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02 October 2013

MeCha Used Book Swap? The idea came up in the latest book thread. Would anyone else be interested in doing a sort of monthly not-secret santa type thing, with books?[More:]

I was thinking that participants sign up, and then once a month, you send a book, preferably one you've read and is straight off your shelf, to a randomly assigned partner for the month.

Recipient gets book, and can either keep it or feel free to send it on next month.

It'd be like a book of the month club, I guess? And people could opt in or opt out each month.

Whatcha think?
For those of us in the UK, it might work out expensive to send books overseas. But I'd be happy to do it with e-books. I have a large number of non-DRM ebooks in both epub and mobi format that I'd be glad to email once a month to someone for their Kindle, nook, iPad, etc.
posted by Senyar 02 October | 08:52
I just realized I'm going to be uncharacteristically unavailable for most of the remainder of the day. So brainstorm without me (e-books are totally a great idea!), but don't feel I'm ignoring y'all!
posted by occhiblu 02 October | 09:00
I wonder if we could do a sort of small-scale BookMooch. Maybe at one point each month we could post what books we have available, and people could claim the ones they want, so long as a) other people get a chance to see the whole list before someone takes them and b) one person doesn't take 28 books at a time. (I'm basically suggesting this because I'm a bit of a book snob and am not fond of certain genres, although on the other hand I also read romance novels at a sickening pace.)

If you want to stick with the randomness, though, that's cool too.
posted by Madamina 02 October | 09:41
I like the BookMooch idea. But without any rules. Why don't we just put up a thread once a month and see who wants what books? I'm very happy to send off my actual books to a bunny. (Sadly, I read ebooks in non-give-awayable formats.)
posted by bearwife 02 October | 12:04
Damn, and I'm still boycotting the USPS over their crappy handling of legitimate media mail.
posted by Ardiril 02 October | 15:00
You know what would be fun as part of this? Wishlists.
posted by Ardiril 02 October | 15:01
I love this idea! Swaps are so much fun!
posted by fancyoats 02 October | 15:37
I'd be interested in the no-rules version of this.
posted by initapplette 02 October | 18:38
OK, I'm back online.

I'm confused by the various (not at all binding) votes. Possibly because I've never heard of BookMooch.

So let me talk this out in my sleep-deprived state and make sure I'm understanding, because I think I originally had a similar idea and I'm not sure why I discarded it.

No-rules BookMooch with Wishlists would be something like:

We have a thread in which anyone who wants to participate lists all books, in all formats, that they are willing to send. (Or maybe this links to a spreadsheet or something so that I can more easily keep track, but I can figure that out.)

People indicate what books they might want from the proffered volumes.

People also indicate what books they might one day want (wishlists).

Because I am a control freak and therefore automatically believe that controlled solutions are best, my instinct for the next step is that I would match up book-wanters with book-senders, to avoid bearwife's "one person walks off with 28 books" scenario.

But I am totally open to the idea that book-havers just message whatever book-wanters they desire and set up shipping. I don't want it to turn into a popularity contest, though. Is there a way to push against that?
posted by occhiblu 02 October | 20:12
Oops, that was Madamina's "One person walks off with 28 books" scenario, not bearwife's. Sorry. See above, re: sleep deprived.
posted by occhiblu 02 October | 20:13
How about a hard limit of 3 to 5 books per parcel from the Mooch lists. That would control costs, too. My budget could accomodate mailing12 books a month. I doubt I would want that many in return regularly, but I am not really looking for parity from this.

Perhaps a two day waiting period from posting an available book before anyone can claim it?

A wiki-style listing where members can edit lists?

I wouldn't want to limit this to a Mooch thing though, because I always stumble across books that I think someone or other here would like, but lacking their (current) address, I leave it. Since we would probably have everybody's addresses anyway, then everyone should expect to find an occasional surprise.

That's the reason I threw in wishlists. I would love to take a day each month armed with a fistful of wishlists and hit Seattle's used bookstores.
posted by Ardiril 02 October | 20:59
Even if we do something in which book-getters identify which book(s) they want, maybe we can have/encourage book-getters to say "random" or "whatever" or whatever, to indicate they're open to getting whatever someone wants to send. Because I kind of like the idea of getting a non-personally-selected book from someone whose taste I respect (which includes all of MeCha).
posted by occhiblu 02 October | 22:02
"Non-personally-selected book" probably should have been "non-self-selected" or "non-pre-selected."

I should probably stop posting this evening.
posted by occhiblu 02 October | 22:23
I like the random package idea as well. If we get 6 people interested in sending out 5 books a month each, things stay easy. If we get 8, then each month we can split that into 2 groups of 4 that are randomized each month.

Plus, the Mooch thing can run on its own alongside it with the overall goal of everyone making a mailing twice each month. Is that too often for anyone?
posted by Ardiril 02 October | 22:24
All numbers are open for modification.
posted by Ardiril 02 October | 22:29
Violating my "Stop Posting!" self-command:

Is that too often for anyone?

Exactly the question. One of the reasons I'd like to hash out specifics is because I want to get a sense of what amount of work everyone involved is willing to do.
posted by occhiblu 02 October | 22:41
I understand that the major impetus here might be to trade books with bunnies, but in case you would be interested in a bigger venue, this is basically what PaperBack Swap does, including wishlists and browsing. jessamyn turned me onto it and I love it - I've gotten just about every book I've recently wanted here.
posted by Miko 02 October | 22:50
I have some ebooks and audiobooks which I will send to anyone who wants them.
posted by Obscure Reference 03 October | 07:21
I think this sounds fun, but I'm getting away from paper books for the most part (although I do have some ebooks, if they're desired).
posted by needlegrrl 03 October | 10:08
I like giving people books, almost a smuch as I like getting mail, especially with books.

Could we do something like Seekrit Quonsar, where you give ideas of books you like, and everybody sends books, and everybody gets books? I have an Android phone with a big screen, but have still not used ebooks yet, but I'll give it a try.
posted by theora55 03 October | 19:25
I like theora55's idea. I'd participate as a one time or annual thing, but I'm not gonna ship and pick up books every month. More power if folks do. I'm also not on an ebook platform.
posted by rainbaby 04 October | 06:02
OK, so we seem to want:

as-desired participation
options to request certain books or not
ability to indicate different formats (paper or digital or audio or all of the above)

Lemme see if I can throw together some sort of spreadsheet in a format that makes sense, and post it early next week?
posted by occhiblu 04 October | 14:43
Ooh, I only just found this thread. Wonderful idea. THANK YOU, occhi.
posted by tangerine 04 October | 17:45
Streaming preview || The theme for this week's Photo Friday is Parallels and Perpendiculars.