I’m sending out business-card sized little info cards (yes, the dead-
tree kind) that you can give to your friends and coworkers to tell
them about BookMooch, as well as use as book marks.

You can get from 20 to 1000 cards free (50 to 100 is typical) if you
live in the USA and send me an email telling me how many you want. Be
sure to include your postal address when you email me.

More info and a picture of the cards at:



We have an cozy space on Second Life, the virtual world, where you
can hang out and discuss books with other Moochers.

To go to our space: search for "bookmooch" in Second Life and
teleport to it

We’re planning on scheduling get-togethers for Moochers on Second
Life. To receive notifications of Second Life/BookMooch events, send
a blank email to:



– HISTORY IN BRIEF – the history page now defaults to a clean "less
details" table, so you can easily see a person’s previous books and
all their feedback at once. A "Show details" page gives you all the
data, or you can click on a single transaction’s "DETAILS" button

– PENDING IN BRIEF – books you’ve sent are now shown with fewer
details, and there’s a "SHOW DETAILS" button to see everything. The
page now displays up to 50 pending items per page, so most people can
see everything they’re up to all at once. I kept the book covers and
other details on books you’re to receive, and that you haven’t yet
sent because I thought these are books you want to see the covers for
(for instance, to spot a book you get in the mail, and quickly mark
it as a "received"). However, this is certainly up for discussion,
and I could certainly do things like do-not-display-your-own-postal-
address on books that have already been sent to you. http://

– ACCEPT THIS REQUEST – mooch requests now offer the option for the
book owner to "accept" the mooch request, and they can also indicate
when they’re likely to send the book (defaults to "tomorrow") This
is not a required step for book owners, but it does move books in the
owner’s "pending page" to a "books accepted to send" grouping, and
many BookMooch members have indicated wanting to know if their mooch
request has been accepted without the stigma of the "delay" feature.
Note also that the "delay" feature no longer uses the word "apology"
so that people can feel ok indicating a delay.

– 2 EMAIL ADDRESSES – you can now put multiple email addresses in
your profile, and emails from BookMooch will go to all of them. This
is useful if you want a work & home email address to get wishlist
notifications, for example. Note that email sent by BookMooch on
your behalf (such as when you mooch) will come From: the first email
address you list. http://bookmooch.com/m/profile

– LOST & CANCELED CLEARER – when you click on "lost" book or "cancel"
this mooch, the page has text explaining what will happen to the
points if you do this.

– CONDITION NOTES DISPLAYED – condition notes are now displayed on
the "cancel" page, as well as on the details for a transaction page,
which you get to from the history page.

– POINTS CLEARER – the points log now displays and links to the other
party (if there is one) in a transaction. And from now on, Charitable
gifts show up in the points log. http://bookmooch.com/m/points/

The new machine at bookmooch seems stable now, so I’ve taken the
opportunity to do put an update on, with a few changes

– CHARITY: you can now easily give to a specific charity, with a
“give directly to this charity” button when charities are listed

– WE MAKE A BIT: the “amazon info” links now explain that we get a
small commission if you buy from that link

– DOUBLE THE FUN: the most “risky” change is my attempt to fix the
“you’ve added this book twice” or “you mooched this book twice”
problems that occur occasionally when someone double-submits the same
page before the first page has finished its work (there’s been some
discussion of this on the list). These problems don’t happen often,
but they’re confusing as heck for the user and our tech support
volunteers, and they do mess up the points total, so I do want to fix
it. The fix to this requires a “lock” be placed when one of these
actions starts, and then the lock is removed when the operation
completes. The reason this is “risky” is if the lock accidentally is
not removed, even just once, then no-one else can do that action ever
again (at least not until the server is rebooted). So far, things
look good, but I’ll definitely be watching it.

– BUGS FIXES: the type of book binding was not being translated to
foreign languages, long user descriptions in the bio page were not
wrapping, the “worldcat” link described it incorrectly.




We’ve created a space on Second Life for BookMoochers to get
together, chat about books in our garden, and enjoy classical music
with a oceanside view. Second Life is a virtual world, it’s no-cost
to join, and it’s lots of fun.

