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Bookmooch: Swapping Books Online

I recently (and reluctantly) went through my four bookshelves, determined to ruthlessly cull the ever-swelling collection and make a donation to the Times-Colonist Book Sale. It was no easy task. My mother uses a system for keeping books, which utilizes the following categories: Haven’t read yet, will definitely read again, will lend, significant value (sentimental included). Everything else (she swears) went. My system for ‘keeps’ seems more like: Haven’t read yet, will definitely read again, will lend, significant value (sentimental included), may read again one day, the cover is so pretty, it has that one bit I really liked toward the end, my boyfriend gave it to me, it’s just the right thickness to prop up the couch, should that ever become necessary, and anyway it’s MINE.

After some gritting of teeth I came up with about 25 books to part with, which is better than I’d expected. Neverthless, I’m shocked by how many books that left, especially when I acquire more with such alarming frequency.

So what else to do with books, if not keep them? It’s so satisfying to use Librarything to catalogue them all and compare with a literary community, but from time to time, the herd must be thinned, at least until I am wealthy enough to own a home that has a wing I can devote to my library.

I donate sometimes, I sell to secondhand shops sometimes, but what about trading? I’d never given it much thought. A friend of mine who lives in Puerto Rico likes Bookmooch and uses it frequently.

What’s Bookmooch? From their overview:

BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want.

Give & receive: Every time you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch. Once you’ve read a book, you can keep it forever or put it back into BookMooch for someone else, as you wish.

No cost: there is no cost to join or use this web site: your only cost is mailing your books to others.

Points for entering books: you receive a tenth-of-a-point for every book you type into our system, and one point each time you give a book away. In order to keep receiving books, you need to give away at least one book for every three you receive.

Given how stern I had to be with myself in order to convince myself to part with ANY of my childr… er, books…, and given how inexpensive used books are on the internet, I’m not sure bookmooch is something I’d get a whole lot of use out of. Still, how cool to know it exists.

As for me, I think I’ll just have to invest in a lot of new furniture.

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