t see how members are listed/rated etc?

    In short, they have an easier name and an easier design.

  136. Lizzi said

    I believe it’s because they have a bigger selection of moochable books, which is, of course, a by-product of having more members, but still will keep people more inclined to use their site as opposed to bookmooch. It’s also because they’re more of a trend. I have to say though, please don’t turn BM into PBS!! I HATE PBS. I LOVE BOOKMOOCH.

    I used PBS for a year, and the reasons I switched over here were:
    *BM offers book descriptions, MUCH easier ways of contacting members, a feedback system, AND A WAY BETTER POINT SYSTEM. So much better, I could go on all day about this. 🙂 I love the point system here at BM!
    *PBS management are EVIL. They deleted my account and my friends’ account because we swapped a book to each other, and lived on the same street, or something. They sent us both nasty messages saying we were abusing the system by not MAILING the books but giving them locally, horror of horrors. And they fined us both 10 points, so why even bother to ever use the site again if we had to give away 10 books each just to get enough points to come out of negative again?? Plus, they shut down my friends’ sister’s account because it was at the same address, too. Thirdly, I started marking their emails as spam, and they have some spam-reply set up where for every email I marked, I got 10 automatic replies back! I hated that whole experience with them. BM management is so much better, it’s a breath of relief to my book-loving soul. 🙂

    • Chris said

      Fined you 10 points!! OMG. And it goes against what they told me…although I do NOT doubt you in the least.

      I had sent out a book to a gal who requested the book be from a non-smoking home. While our home is non-smoking, I didn’t know about the homes before me. I was worried she would complain and I would loss the points. So I spoke with a tour guide and was told they never take points away.

      Someone else told they lost points because they received a book with the cover partial ripped off.

      This is why I love BM. I can list comments so the moocher knows exactly what the book looks like

      • Eric G said

        Yes, the condition notes and the ability to communicate easily with moochers and moochees are a big part of what makes BM seem more like a community. This community feeling is a big asset for BM.

        That said, a couple of days ago I mooched 3 volumes from a 4 volume set from someone on PBS. He PM’d me and asked if I wanted #4 – I had missed that he had it. So, it is possible to do that on PBS, and there are some nice folks over there.

        It’s just less intuitive on PBS because the way the books are served up FIFO. It almost feels like you are not supposed to communicate directly with the other person. I dislike that feeling.

        For selecting a book that is “in stock” I prefer BM’s system. (But I still prefer the FIFO wishlist, I’m just not going to scream about it or threaten to take my books and go home.)

        I figure that the lack of an ability to add condition notes means that I cannot list books on PBS that are in any sort of questionable condition. PBS wants all books to be perfect and all trades to be settled flawlessly, hence the lack of feedback and condition notes.

    • charlene said

      There must have been another reason to cancel your friend’s sister’s account. My Husband and I both have an account on Paperback Swap. Unfortunately, my husband’s books are technical and much older, and less moochable. So I often give him points through the buddy system so he get books on his wish list.

  137. Brian said

    On the traffic topic, I also looked at Google Search Insights. Worldwide searches for PaperBackSwap surpassed searches for BookMooch in September 2008.

    Google Search Insights, world:

    Then there was a huge spike of PBS searches February 8-14, 2009. I attribute that to the PBS mention in Oprah’s March magazine edition (which likely shipped in February, though it also mentioned BM), and the People magazine sidebar in their 2/23 edition. Did Oprah also mention it on her show in early Feb? Since Oprah is primarily a US phenomenon, I looked at just US searches. PBS searches started pulling away from BM searches in the US in April-May 2008, around the time their SwapaCD and SwapaDVD were launched (official announcement was June, but the services were up before that), but before the Oprah mention.

    Google Search Insights, US:

    Oprah magazine blurb:

    People magazine sidebar:

    Google Search Insights also shows Georgia with the #1 US interest in PBS, likely because PBS is based there.

  138. Ruth said

    I use PBS regularly, for two reasons. (1) I can print the postage without having to go to the PO (2) sometimes they have the books that I’m looking for.

    I go between the both sites and have points built up at both. But BM has the better point system. SO they both have their advantages and I love them both!

    • Carrie said

      You can print postage at home – Paypal.com is free to use, but they do add I think .18 cent fee which gets you delivery confirmation.

      There’s also stamps.com and Endica. These both have a monthly fee.

  139. Michael said

    Let me first preface this by saying — I want to prefer BM.

    But I think for me, the reason that I post more of my books on there is because I’m more likely to get books from my wishlist there. First, because they have more users, probably from being flashier and a little dumbed down, and second, the FIFO system.

    But I have always preferred the simple, not-made for dummies setup here. But I’m willing to believe that many inexperienced computer users, especially older ones, might find this site a little too offsetting.

    • Evy MacPhee said

      I agree with a lot of what people have said in these comments.

      I use PBS because I am more likely to find certain books there.

      My heart is with Bookmooch, however.

      John, I am extravagantly grateful for all the work you have put into Bookmooch.

      When I saw this question, before I started reading the comments, my first reaction was “forums”.

