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March 14, 2002
10:22 AM   Subscribe

Booklend is for those who love books but chafe at purchasing an unknown quantity and dislike the public library’s pesky practice of due dates and fines. MetaFilistine MarkAnd not only allows you to peruse his personal library, but will ship you the tome of your choice gratis and even sends a postage-paid envelope for you to return the book at your leisure. The NY Times jokingly refers to it as a "quixotic effort", but Mark’s library is bereft of Don Quixote. Perhaps you could donate this book, or others, to his library.
posted by Avogadro (19 comments total)

 
wow -- that's just like Netflix without a sustainable business model!
posted by jessamyn at 10:46 AM on March 14, 2002


This is ubercool. I have a book to donate, but will Mark send me an SASE?

Also, how much for the eight-books-at-once plan?
posted by daveadams at 11:05 AM on March 14, 2002


Most excellent link!
posted by Lynsey at 11:11 AM on March 14, 2002


wow -- that's just like Netflix without a sustainable business model!

Or, alternatively, like Amazon, but without the shipping fees and vertiginous stock devaluations!

I don't understand the "quixotic" reference in the article--I don't think Mark has any particular windmills that he's aiming for, really. Unless you're cynical enough to pre-emptively piss on any ideas about reciprocal altruism, it's just an experiment/hobby that he likes to do and can evidently afford. I think it's charming and admirable.
posted by Skot at 11:14 AM on March 14, 2002


Damn! Someone's already got "Teaching Yourself Sandskrit."
posted by ColdChef at 11:24 AM on March 14, 2002


Donation questions

I want to donate some books. What should I do?

We appreciate book donations. Send any donations to: Booklend, PO Box 766, Concord, MA 01742.

The cynical part of me thinks that "Booklend" would be a great device to use to get nice people to send you all kinds of free books. And then you could sell them for profit.

I HATE that cynical part of me. To fight it, I'm gonna send them some free books.
posted by ColdChef at 11:31 AM on March 14, 2002


This is a remarkable effort, particularly if it ever plans to include books that are not available in some libraries due to lack of funds or prudish censorship. If there was any working model for what peer-to-peer networks could function on an everyday level, this is it. Perhaps the peer-to-peer idea could make up for much of our cultural inadequacies (severely encouraged by diminishing education funds and privatization of the arts).
posted by ed at 11:32 AM on March 14, 2002


well, i'll just repurpose my (nearly entirely elided) quote for the story as a metafilter comment! in response to a question "why would you borrow books from mark instead of your local library?", i answered:

"I should note that while I currently have two of Mark's books, I also have about ten of my local library's books - I don't really see it as an either/or proposition. There is certainly a convenience factor that Mark offers, sending books directly to your doorstep, but it doesn't replace the pleasure of browsing through stacks of books and reading the dust jacket copy. What I like most about Mark's project is the notion of trust, once again illustrating that the web isn't just about get-rich-quick schemes, but also about offering idiosyncratic personal projects a wide audience. He is expanding that desire we all have to press books into people's hands and say "you should read this". At its core, the project has a currency of generosity, in more than a financial sense. This appeals to me."
posted by judith at 11:38 AM on March 14, 2002


The cynical part of me thinks that "Booklend" would be a great device to use to get nice people to send you all kinds of free books. And then you could sell them for profit.

Given that Mark has already spent several hundred dollars on mailing books to people since he started the service, I think this is a pretty silly thing to worry about.
posted by daveadams at 11:58 AM on March 14, 2002


just like Netflix without a sustainable business model!

like Amazon, but without the shipping fees and vertiginous stock devaluations!

a great device to use to get nice people to send you all kinds of free books.

Thank you for your alternative tagline suggestions, everyone.
posted by snarkout at 12:01 PM on March 14, 2002


Do people still actually read books? Did this Times reporter actually verify that this "Judith Zissman" character isn't in fact Ravi Desai? How do we know people aren't using this for free delivery of doorstops?
posted by mattpfeff at 12:37 PM on March 14, 2002


There Is No Cabal Judith.
posted by Skot at 12:51 PM on March 14, 2002


Great, great idea.

And on a side note, check out his blog entry for January 6th.

Very funny.

I'd post a direct link, but Mark doesn't have permalinks. Very inconvenient. But largely forgiveable: he only has one page of entries.
posted by silusGROK at 1:02 PM on March 14, 2002


Speaking with the Angel - Nick Hornby: This book is currently in Huntington, West Virginia.

With WHO?! *boggle*
posted by aaron at 1:53 PM on March 14, 2002


i tell you what i would appreciate - a morpheus style file-sharing network for e-books, i.e. the text of books in electronic format. yes i know it would be more copyright violation, but i'm unscrupulous.
posted by mokey at 2:22 PM on March 14, 2002


Mokey: I know these might not be quite what you are after, but I can wholeheartedly recommend Project Gutenburg, Page by Page Books and The Online Books Page. There is quite a bit of overlap between them in some areas, but still a huge amount of free reading to be had. The Online Books page alone lists over 16000 books available to read online.
posted by Gamecat at 4:57 PM on March 14, 2002


If anyone else lives in Baltimore, they may want to check out the Book Thing of Baltimore. They have a whole rowhouse stuffed full of books and they just give them away to whoever shows up. The only reason I don't go down there more often is because they yell at me for not taking enough books. No fancy mailing the books, or even listing what they have, but you can't help but find something.
posted by donkeymon at 6:54 PM on March 14, 2002


i borrowed two books (the martian chronicles and fight club) from mark about a year ago. i must say, it was a rather enjoyable experience.

he ships everything book rate (the SASE enclosed with the books is marked for book rate as well) which explains how he's able to afford it, and means that when you 'order' books from him you can expect to get them in two to three weeks or so. if i remember correctly, there was a handwritten note accompanying the novels along with a bookmark, presumably to promote proper upkeep of the books and discourage dog-earing and spine-breaking.

anyway, if you see something available on his list snatch it up (and send it back soon)! it was just a neat thing to participate in, and i'm eagerly waiting (for books to come back) to do it again.

i didn't know mr. anderson operated booklend.net. markand.com is the place i've always gone. is it the same list? same rules?
posted by carsonb at 2:37 AM on March 15, 2002


i didn't know mr. anderson operated booklend.net. markand.com is the place i've always gone. is it the same list? same rules?

Mark just launched booklend.net, but yes, I believe it is essentially the same as the lending library, just easier.
posted by Avogadro at 6:18 AM on March 15, 2002


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