Survey Two

June 29, 2009

Professor and moocher Karl Fast has given me some preliminary results from the second survey that took place 3 weeks ago.

Karl wrote me this morning:

The findings document is a brief summary of the survey that you could post to the blog as away of letting the community know we found.

The forums document is a quick extraction of all data about the forums. It includes the results from the forum question and all comments that mention the forum. We thought you might find this useful as you work on implementing the new forums.

The reservations document is another quick extraction, this time with data about the reservation system. It includes data from the reservation question and all comments that mention this feature.

Thiago has interviewed 3 additional people. He had planned to interview 1-2 more, but he just landed a job with a design firm. So he’s busy moving next week and will be finishing his report over July and submitting it in early August. The report should be useful to you, but it won’t be written in as useful or clear a style as our report from last fall because it has to meet university guidelines for formatting, style, and so forth. In other words, it has to be written in a dull, objective, detailed, and boring style.

General Findings:

Goals for using BookMooch
An essential part of the BookMooch experience is the transaction: the act of sending and getting books via mail. Similar to our previous research, we found that exchanging books for the joy of trading books is an important goal for BookMooch users. It was ranked as the fifth most popular goal, after getting books that I want to read, recycling my books, finding a home for my books and creating more space in my house, respectively. Interestingly, we found that more than half of the users never or rarely include personal notes when sending books (63% never or rarely do that).

Actions before mooching
Most BookMoochers examine the other member’s inventory and profile before mooching a book. The numbers indicate that 67% of users examine others’ inventories most of the time or always, whereas 63% examine others’ profiles most of the time or always. In contrast, the majority of users said that they don’t have a picture on their own profile pages (81% of them don’t). BookMooch widgets are not popular either. Only 7% of users said they have widgets on their profiles. The history of previous transactions doesn’t seem as popular as profiles and inventories. Only 43% of users reported that they check it most of the time or always, when mooching a book.

Establishing personal connections via email
BookMoochers are willing to communicate when asked to or when there’s a problem during a transaction. However, they’re not as keen to establish a personal connection just for the sake of exploration. Emailing users before mooching a book is not a popular activity. We found that 67% of people never or rarely do that. On the other hand, the majority of users said they answer emails regarding books that are on their inventory (91% do it most of the time or always), send emails when shipping is delayed (92% do it most of the time or always) and email moochers if any problem happen before shipping a book (85% do it most of the time or always).

International swapping
The numbers indicate that 52% of users do international swapping most of the time or always, 17% do it some of the time and 31% never or rarely participate in such transactions. Likewise, our previous research had indicated that a considerable number of people were not willing to send books overseas. One way to stimulate transactions among people from different countries may be to simply make them aware of the Angel Network. We found that 15% percent of BookMooch users never heard about Angels. Currently, only 19% of BookMoochers participate in the Network.


Question: I participate on the BookMooch Forum (out of 1389 answers)

Yes: 329 – 24%
No: 915 – 66%
Never heard of it: 145 – 10%

I use the LibraryThing forums instead of the Bookmooch ones, as they work better.

I am finding that as a new member I seem to be giving away nearly all of the books that I have read or don’t want before I start thinking about what I would like to receive. I will be interested in how this next stage of my bookmooch membership is aided by the site, eg in terms of forums, discussions, recommendations. I lack the confidence so far to discuss books with other readers. I see myself as a voyeur of what other people are reading rather than a participator in discussions. I think the concept of bookmooch is both honourable and exciting. A great idea and one that I keep telling my friends about.

The questions about why I use Bookmooch were difficult to answer. While I do like having conversations about books and interacting with people who like books, these things are impossible to do on Bookmooch with it’s forums as is. I do these things on Librarything and Goodreads, not Bookmooch. / Preeteens manage to have websites with functioning forum/discussion boards, I’m not sure why Bookmooch can’t seem to manage it.

I would like to be able to use BookMooch again as a social network. The lack of forums is causing a disconnect in the BM community.

I love Bookmooch and the forums…I have learned many things through the communications.

I don’t use the forum feature because it is incredibly slow to the point where it is unusable. When I want to talk about Bookmooch i use the forum on LibraryThing or / / I get very irritated when I get an email about a wishlist book that has become available, only to find that the owner will not send it to my country (UK). / /

BookMooch rocks! I use BookMooch everyday to mooch books I want to read, haven’t heard of before but were recommended to me, and books that I’ve already read but want a better looking copy. I read messages on the BM forum as well as the BM group on LibraryThing.