      I adore the Bookmooch community and would really like to be able to chat more easily. Everyone doesn’t know about using the forums on LibraryThing. I didn’t for quite a while.

      The wishlist problem annoys me regularly and I can’t get the two items that say they are available to remove themselves from my wishlist, where they have been for several frustrating months.

      I also like the FIFO for the wishlist at PBS.

      Browsing by genre is very much easier there. I always look at Bookmooch first before turning to PBS.

      I would ask that you fix the forums, first, and the wishlist problem stating that something is available when it isn’t and never will be, second.

      Yes, I have broadband.

      The forums at Bookmooch frustrate me so much that I haven’t used them since the first of the year.

      Bookmooch still owns my heart.

      I would very much appreciate improvements in the areas I mentioned.

      Happy reading, all.


      Putting up more books in July.

  140. Matthew Kime said

    I think bookmooch could really use some interaction design improvements. As often repeated, the book browsing could be better. In a broader scope, the site should do more to keep users interested. For instance, the bookmooch homepage could feature recent bookswaps, which books are most desired, offered, etc.

    In general, once you’ve gotten establsihed in bookmooch, unless you acquire new (to you) books frequently, your account becomes stale. users should be offered books that are currently available even if they’re not on their wishlist. it might also be good to request that users provide highly sought books even if they’re no in their inventory list.

    the forums sound like an excellent upgrade.

  141. Heidi Stephens said

    I started out as many of you at PBS, and then switched to here. One of the things that I like about PBS, and I wish bookmooch had, is a ticker with the newly posted books. I sometimes like to read unusual/obscure things, and on the other site I’ve found books on the ticker that I would have never thought of searching for. I also wished that the forums on here were a little better. I religiously look on BM a few times a day, and I love to be able to look at members profiles before I mooch a book. And to see if they have any more that I would like. AND the fact that you can list if the book has dog-earred pages, price tags, etc. (I’ve received one from PBS that was clearly not in good shape at all, and if I would have known it, I would not have requested it.) That I LOVE about the site.

  142. Lynn said

    Bookmooch management is 100X better than PBS–I had problems with another member at PBS and whoever runs that site wouldn’t even give me their name/job title or discuss the issue with me, just closed my account and kept the money I had deposited. PBS is fine when everything is working right but don’t expect to get any help or the management to be reasonable if you have a dispute.

    • Eva Marie said

      I’ve had the management be fine with me whenever I’ve had any questions and a friend had a problem there that was resolved quickly and to her satisfaction. That sucks that that happened but I don’t think that’s the norm for them.

  143. Leela4 said

    >I’d love to get your thoughts: leave comments below with what you think PBS did that made them suddenly grow? What do you think BM should do?

    It was the expanding to DVDs and CDs, full stop. Swap newcomers are eyeing their accumulated clutter, and they try the first apparently-easy site that allows them to deal with it *all*. If they stick with it, they will later add a second and maybe even third more specific site so they have a better chance of obtaining items they want so they aren’t just accumulating points.

    It used to be newcomers started off with TitleTrader for the same reason. With a name like “Paperback Swap”, PBS has an edge in the search engines, and now that they deal in DVDs and CDs *they’re* now the startoff “let’s give swapping a try” site.

    As to what BM should do, you have two choices: Decide that BM and PBS are now too different for adequate comparison. Or open up BookMooch to DVDs and CDs. I’d favor the former, myself.

    Honestly, keep BM friendly and easy to use and people will continue to sign up and stay. Certainly you want to be appealing to people who want to escape PBS’s annoyances!

  144. Michelle said

    Not sure if anyone mentioned it, but the 1st time I heard of Paper Back Swap was because People Mag published a blurb about this sometime early this year. (Can’t find the exact copy to give you the date). But I bet that is a large reason why their popularity shot up. To be honest, I only heard about Book Mooch through my sister-in-law, after we’d both signed up for PBS

  145. Brian said

    John, after seeing lots of comments here that people like the PBS auto-request wish list, expressing frustration with the BM “book available” e-mails, and knowing your desire to make the process equal for newcomers, what if you instituted a wish list with auto-requesting that inserted new people randomly into the queue?

    For example, if 30 people have a book on their wish lists, when the 31st person wishes it, she is not put at the end of the queue, but at a random position in the queue between 1st and 31st.

    One drawback with this is people who are near the end of the queue are more likely to get bumped back than people near the beginning of the queue. To solve that, the entire queue could be re-randomized every time someone adds a book to his wish list.

    That way, you maintain a system that allows new users to get a chance at a book, but still implements auto-requests so people don’t get frustrating experiences with not being the first to jump on an e-mail.

    PBS and FR allow users to put wish list books in two categories: auto-request, or notify. You might need to implement something like that for people who only have a few points left to spend, but have large wish lists. That way they can set wish list books they really-really want to “auto-request”, and set those they’re a little less interested in to “notify”. An available book would go to someone who has “auto-request” enabled. The only time a “mooch available” notification would be sent for a book is when everyone is on the list is set to “notify first”.

