“People were bringing in boxes of books and looking at other people’s books to see what they might want to read and talking to one another about books,” he said. “I wanted to see if I could capture that same sense of community online.”
BookMooch now has 40,000 members around the world, according to Mr. Buckman, and people are joining at a rate of 300 a day. Participants create an inventory (the books they want to give away) and a wish list (the books they want to own). The “library” has some 750,000 titles, and Mr. Buckman estimates it will hit one million by the end of December.
Members are notified by e-mail when a book they would like becomes available. Some get recommendations from fellow moochers, who happily talk up their inventory on the members’ forum, while others browse the site by category, hoping to stumble across a treasure.