Monday, January 14, 2008

Fun Monday

UPDATE: Next week is the one-year anniversary of Fun Monday. Thanks to Chris B for figuring this out and contacting Vicki, who started the whole thing and has graciously agreed to be next week's host.

For today's Fun Monday, I want to hear about a web site that's changed your life. A web site that you can't live without. A web site whose inventor you'd like to see win a McArthur Genius Grant. A lot of people have said that they didn't think they could narrow it down to one, and that's okay. A top-5 list or a top-3 list is completely acceptable.

In June of last year, Claire introduced me to Bookmooch. The tag line under the Bookmooch logo succintly sums up its mission: "Give Away Books. Get Books You Want." It's a very simple, fair premise.

You make an inventory of books you have that you're willing to send away to people. For each book you add, you get 1/10 of a point. When someone wants one of your books, you get 1 point if they're in your country and 3 points if they're international. When you find a book you want, you request the book. You "pay" 1 point if the book is in your country, 2 points if it's outside.

I'm a voracious reader and a lot of what I read is crap that I will never look at again. (I'm a couch potato, but my entertainment source is a book instead of a television.) It's brain candy and after it's been consumed, it has no real value. Enter Bookmooch - I can give away the books I don't want and find books that I do want, some of which would be difficult to find in Ireland.

Yes, I have to pay for postage on the books I send, but it's always less than the cost of a new book. Plus, I've found that it's the actual process of packaging up the book and preparing it for shipping that I enjoy. It must be the organising nerd in me, but nothing makes me happier than a stack of brown-paper wrapped, addressed books waiting for shipping.

I've tried to explain this, but the only other person who really understood was also an organising nerd. If the old adage is that it's better to give than to receive, then for an organising nerd, it's damn near Nirvana to create crisp paper folds and judiciously use tape to secure a package.

Bookmooch has changed my life in subtle, unexpected ways. Having to go to the post office has given me something to look forward to during the work day. It's nice to take a ten-minute break and have a short walk into the village. Bookmooch also has started to influence how I buy books. The mooch-ability of a book factors into my purchasing choices. In December, I bought On Chesil Beach because I knew I'd be able to turn it around quickly on Bookmooch. Ordinarily, I'd probably shy away from a book like that, fearing that it would be difficult to read. On Chesil Beach ended up being the best book I read last year.

In the nearly seven months I've been a member of Bookmooch, I've sent out 52 books. Predictably, many have gone to the States, Ireland, the UK, Australia and Canada, but I've also sent books to Finland and Portugal. I even sent a book to a place I'd never heard of before - Wallis and Futuna Islans.

Bookmooch has given me the obvious - books and a home for my unwanted books. But it's also given me an outlet for my obsessive-compulsive organisational skils and a crash course in geography. I can't imagine what more I could want from a web site.


At 14 January 2008 at 06:17, Blogger Joy T. said...

Well how fascinating! I'm going to have to check this out for sure. Great site and great subject for FM!

At 14 January 2008 at 06:18, Blogger Emma in Canada said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! What a great site...and I haven't even looked at it yet! I tend to not want to give my books away, but this might be something to tempt me.

Sorry about all the exclamation marks. I tend to get a little excited when I read about books.

At 14 January 2008 at 06:24, Blogger Gattina said...

That's a very good idea ! I have something special too here in Brussels, we have a bookshop where you can sell your books for 1 or 2 € and buy others for 2 to 4 €. The books are always in a very good shape, most of the people read them and sell them immediately. That's the only place too where I get English books and I have a large choice.

At 14 January 2008 at 06:31, Blogger -Ann said...

Joy T- If you love books, it's definitely worth it.

Emma - My husband is the same way. I'll keep some books, either for sentimental reasons or because I know I'll read them again. Others, I can't get rid of fast enough! No worries on the exclamation marks - I feel the same way about books.

Gattina - Your book store sounds like a great resource. The few used book stores I've come across will only buy very new-ish books.