I’m enjoying being here. I’m a member also at PBS and I think each site has different strengths. / / Have tried to access the forums here but rarely able to because access was inordinately slow. / / I cut my wishlist drastically a while back but still have well over 1000 books on it; for quite a while I have rarely gotten anything on the list. Not sure why. / / Thanks for the site!

Make the discussion forums easier. I’ve asked questions twice and never got answers. Heck, i dont even know if my questions were actually posted.

I would like to be involved on the forums, but have not been able to access them. I don’t know if it is because I have a Mac and use Safari or if there is some other sort of login process that I somehow missed.

The forums are awfully slow. I don’t know if it’s only my problem. / I love to include some small additional stuff with my books – like postcards, bookmarks or teabags.

Please improve the speed of the current BookMooch Forum. It is WAY to slow to use on a frequent basis.

I don’t use BookMooch for any of it’s “features” i.e. forums, recommendations, etc. They are too difficult to navigate/locate. I like the simplicity of it’s purpose: to trade books. I use another trading site for the social networking aspects of book trading. BookMooch is not even in the same ball park, but it works for trading.

bookmooch needs a better forum program

I love Bookmooch and have had many successful book swaps. I would be interested in using the forums to talk to other members but have never been able to get that feature to work.

Most of my comments would be about how it’s hard to use the widgets – have read about them, but still cannot figure it out. Have seen a forum, but couldn’t find it again. Many of the features that I see once, I cannot figure out how to find them again!

I don’t use the bookmooch forums, but I do contribute to conversations in the bookmooch forum on LibraryThing. I use LibraryThing to communicate with other readers, and bookmooch to give away and acquire books. I receive more than I give away, because I usually can’t bear to part with books I have read. I do keep an eye out for free piles and cheap books at yard sales to buy and mooch.

Have never been able to get anyone involved in the administration of Bookmooch to answer questions or provide technical support. I would like to participate in the forum, but have never been able to log into it, and can’t get a volunteer to answer my email asking for help. The Wiki does not answer my questions, and comments left by others suggest I am not the only one with this problem.

I love Bookmooch, I’m from a Latin American country and it’s allowed me to mooch books in English (unavailable or extremely expensive) and send my own books in English or Spanish to many different countries. I’ve met several great and friendly members through the forum, they are always making jokes, holding contests. All in all, it’s a very positive experience that has ensured that I won’t run out of books to read in a very long time 🙂

I LOVE bookmooch. It has served me SO well. / / One thing that I think BM could encourage is a rating system and comments about the book itself. When I’m browsing for books, I typically check my visual bookshelf for feedback from other readers. It would be nice if this flourished in bookmooch so I could get more information from this site alone. Some forums to discuss the books might be nice too and make this a more complete, interesting site. / / Great job though. Keep up the good work!

Regarding the question about whether I have asked/answered questions on the forum – I indicated yes b/c I have tried, but I did not find the forum very user-friendly, and, if I recall correctly, I had to try to post several times before it would let me. I also do not think anyone ever answered my question once I finally posted successfully. I haven’t checked the forum in a very long while as a result, but if it is still the same, I would suggest it be improved.

I could give my books away to Goodwill, but there’s something about the personal connection of having an individual request a particular book that is satisfying. / I also discover so many books that I want to read while browsing BM and reading the forums. It’s a wonderful community. / / However, at this point, I have given away and mooched a lot of books, still have points to spend, and am not finding many books available that I want.

I use’s BookMooch forum to participate in discussions about BookMooch – issues, ask or answer questions, when I need an angel, likes, frustrations…

I hate forum!!! It sucks a lot, it’s incredibly slow, not functional, example of demotivating-to-use forum. There are so many cool tools to be used to create an excellent forum and I can’t understand why they are not used. I never will use this terrible forum, that’s for sure! / / The database – both books and users is terribly messy! There are thousands of not exsisting information, wrong data, users who do not use BM since 3 years and so on…

I use Bookmooch mostly because it doesn’t have a FIFO system and can therefore get harder to get books quicker. However, it is hard to get books that I want becuase I am always looking for recently published books and can usually get them quicker on Paperbackswap. / I do like shipping international and getting books internationally becuase books in England come out sooner if the author is from England. I’ve gotten books this way which is better than waiting for the book to come out in America. / I would love to see an easier way of looking at books that other people are mooching or reading in specfic categories. Since I am a teacher and have met other teachers or parents lookng for specfic books, it would be nice to see a forum or a way to see what other teachers and parents are getting for their students.

