If you love reading, but you also love having enough money left over for food and other essentials, then BookMooch is a great idea! English language books can get expensive in Japan, and sometimes it’s hard to get out-of-print titles. If in your home country you were often found scouring the shelves of second-hand book shops, then BookMooch might just be the second-hand book shop for you. Not only that – what other book shop would you get the books you want… for free?
OK, OK, it’s not exactly free. But BookMooch is free to sign up, and it’s also free to get the books that you want. The catch is, that in order to earn those free books you must first be willing to send some of your own unwanted books to somebody else who wants them. That’s right,BookMooch is also a great way to get rid of books that you no longer need, and give them to new homes that want them.
By sending your books to someone who requests them, you are earning points for yourself you can then spend asking people to send their unwanted books to you. There’s a huge database of books, and it’s even linked to Amazon so that you can see what books are available onBookMooch and which ones you’d have to order online!
This is how it works. When you send a book to someone else in Japan, you get one point. If you send a book to someone in another country, you get 3 points. To get a book from someone in Japan, you use 1 point. To get a book from overseas you use just 2 points (less than the 3 you earned by sending a book overseas). The really great news for people who live in Japan is that sending books, even overseas is quite cheap. I usually have a budget in my mind of about 500 yen for sending one book, and usually I can stick to that budget if I send the book SAL (Surface Air Lift, and it only takes about 10 days to get there). For that 500 yen I spent, I can get 3 books sent to me from within Japan, or I can get one book sent to me from anywhere, with change left over for my next “purchase”.
I can not overstate how much I love BookMooch. I have found textbooks on there that otherwise would have cost me 5000 yen new. I have stocked my kids book shelves with level-appropriate material and let them do their own “shopping” for their latest favourite author. I have got rid of the books that are now too easy for them (and remember, even kids books which are lighter and cheaper to send earn you 3 points if you send them overseas). And since there are old titles up there too, I’ve found more older books that I want than I ever would have spending a month going through second-hand book shops in Australia.
You absolutely must check it out!