At 14 January 2008 at 06:43, Blogger Pamela said...

ooooooh.. two of my favorite things. Books and free.

heh heh!!

I was skeptical about this subject = but I'm enjoying all the posts

At 14 January 2008 at 08:40, Blogger ChrisB said...

I am going to check that site it sounds interesting, I tend to be a bit of a book hoarder but I'm now getting too many so this would be one way of sharing them.
BTW I'll email you later today about next week didn't want you to worry.

At 14 January 2008 at 08:43, Blogger wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I'll be checking out this site. I've got too many books at the moment.

At 14 January 2008 at 09:04, Blogger Peter said...

Your choice of assignment now becomes clearer Ann, like a few others I wondered what to post, then the light bulb flashed and it was all clear.

At 14 January 2008 at 09:43, Blogger Aoj & The Lurchers said...

I think it's a fantastic idea and I think there is something similar in the UK called Bookcrossing. My problem is that I hate parting with my books!!

Ann, I don't know if a host has already volunteered for 21st January but if not, I would like to volunteer!

At 14 January 2008 at 10:50, Blogger Hootin' Anni said...

Anything to do with books, I'm there!! You can count on me.

Thanks for hosting this week. And may I ask who will be the hostess/host for next week's fun monday?

At 14 January 2008 at 11:57, Blogger kitten said...

Great post. I love Bookmooch also.

At 14 January 2008 at 12:28, Blogger laurie said...

ah, very cool!

i sometimes sell used books on amazon dot com, and i understand that tidy feeling of packaging something up and sending it away. it's a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of de-cluttering, but it's something.

i'm wondering if bookmooch would some the problem of the books that don't find any takers on amazon...

this was a great topic, by the way. when i first read it i was filled wtih dismay, because i had no idea.s and then, of course, i ended up with two.

(riley is winning hands down over peat.)

At 14 January 2008 at 12:56, Blogger Fianna said...

What a great site! I will be checking it out! Thanks for hosting and providing such a wonderful topic for FM.

I may very well lose my job today! How will I break myself away from the computer??

At 14 January 2008 at 13:21, Anonymous Misslionheart♥ said...

I just joined and added a couple of books to my wishlist. I also logged a few to give away. I was involved with a bookswapping club last year, but it kind of fizzled out.

Thanks for this site!

Must go off and do my own post now LOL

At 14 January 2008 at 13:48, Anonymous nikki said...

What a great way to share the books you no longer want! I need to join too.

At 14 January 2008 at 14:00, Blogger Alix said...

Bookmooch looks great, I'm off to check it out. Great idea for Fun Monday - thanks for hosting.

At 14 January 2008 at 14:09, Blogger SwampAngel65 said...

That sounds like something I'd like! I'll be checking it out as soon as I send this comment. I read like crazy, and like you, most of what I read I don't really want to keep. I'd love sending books to people who really want them. I tried "BookCrossing" a few times, but the people who pick up my books never log them or say anything.

Thanks for hosting this week's Fun Monday!

At 14 January 2008 at 14:11, Blogger Rose said...

Just found your blog via Rotten Correspondent and am looking forward to reading more of it. Intrigued about the website question and the Dangerous Books thing. Also, would love to know the story of how you moved to Ireland; perhaps it's in your blog history?

At 14 January 2008 at 14:48, Blogger Babaloo said...

Now, that sounds like a cool website. Think I'll have to check that one out. I have so many books I would like to give away but the second-hand shop in Cork has become quite picky in what they'll take off you (only the ones they know for sure they can sell). Last time I went with about 40 books and they took maybe 12. What a disappointment. Especially because I had to drag them all back home. So this site sounds like heaven to me!

At 14 January 2008 at 15:05, Blogger Robin said...

I have NEVER heard of this site, but it's an interesting website. I wondered if "everyone" would post similar links for this week's theme, so far every blog I've visited has had a different answer (then again, I'm early in my visits, lol).

