I have a bookcase that is overflowing with books. Many of these are books I’ll never read, or never read again. In the past I would have — after a suitably long procrastination period — have taken them down to the nearest charity shop. However I recently became aware of two different websites that I wanted to try out.
The first, which I heard of through M. is www.bookcrossing.com. The idea is that you register your book, which gives you a unique book number, write a little message inside the cover and then “release it into the wild” i.e. leave it in some public place. The message includes a URL which is specific to the book and if the finder visits the site they can then create a journal entry for the book. In this way you can share your unwanted books and track their progress around the world.
The other site is www.bookmooch.com which is a book swapping site. Here you simply list a number of books you want to give away. For this you accrue points. You spend these points on “mooching” books from other users. The system is set up so you’re giving away about twice as many books as you’re receiving, which works out ok because the postage on two books is usually less than a new book.
So I’ve been thinking which one of these sites to use. On the one hand I like the idea of tracking a book, but then again I’m not sure of any suitable public places to release them in that I normally go to. BookMooch cost money in terms of postage, but on the other hand I get books in return. Then again, I already have an impressive pile of unread books without adding to it at the moment.
Solution: I’ve joined both. I’ve registered a few books to release via book crossing – I’ll think up some places to release them even if I have to make a special trip somewhere, and I’ve added a list of books I’m prepared to send off to Book Moochers. In fact I’ve already had my first request for one.
I’ll let you know which turns out to be the better system.