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A book donation system.
Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:35pm

(Disclaimer: This is not something that is implemented currently, nor do I think that this idea is fully fleshed out, but it is something that genuinely interests me and I think it might be interesting to you all, too.)

This is an idea that I've been throwing around, a little bit in the discord, and a little bit in my own head: What if there was a way people could just gift each other books in the PPC?

This is going to be a bit of a long post. So, bear with me, and please please please if you find anything wrong with this at all, or if you find any way the idea could be improved upon I would love to hear it!

The base idea is this, in a couple steps:
To have a database (perhaps a googledoc?) where people can share books that they own/want to donate, complete with titles, who'd be willing to donate it, and a review. (I'd personally like each book to have a review, and maybe even a tagging system, like "Sci-Fi" or "Fantasy". That'd be really cool, imo.)

So, after the database is there, the people who want books can just send whoever has the book a message, or somehow communicate with them that they'd like the book. Or maybe someone has a book that they really would like to give to someone else! (I have a lot of books which I know certain people would love!)

And once those two people have communicated enough, this is where I'd like to voice and possibly answer a concern. "Are people comfortable with sharing where they live/where their general location is?" And my answer, is that it really depends - some people are open, others aren't - I personally use drop locations, which aren't where I live, but around the general area where I can pick up packages and stuff. For the system to work and hopefully make people more comfortable, those who are interested in sharing books would talk to an established third party within the community. This third party would be the middleman - They would know and not share the information of where people receive books, and would also know where people are sending books from. They would be the only ones who know this information, aside from the sender and receiver, respectively. The sender would send the book to the third party, who would check and see that "yes, this is really the book, and nothing else (unless specified)" and the third party would send it off to the person who wanted the book.

That's probably a really long and convoluted way of explaining what I'd like to have, if this idea ever came to be. A database, a third party, and people willing to give general/specific locations of where they send and receive stuff to the third party.

A couple issues which I've already thought of, and can't really come up with good answers to.

1. Shipping.
That stuff is expensive. Who would be paying to send the books? How would that work out? Maybe determine between the two people?
2. Reliability of the third party.
How do we know that the third party isn't just going to take our books and just vanish disappear? We'd have to establish a person or two who are comfortable with doing this, and who are trusted members of the community.
3. What about people who've been offered books, want to receive them, but are unwilling to give a receiving location?
There's a lot of conditional and subjective stuff.

That's really all I've thought of for now, but if you have any questions, thoughts, or concerns, please let me know!

    • If this is a bad ideaMaxewell, Thu Jan 11 8:02pm
      Please say so. If you don't like it, don't care about it, don't think people would care about it, please say so, and explain why. I might be missing something extremely important or simple here. I... more
      • It's a nice idea.Neshomeh, Sat Jan 13 11:38am
        Unfortunately, I don't think it's a feasible one. First because of all the practical concerns, and second because I'm with doctorlit: any book of mine with particular sentimental value attached to it ... more
      • Only because you asked for opinions:doctorlit, Fri Jan 12 6:56am
        I want to keep all the books I already own. So I would be a little one-sided in an "exchange." —doctorlit is selfish and materialistic, didn't you know?
      • Shipping is very expensive.Huinesoron, Fri Jan 12 4:13am
        When we're talking overseas shipping - and remember we have members from at least six different countries here - you could be looking at twice the price of the book in some cases. A few years back,... more
      • Perhaps, but with more emotional content?Maxewell, Thu Jan 11 12:23am
        It's about giving, y'know? You get to keep the books. Maybe they're annotated by the giver. There's probably easier ways to do this. But it's an idea, is all. Might not be a good one - open for... more
        • Re: Perhaps, but with more emotional content?TripleDES, Thu Jan 11 9:18pm
          -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA512 I like this idea. You've mentioned three concerns: high costs of postage, the risk of a borrower absconding with the borrowed books, and the privacy... more
          • Is it possible to annotate e-books?Huinesoron, Fri Jan 12 4:09am
            I guess you could do it by copying the whole thing into Google Docs and adding comments, but is it something that can be done in an actual e-book format? I quite like that part of the idea.... more
            • Re: Is it possible to annotate e-books?TripleDES, Sat Jan 13 11:28am
              -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA512 It is more than possible to annotate ebooks, but at this moment it doesn't look like most software quickly and readily supports saving those... more
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