I'm NOT great at packaging things up...I always seem to put it off :/. But, it's always nice to receive them, so maybe I need to work on that a bit. Bookmooch might be a good place to begin.

Thanks again for hosting this week's Fun Monday :).

At 14 January 2008 at 15:06, Anonymous Robin said...

Ooops! That won't link back to me...this will :).


At 14 January 2008 at 15:06, Blogger Tiggerlane said...

That sounds incredibly cool! I always donate my books to the local charity yard sale, and I think my offerings are a bit intelluctual at times for our community - this is a GREAT idea!

At 14 January 2008 at 15:11, Blogger lisa's chaos said...

That sounds like a really really neat site! Must check it out!

Thanx for hosting! :)

At 14 January 2008 at 15:19, Anonymous AtomiK Kitten said...

I am going to have to check out Book Mooch. I have my website listed.

At 14 January 2008 at 15:22, Blogger Sandy said...

Thank you! What a great idea for all of us readaholics!

At 14 January 2008 at 15:39, Blogger Kaycie said...

That's a very cool site. I have a hard time giving my books away, though. I tend to keep them forever unless I just hate them.

I don't think I could ever give "On Chesil Beach" away.

At 14 January 2008 at 15:43, Blogger thefoodsnob said...

Oooo, I HAVE to check that one out!
Thanks for hosting Fun Monday.


At 14 January 2008 at 15:52, Blogger The Rotten Correspondent said...

That's an incredible idea. I'll have to look into it.

I know what you mean about tidy piles of nicely wrapped things all ready to go out. It's an OCD fantasy.

At 14 January 2008 at 15:52, Blogger The Rotten Correspondent said...

oh, and thanks for hosting! fun topic.

At 14 January 2008 at 16:24, Blogger Gattina said...

I came back to see who is the host next week but I can't see any name. Who is it ?

At 14 January 2008 at 17:11, Blogger Cynthia said...

I am a book reading couch potato also. My site is book themed also!

At 14 January 2008 at 17:20, Anonymous Christine said...

What a fantastic idea! I have stacks of books I'm no longer going to read, and books I would love to delve into. I am definetly going to have to check BookMooch out.

Thanks for hosting and providing such a wonderful topic for FM.

At 14 January 2008 at 17:37, Anonymous Vicki said...

Wowzers! This Fun Monday has grown!

I've got it next week!

At 14 January 2008 at 17:39, Blogger janet said...

wow. how cool! this is something i could really get into (oh no!!! another something to get into????? eek!)

do you have a host for next week? if not, i MIGHT volunteer... unless someone else want it?

At 14 January 2008 at 18:22, Blogger Faye said...

Ann, what a novel approach to sharing good reads! All of us struggle with paying full price for a "candy read", but if it's a favorite author you're tempted. Your bookmooch web site solves that problem.

I was interested in Chesil Beach as well, but wouldn't buy it because the reviews were not great. Glad to get YOUR review.
Great idea for a Fun Monday.

At 14 January 2008 at 19:42, Blogger -Ann said...

Pamela - Yeah, I love free too. I'm also enjoying finding all these new and interesting sites.

ChrisB - It's a great way to off-load books. I'll update the site whenever you get back to me.

WUASTC - You might not be able to tear yourself away. :)

Peter - I have to confess, I created the topic to suit one of my favourite obsessions.

Aoj - In the States, the Bookcrossing thing is all about leaving your books in random places. I'm not sure I could do that - I like to know my books are going to a good home. Thanks for volunteering on the hosting - I'll let you know what's going on.

Hootin' Anni - Books are the best. And as soon as I know what's going on with the hosting, I'll let you all know. :) I love all the enthusiasm for Fun Monday.

kitten - What's your bookmooch id?
I'm (predictably) forthelongrun

laurie - I've never sold books on Amazon - is it easy?