  146. Dara said

    I was burnt by PBS and will never go back there. BM is much simpler to use. I have gotten so many books for myself as well as, for our library. I think your system is much more fair.

    I appreciate all your hard work.

  147. tisabira said

    I used both sites, but I started here at BM. BM is my favorite by far, but at the same time, I haven’t been able to get as many of the books I really want on here and have about 38 credits that I haven’t been able to use. I have given away far more books than I have mooched.

    I have started using PBS and the swapDVD site to fill in the gap of books I couldn’t get. I was able to get a few of them over there, and things over there I saw in the “new listings” I came over here, checked for and found! I like transferring my DVD credits (which I have more of than PBS credits) to PBS for use. Don’t feel bad, I can’t seem to get any of the DVDs I want over there 😉 So it all balances out somehow.

    I do like the feature that lets me easily browse PBS, almost like walking into a used book store and checking out the shelves to see what might interest me.

  148. Vagaond said

    In my above entry, I mentioned an improvement that I thought bookmooch could use. However, there are many things that I like about bookmooch. The people I trade with have all been nice & I haven’t had any problems. My problem with PBS was, it felt like a selling site. I originally sold books on amazon & the moochees from PBS felt more like customers. If I want that feeling, I’ll go back to amazon. I like the ease of communication on BM for each transaction.

    Also, I’ve listed a few books in less than stellar condition for the simple reason that maybe someone would want it anyway. I’ve also mooched books in unsellable condition here because I’m only going to read it myself. So, on bookmooch, we have greater access to books that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to read because of a cosmetic defect.

    I live near a post office so I could care less about a postal option. On PBS, they have you wrap the book in paper. I don’t like that at all. I box most of my books, especially the hardcovers so the postage wouldn’t come out right anyway.

    • strawberry queen said

      The paper wrapper is optional. I never wrap my books in paper. Just use a bubble envelope. Book will be protected and postage is about the same. Our post office will not allow you to drop anything over 13 ounces in their outside box and the postal carriers will not pick it up. You have to go to the window.

    • Sarah said

      I’ve used them all. PBS is no different than bookmooch in the regard that you can package your book however you want to. They do show easy directions on how you can wrap your book in paper *if you want to*, but they don’t require it. I haven’t come across a trading site yet that makes you wrap your packages a certain way.

  149. Karen H said

    I have not been getting any exciting mooches in some time. When I first joined I got many good books here. Mostly what I find here is either an Advance Reader Copy, or an older book. Many times I cancel because if a mooch hasn’t been accepted in 10 days I take my point back.

    PBS has better quality books. I just post my wishlist and wait for my turn to come up. I can trade my book points for cd’s or dvd’s as well.

    I don’t really like having to constantly check to see if anything is moochable, and often am disappointed if something shows up, the person won’t send it.

    With the cost of postage, I’m leaning more towards PBS and Bookins where I get a better return for my investment. I only post things here that aren’t wanted on other sites and when I use up my points, I’ll probably drop Bookmooch.

  150. marmalade said

    I like BookMooch!! I like the atmosphere here & I like the variety of books! I do find many many books here that I want & like.

    I also belong to PBS, but as has been noted here, PBS & BM are different… but I like the differences!! and I take advantage of the differences.

    At BM, I’ve gotten books where it would have been more than a year until it might have become available at PBS. But I also like the FIFO system at PBS, since I’ve just been offered a book that I’ve been waiting 3 years for!!

    I truly appreciate the international aspect of BM!! and I live in the US!! I’ve mooched internationally, I send internationally & I’ve “angeled”, too!! I’ve gotten books that aren’t available in the US & that has been great!

    One thing that disappoints me about BM are the people who won’t send internationally due to postage costs that equal or exceed the cost of the book. I’m surprised that they don’t realize that books in many regions (including the EU) far exceed what we in the US would consider reasonable!! A book that in the US might cost $5USD might only be available at $25USD if at all! The impression that I receive from international moochers is that there are very many books that just are not available where they live! So it isn’t just about the cost to US moochers.

    I look at books as a very precious commodity & I know how much I appreciate getting a book from someone. I also appreciate knowing that when I send a book that it is going to someone who actually wants that book! BM lets me send books to someone who wants that book when I don’t.

    Thank you, John, for BookMooch!!

  151. Mike said

    Adding CD’s, videos and audio books to BM couldn’t hurt. Personally I find all the separate sites at PB annoying.
    Bigger might be that among the in-folks BM is a household name and an attention getter when selling the great service. However PBS is catchier and more logical in a purely searchable sense. It’s also kind of like an 800 number/name like “call 800/Johnnys” – easy to remember.

  152. tennantfamily said

    Oh dear oh dear!
    I got a quarter or less of the way down this discussion and several things struck me:
    If PBS is USA only, then the whole issue is slightly irrelevant to me because I couldn’t use it if I wanted to, and from the sound of it I wouldn’t want to.

    I suspect the rise in its popularity is partially due to the obvious meaning of its name, whereas mooch in UK English means hang around, and really sounds a bit sleazy!

