BookMooch – Swapping books made easy

Update: LibraryThing mastermind Tim has finished integrating BookMooch (and a few other book-swapping sites) into LibraryThing. Yay! Finally I can try to put my Java book to good use! Read the announcement on the LibraryThing blog.

bookmoochBookMooch, another service focusing on books was recently released. While one of my most favourite Web2.0 ventures, LibraryThing, is focusing primarily on the theoretical aspect of a social web for book lovers, namely being able to compare ones collection to others, write reviews, etc., BookMooch is actually going one step further:

Their slogan “New Life for Old Books” very much summarises what the service is about. Swap your old books for other people’s old books. The idea is simple, and so is the implementation. When you sign up, BookMooch makes you enter 10 book you’d like to have, then you can enter books you would like to swap with others. To fill your list of the 10 desired books, you can also import your Amazon wishlist, which is a nice idea. The whole thing is managed by a points system, so people don’t start mooching books off of others without sending some out themselves.

The service is a very good idea for people with limited budgets, or people with limited space. The only thing that’s missing now is a reciprocal API to LibraryThing.

bookmooch frontpage

PS: I just saw that they are actually linking to the LibraryThing entries of the books! Nice! Now let me synchronize the two services, and I’m one happy book lover!

LibraryThing mobile

Well, since everyone and their Grandma are pushing towards content on mobile phones, it doesn’t exactly come as a surprise that LibraryThing, everybody’s favourite online library and cataloguing service, can now be accessed via mobile phone too.

From their blog entry:

The idea is simple—you get the most important features of LibraryThing through your cell phone’s “internet” feature. So you can check whether you have something—by title, author, tag or ISBN—when you’re in the bookshop, browse your catalog, and read your reviews. You can even accesss your “Pssst!” recommendations. But I don’t know anything about cellphone security, so you can’t add items, and you can’t look at private libraries—even your own.

This is great news really. It’s not that I love working with screens as tiny as my mobile’s, but I was wishing for something like that a while ago while standing in a bookstore, and undecided whether my girlfriend actually had a certain book. Well, now it’s as easy as whipping out my mobile and punching in

LT founder Tim Spalding even set up a test page, so you don’t have to get out your mobile to see what all the fuss is about:

librarything mobile testpage

Great stuff!

LibraryThing in realtime

Check out this page where you can see the books being added to LibraryThing, greatest online library service on the web (where else, right?), in realtime.

As Tim Spalding puts it in his posting LibraryHypnotismThing:

I find it hypnotic, both fascinating and will-depleting at the same time.

And he’s right! I should be soundly asleep by now, but I just can’t stop staring!

I’m visible

In 1984, Orwell elaborately worked on the notion that in the future an entity comparable to a government would be in total control of people, in the course of which luxuries like privacy would be gone forever.

Neil Postman later postulated that Orwell’s vision had become reality, with the difference that there really wasn’t a need for a government to take over control. We’d simply handed it over, in exchange for entertainment and a swell life.

In an attempt to show how right Postman was, I’ve added a few new items to my sidebar. One of them is a link to an online library showcasing the books I own. If you like stealing books, but don’t care about reading blurbs while doing so, I’ve just made your job a whole lot easier. You could of course also use it to check if I already own the book you’re about to give me as a birthday present. All in all, a nice little tool to avoid embarrassment (and quite probably a lengthy prison term).

The second item is something I’ve creatively labeled “On Rotation”. It’s three of the albums I’m currently listening to or have listened to in the last few days/weeks. You could of course just go to my page, and see it in real-time, but that would take away my justification for adding nice cover-art to my otherwise bland website.

So, have fun invading my privacy.