Fianna - I hope you don't lose your job, but, if you do, I know a place you can get books for free. :) Glad you're enjoying all the posts - I am too.

Misslionheart♥ - What's your ID?

nikki - Let me know your ID when you do sign up. :)

Alix - Glad you're enjoying it - hope you like bookmooch too.

SwampAngel65 - Yeah, I never warmed to the idea of Bookcrossing. Bookmooch is a better system. I love systems.

Rose - We decided to move to Ireland shortly after I started the blog, so the first posts about it are in February 2005. I married an Irish guy and got him to live in Chicago for nearly 10 years, which was probably 8 years too many. The thing about the Irish is you can take 'em all around the world, but in the end, they just want to come home. :) I think the best post summarising the decision is this one. Enjoy!

Babaloo - Yeah, second-hand bookshops are rarely worth the effort. (And I'd have to go to Killarney or Macroom to find one - I can do Bookmooch in my own house.)

Robin - I'm really enjoying seeing all the different posts.

Tiggerlane - Ooh, I bet you'd fit into bookmooch really well. Let me know your ID if you sign up.

lisa's chaos - Thanks for stopping in - hope you enjoy the day.

AtomiK Kitten - Thanks for stopping by - I've added you to the participants list.

Sandy - Yes. I might be encouraging a good bad habit. :)

Kaycie - I gave it away because I was on a push to accummulate 100 points. I confess, I'm probably going to buy it again. I liked it that much. :)

thefoodsnob - You're welcome. Have fun!

RC - It totally is - like when everything in the cupboard is all perfectly arranged. (Which only lasts for about a week, but it's so nice while it lasts.)

(And I'm glad you're enjoying FM. I think it's going to end up being a Fun Tuesday for me as well - takes a while to visit everyone.)

Gattina - I promise it'll be up as soon as I know. :)

Cynthia - I had to stop in the middle of writing this comment and check out your site. I wish I lived in TN!

Christine - Glad you're enjoying it.

Vicki - It sure has!

janet - Thanks - I'm just waiting on final confirmation of the host and AOJ has also offered, so next week (and possibly the week after that) are covered. I think. :)

Faye - I think maybe part of the reason I loved "On Chesil Beach" is that I've never read any McEwan, so I came to it with no expectations or preconceptions.

At 14 January 2008 at 20:12, Blogger laurie said...

selling books on amazon is completely easy.

just call up the book, and off to the right it says "have one to sell? click here" and then follow the directions.

they'll deduct a fee and then deposit the proceeds in your checking or savings account.

over the last two years i've probably gotten about $200 for books that i would otherwise have given to goodwill.

At 14 January 2008 at 20:51, Blogger Carrie Sue said...

Wow, I never heard of bookmooch, sounds great!

At 14 January 2008 at 21:32, Blogger -Ann said...

Laurie - Hm, I will have to look at that, although I'm pretty much in love with bookmooch.

carrie sue - thanks for stopping by!

At 14 January 2008 at 21:49, Blogger Sauntering Soul said...

Thanks for hosting this week Ann!

I just recently heard about a similar site called PaperBackSwap. But apparently I'm too lazy to be bothered with packing stuff up and mailing it...I just gave away 2 boxes of books to charity last week.

At 14 January 2008 at 23:12, Blogger karisma said...

Sounds like a great idea. Im always giving away books. But with the amount I give up I tend to give them away locally. I think I would go broke pretty quick if I sent them all via post.

At 14 January 2008 at 23:48, Blogger amy said...

I've looked at Bookmooch before on your recommendation and you've inspired me to check it out again. Thanks! Maybe this time I'll actually get rid of some of those clunkers taking up valuable space on my book shelves!

At 15 January 2008 at 00:44, Blogger Southern Doll said...

Thanks for hosting, Ann! My first Fun Monday was so fun!

At 15 January 2008 at 00:46, OpenID raising3saints said...