Read more about it here (along with a slide show):

If you’re really into Second Life, consider joining the "BookMooch
Second-Life Discussion" by sending a blank email to join-bookmooch-


It’s been a super-long time since I sent a "BookMooch News" update.

Since the last announcement on October 15th, we’ve just about doubled
in size. Back then I wrote:

> – CURRENT STATS as of Oct 15th: BookMooch now has 100,000 books,
> 10,000 members, and 20,000 books have been mooched. 900 books are
> being mooched right now.

and current stats as of today are:

– 190,000 books titles available
– 19,000 members
– 1,700 books are being mooched right now
– 75,000 books have been mooched (almost 4x more!)

and if you look at our charts, you’ll see that most trends are


With the crazy growth BookMooch has had, most of my time has been
trying keep the site running reliably and quickly, and there have
been a few hickups and slow patches over the past few months. The
worst of that should be over now, and BookMooch is once again running
smoothly, and you’ll see new features appearing again regularly.

Nonetheless, there are some new things:

– LOST BOOK? The receiver or the sender can now mark a book as lost.
However, you’ll have to wait 4 weeks (if the book was sent in the
same country, or 12 weeks if to another country) before the system
will let you do that.

– BOOK SORTING – books are now sorted by author, and not by Title or

– LIBRARIES INFO – an "other web sites" link on each book detail will
take you to a page with more links, including a very helpful site
which will tell you what libraries in your area have that book

– LOTS OF CHARITIES – quite a few charities have been working with
BookMooch to great effect, such as "Reader to Reader" http://
www.readertoreader.org/ and that’s why you’ll find a "charity" link
on your main member menu. If you have a few more points than you
need, consider donating them, as we really can do a lot of good with
those books. I’m revamping the charity page soon so you’ll be able
to see all the charities that are involved. Over 200 members have
given about 1500 book points to charity, which is fabulous! Read
more at http://bookmooch.com/m/charity

New at BookMooch (http://bookmooch.com) :

– CURRENT STATS: BookMooch now has 100,000 books, 10,000 members, and 20,000 books have been mooched. 1600 books are being mooched right now. And all this, since Bookmooch launched 9 weeks ago, on August 6th. http://bookmooch.com/about/stats

– MY PRESS TOUR: it’s been a while since the last newsletter, as I spent the past 5 weeks of that on a tour through Germany, France and Japan, giving presentations at 3 conferences (Munich, Berlin and Tokyo), meeting press, and playing tourist. My wife blogged a bit of it at http://london.redmood.com/blog/2006/09/ and I made a few blog entries at http://blogs.magnatune.com/ – my last stop on this tour is Finland (Helsinki and Tampere), where I’ll be in 8 days: http://openmind.fi/

– LOCATION: the “find books and people by location” feature is back. I had taken off while I was traveling because it didn’t work right, but now it’s all fixed and here to stay. See http://bookmooch.com/location

– LAST HERE: new “Last here” feature shows you when someone was last at BookMooch, so when you mooch from them you’ll know how quickly they might respond, like this: “Last here: 7 hours ago”

– COUNTRY: each person’s country is displayed next to their name, and for people from the USA, their state as well, like this: “Gary (USA: MA)”

– API – we now have an API as well as data feeds: http://bookmooch.com/api/

– LIBRARYTHING – we now integrate with http://www.librarything.com — in book details you’ll see a link to “LibraryThing Info” but you can also enable some other LibraryThing features in your Profile Settings.

– LITTLE STUFF: about 100 other small improvements, here and there, as suggested by the BookMooch discussion group: http://bookmooch.com/about/forums

– PROMOTE YOUR BOOKS: if people don’t seem to be finding your books and mooching from you, I recommend you post a short message about yourself, the kind of books you have, and the URL to your BookMooch inventory. Click “post a new message” at http://bookmooch.com/about/forums

New at BM (Aug 25, 2006)

August 26, 2006

Many changes on BookMooch now. Here’s the rundown:

– WISHLIST BONUS NO MORE: by popular decision on the discussion forum, the +1 bonus for sending a wishlist item is no longer. You still get the normal points for sending someone a book, there just isn’t a bonus for matching against their wishlist

– POINTS AWARDED AT MOOCH REQUEST TIME: when a mooch request comes in, the points are awarded immediately to the book owner. You do not need to wait until the book is received to get your points.

