BookMooch survey

October 31, 2009

As in the past two years, professor Karl Fast’s class is studying various aspects of BookMooch, conducting interviews and writing recommendations for changes. I’ve blogged quite a bit about the classes’ previous years’ results, and last year’s report on BookMooch’s culture is fascinating reading (as well as being very helpful for me).

This year, the class has broken down into different groups, each looking at a different aspect of BookMooch. It’s a bit more ambitious (which is great!) and the groups are attacking questions that I think are really important for BookMooch.

  • First survey: how you use social networking sites to talk about books and BookMooch.
  • Second survey: to find people to interview over Skype.

(these survey are now closed, thanks to everyone who answered them!)

16 Responses to “BookMooch survey”

  1. Adam Simpson said

    I was looking through the survey to see what kind of questions it had but now it’s “complete” and I’m locked out. I can’t take the survey.

  2. mand said

    Yep, doesn’t allow the back button. I wanted to skip back and see exactly what the ‘further research involved’ cos i’d read too quickly, but couldn’t so i haven’t volunteered for it. Never mind.

  3. Brett said

    Hey Adam. Try the survey in a different Web browser or clear your cookies. I think it should work then.

  4. Jen said

    I thought of lots I would have liked to add to the comments after I had submitted the survey. Any way to follow up with an email?

  5. JeanC. said

    Book Mooch should stop letting people “reserve for a friend”. Every time a book comes up that I want it’s “reserved”. I have a lot of points and can’t use them. Also, there should be a time limit on replying to a mooch. This “I can’t mail any books for months more” isn’t good either.

  6. Cynthia said

    I was just about to pull out of BM entirely. Now maybe there’s hope. I’ve grown weary of the fact that so often when I see something I want it’s reserved, too. Hope that changes!

  7. Ben said

    Here’s the feedback I put in the survey:

    My use of BookMooch has been declining to almost zero over the past year. I used to be able to mooch one or two of my wishlist books a month, but I haven’t been able to mooch anything I wanted in months. I have books that I could list for mooching, but I have plenty of extra points and don’t see the point in giving away more books to get points that I won’t be able to spend. I wonder if there aren’t other people in my situation–extra points, but unable to mooch books they want. I think this a classic economic case of a recession.

    I’m concerned that the site has taking a turn into social network, twitter feeds, iPhone apps etc., which is all fine, but for me the most important things is getting books that I want and frankly that hasn’t been happening. I’d be sad to see BookMooch go and I hope things can be turned around. I’ll continue to lurk here hoping that someday I can mooch a book that I want…

  8. Alisoun said

    I also took part in the survey and noted that I hadn’t been mooching much lately and thought it was because I was in Australia and people are reluctant to send overseas currently because of the recession but it seems to be a common complaint! Don’t know what BM can do to change this – if anything but interesting to note all the same!

    • alia parr said

      sorry, I sent a book to Austrailia and it cost me over $11, that is more than the cost of buying most books. Contact an angel and see if that helps.

  9. missmoonbeam said

    I diligently sent the books, spent the money to do so, etc. Now when a book comes up I want and I get the email, someone gets to it first. shouldn’t it be a standing list? Why do I have to jump on the book the instant I get the notification? I ‘m exasperated at Bookmooch and regretting I joined it. Feeling like I’ll never get the books on my wish list.

  10. Alison Rodriguez said

    I agree with the frustration of having large numbers of points and being unable to mooch due to books being reserved etc. I have donated 40 points just a few months back and will probably do so again. I still like the concept but just am having difficulty actually mooching any books.

  11. Jen said

    I do occasionally get frustrated at not getting a ton of books on my wishlist – however, I like the system as it is, for the most part. I think the challenge of trying to get the books that are in high demand is like bargain hunting and makes it fun. I don’t mind having a lot of “extra” points – I like that i8t gives me the flexibility to mooch a lot of books at once when I get interested in a new topic or author.

    However, what frustrates me much MUCH more are some of the comments on this survey and the last from people complaining that they are not able to mooch books they want and so are not listing the books they have. Did it occur to anyone that this is not a coincidence? Could we all be hoarding books that others would happily mooch if they were listed? If everyone is intentionally NOT listing books then it seems like this is a good possibility. The system only works if we are all invest in the community by posting the books we have.

    For each book that is mooched the sender gets 1.1 points (1 for sending, .1 for listing) and the recipient pays .9 (1 for mooching – .1 for marking received). Additional free points are also built into international mooches. My point is that “extra” points are built into the system – having unused points is not in any way a bad thing. In fact, if we all insisted on using all of our points there would have to be a negative number of books in the system.

    In my opinion, we all need to understand this as a community endeavor that can function properly only by a means of a gift economy OR the system needs to be re-worked so that there are the same number of books and points in the system. I hope we can all be generous with each other settle on the first solution rather than the second. (Or the third option of things falling apart altogether.)

  12. Doreen JM said

    I don’t know why everyone is so miserable about this site – I’ve gotten the books I was looking for so far and I can only read one at a time – I have a full time job and have no time to sit around reading all day…it has worked for me so far. I think it’s a great idea.

  13. mand said

    I was getting anxious, seeing all these people unable to use their points. I can’t afford to keep sending books if i’m not getting any back, much as i love the principle. So far i’ve received one book, and sent four. I was pleased to be building up points but now i wonder.

    On the other hand, most of my wishlisted books are less commonly known and wanted, so i may have better luck. No way round the problem of first-come-first-served when the emails are sent out, that i can see – whoever responds first gets first refusal, inevitably.

    When i responded to an email only to find the book already reserved, i assumed someone else responded to their email before me, rather than thinking it was ‘sneakily’ reserved for a friend. Perhaps a second email would help – something like: ‘We notified you earlier that XYZ was available. Sorry but XYZ is now reserved.’?

    I wouldn’t like to do without the email notification, as i wouldn’t visit the site very often. I don’t visit blogs regularly, for example, but follow them by rss. The whole social thing is quite daunting as one more ‘regular’, that i’d never be able to make regularly happen, in my already overcrowded online life.

  14. Ben said

    Jen, obviously we realize this is not a coincidence! That was the whole point of my post.

    While I admire your spirit of community I just don’t think it’s going to work in practice. Those of us with lots of extra points already got them by sharing more books than we received. Eventually I got tired of sharing and never receiving. I could probably double my number of points by listing extra books that I have, but that would cost me time and money and I doubt I will get anything in return. Other posters seem to be in similar situations.

    This is the classic definition of an economic recession. Paul Krugman outlined a similar phenomena using the example of a baby-sitting co-op One solution to a recession is to introduce inflation. In the case of BookMooch this could mean raising the price of getting a book encouraging people to spend their points. This could be done by gradually increasing the “cost” of request. The exchange rate could also be allowed to float by allowing people listing books to set their own selling “price”.

    Finally, the Krugman article makes an interesting point that in the babysitting co-op they initial tried to solve the problem by rules ie. forcing people to spend their points etc. but it never worked until they approached it as a economic problem.

    I hope that BookMoocher recognizes this problem before it’s too late.

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