Sep 26, 2007

Icelandic Books to Mooch?

Þórbergur Þórðarson Museum

When I decided to write about BookMooch I was reminded of the museum above, and its cool wall of books. But BookMooch is what I really want to tell you about. The idea began when founder John Buckman saw a "take a book, leave a book" sign at a public library. "I love books. I love everything about them. What better way to share the wonderful experience of owning and reading books than by starting an online exchange?" says Buckman. So he started an online community of booklovers who share their books. Your unwanted book may be someone else's desire.

Joining BookMooch is free. You simply list books in good condition that you no longer want, and you can create a wishlist of books that you do want. You pay postage for books of yours that other members have requested, and you get books you have requested sent to you free of charge. You receive points for books you send, and you "spend" points when you receive a book. The web site has lots of excellent features, is well organized, and the whole process runs remarkably smoothly. The BookMooch site will answer all of your questions!

I joined BookMooch in the hopes of acquiring some Icelandic books in English translation that I want. Although I don't think that that goal will be achieved for me, going through the process of joining BookMooch, sending and receiving books, and seeing what is available has allowed me to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the venture.

BookMooch should be considered by anyone who has a collection of books and no longer wishes to keep all of them. Book lovers may "weed" their collection from time to time, but they never stop acquiring new ones, do they? This service is ideal for someone living in a rural community without access to good used bookstores. Or, someone living abroad who wants access to books in their native language. Although the cost of mailing books is higher outside of your own country, it can be worthwhile if you consider that the postage will be less than the cost of ordering the book new. You also get more points if you are willing to send books abroad.

BookMooch isn't as valuable for someone like me since I have several excellent used bookstores close to my home. I can also purchase used books inexpensively through other online sites. To
me, the greatest value would be if I could get books not readily available to me. I must say, though, that the personal touch with BookMooch makes the whole experience enjoyable and that is worth something, especially in today's society where so many of our transactions are impersonal. I have looked at other moocher's blogs and websites, have sent emails to the people I am exchanging books with, and feel a surprisingly good feeling when I send off one of my old treasures to a new home, somewhere in the world...a home with a person's name attached.

Another great book site is LibraryThing, which I think I discovered from Shannon.

Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, Victoria Gardens, CA


Gosia said...

greetings from the netherlands. My name is Henny and I just happened to stumble on your website by coincidence. I liked to read about your observations on Iceland
I was there once last year by winning a prize from an ice cream company.
although short that was fun!

I will stop bye once in a while if I may

Henny & Gosia

Rose said...

Stop by any time, I love visitors-- especially ones who comment! I have to admit to being jealous of the trip you won, though. I can't tell you how many free trips to Iceland I have attempted to win. One of these days! I took a quick look at your blog and will enjoy reading about your trip to the "air conditioned country."
Best, Darien

Gosia said...

Hi Darien
Yes. we were very lucky especially because the ice cream companu wanted us to travel in january. we thought it would be really cold and not much daylight. So we could change the traveldate to last year september,
But we enjoyed our stay. Really beautiful in spite of the bad weather

We were actually lucky with winning some prizes like traveltrips. but lately no luck here too ;-(

Henny & gosia

lab munkay said...

Thanks for the heads up on a good thing.