I mean BookMooch—have you tried it? It’s enough to send a book hoarder past the point of no return. You go and list the books you have that you no longer want and if they’re good ones, you’ll receive email alerts within minutes from people who have those same books on their wishlists and would love for you to send yours to them. Do that quickly and you’ll earn good feedback, which will build up points which allow you to acquire the books you want from other souls. No money is exchanged. It’s book wealth redistribution and it’s lovely.
There are other services like this, namely PaperBackSwap, but they feel more corporate. PaperBackSwap is gearing up to start charging, as they repeatedly tell you when you sign up, and rather than get out of the way of the book-love fest like BookMooch they seem bent on complicating things. First they pair you up with a veteran user who has volunteered to be your Tour Guide, which is a little awkward, then they introduce money into the equation—you can buy book-credits as well as “PBS Money,” which is used to pay for their branded delivery confirmation feature: a printable barcode scanned by the postal service for tracking purposes that ties into your PBS account and streamlines book-credit management. You can also buy printable postage with your PBS Money, or pay $8 for the privilege of exchanging boxes of books with someone (Box-o-Books™).
On the other hand, PaperBackSwap’s traffic is higher than that of BookMooch and they have more books available. They’re also out to become the Oprah of modern book exchange and could care less about the whiny book blogger demographic.
BookMooch is non-profit, has a bang-up API, hangs out with some great charities, plays well with LibraryThing and was created by John Buckman, Renaissance lutenist and founder of Magnatune among other good things. It’s also enabled some unexpected acquisitions like the early signed edition of a book by Thomas Flanagan (who shares my birthday and whose daughter‘s work is a good conversation starter on the internet). In sum: BookMooch good.