Just joined but nice trading site. I have never been able to access the forums though.

I don’t use the BM forums, but I frequently use the BM forum at Librarything. (frequently = almost daily)


Question: When I list books I reserve my books for friends (out of 1358 answers)

Never: 764 – 56%
Rarely: 346 – 25%
Some of the time: 179 – 13%
Most of the time: 36 – 3%
Always: 33 – 3%

Love the site and community, but I really despise the fact that a book on my wishlist still has the “Mooch” button next to it, when the book is reserved or the member will not ship out of their country. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten excited to see a book on my wishlist just to click “Mooch” and find out that “Sorry, no one is willing to send this book to you”. / Other than that, I have no complaints!

I use Bookmooch to give away the books I already read that I got from bargains or thrift shops, or from high-end bookstore sales. I usually find out that books I got cheaper than the original price (due to occasional sale since the books) is mostly on wishlists so it gets mooched. / / However, it isn’t the same when it comes to my wishlist: I rarely get the book that I really want. Most of the time the sender does not send to my country, or the book is already reserved for someone else but I am notified if it is listed.

I am curious about the emails I occasionally receive letting me know that a book on my wish list is available. On another site, I will only be notified a wish list book is out there if it is being held for me; on bookmooch, invariably, by the time I get to the site to mooch the book it has already been taken by someone else. I have also gotten a rather snotty message “sorry! That book is reserved for someone else!” Which leaves me wondering why, if that is the case, I get those emails, and if I should ever bother paying any attention to them…

I always reserve books, so that they cannot be grabbed out from a member who’s been waiting patiently by someone who “thinks might like that” when it’s posted.

I cannot currently afford to ship overseas, although I do send to Canada. When I answer the ‘ask first’ message, I do not use the form on BookMooch, which does not allow me to include a message. I respond through my e-mail program, letting the moocher know I will leave the reservation in place in case they want time to find an angel. I have helped prospective moochers find an angel if they are unfamiliar with the program.

When I first joined Bookmooch a couple of years ago, wishlisted books were much more readily available and I was constantly mooching and sending. With all of the changes, I very rarely get notification for any books on my wishlist. Often when I do get a notification, the book is already reserved for someone else or it is no longer available.

I’ve been a member of BM since the beginning. I have 55 points and very rarely get to request a wishlisted book, most often when I request I get the “reserved for a friend” message. This has made me change my posting behaviour – I am posting “A-list” books on PaperbackSwap, where I get a constant stream of wishlisted books, rather than on BM which used to be fantastic, but is now a place for my points to pile up unused. Too bad, really, because I love the “feel” of BookMooch, I love sending books around the world to people who can’t get them where they live. I still am doing this (last week I sent books to Australia and Canada) but this is more altruistic than economic – I certainly don’t need the points. I’ll never leave BM, but I am using and enjoying it less than in years past.

I mostly reserve the books I list, sometimes to friends, sometimes to people to sent me an email asking to have the book when I’m done reading it.

I like both the “green” aspect of recycling books and the occassional $ savings. I occassional find an older or hard to find book. But I just spent $9 to send a book to Austrailia and about $7 to send one to Japan. Even for 3 vs 1 point, there is not any equity here. It would be great if there were a chart that tells us generally what the international cost is or give 4 points if the cost is over a certain amount. I know I can figure it out, book by book, but I am time strapped. My page warns people that I have trouble getting to the post office as I travel and work when the post office is open. I also typically tell people this when I accept a mooch. Twice, I have gotten negative feedback. One time, I was unable to get the feedback about feedback button to work. Typically my books are new or lightly used and many wishlists, so I am sad about negative comments. I am also annoyed to see something on my wishlist, but the see a note that says “no one is willing to send you this book.” I suggest a limit for how long books can be reserved. 2 on my wishlist now have been there for over a month, perhaps two. I also worry about the security of BM. I don’t like that my real name and address are available. In the event, I don’t have another opportunity later, I want to make clear that my thoughts are not all negative. Mostly folks are nice, the books are well wrapped and in good or better condition. THanks for asking!