    As for all the criticisms of BM lacking this or that widget/gadget well (Ankeborg) we created our own label printing page, just add the addresses and the author as we receive them and print when full: 6 labels to the sheet (if mooching is slow I may handwrite them in), with the BookMooch logo in the background and our name and address already preprinted. People who mooch from us often comment how good it is.
    We would be happy for it to be used by BookMooch if there is a demand for such a thing.

    As for foggylady’s wanting to know which of her books to read first, go to the book title/ISBN and check if someone/loadsapeople have it wishlisted. If they have send an email when listing.

    As for Jacquie’s gripe, yes it is frustrating that increasing the USA members seem to reject requests outside the USA (with noteable exceptions). When I am about to list a book extensively wishlisted I often reserve it for 7 or 14 days for the people in Europe or those in places where there are very few moochers, or I mail people and ask if they want it reserved.

    Some members will know that I also sometimes email the person who got the book I’d wishlisted whilst I was sleeping/milking the goats/teaching etc. and ask if they are going to relist when read would they consider reserving it for me. I’m glad BM doesn’t do first come first served, especially when I look at wishlists and decide NOT to reserve a book because that person has thousands of available books listed which they have not mooched.

    I’d love to be an admin. volunteer. I do it unrecognised anyway helping sole moochers (the first in their country) with difficulties in listing, understanding points, sending emails and communicating quickly. I’d also like these moochers recognised and given official help, or volunteer buddies before they get discouraged and leave. Jacquie has sent out bookmarks and cards to some as have I too, and I’ve tried to match up people with the correct language skills to help others (Mexican friends helping Central American sole moochers etc.)

    It also strikes me that if PBS has higher exchange of popular books, BM members who are PBS too may well put their newer more popular books there and only slower moving older copies here, thus creating a knock-on effect.

    We need to push this site to realise its full potential, and to help the sterling volntary, non-commercial work John has begun if we want to see it top the popularity charts.


    • Michael said

      tennantfamily said:
      “It also strikes me that if PBS has higher exchange of popular books, BM members who are PBS too may well put their newer more popular books there and only slower moving older copies here, thus creating a knock-on effect.”

      Yes, and it’s a cycle that I am part of. If I am running low on points at PBS, I’ll put my more popular books there first. Because I’ll be more likely to mooch a popular book from PBS than I will from here. Sadly, I will likely keep doing that because of the FIFO system there.

      • Eva Marie said

        I’m a part of it to and I’ve complained to countless friends because I’d much rather “give” my books, especially popular and wishlisted books to the BM community. But that just doesn’t work for me right now because of how the two sites run themselves. I actually get dissappointed when I go to list a very wishlisted book on PBS because I know there are people here wanting it that I’ve mooched from, who have mooched from me, would make good friends, etc.

    • Chris said

      Gill would you be willing to share your file on the book addresses. It sounds great. I have been using stamps.com but I end up going to the post office to mail them…post man won’t pick them up if I have more than one and I usually do. I am spending $9.99 a month and still have to go to the post office. (have to take 10 to the post office tomorrow).

  153. Pattie said

    I use both. Both have advantages and disadvantages, all of which have been outlined above much more concisely above.

  154. SJO said

    PBS has many advantages. The people are friendlier, the forums are friendlier. Wishlisted books become available much more quickly (a BIG plus). The site is varied and offers so much more than just books (personally, I like the recipe section because I like to cook). The site is up and running and running fast every time I hit it. Often when I come to BM and search I sit and wait and wait and wait while the search is in progress…then give up and head to PBS. There’s a sense of community and “kindness” at PBS that I don’t see at BM. I still have some books listed on BM and come here occasionally when looking for a specific book because I still have points, but the majority of my online book-swapping activity is on PBS and, I suspect eventually, 100% will be.

  155. Arica said

    Trying to go back to the original question about why PBS suddenly grew I think is because of the press that they have gotten. BM relies on word of mouth too much. In the advertising world it is a well know principle that word of mouth is unreliable. It is a fact that if you have a good experience with a business that you tell one person but that if you have a bad experience you will tell twenty people. For the simple reason that when you have a new experience with a business you expect it to be a good experience so if your expectations were met then there isn’t much news. But if you went to a new business and had a terrible experience then your expectations weren’t met and your going to tell a lot of people about it. Reading through the comments it sounds like a lot of people spread the word about BM but for every person saying one thing nice about BM there are probably ten people not saying anything at all. BM needs to find ways to advertise that aren’t word of mouth or the bookmarks. I think that BM needs to start taking out advertisements like Google advertisements. I may be wrong but isn’t Google global. I think the best thing BM could do would be increase its membership. I do understand that BM is non-profit and can’t really afford to pay for advertisements. I think that if you put a business proposal before the members saying this is how much a google advertisement costs for a month in the US and this is how much it costs in England, Australia, or France and then asking for donations you might be surprised with the response. If the membership of BM goes up then everyone benefits.
    PS I have seen comments on PBS and other trading websites talking about the bookmarks and for the most part it has not been very complimentary.

