Is bookmooch worth it?

book_mooch Some time ago I became a member of Bookmooch. So far I swapped all my books on a German swap site called Tauschticket and was happy with it. I was able to find lots of English books there, sooner or later most of the books on my wishlist turned up. They changed their terms and conditions recently and since then the books on offer have decreased a bit, so I thought I’d have a look what else is out there.

Bookmooch seemed a good choice since most of the books on offer are in English. I put five books up there, all available for international destinations, and, wow, all five books were requested within a couple of days. I was pleased, even though the postage money was quite a bit.

However, now my spirit has been dampened considerably. Really, NONE of the books I am interested in are available at all, let alone for international shipping (and I am NOT looking for possibly offensive or out of the ordinary books).

I know that Judith has found at least one book there (possibly more) that was shipped to her country, the Netherlands, but how successful in “mooching” books are Europeans in general? I am wondering whether Bookmooch is worth the trouble at all. 

18 Comments Write a comment

  1. I joined bookmooch a few years back but I stopped using it because all the books I wanted were in the US and no one wanted to ship to Canada. That’s great that you have a German version 🙂

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    • I wasn’t aware that even Canadians would have a problem already, Bella. Our German version is even better than you think because you can swap whatever you want, books, films, music CDs, software, anything.

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  2. I’m happy with Bookmooch, but I have no high expectations of it (anymore). Yes, lots of the books on my wishlist are not available, but sometimes they become available (I do check every now and then, even though Bookmooch should send an email when a book becomes moochable, but I don’t always get the emails) and sometimes I can mooch them, sometimes it’s restricted to a particular country.

    I joined about half a year ago and I got 7 books so far, 3 from USA, 1 from South Africa, one from Saudi Arabia, and 2 from the Netherlands.

    It’s hit and miss and you shouldn’t expect to get all your wish list books instantly.

    Oh, last point, I read very varied genres so that makes it easier maybe AND I sometimes browse the recent additions, which may have interesting books sometimes.

    Just put 20-30 books on your wishlist and see what happens!

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    • Thanks for the tip, Judith. I certainly don’t expect to get all my books immediately, but since I got a lot of books in English on a German site I figured wrongly that it must be even easier to get them on bookmooch.

      I’ll give the wishlist a try.

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  3. Bookmooch is a bit like fishing. When you add books to your wishlist, make sure you tick the box so that you get notifications about every edition of that book not just the one you added… then wait. I’ve had quite a bit of success with it that way.

    It is aggravating that people in the US are unwilling to ship international and yet anyone out of the US pretty much HAS to ship international because if you want any books at all you gotta mooch international! What’s more aggravating is those who refuse to ship international but pretty much expect YOU to ship to them… yeah right.

    I don’t ship every book international – that kinda why I set my account up so people had to email me and ask if I was ok. Shipping to Australia is different from shipping to somewhere in Europe, if you take into consideration book size and weight.

    I think it is worth it. You’ve built up some points now so just sit back and wait but you can’t really go out ‘shopping’ for books there as such…

    I made the mistake of putting a load of books up and then of course winding up with a very expensive trip down the PO.

    I have actually come across quite a few books on it this way… many that I have wanted as well. Not instantly though.
    Fiona’s last post ..And the winners are…

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    • Thanks, Fiona. I think I will start building up a wishlist and see what is going to happen.
      I agree, it is a bit unfair to request books from other countries but not to be willing to ship internationally. I must say, however, that everybody who requested books from me was very grateful that I did ship to them. So, at least, the swapping was a nice experience.

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    • I will do an update post in a few months or so to see whether a wishlist has changed anything, but my hopes are not too high, 🙁

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  4. Hey Rikki,
    Book Mooch works well if you know how it works. The email notifications aren’t sent out to everyone with a book on their wishlist – only a selection. So you need to check your wishlist quite frequently in case you miss something.