I am from an isolated country so lots of the books on my wish-list, that are available to mooch, appear from international members’ lists – I would like them not to appear if they are reserved and therefore NOT available; otherwise I would like to see the condition etc to check before I ask an ‘angel’; a notification for a book that is NOT available, i.e. reserved, is very frustrating. / Also – an internal notification for an ‘ask first’ would be appreciated as many of my ‘ask first’ requests just don’t make it to the member’s inbox! Even repeated emails often don’t make it either – I know this as I have received bewildered replies telling me so; and the other member is upset at not getting them too. A list – on the pending page – would be good, and linked to a ‘yes I will send’ or a ‘no I am unable to send’ and after that a notification as usual can be sent to the requester. I would like to see the requests I get for ‘ask first’ – my setting – through my pending pages very much. / / Lastly – I would like the ‘books given’ and ‘books mooched’ pages on my home page linked to separate pages; and to be able to see more on a page at a time, rather than trawling and trawling and trawling through pages to see if I have mooched from this person before and when I did. Or doing the same on another member’s pages; especially when the numbers of mooches are high. The latest change John has done with this is not at all helpful to me in this regard. /

Comments from John:

I’m currently working on the forums feature for BookMooch, and hoping to have it available within the next two weeks, so hopefully a lot of the comments about the forums be moot after that. Of course, there will be different complaints then!

Also, the 1st complaint in “reservations” about the “mooch” button appearing even when you can’t mooch the book is no longer true, as that was one of the things I changed based on feedback from this blog. I previously wrote: “The ‘mooch’ button will no longer appear if there are no moocheable copies for you. You no longer need to click ‘mooch’ to see if you can get the book, since the “Moochable copies” field now tells you.”

46 Responses to “Survey Two”

  1. Beatriz said

    *Also, the 1st complaint in “reservations” about the “mooch” button appearing even when you can’t mooch the book is no longer true, as that was one of the things I changed based on feedback from this blog*

    Maybe he/she was talking about the mooch button in wishlists?

  2. Becky K. said

    I tried to take the survey, but every time I tried to access it I got “This webpage cannot be displayed.” That’s weird, because I was able to take the first survey a while back. 😦

  3. I’m sorry, but who cares about any of that? Work on the Recommendations…help us find books!! Amazon, the scum of the earthm has several hundred for me at any one time. My wants are not popular, but still….

    Sorty, broken record here. I just don’t care about Forums, and librarywhatsises and whether a button says this or that. I still have Mooch all over my wishlist, and when I go there I can’t, for now some rambling reason: it could be this, or you may live there, or something else.


  4. If you’ve already designed and are testing the new forum this comment is probably too late. Hopefully what I have to say is obvious and you have considered it.

    Those of us who have been BookMooch forum regulars for a long time love the email nature of the forum. I bet a large percentage of the email subscribers would not use the forum if they had to log onto it online and browse through the topics to read each post. I subscribe to the daily digest. It would be a real shame if the new forum satisfies only the people who don’t use the forum now, and disregards all the current forum users who participate by email.

    Like with most things, the best solution is to have choices — use the forum quickly and easily online, or participate by email. If I have the option I will subscribe to an email digest of the forum sections that interest me, and browse the forum online occasionally to see what else is happening.

    Thanks for BookMooch, John!

    • tennantfamily said

      I’d love to participate in the forums, but like many here cannot, because of the impossibility of accessing them. I’ve tried over 10 times and after half an hour am still not connected. Once I left it trying to access the forums for 150 minutes and still no joy. I’m quite happy for it to be email forum or OLR or on-line, if only I could get there!

  5. KathyS said

    If I could figure out where the widgets are and how to use them, I would do so. I’ve seen them on some other people’s pages and think they are neat, but when I couldn’t easily figure out how to use/get one, I gave up.

  6. Sandy said

    Once again thank you for your message about the survey – warts ‘n’ all!

    I have tried to use the forum in the past but found it more like a message board that was very jumbled, needless to say I gave up!

    I love sending my books out to others but I had to change from Worldwide to only my country as I was sending approx 77% of all mooches abroad, with 25% of all mooches going to USA. This was great for ranking up the points but not so great on my pocket!! I still find it irks me a small amount to see that mostly USA members have no problem mooching from overseas but won’t sent outside their country. I don’t want to be mean, but I have changed my status to only to my country whilst the finances recover.

    My other comment would be that the ‘lost in the post’ button still takes too long at 6 weeks for domestic. I know now that a certain book isn’t going to arrive but have to wait 6 weeks to leave feedback.

    • John98109 said

      Sandy –

      We in the USA have no access at all to a surface mail option internationally — sending books outside North America is quite costly for us. I send books to Europe on occasion, but US/Canadian wishers get priority.

