Last year I published some thoughts on the future of Bookmooch and some graphs that seemed to support my experiences using the site. Almost another year has passed and I thought I would update the chart again. I don’t have much time these days to analyze in more detail, so I’ll only give a few thoughts and comments about my latest experiences.
In the past six months I have consistently added more books to my wishlist, but have seen an abrupt decline in the number of wishlist books becoming available. This may have something to do with books being reserved for others without ever being available to the general public. It may also just be an indication that I desire popular books people aren’t willing to give away. I did find my recent experiences with Bookmooch summed up nicely by this quote from the recent survey:
When I first joined Bookmooch a couple of years ago, wishlisted books were much more readily available and I was constantly mooching and sending. With all of the changes, I very rarely get notification for any books on my wishlist. Often when I do get a notification, the book is already reserved for someone else or it is no longer available.
The graph below is an update of the one I published on 9/24/08, showing points, inventory, # of wishlist books, and number of mooches over time. All of these have been normalized to the number of members listing at least one book in inventory, with the last one per 100 users.
As expected, points and wishlist books are rising while inventory is falling. I suspect there is a lot of unsatisfied demand out there, or too many points chasing too few books. The mooches / 100 users trend is showing some interesting behavior. I did expect this to level off somewhere below 100 mooches / 100 users. There have been a couple of periods of declining activity recently and I’m not sure what to make of that. There was also a sudden spike – maybe a purging of bad accounts?
As I mentioned before, I love the Bookmooch concept. However, I’ve recently started donating books to the library again because I find myself sitting on a pile of points with nothing to mooch and I don’t want to spend money shipping books to accumulate points I probably won’t be able to use. That mentality certainly isn’t helping increase the availability of books.