– POINTS LOG: every change in your points is now logged, so you can clearly see how you (and anyone else) got to have the points they have. There’s a link off the bio page (for “points”) as well as on your own main member menu (also the “points” link)

– BIO STATS IMPROVED: the member bio pages now display pending give/recv, cancelled requests, rejected requests, books lost in the mail.

– PENDING NOW PUBLICLY VISIBLE: each person’s pending mooching and giving is now visible to all, linked off the “pending mooch/give” info on the member bio page

– SENDING PREFERENCES: each person can set where they’re willing to send books to (worldwide, my own country, or ask me).

The default is “worldwide”. If you want to change your setting, go to:

and change the setting at the very bottom of the page.

Minor changes

– MOOCH RATIO BASED ON SENT, NOT RECEIVED: previously, the 5:1 mooch ratio was calculated on books that you sent that were confirmed as received. Now, the ratio is calculated on books you’ve sent.

– CANCELLED BOOKS NO LONGER A PENALTY: previously, you were penalized for cancelled mooch requests if you never sent any books out. This is no longer the case.

– PENDING TAB POINTS CLARIFIED: each pending transaction separately shows the points to the giver and from the moocher

– WISHLIST NOTIFICATION FIXED: previously it was saying you were the owner of a book that is now available that is on your wishlist

– WISHLIST BUTTONS SMALLER: the “move to save for later” and “move to wishlist” buttons are now a much more terse “WISH” and “SAVE” with a tooltip to explain what they do

New at BM (Aug 16, 2006)

August 17, 2006

BookMooch has been live for 9 days now and it’s been a wild week!

On the first day we launched (last monday), thanks to all the publicity, the site went “splat!” pretty much all day. I fixed the crash problem last monday and then went on a bug-fixing and feature-writing rampage. BookMooch is nice and stable now, and handling tons of daily mooching.

Some stats for you (after 9 days of operation):

– total members: 4056
– members listing books to give away: 1,566 (38%)
– total books available for mooching: 19,067
– Countries participating: 44

WANT TO HELP? Here’s what you can do:

– mention BookMooch on your blog and any web/email discussion groups you participate in
– recommend books to your friends (there are “recommend” buttons through bookmooch)
– join the discussion forum at http://bookmooch.com/about/forums and chime in with your thoughts

– john

Below is a short list of new stuff at BookMooch:

– browse books by language of the book. Also by location, including by country, counties and cities in the USA, cities in the UK and departments in France.

– look for people using all these many methods as well

– “search for books” let you filter on title/author/description as well as view results for just one language

– wish fulfillment: you can add a book to your inventory directly from the book detail page, and the whole wishlist process is much smoother

– people’s names everywhere are now displayed with the country they’re in

– next/previous buttons now appear on all long pages

– sending a book to another country now get your 3 points

– the receive/give ratio has been relaxed to 5:1 (previously it was 2:1)

– the Library software called “Books” for mac now supports exporting to BookMooch http://books.aetherial.net/wordpress/

– all books lists are all sorted by author’s last name

– And tons of bug fixes. If you had any problems using BookMooch last week, chances are the problems are fixed now. If not, let me know!

BookMooch, the community for exchanging used books, is now out of beta and ready for general use. Please do tell your friends, mention BookMooch on discussions and anywhere else people might be interested.


Since last monday, here are the improvements to BookMooch:

– you can now hand-enter books that aren’t in any databases that Amazon maintains, for example, books in Italian (as there is no Amazon Italy).