      • MagdaDH (MDDH) said

        I started to send more books internationally recently – but I would like to see a separation between Europe and outside Europe in options and possibly points given. UK postal charges to Europe are reasonable, but to the US rather high!

        In fact, it usually costs me MORE to send a book surface mail printed papers to the US than it seems (from postal charges printed on envelopes) to cost US members to send airmail to me. I do wish more American members used “ask first” option as I have seen many light (eg children’s picture books) listed as “only to my country” that would probably cost less to post to the UK than a standard book to post internally.

        I agree with the 6 weeks internally. if something doesn’t arrive within UK after 2-3 weeks, it will not arrive.

      • tennantfamily said

        I simply don’t understand where Magda’s mail costs come from.
        Printed paper rate for surface mail is the same to anywhere outside the UK (from the UK that is).
        I send by 2nd class mail internally and printed paper rate surface mail to everywhere else.
        Unlike Magda I have noticed books from the USA costing substantially more in postal rates than I have to pay per weight.
        I applaud those Americans who will send abroad, and only feel perhaps an additional option “will send to any country with less than 100 members might be useful in expanding BookMooch across new territories.

  7. tennantfamily said

    I think it is a great shame when people change their preferences to “Only to my country”, because they feel that they are unfairly spending out whilst others don’t have the same philosophy. A good compromise might be “Ask first” and then one can agree to post to others who DO also post internationally, rather than continually depleting the pool of international moochers.
    I’m not so rich it doesn’t concern me, in fact I’m on a depleted pension, and my week’s BookMooch postal bill today is £60.11! Most of the mooches being charities they have also had their points refunded.
    The knowledge books are going where they are really valued is unbeatable.
    Sometimes too there may be a really valid reason why someone cannot send abroad, student, impoverished carer, just lost job… spread a little happiness.

    • Tria said

      If you’re on a depleted pension and can still afford to spend £60 at a time on anything but a utility bill, you’re better off than I am – I get about that per week, and I’m on DLA – and I still send internationally whenever I can manage it.

      What’s driving ME bats at the moment is the sudden difficulty of using BM via mobile phone WAP – I had no trouble before these latest changes, but missed out on mooching a book that is high on my wishlist very recently because, having no home internet temporarily, I tried to mooch through my phone’s internet browser and could no longer make it work. Maddening.

      • tennantfamily said

        We live very simply in the middle of nowhere, and produce our own milk, fruit and vegetables. Mobiles don’t work in this area, but I sympathise with your difficulties. As it appears one is not allowed to send internationally only to others who do so, then it makes the preponderance of “only to my country” members inevitable, and sad, in that it restricts the available mooches for those members who would extend to do some international sending.

    • Peggy said

      I agree with you completely. I had my account set to “ask first” with a profile note saying I would send internationally to those who also did so. I received a nasty-gram from a BM admin saying that was against the rules and if I rejected an international mooch for that reason my account would be suspended. So, I changed to “only to my country.”

      I think the rule is unfortunate and hurts those who are willing to put the same effort into sending as they expect from others. But I sent internationally far more than I mooched internationally, so I’m not going to risk getting shut down over it.

      • tennantfamily said

        What a pity to make that restriction on mooching abroad. I’m sure many people do it, or at least indicate that they will be willing to mooch internationally for those that do likewise.
        I agree with you, it is an unfortunate rule. Gill

  8. Laurie McCanna (webdiner) said

    I seriously love Bookmooch, but I’m still seeing the “Mooch” button and then getting the “book is not available” most of the time. I think it’s because it’s either reserved or from a user who is not shipping internationally (which I totally understand, with the cost of shipping being more than the price of a new book in some cases). Our entire family mooches in a single account, and we’ve been able to donate, find books we wouldn’t have otherwise tried, and enjoyed the whole process.

    I love going to get the mail and finding a book in it! It’s like Christmas (or whatever your favorite holiday is) all year round.

    I think the reservations is a negative thing, it seems a bit cliquish. If I had a book I knew another member wanted, I’d not list it but send them an email first. It seems…undemocratic.

    I also noted that the user survey said most moochers don’t include a note: that’s probably because in the US, using media mail, you *can’t* include anything in the package other than the media. The post office does audit packages to make sure this doesn’t happen.

    I’d also love to see
    *an RSS feed of newly posted books
    *more inline interaction vs. going to a new page and returning (ie: marking a book as sent)

    • Chrissy said

      YOu can include a short note as long as it is not a full letter or any type of greeting card. I asked at my post office and they told me I could. So I always include a short “Thank you for mooching” note

      • tennantfamily said

        The Royal Mail website says “You can also include a letter relating to the contents but no other personalised correspondence.”

