Every once in a while, the Internet makes a great idea possible. This is the case with Bookmooch and sharing used books.
What is Bookmooch?
This article from icommons.org explains the basics: "Bookmooch is an online community for exchanging used books. If you join as a member, you can ask someone in the community to send you a second-hand book. In exchange, when someone asks you for a used book of yours, you send it to him or her." Memberships are free, and all you have to do is post the titles of 10 of your "available" books to get started. You get one point for every book you share, and it "costs" a point to request a book from someone. All you pay is the shipping for the books you request. And you can leave feedback, similar to eBay, so every "bookmoocher" develops a reputation that can be tracked.
Getting authors involved
"Bookmooch is now planning to introduce another feature to invite authors to jump into the value-chain of the ’sharing’ community. The trick is to reward authors when their book is traded, that is ’shared’." Here's how it works: "[A] credit is given to an author each time his or her book is traded. The more the author’s books are passed along, the more credits the author gets. A ‘credit’ means free books in Bookmooch so that new feature might be translated as ‘authors get free books for life’. John added that he would like to work on ways to be able to help independent authors."
Off to a great start
"After only 7 weeks after the site launch, there have been 20 000 books exchanged, 100 000 different books are available in the site, and 10 000 people have joined from 67 different countries. The site is translated into 5 different languages, with a soon to be added Japanese version. From statistics John noticed that when people share 10 books for free, they then seem buy a new book [from the site's Amazon.com links]. Who knows this might be a magic number to link ’sharing’ and ‘purchasing’?"