That said, my book collection (the dead tree variety) is still growing. Not all the books I want to read have a digital version. Some are too old and some are academic books which only appear in hardback. I also still hit the bookstores wherever I land - for example, the McGill University bookstore is one of my haunts when I go to Montreal.
In a nutshell, I'm running out of space. Furthermore, a lot of these books I read once and won't read again.
In this morning's email, however, was a possible solution to this: BookMooch. An international reader of a site I follow wrote in to say that she uses and highly recommends it. Wow, I thought, I should check this out.
What is BookMooch? It's a book exchange where you enter a list of books you want to give away and a list of ones you want. All the other members do the same thing and the idea is to make a match - I have a book a member wants and yet another member has a book I want. Membership is free as are the books. The only cost to you or me would be the postage to send the book off to the member who requests it.
A nifty idea. So who came up with it? A guy named John Buckman who has a very interesting bio:
For 11 years I started and ran Lyris, a email newsletter (list server) and anti-spam company, which I sold in 2005. I also run Magnatune, a online record label that isn't evil.
I was born in London, raised in Paris, France, and spent my high school years in New Haven, CT where I started work at age 14 at Yale University. After college in Maine (Bates College) and a Masters from the Sorbonne (both in Philosophy), I lived in Washington, DC and worked at a think thank (the Academy for Advanced and Strategic Studies) and then at the Discovery Channel.
Among the reasons he gives for starting BookMunch are two connected to his nomadic bi-lingual life:
Fourth, as I live half the year in England, I'm often reading about books that have been out for some time in the USA but aren't yet available in the UK. For instance, the snarky "ICon" biography about Steve Jobs still wasn't available in the UK six months after it was featured in Wired Magazine.
Lastly, I grew up in Paris and went to graduate school there, and like to read books in French. These are almost impossible to get in the US unless I order from Amazon.fr or FNAC. BookMooch should be place that expats and foreign language readers can get books in other languages.
I can't recommend BookMunch to you because I haven't really tried it. Yet. I signed up this morning and entered 10 books I would like to find homes for. If you're interested, go have a look at the site. So far this morning I have two books on my list that other members want. If asked, I will send them off and hopefully someone somewhere in the world will be able to fulfill some of the items on MY wishlist. I'll keep you posted and if I like it I will put their widget on the Flophouse so you can see what I'm giving away.