    • John98109 said

      The U. S. Postal rules do allow a short note relating to the contents as well for Media Mail rate.

  9. bgmeyer said

    One of the best things you have done is add the reminder that we check the moochee’s inventory before we leave. I found two more books to mooch after getting one on my wishlist this week! So, I got my wish list book, and more and she pays less postage. Win-win for me.

  10. tennantfamily said

    Having had a brush with the Post Office I read the conditions of posting very carefully, and the UK printed paper rate says you can include a greetings card but not include personal messages, so that’s both sides of the Atlantic where the best postal rate excludes writing notes for inclusion. I often add a personal note to my acceptance, or send a separate email which comes to the same thing but doesn’t get posted.

  11. Audrey Anderson said

    I have about 5 books on my wishlist that have the mooch button and I just clicked each one and got the Sorry meassage??? I prefer the PBS System where they are offered in order of request and I can see how many people are ahead of me. Also, another request, I would like to be ablle to see All of my sent books like I can my wishlist and All of my mooched books AND not have to go through all of one to get to the other. Lastly, the date a book is posted available by me would be nice. That is another thing I like about PBS. Bookmooch is still my favorite, but am wishing for the above improvement.

  12. Chrissy said

    I have a few comments to make.

    1. Like others have said. I still have the mooch button on my wishlist next to books that I cannot mooch because the person is unwilling to send it overseas. (With one of the books, I even offered to smooch a couple of extra points to send it to me and they declined).

    2. I can’t wait to finally get to use the forums. I have been trying to since the day I registered on BM, but can never get them to load.

    3. In response to putting personal notes; I always put a personal note in with the books I send. I asked my post office representative and they said as long as it is not a letter or greeting/birthday card, you are fine. I always include a short “Thanks for mooching, enjoy the book” type of message, sometimes with a note or 2 about the book.

    Otherwise, I love BookMooch!!!! 🙂

  13. marie said

    I still say that reserving books for others sucks. I haven’t been able to mooch a book in months and I have 600+ books on my wish list. I’ve actually removed almost all my books from my inventory. I can’t afford to send books out and never receive. In the past I frequently sent 2 books for 1 point just to be nice and to ‘share.’ I’m at a point now where I’m seriously considering suspending my acct. The system here is not fair unless you are involved in what I’m convinced is a clique that I haven’t been invited too!

  14. Rhabbitt said

    Hello! This was my comment from the survey-

    “Love the site and community, but I really despise the fact that a book on my wishlist still has the “Mooch” button next to it, when the book is reserved or the member will not ship out of their country. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten excited to see a book on my wishlist just to click “Mooch” and find out that “Sorry, no one is willing to send this book to you”. / Other than that, I have no complaints!”

    And, yes, I was referring to the mooch button in my wishlist. I recently (last 2-3 weeks) had a book that I REALLY wanted and saw the mooch button on my wishlist and when I clicked I got the VERY annoying- “Sorry, no one is willing to send this book to you”.

    I too have a wishlist full of books and there are no/few copies available. When they do come up, it is very rare and competrition is stiff. One tip I took from the first survey results was to move most of my “Saved for Later” to my wishlist. Still so few hits!

    Great site otherwise!

  15. R said

    On forums- I do subscribe to the bm discuss forum via email, just so I can respond to angel requests. I used it to asked questions when I first joined BookMooch, and found it helpful then.

    However, once the changes take place to make the forums faster, it sounds like a lot more people will be using it. That will be nice for everyone, but it would be so helpful if there would be one subscription for those who want to ask BM RELATED questions or make angel requests and another for those who want to use it for the social aspect.
    The biggest thing I hate about the forum is that there are tons of entries that are just chit-chat between members. I don’t have time for those discussions and I often don’t like the content of them, so I delete them. But if lots more members start using the forums, I’ll probably stop using it altogether because I won’t even have time to go through deleting the hundreds or thousands of emails I would receive.

  16. Margaret said

    I love Bookmooch but I have also noticed that I never receive emails about books available on my wishlist when in the past, I received them frequently.
    I enjoy most of the improvements, but I despise the reservation system. It has kept me from getting a shot at many books, and feel that it defeats some of the purpose of Bookmooch. I have also been informed several times that someone has put books on reserve for me that I have absolutely no interest in, and I can’t figure out how to reject that reservation so that someone who does want the book can get to it.
    Otherwise, I LOVE Bookmooch.
    Thanks for all your work John!