I'll have to check that out....although I don't think I have any books I want to get rid of; I am seriously considering putting up bookshelves along the tops of all my walls, as I have run out of space on normal bookshelves.

At 15 January 2008 at 01:59, Blogger nannykim said...

cool story--that would especially be great for places where there is not a good lending library!! I have often said, "Oh, I couldn't move there , I would be lost without books!! To buy books get expensive! But this is an intersting way to solve that problemo!

At 15 January 2008 at 02:28, Blogger Alison said...

Wow..I love this site and the idea. I have never heard of it before, but I have now bookmarked it and will become a Book Moocher!! Thanks so much for the tip!!
Thanks again for hosting this week...wonderful topic!!

At 15 January 2008 at 03:44, Blogger Kerith Collins said...

i so understand! i am a member of paperbookswap and i love it...i am reading less due to blogging but i have gotten wonderful books from people...books i otherwise never would have bought because of price

At 15 January 2008 at 04:33, Blogger Linda said...

I'm totally telling my husband about Bookmooch - he's got about a million books! Thanks for hosting this, great topic!

At 15 January 2008 at 04:48, Blogger Monica said...

This sounds great! I remember being a voracious reader...before I had kids...and someday I hope to be again. Maybe a visit to bookmooch will jump start my habit once more. Thanks!

At 15 January 2008 at 04:54, OpenID sirdar said...

That sounds like a pretty cool idea for getting the books you want to read. Good find!!

At 15 January 2008 at 05:00, Blogger -Ann said...

SS - It's definitely the packaging up that I enjoy the most. :)

karisma - That's why surface mail was invented. :)

amy - There's a special satisfaction in getting someone else to agree to take a crappy book. One of my least favourite books from 2007 just got mooched out yesterday and I was ecstatic.

Southern Doll - Glad you enjoyed it.

raising3saints - Are your shelves double-lined yet? :) We have friends whose bookshelves are that crowded.
nannykim - The thing about living in the Middle of Nowhere, is that you have to drive into a decent sized town to do your shopping, so as long as that town has a library, you're all set.

Alison - You'll have to tell me your ID on bookmooch.

Kerith Collins - The last place I worked, we had a book swap shelf where you dumped books you didn't want and picked up books you did. But new job didn't have that so I was thrilled when I found Bookmooch.

Linda - It's a great invention alright.

Monica - When people remark at the number of books I read, I always tell them "Yeah, but I don't have kids." :) I don't know where parents find the time for reading.

At 15 January 2008 at 14:01, OpenID conortje said...

Bookmooch sounds very much something for me - I'm going to investigate - thanks :-)

At 15 January 2008 at 17:10, Blogger Karina said...

OH boy...this is definitely a website I'll be checking out in more detail! Really, with all these great websites everyone is mentioning on FM this week, I may never turn off the computer again!

At 15 January 2008 at 18:45, Blogger -Ann said...

Conortje - If you end up joining, please let me know your ID.

Karina - I know what you mean - I had no idea what sort of can of worms I was opening with this assignment!

At 16 January 2008 at 01:13, Blogger Mamalang said...

Cool site. I'll be back to it.

And my Fun Monday post is finally done...just a day late :)

At 16 January 2008 at 02:52, Blogger -Ann said...

ML - You know what they say - better late than never. :)

At 16 January 2008 at 03:58, Blogger Crown Princess said...

Bookmooch.....sound great. I read close to a book a day so this will be great. Also thanks for hosting.

At 16 January 2008 at 17:45, Blogger -Ann said...

CP - A book a day? That's fantastic. Bookmooch would be perfect for you. If you do sign up, let me know your ID.

At 18 January 2008 at 22:25, Blogger Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, what a brill idea. I must remember to go and have a look. I love my books. I just finished Shantaram. Now that is a fabulous book.

At 18 January 2008 at 22:25, Blogger Jo Beaufoix said...

Oh, and thanks for hosting. It was a brill idea. :D


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