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Monday, 28 August 2006

BookMooch is an online service that allows you to find and have sent to you books that you desire. I just discovered this service via Condalmo.

You get 1/10 of a point for every book that you list in your inventory — that you are willing to give away. There are other rules, but you'll be able to look for yourself.

One point of interest is that at one place in the Web site they say "you have to send out at least 1 book for every 5 you receive" but at another it becomes "you need to give away at least one book for every two you receive".

I'm not sure what the situation is if you have zero points. Are you still able to request books to be sent to you? Oh, OK. I just tried it. If you have zero points, you cannot "mooch" (request) a book. My second mooch was refused: that 1 point of my inventory was cancelled out by my single mooch.

It's a lot of fun. I mooched In Cold Blood by Truman Capote from a member who is located in Australia. Mooching books from people in your own country requires only 1 point. If you mooch a book from someone in another country, you need to have 2 points. There are currently 733 books listed for Australia. So it's quite a big number to choose from.

Except for one, all the books that I listed in my inventory are duplicates. I listed 10 including DBC Pierre's Ludmila's Broken English, Martin Amis' Money and Nabokov's Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (so if anyone's looking for one of these wonderful books, you now know where to find it!).

One caveat: I can't find it now but they stress at one point that you should only list books in inventory that you are genuinely willing to give away. That means: don't just fill up your inventory with books so that you can get points and start fraudulently mooching without any intention of giving your books away. But I can see how the system could be rorted. There are many books on most peoples' bookshelves that nobody would actually want to mooch. So it should be possible to generate many points knowing all along that your collection will remain intact.

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