So I’ve been a member of BookMooch for a little over 3 years now, and boy it’s been fun. I originally joined as a way to help assuage my book buying (and it’s worked, though I’ve had to reign in the postage to $12/month or so). A few observations:
- Three months seems to be the extreme threshold for people to wait for mooches. Because I have a limit per month, I include a message on my profile and notify people that they will have a wait when they mooch. Today I’m mailing a couple books, and my queue is already full for October and November, with one book marked for December already. It would be pretty trippy if I get some for January before I send the October ones.
- The system is designed to expand your collection. Here’s how the points breakdown works: You get a point for every book you send. You get 1/10 of a point for listing a book in your inventory. You get 1/10 of a point for marking a book “received” when it comes in. Thus, if you list five books, send them all out, mooch five books with those books, and mark them all received, you come out one point ahead.
- Your points climb much higher if you’re willing to send overseas, as you get three points for each book you send to another country (the moocher only pays two). This sounds like a good deal, but money-wise, it’s usually a wash. It costs roughly $2.00 or $2.50 to send a book via domestic media mail. It costs anywhere from $6 to $8 to send a paperback airmail. So you spend 3 times the money for those three points. Now if you can get a mooch from Canada, those are gold, as Canada mail rates are about half what international airmail rates are.
- New members often feel overwhelmed as the following occurs: they list a bunch of books, which are invariably on peoples’ wish lists. They get inundated with requests (and points). They assemble a wish list of books they want. Then they never get the books on their list. There are two reasons for this problem: 1) wish lists are first-come, first served. So people sitting at their email client when the “your book is available” email arrives get it. 2) the browsing feature stinks on BookMooch. The solution is to have a huge wishlist assembled from websites like Amazon or Librarything, then to mooch whenever you can (my current wishlist is 191 items long). Or you can browse by author — I’ve found a bunch of new books that way.
- In case you were curious about stats, here are mine. In the three years since I joined, I’ve mailed out 195 books and mooched 311. Because many of my give-aways are international, my official mooch ratio is 1.1:1, rather than 1.5:1. I’ve been keeping a Google Map of my book mailings. Check it out, or see the screenshots below.