  156. mlquilts said

    I use both sites, but like sending out books from PBS because it’s so much easier. You can click and print the mailing label with the postage and address right on it. However, I do appreciate all the work that goes into BookMooch and seem to receive more books off of it then off of PBS.

  157. Lisa said

    In response to the comment that “comments on PBS and other trading websites talking about the bookmarks and for the most part it has not been very complimentary”, I think the bookmarks and cards were an excellent advertisement. I sent out two boxes of bookmarks and one of the cards. I included 10 in all accounts that were newbies and people fairly new to BM and 1 in each and every book I mailed out, rather it be a BM mailing or PBS mailing. Out of the hundreds I mailed out only 1 person took the time to email me back with a negative remark. I had many, many emails that while thanking me for the book also thanked me for the bookmark and asked additional questions on how BM worked.I loved being able to answer most of their questions and guide them when asked. I also loved being able to whip out a bookmark from my purse or the book I was reading to give to people that I talked to about BM. While I’m not saying that word of mouth is better than good old advertising, IMHO I think the bookmarks were an inspired idea.

  158. Sue Sly said

    I use both BM and PBS. I like them both but love BM. Thanks John for all your work. I find that it’s easier to get books on BM but sometimes the quality of the book is not as good as my experience with PBS. As has been mentioned before, I use PBS more for my professional books. It appears, to me, that I am more guaranteed to get a book that I have requested from a PBS member than from BM members. Perhaps it’s because of the santions that PBS imposes? I also belong to Box-of-Books through PBS and can often get “more for my money”. If I had to choose though it would be BM ALL THE WAY!!!

  159. It may be wise to work with sites like bookcrossing.com. You may be able to generate more international and local trading with a site designed to track where books end up eventually. Also, you could promote bookcrossing.com or a similar site on bookmooch. Creating cooperative links is a great way to get the word out about bookmooch.

  160. Juli said

    I first became a member of PBS a few years ago. Then I found out about BM, maybe a year later. I was able to mooch a book that I was looking for so I was hooked. What I like about BM is the feedback rating, the condition notes and that we get our point as soon as our book is mooched. I still use both sites, probably PBS more since I am finding books I want more over there right now.

  161. village creek queen said

    The thing that bugs me the most is the reserving of books. I want books that are reserved for someone. That should be stopped! If BM is going to a book swapping site, then the reserving should be stopped.

  162. mahre said

    Hi. I noticed this discussion about PBS versus Bookmooch. I much prefer Bookmooch, but have used PBS more this year to find more popular books as I was not finding them on Bookmooch. I also find Bookmooch very slow these days – some days hardly usable – and PBS is never slow. So, if I want to find a book and can’t Bookmooch isn’t cooperating, I look at PBS. They hold books I have on my wishlist for me as well, so I have better luck there in some cases; I don’t have to be quicker than others.

  163. Michele said

    Paperback swap is more user friendly than BookMooch with recommended books shown when you first log into the site. I like the fact that you can donate your points to various charities with BookMooch though with paperback swap you can use your points to obtain CDs and DVDs. Though with BookMooch I like the fact that you get .10 of a point for posting a book and marking a book as received.

  164. Penny said

    After trying a few other sites(Swapsimple and dont even get me started on Frugalreader..agh!), I still think Bookmooch is the better of them.
    I love the easy to use format and of course, since I dont work, the free aspect as well.
    I also feel a little more like a part of a community of booklovers than just another faceless user on the other sites.
    I have looked at PBS and dont think its that great. I dont really love the “sneakiness” of saying its free for now, but in the future, you may be charged. Maybe “sneakiness” isnt the right word (or a word lol), but thats what I think of.
    John is another wonderful part of Bookmooch – you can tell books are one of his passions in life and he cares for the site.
    I know most of the other swap sites are for profit, but it makes a big difference to me to know there is someone who understands the love of books and who wants to help people out with their love of books as well!
    Keep up the good work, John, and dont think too much about the numbers. I would rather be one of the few on here than someone in the crowd on there! 🙂

  165. Joyce said

    I think the main reason it grew is that it got media coverage.

  166. Mary Anne said

    Perhaps I’m just missing something here at BM, but one thing I prefer at PBS is that I can sort all of my lists on several criteria–title, author, date posted/requested, etc. Here, so far as I can tell, everything is sorted by author name and cannot be changed to, for example, title. I frequently can remember the title of a book but forget who the author is, so searching for the book on a long list is a pain. Too, it’s handy to be able to check when I added a book, but so far as I can tell, there’s no way to do that at BM. If I’m just dumb about it and there’s a way to change the sort order of the wish and inventory lists, could someone please tell me how to do it?

    One thing I prefer here is that the lists are text only; those bookcover images at PBS drive me crazy when I’m trying to scan lists quickly. OTOH, having the images available is useful in the same way covers are useful when you’re browsing in a bookstore. Too bad neither site offers an image/non-image option so that I could choose which way I want a list to look depending on why I’m perusing it.

    PBS is more likely to have blurbs about the books (usually from the back cover) as well as reviews, and that’s sometimes useful. Occasionally I’ll go look for more information about a book at PBS even when I’m trying to make a selection here. The user-rating feature is moderately useful, too.