    Unfortunately, I’m one of those jerks that doesn’t mooch internationally. After only a few days signed up I had 10 requests – it cost me a fortune. I’m always very greatful to those that do mooch to me as I know that it’s an unequal relationship.

    The other day I had an Angel Request for someone from Germany – someone in Aus requested the book and would then send it on to the person in Germany who wants it. Something you might find helpful.

    Poppy.

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    • Thanks, I will definitely watch my wishlist then. I have read about this Angel program but have to look into it a bit more.

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  5. I have the same problem you have.
    So far I gave away over 20 books and got only 1 from my wishlist. In the last weeks not one book from my wishlist was offered and it’s a bit frustrating. That’s why I stopped offering my books because I just can’t use the points I get for them.

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    • Sabrina, are you on any German swap sites?
      I am quite happy with the one I am using, even the most obscure English books turn up sooner or later. The reason I registered with bookmooch was the international angle that I liked, but it seems we are in the same boat. I have quite a lot of points for the 5 books I swapped and don’t know where I can possibly use them…

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        • Ich wuerde mir mal Tauschticket ansehen. Eine grosse Auswahl auch an engl. Buechern. Engl. romance etc. geht normalerweise auch sehr gut weg. Allerdings gibt es seit einiger Zeit eine kleine Tauschgebuehr, die einige User vertrieben hat.
          Ich habe dort bisher alles gefunden, was ich wollte. Und auch ein sehr gutes Benachrichtigungssystem, wenn was eingestellt wird, was man sucht.

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  6. I joined Bookmooch for a slightly difference reason: my house is overflowing with books and I couldn’t find good homes for them.

    I send anywhere and everywhere as the post here is not too expensive. Even so I set my account to check first for international. This means I could reject if I wanted to. I never have but sometimes I delay and leave it up to the requester. I find most books are snapped up within the first 48hrs of posting – so act accordingly.

    I never really expect them to have the exact book I need but then where I live that is frequently the case with the local bookshops too.
    Also I have basically transferred my TBR list to Bookmooch so my wishlist is 150+ books long.
    I have found some treasures and most people are willing to send international. If not and you really want something there is always the Angel Network.

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    • Thanks for your input, Esther. I suppose the longer the wishlist the more chance to actually find something you want. It is true, one seems to have to be very quick. My books were requested within a couple of days, too.

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  7. I really wanted to like Bookmooch but it rubbed me the wrong way immediately. When I first joined, I put up some books that were recent releases. They got requested immediately but I could tell that the guy requesting them was going to resell them. I don’t mind paying for shipping for someone who’s going to read the books but I’m not paying for shipping for someone else to just make money off them.

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  8. It’s no free lunch. BookMooch is a for-profit site, like Google and FaceBook, and the “members” are the product which is sold to advertisers. John Buckman saw a niche market and created a successful brand. He’s the founder/CEO of Lyrisa direct-marketing firm (sold in 2005 for $12 million). Compare stats from Feb 27, 2008 BookMooch WordPress blog under “Amazon should love us”:
    http://bookmooch.wordpress.com/2008/02/
    to the numbers at blogads website:
    http://web.blogads.com/advertising/bookmooch/bookmooch/adspotsfolder/ba_adspotsfolder_revision_create_shortcut?persistent_uid=c7dd78ebd527751c8162b1bc18cfc779&persistent_ref=
    Short version:
    2008: “I think Amazon should be happy with us, since we sell about $10,000 a month worth of books for them …. BookMooch is paid an 8% commission ….”
    2011: “At BookMooch, our small “amazon info” button sells over $50k of new books each month for Amazon. Just think of how well your highly visible ads will do at selling your books.”
    2008: “I don’t take advertising”
    2011: “Our users actually love book ads ….”
    The slickest part of John Buckman’s operation is called “give a little” ($$$) to BookMooch. Members already pay for postage, gas, and books, AND waste time searching for books that will never enter the system. From the BM blog: “Even a teeny donation of $3 per month really helps … My time is donated, as are all the admins … nobody gets paid for helping run BM.”

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