Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bookmooch Closed My Account And Wouldn't Tell Me Why

Bookmooch closed my account after I spent $35 on packing materials and refused to tell me why. The following is an exchange with a Bookmooch admin (or at least someone with an email address claiming to be a Bookmooch admin):


Hello Josh,
Sorry, we cannot offer membership at Bookmooch due to an association with a past account which gave us difficulties,
No need to send any requested books.


I'm not sure why my account has been closed. I've already packaged
and addressed the books I've agreed to send and was planning on
mailing them tomorrow.

Can you tell me more about why my account was closed?



Hello Josh,
We must take the precaution of disallowing any new membership which is linked to past accounts that misued our system.
We suggest the use of Paberback swap, Tittle trader or Bookins, all good trading sites.
But do not send books to Bookmooch members as no future accounts will be permitted.


I don't understand. Did I sign up for Bookmooch and not agree to send
books that were never sent? If so, I don't remember doing that. I
may have browsed the site before, but don't remember doing more than

I certainly understand the need to preserve a good user community, but
I guess I'm a little concerned that maybe a third party had
compromised my account or something like that.

Is there any additional information you can give me?



sorry, we cannot disclose site security features, to do so would not be to our advantage.
Most trading or selling sites have such mechanisms in place.


That's very disappointing to hear.

I can't say that I've ever experienced this kind of treatment before
from an online community:

You tell me that I'm somehow associated with an abuse of your site,
and I'm making an effort to resolve the situation, and you won't give
me any further information about how you came to the conclusion that
I'm not acting in good faith. That doesn't seem very fair to me.

All I want to do is give my books away on your site. Well, that and
now I'd like to clear my name as well.

I would respectfully ask that you reconsider working with me to
resolve the situation.



Hello Josh,
No need to clear your name at all, we need no further information.
We act with great caution in clearing new members, and there is no reason to take this as anything more.


Just to make sure you understand my perspective here, let me
re-summarize recent events as I see them:

I heard about Bookmooch via a question at Stack Overflow, an online
community of which I am a good citizen and contributor:

I post a bunch of programming books that I no longer use, and get
quite a few mooches.

I figure to myself, "Hey, this looks pretty good. I think I'll post
some additional books that I no longer have need of." Get additional
mooches. Everything's great. I probably don't need all of those
points now, so maybe I'll donate some to charity.

I leave to run some errands and while out go shopping at Office Depot
to purchase $35 worth of padded envelopes. I package and address all
of the books I'm about to mail tomorrow.

I come back to find my account closed with an email from you stating
so. I politely inquire as to an explanation why my account is closed,
get none. No reference to terms of service I violated, no explanation
of what behavior made you suspicious, nothing.

That's not exactly the kind of treatment that gets you good word of
mouth. It is, however, the kind of treatment that gets me irritated
enough to post my experience in the most public forum I can.



  1. And the last reply in the thread:

    Hello Josh,

    Your account was closed within hours of being opened (on a Sunday), so of course, it was clear that no books had yet been sent.

    I am sure you will find the same interest for your books at any of the other major trading sites.

    We cannot satisfy each and every member, and have nearly 100,000 in over 100 countries.

    Our public terms of service make clear the all accounts are open to review and any account may be closed if we have security concerns or for other reasons.

    You will find the same policies on every other trading sites, as well as most that allow items to be sold.

    We must place the interest of the established members above those of brand new members who have a connection to previous account on the system,

    As explained, we cannot detail our security features as this would only help those who wish to misuse the site.

  2. bookmooch admins are utter narcissistic assholes. if they had any reasoning or logic in their brains they would obviously recreate an easier system. there is a way of doing it without abuse and what with the system they have set up where people get their points back for books not sent or what have you, i see no reason to not let you have an account. my similar story involves sending 30+ books away, and not having the money for another dozen i listed (but did not accept the requests for them) and thus, I am now out 30+ book points (or a charity that i might've donated is) and I am no longer allowed membership. bookmooch is run via croneyism and is utterly worthless.

  3. I wish I had read this sooner! I created an account at BookMooch a few weeks ago, and it has been nothing but problems. First, I made an account, but was not allowed to add books. I was told I had to wait for an admin to approve my account. I waited, and waited, and emailed, and emailed. Nothing. Finally, someone ok'd my account and I listed a few books. I got 13 requests in the first 4 hours. Wow! I accepted all of them, and sent all of them out the next day. 23 dollars in postage, plus packing materials. I had the audacity to ask for 3 books in return. I immediately got my account locked down because I "hit a velocity limit". My account has been useless ever since. Admins won't do anything but blow smoke in my face and tell me that every swap site works this way, so I should just shut up and relax. I've never seen a swap site work so hard to STOP people from swapping. The admins I've dealt with are arrogant and obtuse. My only hope at this point is that I can burn off the credits I have before I get so pissed I delete my account or get banned. I cannot understand why so many people give glowing reviews to BookMooch all over the web.

  4. They did the same to me. I spent over $40.00 in postage to mail out 20 books that were probably worth $20 or more. I had so many requests. I got them all out immediately, within a day and had about 25 books coming to me in points. They locked me out of my account. I tried to email them and they said something about a past account, which I never had. They said not to email them again. Their replies were so meanly stated with very poor writing. I felt so so bad. I guess from what I am reading here, I probably will never get back in to get my books.