– the MoochBar http://bookmooch.com/moochbar can import books from any web page that uses ISBN numbers, and put them into your wishlist, save-for-later, mooch-right-now or your inventory. For example 1) you can import your Amazon past purchases page right into your inventory 2) Amazon listmania! (i.e. best “Goth Books”) can be imported right into your wishlist. 3) Books can be mooched right from ABE Books and Barnes & Noble book

– you can import any html or text document into your inventory/wishlist/save-for-later. For example, if you use a book cataloging program, you can import your books right into your magnatune inventory. There is always a confirmation step where you can uncheck any books you don’t want included. For libraries or other bulk-purchasers, you can import your purchase list into BookMooch, and quickly mooch all the books we do have available, and add the rest to your wishlist.

– bulk adding of books, such as if you own a bar code scanner (such as the $10 cue-cat from ebay)

– a photo of yourself can be uploaded from your computer, or you can point to a URL on the web. The image is automatically resized so that it looks good on the site.


Minor improvements:

– The 2 steps to mooch a book have been consolidated into 1 step, and made much simpler and clearer.

– The book details page now shows the weight, dimensions and edition, when the information is available

– we now use the “ISBN-db” service as a secondary source of information about books, when Amazon doesn’t know about a book.

– a security question appears on many pages to prevent robots for abusing the web site. The security question asks you to type in the name of a famous author, which is displayed in a graphic.

– the member inventory page has been stripped of most buttons, so that it loads quickly and looks cleanly. In addition, each book line is striped alternatively white/grey. Books are now sorted by author name. The friends page is much cleaner. The history page is cleaner, and sorts items by most-recent-first.

– the 2:1 receive vs give books ratio rule has been relaxed to 5:1, since the points system seem to be working fine in enforcing fair trades.

– another 20 or so minor usability improvements.

Thanks again for helping out during the BookMooch beta period!


BookMooch Beta 2

August 1, 2006

My thanks to those of you who typed books into http://BookMooch.com and told me about bugs and ways to improve it.

I think BookMooch is getting close to useable by the general population, probably in another week. The translation probably broke some things, so email me if anything looks odd.

By all means, if you have friends who you think could use BookMooch, tell them about it.

Here are the bigger things since the initial announcement:

– translated into 5 languages : the BookMooch web site is now completely available in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian and Portuguese. Most of the translations are not-so-good, as they’re created automatically by Google. But, you can correct the translation yourself by clicking on the [correct the translation] link that is on the bottom of every page. Your corrections take effect immediately, so if you can speak a non-English language I support, it’d be a help if you could fix things as you see mistakes.

– what friends say about you is now displayed on your friends page, and the friends page is prettier. Also, you can now add someone as a friend from their inventory page and a few other places.

– postal cost assistance is now available when sending from the USA, the UK and from France (when sending out of France), via a link in your pending list and in your email notice. If you know of web sites for other countries (or France domestic) that help calculate postage, let me know.

– there’s an interview of me now in the /about/ section covering the basics of why I created BookMooch, as well as a legal terms & conditions in /about/

And some smaller changes:
– name & email lookups: where ever you’re asked to enter a member name (ie, to email them, to add them as a friend, or to view their inventory) you can now enter their display name, their user name, or their email address. In cases where there are several matches (i.e., more than one “John Smith”) you’re asked to choose the one you mean.

– remind the receiver: many people weren’t aware that you need to acknowledge receiving a book so the system can mark it as no longer pending. That’s clearer now, but there’s also a “remind” button on the sender’s pending page. Also, after two weeks, if the receiver still hasn’t confirmed receipt after sending a reminder, the sender can force acknowledgment of the receipt and get their points for sending the book.

– recommendations: you can now recommend a topic and a specific member’s inventory to someone, via the “recommend” buttons

– audio books can be part of BookMooch now, as long as they’re listed in Amazon

– once you log in, you stay logged in, even if you go back to the home page and the non-member section

– books for a topic, and search results now include a two-line book description, and a full description is shown if you hover your mouse over it

– A book’s “editor” is grabbed from amazon when there is no author (ie, for a collection of short stories)

– and lots more nit-picky improvements and bug fixes I won’t mention.

Thanks to Cesar Luongo, Paul Beier, Stephane Barbery and Gisela Strauss for their help in the translations.