    • tennantfamily said

      The simplest way is to email the member who has reserved the book for you and tell them you don’t want it, and will they change the reservation. I believe the book-owner has to change it.

      I sometimes reserve a book I’m listing for a week for those people who have it wishlisted, but I notice a large number of people wishlist but don’t mooch when books become available. I always send the email and ask them to notify me if they are not interested as I will then lift the reservation.

    • LaVonne said

      As the person who mooches for a charity, the reservation system is a blessing to us. We are often looking for very specific books and when members we have mooched from in the past find one of those books and then list and reserve it for us, it is a boon to us. It is the best feature of the system for us. Since we are all volunteers and can’t monitor our account constantly, we miss out on many wish list books. The reservation system has helped us greatly in that regard.

      • tennantfamily said

        It would be useful to have a wishlist with the books that all the charities are looking for, and is searchable. I often look to see what charities have wishlisted, but there are a lot of charities and some have thousands of books on their wishlist and my old computer just takes too long to open each wishlist for me to do it routinely.
        If there were a way you could put in the details of a book you want to list and see if a charity had it wishlisted I’m sure many would offer to reserve it for the charity. Do charity-wishlisted books appear under the books details when you browse? I usually do that before listing but have never noticed any charities amongst the wishlisters.

  17. Cathy said

    I like BookMooch, but I think it needs work to become more user friendly.
    Navigating through the various menues is like following a maze and I always have to read through lots of sentences to find where I want to go.
    I did not even know that there was a survey, because it wasn’t obvious.
    Often, when I press the mooch button on the wishlist, it will tell me that the other member is not willing to send to my country. It seems to happen less frequently, but it still does more often than not.
    I do like the option that books are reserved for a while.
    One of the perks for me is that BookMooch is friendly to BookCrossers. Many swapping sites I have come across actively discourage people to list books that are registered on BookCrossing.
    I can’t figure out how to volunteer for the Angel Network, where is the information? It’s too difficult to find. And the forum simply won’t load most of the time…

    So all in all, I love you, I will keep posting 99% of my books overseas, although others often won’t and I like the feel of your site very much, despite the whining.

  18. Michael said

    I am in the US, and if someone mooches from another country, I don’t care if they ship international as well. I make the decision solely based on cost — which can sometimes be very prohibitive. For the most part, I will usually only send books under 1 pound overseas, sometimes the heavier ones to Canada. If someone wants to sit in judgment against me because I will mooch anything from anyone who will give it to me, just remember that to most people here, this is a hobby, not a business, and is using our spare money, which is less and less these days. I only mooch the books that 1) I really, really want to keep or 2) I cannot find in any of the local library networks.

  19. Bec said

    Just a note about notes sent with books. If you send the books by Media Mail, the post office rules state that you cannot enclose a note. I like to correspond with BookMooch friends so I do it by email rather than have my package inspected and rejected. Some say that they never inspect them, but I beg to differ. Our mail clerk had a list and pictures of items that she had discovered in media packages that did not qualify. For a time, when I was sending so many media packages, she seemed be threatening when I would say send this “Media Mail” please and she would go into the Media Mail regulation speech. I travel across town now to a different post office just to avoid her.
    Just letting you know that may be one reason that the majority of the surveyed answered as they did.

  20. mahre said

    I find it very interesting than many say they very rarely get notified that anything on their wishlist has become available. I have over 1,000 books on my wishlist and have had the same experience for many months now, so am using PBS most of the time.

    Why are so few books becoming available? Is it that they’re being reserved for friends most of the time? I am listing all my new inventory at PBS now as I do find things there and have a lot of point on BM that I seem unable to use.

    What is up with that? I have noticed that when I remove a book from my inventory it sometimes removes some other, completed unrelated book. Could the system be having trouble finding my wishlist books accurately as well?

    Just musings… I love BM, but am finding fewer and fewer books I’d like here.


  21. Mark said

    I too keep getting the mooch button when books are reserved. In fact, within the last week, it has happened at least three times and there are currently two buttons sitting on my list that are for reserved books. It’s just frustrating to get excited to see an available book only to come crashing down into a reservation.

    Still love BM but like others am not seeing a lot of books on my list showing up so that only exacerbates the reservation problem.

    I suppose one reason may be that a lot of the books on my list are newer titles but still….