    PBS recently added a feature that allows you to make notes to yourself about the books you’re offering or seeking. Great addition to that site; would be useful here, too.

    • Eva Marie said

      You’ve said this better than anyone else IMO. No one has said anything about PBS, bad, that I’ve actually seen as true. I think people believe these things for just the reason you stated, they know no better. Or don’t know enough. Or are just plain wrong.
      I’ve always loved BM way more than PBS personally and sadly, that’s currently changing. But PBS is neither “sneaky” or anything else of that nature and everything said here in a negative light about PBS is false from my experience.
      I hope that anyone reading these comments, whether pro or con about PBS OR BM, check things out for themselves, rather than taking my opinion or anyone else’s.
      Everything works different for different people which is why so many of us in the U.S. use BOTH. I think it’s great that John is trying to figure out ways to make the most of the site. At the same time, PBS is a great site also.

      • Lisa said

        Mary Anne & Eva,
        Thank you so much. I don’t know why some people have been so negative about either site. I like you use both sites and love both sites for different reasons. Certain situations and books determine which site I use. Neither totally takes care of me and they both manage to work for me for different reasons. Both sites have great people running them and I have never been treated rudely by admin at either sites. I have found neither to be “sneaky” or “dishonest”. I agree that people should check out these sites before condemning them based of a disgruntled swapper or moocher.
        John, thanks for getting this discussion going, I have read the responses daily and am frankly horrified at the many half truths and down right lies( I will assume ignorance on their part rather than the intent to run down either site) that people have listed as reasons they like or don’t like each site.

      • Eva Marie said

        Hi Lisa, I agree wholeheartedly. It’s downright scary to hear some people saying things that are just plain wrong. I understand someone having certain feelings, one way or another, due to an experience but to generalize like a lot are doing is crazy.
        Neither site is *bad* and both sites are, for the most part, great, but they both have things that can be worked on and made better- much like everything in this entire world, including ourselves! 🙂
        I think some people are being harsh with PBS because of reasons that aren’t really justified- that’s what I’ve seen here. I just hope, like I said above, that anyone wanting to see what any site is like will go to see for themself. Not take someones word for it because just as easy as I’m saying the truth, it could be lies as well.
        I love both sites- I just wish the cons would be worked on more to turn them into pros. 🙂

  167. John98109 said

    Bookmooch has a huge advantage in being able to post a book, with “condition notes”. PBS’ big weakness would be their (for lack of a better term) “guideline nazis” encouraging folks to report the tiniest infraction (a small stain on a single page, or the cover, to “maintain standards”), as opposed to a friendly PM reminding that sender of the guidelines. I feel this tattletale approach likely scares (new) members away.
    I don’t find that out-of-country folks are less willing to send books (*please* bear in mind that the U. S. Post Office has no surface option at all!), but that folks here tend to offer books that are highly un-demanded: no longer popular after initial fervor, so lots of copies floating around, or else very obscure books, with sharply limited appeal. I’ve seen members with hundreds of books between these two extremes, with nothing moochable at all in the system.
    Perhaps a bonus system for posting a wishlisted book?

    • Eric G said

      That’s not a bad idea….but as someone pointed out last week, points are already pretty inflated. I used to give my excess points to charities, but at last look even most of them are sitting on hundreds.

      • Eric G said

        Can’t reply below, so replying to myself.

        I like the jump the queue idea. Sounds like a good compromise and nice way to re-inflate the currency.

    • Eva Marie said

      Can you imagine what would happen if MORE points can be easily attained? The reason most of the popular books are going to PBS first is because points/credits are far harder to get there. More points are the last thing BM needed- it’s already entirely too easy to get way more than needed anyway. If I listed all of my books (not even counting my to-read books) I’d be well over a hundred alone. And I’m keeping myself between 10 and 20 at the moment in terms of points.

      • John98109 said

        Regarding the Bookmooch point glut issue, I’m wondering whether folks are interested in an ability to jump the queue on a wishlisted book for say 4 or 5 points per book, either by specific ISBN, or one’s next wishlisted book that’s posted? The points would be deducted upon notification, whether the member eventually mooches the book or not; senders would still be able to reserve a book specifically for another member (who would continue to be offered first choice as now); if more than one person opted for queue-jumping, the book would go FIFO among them.
        Sounds unfair at first perhaps, but unlike PBS, folks here sitting on a pile of credits have them because they’ve posted a lot of desired books (can’t buy credits here), no?
        Just a thought …

      • Eva Marie said

        I don’t know whether this suggestion would work or not as I’ve never thought about it until now but it’s a good suggestion. Maybe something to think about and weigh the pros and cons? I know there are some books I’d consider that for myself.

    • Eva Marie said

      You don’t have to report a small stain on a page or cover either. They just don’t want water damage or books with covers half torn off floating around in the system and I, for one, am happy about that! I’ve never gotten a crappy book from PBS while it has happened here a few times. Take into account all the ‘condition note problems’ we don’t know about also. I sent a book with notes once to someone who left me bad feedback for the exact reason I stated! BM handled it, promptly I might add, but that’s just created work for no reason. Then an admin has to weigh in on something that could have been easily avoided.
      PBS isn’t at all like some have mentioned, being that particular. They just don’t want crap in the system and don’t want their members getting crap. I think as long as you aren’t listing to trying to order crap I’m happy.

