The former continues to operate as though blithely unaware of U.S. claims that the Russian government is about to shut it down. In fact, fund your account before January 14th and they’ll give you a 20% bonus. I decided to take advantage of the offer, while also checking out whether it was true, as I’d read, that the credit card companies were ganging up on allofmp3.com too. Not to worry; I was able to add $15 to my account using their third-party credit card processor, no problem.
Apparently the Russian government has said that they will investigate and prosecute illegal music trading, and the U.S. authorities have interpreted this as meaning allofmp3.com is toast. He says one thing, she hears another? You’ll find interesting articles on the whole matter at arstechnica.com and theregister.co.uk . They’re some weeks old, but cursory googling didn’t find anything more recent that had anything new to say.
Magnatune.com was founded by a chap named John Buckman. A more recent project of his is bookmooch.com . If you’re a reader with lots of books you’d like to trade with other readers, bookmooch.com can help you connect.
After establishing an account at bookmooch.com, you fill your inventory with books you’re willing to trade. You get a tenth of a point per book you list. If one of your books is asked for, you get one point if the request comes from within your country, three points if it’s from elsewhere. That’s because you pay for the shipping — thus the higher value for shipping internationally. You can choose not to ship internationally, though, or to require international moochers to contact you first (maybe you’re willing to ship internationally except for particularly heavy tomes, or ship to some countries but not to others).
You can use the search to find books you want to mooch from others, or, if no one has what you’re looking for, you can add it to your wish list. If someone adds a book to their inventory and it’s on your wishlist, you’ll be notified immediately. Since a book may be on several people’s wish lists, you’d better mooch quickly upon receiving notice. It costs a point to mooch from within your country, two points to mooch a book from without.
I’ve used the site for a couple of months. It’s not without some rough edges. Buckman is more of a visionary than a designer/coder, so the interface is not always as intuitive as it might be, but once you’ve learned the quirks, they’re not really a problem.
Buckman’s search code is not very reliable. For example, I have Leonard Cohen’s Book of Mercy in my inventory, but if you search for “Book of Mercy”, the site’s search engine returns no hits. If you search for just “Mercy”, though, you’ll find it in the list of books with Mercy in the title. Bookmooch is indexed by Google, so you can also use Google’s site search, but it won’t be up to date and may contain old info for books that have already been mooched from people’s inventories. The safest approach is probably to use Bookmooch’s search on the single most distinctive word in the title.
Finally, there’s some question with regard to the economics of it. For what it costs to ship books, even domestically, you could be buying from local used book stores, especially since there aren’t a lot of treasures on bookmooch.com, mostly paperbacks. Nice old books, out of print hard covers with dust jackets intact and so on, remain the bailiwick of real-world sellers. Or check out abebooks.com for treasures online.
Bookmooch is great if you want to clear some space on your shelves. From that perspective, and that of charity (you can donate your bookmooch points), it doesn’t much matter whether it’s a good deal or not. Tossing books in the garbage might be an easier way to get rid of them, but some folk (myself included) find that hard to do. Even if it actually costs a bit, I’d prefer to send these old friends off to new homes.