  22. Dawn said

    i think bookmooch is fantastic and look at it like a treasure hunt; NOT a book store. it seems like there’s a lot of whining going on and it’s disturbing. this is a great service all the way around – give, get, share, recycle, etc. if you don’t get to a book on your “wishlist” first or the sender decides for their own personal reason not to send out of their country, then you have to continue the hunt. if you want the book that badly, go buy it. otherwise, enjoy the grand adventure of bookmooch. thanks to john and all the bookmooch volunteers who keep the site up and running.

  23. Pattie said

    The thing with personal notes: If you use Media Rate shipping, as I imagine most of us do, it’s not allowed. If something personal is in the book and the USPS catches it, they’ll charge the recipient the difference in postage.

  24. Marmalade said

    If there seems to be fewer books available, perhaps it is due to the recession & fewer people buying “new” books… fewer new books = fewer used books.

    Plus, more people using BM also means fewer books available because they are being grabbed faster!

    FWIW, I haven’t had the “book reserved for someone else” problem that others have… thank goodness!!

    And I “angel” books informally, not as part of the network. I occasionally angel via the angel needed thread on the BM forum at LibraryThing.

  25. More media, more hype, fewer books. I actually had a few recommendations today…cunnilingus and more first year of baby (too much of the former, might lessen the latter…at 58 I’ve perfected both to my taste and don’t need books). Where is Jane Austen, Dickens, the great American authors, Russian classics, literatue in translation, the great “mid brow” authors. Feminist. History. Biography. I’ve mooched all these…

  26. tennantfamily said

    It might be a good idea if the wishlist emails were not sent until one had finished listing all the details of a book.
    I listed one today that was on 32 wishlists, so perhaps those people will be cursing because it is reserved.
    I had offered and agreed to reserve it for a charity before listing it, but there is no way (as far as I know) of preventing people with it on their wishlists being notified, although I reserved it even before listing its condition.
    If I see a book is on a charity wishlist (I browse for books before listing) then I will offer it to them first.

  27. KiwiGirlUK said

    When I send books, I include a small piece of paper, no more than 4 x 6 (approx 10cms x 15cms), which has the following printed on it (straight from the computer)
    * an image (usually a NZ flag, a cartoon Kiwi, a kiwifruit image etc)
    * message saying ‘Thanks for Mooching’
    * message saying ‘Enjoy the book’

    And then I hand write the title and the author’s name on it, and pop it inside the cover.

    I have my profile set to ‘Ask me’ regarding sending books abroad. I do usually send abroad, but often send surface mail. Postage IS expensive but I try to work on if I went to a booksellers, I’d pay around £4 £7 per book (depending if I brought from a supermarket or a High Street book shop) or £2.50 from a charity shop, so if I pay £2.50 to post a book, and use the point to request a book, then I’m usually even.
    However, I do think its hypocritical if you won’t send abroad but you will request books from abroad. Everyone is struggling in the recession, so while it may not be against the rules to request from abroad when you won’t send abroad, I feel its morally wrong.

    • Materialgirl (UK) said

      I am forced to agree with the final paragraph. I send a big proportion of my books to the USA but am frequently frustrated that I cannot mooch books from there because the owner will not send out of the US. It is not a level playing field.

      We are not allowed to help to level it by sending only to those who are prpared to send abroad. Hence a proportion of the desirable books in the UK are being sucked across the pond, unlikely to return.

      I do reserve art and craft books for 3 of my friends as they are so difficult to get hold of on this side of the Atlantic. It doesn’t mean they will necessarily mooch them, it probably just delays general availability for a week.

      • KiwigirlUK said

        I think that Bookmooch should adopt a ‘tit for tat’ policy; if you won’t send abroad, then you can’t request from abroad. If you won’t share the love, you can’t expect to take it.
        Come on Bookmooch, level the playing field and make it fair for everyone, rather than heavily weighted in favour of the US users.

  28. KiwiGirlUK said

    I do notice that I’m sending more than what I receive too… whether it means that my preference for British / Irish chick lit is the downfall… I’ve got probably another 40/50 books sitting aside to be logged on Bookmooch, but until I’ve managed to use some points and received some of the Bookmooch love, I’ll be holding off.

    • torque said

      hahah irish chick lit – cheers to that! i’m having difficulty at times mooching ahern and am curious as to the type of books in your wishlist, KiwiGirlUK 🙂

  29. Dena said

    I must agree that the wishlist needs some work. I NEVER see the wishlist books come my way, but I sure send a LOT out…

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