      • John98109 said

        If you read the forums at PBS, the “veteran” members feel *VERY* strongly that *any* stain, anywhere (inc back cover) should be reported as a problem, and one’s credit is to be returned with NO exceptions; they are on a similar crusade regarding *any* water damage.
        I believe that the vast majority of traders there are willing to overlook minor stains and damage, but the zealots will be out with their rulers for tears just over one inch, and will report one underlined word, or notation-in-pen, in a nanosecond. They are on a dead serious crusade to “maintain standards”, invoking the site guidelines that technically forbid such books.

    • Katy said

      I think people are mostly concerned about being able to re-post the book when they’re done with it at PBS. If someone sends a book that doesn’t meet guidelines, they’ve lost that option to re-post the book there. The guidelines there are pretty clear about NO water damage and NO stains (no exceptions), and I generally don’t have a problem following the rules anyway. But it upsets me when I take so much care to post books that meet guidelines there, only to receive books with water damage and stains (my most recent book from there had both). 😦

      I definitely see the benefits of having the opportunity to list the book’s condition here–it is nice to be able to post books here that may not meet PBS standards but that others here would still take, even with a little water damage. I’ve been very careful about fully describing any major problems with my books here, since I’d want to know as a receiver.

  168. Regina Franchi said

    How about making larger quanitities of the bookmarks and bookcards available to give out? I’m going to World Science Fiction convention in August and I’ve been trying to mooch a box of 500 cards and there was one listed for europe and now there’s one but it’s reserved. Would help to get the word out if we could get the advertising material from you.

  169. Eva Marie said

    John98109- I AM a veteran PBS member and I DO read the boards- every day in fact. NO ONE I have EVER come in contact with on that site has been like you’re mentioning. Not ONE person.
    The fact that they want to maintain standards is a GOOD thing! I don’t know about you but I like to know that the book I’m ordering won’t have a half cover on it, that half the pages won’t be stuck together with God only knows what.
    The only people I can see having a problem with that practice are the people wanting to list crap! Why on earth would anyone feel this is a bad practice, on ANY site, if they have decent books to post? I’ve posted and ordered books with a tear over one inch, with an underlined word, and other things and have never had a problem brought to me and haven’t brought problems to anyone else.
    I’m not sure where you’re getting your examples from but you are most definitely wrong. It’s really not a good thing to say things that we’re unsure of.
    I have to assume you’ve had some problems yourself and I’d like to know what kind? How long have you been a member there?

  170. John98109 said

    Here are a couple of threads to show what I’ve seen there – as I did not make this stuff up, it was wrong of you to accuse me of being “unsure” and “wrong” – in future you might think before saying stuff like that. I’m not continuing this discussion any further, but wanted to set the record straight that I am not making stuff up, just because you say I am.



  171. Katy said

    I just recently joined BM to try it out, and have been a member at PBS for over a year. I’ve sent out one book here, and the one thing I miss so far is the ability to print out a shipping label. I felt like the package was naked without having a BM logo on it–I always feel like I’m advertising PBS when I go to the PO to mail it because there are PBS logos on the label/packaging.

    I’m also not a huge fan of the wishlist here (I’m one of those people who likes FIFO), but I also like to order older books that are more available from time to time, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find *something* I’d like to read here.

    One last note on my experience here as a newbie so far–the fact that I received my credit before mailing out my book made me feel much less urgent about getting that book in the mail. IDK if that’s a good thing or not. I could see how that would increase mailing times here.

    • Michael said

      “the fact that I received my credit before mailing out my book made me feel much less urgent about getting that book in the mail. IDK if that’s a good thing or not. I could see how that would increase mailing times here.”

      Never thought about that, but you’re right. I’ve had *slightly* more problems with late shipments from BM, but not enough that I would scream about. I do happen to like that PBS sends warning emails to people who mail later than they promise. BM is too forgiving about everything, IMHO, and requires that the two members fight out any problems without any official rules, just suggestions.

      For example, I ordered a hardcover copy of a book here a few months back. From an international source, so it cost me 2 points. I received the paperback version, and a earlier edition to boot. And he mailed it later than promised, 2 weeks after he marked it mailed, because he said he forgot. When I contacted him, he was like, “what’s the problem? it’s still a book!” and I asked for my points back, like the policy suggests. He fought, but eventually gave them up, of course keeping the extra point for himself, which he did not deserve. (I don’t think t should have gone to me — instead, I think it should have gone back to BM). But other than any feedback I might have left, there are no repercussions for his poor behavior.

