SwapSimple is a general swap site, with books just a part. Their pitch is as a “secure trading” site. As their president, Elliot Hirsch, expressed it to me:
“[W]e designed our trading platform with security as the highest priority—so that our community members would safely and reliably be able to trade everything from paperbacks to $200 textbooks.”
They also tout “integrated shipping, which enables the RECEIVER of a package to pay for shipping, not the sender.” LibraryThing doesn’t favor sites, except for openness and reciprocality, but it’s good to see that the swap sites aren’t all clones—there are some innovative ideas out there.
Arrr! Be open or walk the plank!
SwapSimple’s entry brings collaborating, open sites to three. Three more have expressed interest—including a site I had never known about—and one has commited to it. (The developer is on his honeymoon. Yeah, some excuse!) LibraryThing’s goal is to force openness and give users a wide selection of swap choices. We think it’s working! Those that refuse to allow links will be increasingly alone.
To be fair, I should mention a little about BookMooch and WhatsOnMyBookshelf. Although they went live when the feature went live—and that post was picked up all over the place—I never described the sites specifically:
BookMooch is the newest entry to the fray, and has been garnering a lot of recent attention and traffic. It was started by John Buckman, who also runs the MP3 label Magnatune. Although, again, I’m not going to play favorites with sites, John and I share a lot in terms of development philosophically and I admire his engagement with users. He can be thanked for fine-tuning my original swap-site integration proposal to make it much more useful for everyone involved.
WhatsOnMyBookShelf is the creation of Daniel Ostermayer. WOMB was the first swap site to link to LibraryThing, and has been quick to implement integration. Even cooler, LibraryThing’s use of swap-site wish lists prompted them to create a wish list feature of their own. See? Openness sparks innovation! Lastly, WOMB is the only swap site that goes beyond Amazon; you can search the Library of Congress instead!
Feature update. We’re not pushing swap totals to the catalog pages yet, because I want to make it optional and haven’t designed where you’d choose. Maybe there should be a “show swap data in catalog” checkbox on the swap pages.