Someday, I’ll have to tell the funny story about one of my prized possessions: the huge ornate wall sized bookshelf that I have had for several years now which I bought while living in Memphis. I’ll save that for another post for now because I want to talk about books. But after being an avid reader and writer, taking writing and lit classes in college, and working in a bookstore, it took no time at all to fill the bookshelf up. When I was young and had just come out, I snatched up every piece of gay fiction I could find.
In 2006, I had probably only read about half of those books. Now, booklovers know that books are like your children and extremely hard to part with. But we were having a moving sale because we’d just bought a house and we were trying to downsize. So, I went through the stacks and parted ways with about one hundred books including an entire hardback Stephen King and John Grisham collection. Don’t shoot me! Books were flying out the door at $1 and $2 dollars each. In two days, we completely sold out of everything in the moving sale. Yes, I mean everything!
Also that year, I donated about 80 gay themed books to the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Over the years I’ve sold and bought books on Ebay and Amazon. We all know what that’s like and the used book market is so saturated that most 3rd party books go for a penny on Amazon. After shipping and after Amazon takes their cut, you can’t possibly make any profit. The penny seller must be very desperate to get rid of stock. But that’s not my point here either….
Thank goodness for the internet. Where would we be without it? In 2007, I came across a free bookswapping site called BookMooch. I was hesitant, but I joined anyway. The rules are easy and I’ve had nothing but success with it to date! It’s free to join. You create your username and password like all sites. They don’t ask you for any credit card information at all. Then, you immediately create an inventory by adding 10 books that you are willing to give away. For every book you add to your inventory, you get 1/10th of a point. So, I added 20 books when I signed up and immediately had 2 points.
With every point you have, you can mooch a book off someone else. So, now that you have points you get to go shopping! You can create a book list of books you want and BookMooch will email you every time one of those books becomes available. But beware! That book may be on other’s lists and they might beat you to it. But it doesn’t stop there…
Everytime someone mooches a book from you, they spend a point. So when you mooch a book off someone, you will lose 1 point. But everytime you agree to ship a book that someone wants to mooch from you, you earn 1 point. The only money you have to spend is the cost to ship each book. That’s it. And when you receive the books you mooched, the site will give you 1/10th of a point to come back and leave feedback saying you got the book okay.
In just one evening after posting my 20 books, the next morning I had 8 mooches of people wanting them. That’s 8 points for me! I got lucky and 1 person wanted 3 of them, so I saved on shipping and shipped all 3 of those together. Yes, shipping can get expensive. That’s why you can “go on vacation” at any time if you need to slow down and take a break; and you have up to a week to ship books out anyway. To date, I’ve shipped 30 books and mooched 22. It’s definitely helped to clean up my bookshelf of stuff I know I won’t read, and it’s introduced me to new stuff I think I might like without me having to actually buy it. Managing your inventory and wishlist on the site, and looking up books from Amazon is easy.
A few other rules you should know are if you choose to mooch a book from someone overseas or in Canada, it will cost you two or three points. But if you agree to ship a book there, you earn 2 or 3 points. You can choose only to ship in the U.S. if you want, but if you do, be courteous and don’t mooch from other countries if you don’t want to ship there too.
Also, there is no claim to open for lost or damaged books like on Ebay, if you aren’t happy. You can leave negative feedback for someone if you wish, but that’s about it. Even if a book is lost, BookMooch will just give you your point back and the shipper gets to keep their point anyway…end of story. No big deal! There are also charities on the site that you can give points to, like churches, schools, and even prisons.
So check it out! I highly recommend BookMooch. Look me up there, add me as your friend. Mooch from me. I might just mooch from you. I’m a moocher. You’re a moocher. We’re all moochers!