  5. The same thing happened to me! I created an account a few years ago, but never added any books. Then recently I got back on the same account and started to use it. I sent out 4 books in that first day and then they closed my account. When I e-mailed them to ask why, they said that it was because they had to shut down people who tried to make more than one account....but I had only ever had one account. I wish I had researched a little more before joining BookMooch and had joined Paperback Swap instead...

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  7. Same story. I had been a member for only a week when they closed my account
    (without any explanation, and they didn't answer my emails either).
    The saddest things is that I mailed 5 books and spent $35 on postage -- what turned out to be just an expensive way to get rid of books.

    It's funny that the community which is supposed to be built on trust is managed by untrustworthy admins.

  8. I opened a Bookmooch account less than two weeks ago, and I've had nothing but problems with it. Requests I accept are read by the site as rejections (I've had this happen multiple times). Earlier this week, my account was automatically put on vacation, and I can't return until an administrator reviews the file.

    I don't think I want to work this hard to GIVE AWAY my books.

  9. "bookmooch admins are utter narcissistic assholes"

    they are they really really are. My theory is that only the most self centered bookmoocher will become an admin (they work for free for John Buckman who is btw independently wealthy) so that they can lord it over people.

    I just had my account minused to oblivion (they took all my points and put me in a minus position). I had got some books in the past in exchange for what I gave so I dont care. Then I discovered something better than bookmooch in getting used books--its called USED BOOKSTORE SITES! etc Im not being sarcastic --but I do think people like John are playing mind games on their users. With all the postage you pay you are not really gaining something and certanly not free books! so if your going to pay (ie postage etc) its best to pay a pro retailer who is responsible for your sale (on bookmooch many delay or dont send or send substandard books etc). If you sit down and crunch the numbers searching and buying from a used book source (after price comparing) costs the same if not less then bookmooch except with a lot less headaches.

    Thats my two and a half cents.

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  11. I closed my account because I couldn't keep up paying that much on postage. As another person had stated you can get cheaper books somewhere else and less the hassle. I closed my account willingly and this is what I got in return.

    "You have closed your account after taking books from our community and then rejecting the books you had promised in return.

    You have 30 days to return each book you have taken.

    If you fail to do so, your contact information will be submitted to regional civil authorities and the federal postal system for investigation of Internet and postal fraud."

    You threaten people..that is their policy? I don't have their possession I sent a book and received one, I believe that is an equal trade. I don't get this at all. I would not recommend away!

    1. Did they every press forward the charges, it seems incredibly unreasonable

  12. Wow, these comments are incredible. Mostly so because I can closely relate. I created a bookmooch account and was unable to "add" books that I wanted. After attempting to contact "tech support" several times I eventually deleted that account and created another (thinking there was a glitch with the original account). That did not work either. I've never been able to add books I want to receive. Tech Support has never returned my pleas for help. I've even tried to contact John, but to no avail. I'm glad I came across this forum. Can anyone recommend a good book-trading website that does work?

  13. I had the same experiences with the threats to send my information to civil authorities and such. Complete bullshit site.

  14. I recently signed up for bookmooch and later went back to add some books only to see my account closed. I emailed them to ask why. They sent me the link to another count (closed back in 2012) and said it was mine, which I wasnt. I explained to them there must of been some kind of mistake because I just moved here a few months ago. They then told me I was a lier and my ip address matched that on the old account. I dont know how IP addresses work so I just again told them its not possible because I just moved here. To which they replied by telling me they were going to sue me for mail fraud if I didnt stop. So I told them I was glad they denied me access if this is how they treat their users and that I wouldnt contact them again. They emailed me again and I ignored it. They then emailed me yet again to which I responded asking them to stop harassing me as I agreed to drop the subject and had not responded to their last attempt to bait me. I then blocked their email address so their staff would stop harassing me with their rude messages.

  15. STAY AWAY FROM BOOKMOOCH. IT WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE. It robbed me of a whole week, and possibly took away a couple of years of my life due to stress. They deny you access arbitrarily, website support is rude, condescending, unprofessional, unhelpful, and basically useless. I've been trying to look past the website's issues because I've already sent out a book, but I'm seeing now, it will be just that, I sent out a book internationally and will get absolutely nothing in return. The administrators denied my access to my own account. BOOKMOOCH WILL DRAIN YOUR PATIENCE AND ROB YOU OF YOUR SANITY. STAY AWAY. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

  16. I opened an account, and the first time that I wanted to access it, Windows Security popped up, saying that the connection was not a secure one. This did not please me, since I used a user-id I've used on other sites and also a password that I've used elsewhere (not together, thank goodness). I wrote – via their site ‘contact’ – and asked them to close my account; my plan was to choose a user-id that I've never used before, and a password that I've never used before. I haven't heard from them about that. However, I did get a 'welcoming' email, in which they included not only my user-id, but my password, too. I emailed back and pointed out that including a password in an email is not the most secure thing to do; I again asked them to close my account, as I do not wish to do business with a place that is so lax in security. I haven't heard back from them (but I did hear, from my email server, that the message was "temporarily undeliverable!". I will stay away from bookmooch, and I'm glad that I never got as far as adding books and having all of the problems that I read about above!

  17. I've been a member for years and have never had a problem.

  18. Bookmooch is by far the worst website I've never seen. I had problems too a few years ago and admins were rude, no manners and unpleasant.