Suspend Your Disbelief

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Trade your books with BookMooch

Logo artwork courtesy of

Logo artwork courtesy of

How have I not heard of this site before? BookMooch allows you to trade books you don’t want for books you do—by mail, with a little help from the internet. Here’s how it works, according to the site:

You earn points when you:

  • Type books in: enter books you own and want to give away. Each book typed in gets you 1/10th of a point.
  • Give books away: respond to a mooch request, and send your book to them. 1 point awarded, 3 points if sent to another country.
  • Acknowledge Receipt: after you receive a book, leave feedback for the sender and earn 1/10th of a point.

You use up points when:

  • Mooching Books: each book you receive costs you 1 point, 2 points if it was postal mailed from another country.
  • Charities: you can give your points to worthwhile charities we work with.

Says the site’s founder, John Buckman:

BookMooch is like a giant bookstore, of all the bookshelves in people’s homes. By aggregating everyone’s home book collection, we should have the best selection of used books on the planet. […]

Consider this: you have books at home that you’ll never read again. Why not trade those for books ones you would otherwise pay for?

Many books go out of print and are hard to find. With BookMooch– and this is important– they’re still available and what’s more, free.

Books are emotional, just like music. They are a cultural product and they matter to us. It feels good to recommend a book to someone, to pass it on, so they’ll enjoy it.

On the practical side, the opportunity to save money and free up shelf space is a motivation to use BookMooch.

Besides, not everything has to be about making profit. Sometimes it’s fun to just give a book to someone.

The site also provides discussion forums, statistics, and the opportunity to donate to charity. Yes, it’s best to support writers and publishers where you can buy buying books—but if it’s swap or throw out, go with swap.


Illustration credit Andrice Arp, courtesy of

Literary Partners