      • Eva Marie said

        Very good comment Michael- I definitely agree with you. BM is far to easy on the people who take advantage of others. That’s kind of hand in hand with a comment I made before, about the rules and regulations at PBS. I can’t see anyone who follows the rules being upset that they’re in place. I for one am happy about them! It takes a lot of the worry off of my mind.
        I got a package just today in the mail that was in a twinkie box with a rubber band around it. No tape, no paper, nothing. I’m still in shock that the book was still inside it. There are clear cut rules for packaging and shipping at PBS. I’ve never gotten anything less than safely packaged there. When people are left to their own devices 100% there are bound to be problems. Rules are a good thing when it comes to something like this. IMO.

      • Chris said

        I have requested 10 books. 6 members delayed sending for a week or more. 2 of those people were super nice and offered another book from their inventory to compensate for the delay. I believe those 2 people had real reasons for the delay. The other 4 I doubt do. They took the instant credit and went out and got the books they wanted and I am still waiting for mine. I know I can go in and cancel them should I find the book from someone else..who might actually get it in the mail. I have done that with one person and am hoping I can on the others. To me this is the only problem BM has

  172. Joyce said

    For me the fact that people can send the books at a relaxed pace is a definite plus and attracting influence for me to use Book Mooch. We all have good intentions, but sometimes we get tons of requests for our books and it just takes time to have the funds to send them all out. Some people have had 40 book requests at once. I don’t mind at all waiting a long time for a fellow moocher to send my book. I know they will eventually, but it does not bother me, as I have also been in the position where I have to stagger the book sendings due to sheer mailing costs of having posted desirable books!

    Book Mooch has a means to notify the requester that there will be a delay in sending. I think this system is just perfect. If the delay is not good for the requester, they can cancel, no problem there, and if it is no issue, then they will agree to wait; everyone is still happy.

    • Chris said

      I understand not having the funds to mail out a bunch of books at once. Money is tight everywhere. To make sure I have the funds to mail out books when requested, I hold off on posting books that seem to be popular. Right now I am reading JD Robb books and as soon as I finished them I listed them and they were snapped up right quick. So I am not posting them as quickly so I don’t have to spend a more on postage then I have in my pocket. I don’t think it is fair someone is taking the points they received for not mailing my book out in a timely matter and they are getting the books they want, while I wait. I wish that could be changed

      • Joyce said

        Are you thinking that if they did not get a credit until they clicked on the button that says they mailed the book, then it would be more fair? I can see that… it is kind of surprising that you get a credit when you have not yet mailed the book.

      • Chris said

        With PBS you don’t get credit until there is proof you mailed it. Either using their postage, or delivery confirmation or member has received the book…depending on the method the sender uses. Here on BM, as soon as you accept the request, you get credit for the book. Meaning they now have the point and can go request a book and then mail my book when they dang well please. To my thinking the least change that can be made is for them to get the credit when they mark it mailed…although there is no proof they did mail it.

    • Eva Marie said

      One thing you are definitely wrong about is that we “all have good intentions”. I can see someone assuming that- usually because THEY have only good intentions. I assumed that to at first.
      The reality is that there are a decent number of people who make an account for the sole purpose of taking advantage of the site and it’s members.
      If someone makes an account, lists some books and accepts to sends them, they have points. They can then mooch books and if all goes well, they’ll have who knows how many on there way in a matter of days. Then they don’t have to send out theirs. And….what’s stopping them from closing that account and opening up a new one? Or opening up a new one when they get shut down? I’ve seen it happen. I can count a dozen instances off the top of my head alone of straight forward abuse.

  173. Sheena said

    I’m a member of PBS & BM. I love both sites for different reasons, but the advantages of PBS include: printable shipping, clear rules, and user-friendly fast-loading forums.

    PBS makes it easy for me to mail books by providing printable postage. I don’t have to visit the post office every time I mail out a book over 13 oz. The service also generates income for the site. Something like that would be advantageous for BM in generating funds for things like a new server.

    PBS forums are very active and easy to use, unlike the BM forum. I have been so disappointed in being unable to use the Book Mooch forum. I contacted tech support about my forum messages not being posted, but I was told that my messages must be booted off as spam (even though I’ve tried to post from 2 different email accounts and on the forum site). I’ve used a number of forums on different sites, and never had the problems as with the BM forums. Forums are a vital aspect in building an online community. It’s easy to feel like an outsider when you can’t participate in the community.

    I do think BM provides some important advantages over PBS, including a place to list a book’s condition and an opportunity to mooch wishlist books regardless of when you put the book on your wishlist. By listing some of the same inventory and wished books on BM and PBS, both sites complement each other nicely.

  174. Shary Luck said

    I tried PBS and my books were never requested but they flew off the shelf (as usual) from BM. I think PBS has a great fancy intriging website that draws you in because you can “thumb” thru book covers. However I HATE the way it functions. The notices and the fact that you cant see who is requesting or contact them. Its awful. I ended it after only 3 months. I LOVE BM. The glitz is not important. The mooching and giving is!

  175. I know I’m late to the party on this, but thought I’d chime in with my 0.02 USD.

    I’m a member of BM and PBS. I have found that I can get/give a wider variety of books here, but can more easily/quickly get the “latest and greatest” books there.

    So for me, there’s nothing really that you can do to change that. I like both sites a lot, but for different reasons.

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