Psst… I’m over here… a bit further… you found me – welcome, bookworm! I hope you don’t mind if we chat while I sort through my books; I want to root some out to add to my bookpo.st profile. What’s bookpo.st? Well, it’s a shiny, friendly, online community where books can be rehomed and bookish people brought together. I wanted to know more about the concept, as well as the clever people who developed it, so I asked if they would mind answering some of my nosey questions. Why not make yourself comfortable and learn more? There are some biscuits in the corner if you fancy any but please close the packet afterwards – nobody likes a stale biscuit 😊
Booky Charm: Hello bookpo.st people, would you like to introduce yourselves for our readers?
Hattie: I make sure the site is grammatically correct, look after Instagram, offer support, and sanity check all the decisions being the only one of us not afflicted by programmer brain.
Max: Most of the time I’m reading/writing code rather than reading books (so I’m kind of an author 🙃 and have some stories in the pocket 🤔 . Even though I love programming I’d rather be reading books, especially somewhere on the beach with a glass of something refreshing.
Alex: I think I’m the worst person to answer these type of questions – I don’t like books enough. (Julian – Alex is a gamer and musician. We forgive him though because he makes the bookpo.st interface so nice to use).
Julian: Tsundoku. I don’t keep books I’ve read anymore, because otherwise there wouldn’t be any room in the flat for the ones I’ve brought and haven’t read. There’s bookpo.st in a nutshell.
Booky Charm: Tell me how the bookpo.st concept was born.
Julian: Here’s some encouragement for people who are worried they are under-achieving. bookpo.st was originally conceived in 2007, when I saw Book Crossing. It took until 2020 and lockdown to make it.
I loved the idea of releasing books into the wild and seeing where they traveled to, but there was no connection, each book was isolated from the readers. It relied on people going to the web site to track it, a rarer event in the pre-mobile phone world. The clincher is if we’re honest it’s rare a found book matches your taste, that requires a fair amount of serendipity. Why not swap books with people who share your tastes?
Booky Charm: I read that it’s free to sign up to bookpo.st – are there any costs for members once they’ve registered?
Julian: None at all. But we have running costs, so please do use the links on the site to buy from Book Depository or a local online bookshop to help us out a little. (Ignoring postage of course).
Booky Charm: Is there a quality rating system for the books or do members only offer to swap books In a condition they’d be willing to receive?
Julian: There’s a super simple rating: Newish, Used, and Trashed.
There’s a quote from Stephen Fry (no, not the one about stairs) which informs our attitude to book condition. When talking about ebooks versus paper, he said it doesn’t matter. It’s the words that are important.
At our heart we aren’t about books. We are about people and stories.
Booky Charm: Most bookworms I know love seeing what’s on other people’s bookshelves when they visit. Whose bookshelf would you most love to look through and why?
Julian: Willian Gibson. He’s living in 2021. I want to know how he’s so well informed.
Booky Charm: Who inspired your love of books?
Hattie: My Grandma, an English Lit teacher.
Max: My Grandma.
Julian: Nurture would be my mother, and nature would be my father.
Booky Charm: What is the first book you remember reading by yourself?
Hattie: Harry Potter.
Max: Bet it was one of the war stories digests, as I read them a lot when was a kid, but a whole book – “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”
Julian: Adult book? The Hobbit, aged 11.
Booky Charm: If you could only ever read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Max: Lenin, Collected works, 55 volumes (joke, partly), Boleslaw Prus – Pharaoh
Julian: Ouch! Hard one. I don’t reread books so I’ll just say my favourite book, “Menage” by Ewan Morrison.
Booky Charm: Which book or author is your equivalent of a comfort blanket?
Hattie: Katie FForde or Sophie Kinsella
Max: Thomas Mayne Reid, and Nikolay Nosov
Julian: To lose myself?, if I were heading on holiday I’d probably pick up a Harlan Coben and not sleep the first night there.
Booky Charm: Imagine you’ve stepped into a magic wardrobe but instead of Narnia, you’ve reached July 2021. What does bookpo.st look like now, what have you achieved?
Hattie: Wiped out those Amazon wishlist exchanges on Insta ; )
Max: Hundreds of thousands of people are doing their favourite things: reading, swapping and helping each other to explore a book universe ))
Julian: Being at a party, asking people how they met and hearing “… through the bookpo.st app”.
They’re a friendly bunch, aren’t they?! Oh sorry, I didn’t realise you had a mouthful of biscuit! I was impressed with how easy it is to use the site and have even received my first swap request – very exciting! Don’t take my word for it though; just click on any of the highlighted bookpo.st links to see for yourself. Who knows – we could end up swapping books ourselves one day!
A huge thank you to Julian, Hattie, Max and Alex for being such jolly good eggs by taking part in this interview (I’m not affiliated with bookpo.st and this is an unsponsored post; it’s just a little act of kindness to share a fab idea!).