I’ve now sent out well over 200 books on BookMooch and I can share some tips for would be moochers. (I’d include this on their wiki but, well, read on and see if you can spot why that might not be a great idea…)
1. Do you have any Harry Potter books that you’d like to give away? Here’s my advice about that: duct tape the book to your forehead (I suggest about 4 windings), find a local industrial incinerator in your area (in the East Bay there’s one right off Gillman) and stick your head with the book firmly attached directly into the oven and hold it there for no less than 4 minutes because that will be more enjoyable than dealing with the fucking lunatics out there looking for Potter books.
2. BM has a very handy utility for stating the condition of the book that you are posting. If your child or horse has pee’d on a book I suggest you mention that in the ‘condition notes’ for the book you’re posting. I have been duly flogged for skipping that kind of thing.
3. It turns out it’s a bad idea to randomly label packages when shipping to various moochers. It seems they are particularly picky about getting the exact book they requested and not a totally different one that weighs 5 times the one they wanted which they now have to re-package and send on to someone else at their expense.
4. When a request comes in it is often accompanied with a very stern warning such as “NO SMOKING BOOKS.” At first I thought this means books that have been through a fire so I de-listed about 120 books. Then I realized this was actually about cigar smokers who use their paperback books as a filter when exhaling. So I re-listed my char-fried books and decided the best course of action with the “NO SMOKING BOOKS” requests was to simply lie. Of course, like any sentient being on Earth I’ve used my books as cigar filters but I send the books anyway. I figure if I’m busted I can always promise to forward a point to the moocher. Of course I never follow up on that.
5. I’ve now posted several tech books for programming and software like Photoshop, Reason, etc. When I bought these they came with CDs or DVDs with examples or demonstrations. Who knows where those CDs and DVDs are today, I’ve sent most of them to Netflix instead of returning a movie I really like. If someone asks if the book has a CD with it I just say “Sure!” and stick a copy of “Chronic Dreams 2″ into the little CD jacket attached to the back cover the book. No complaints so far!
6. I like to willy-nilly put “Like new” into the condition notes for books I’m posting. (My dad always told me that it’s every man’s duty to exercise all the power you have in this world to the maximum.) This is especially fun for books that I bought used and there’s a big fat price sticker on the front cover from the used book store. When someone gets one these books and complains about it I reply with a humble, groveling email along the lines of “Oh, jeez, I’m sooooo sorry! I’ve reported myself to the BBB. Make sure to cancel your check and I’ll refund your expenses… oh, wait… that’s right, I forgot, you got the book for FUCKING FREE!”