BillMonk Library – beta

I owe you $20.53… and I’m borrowing discs 1 and 2 of “Invader Zim.”

We’re proud to introduce a whole new side to BillMonk: the lending library. Skip the headache of remembering who has your stuff and which stuff you’re borrowing. Just sign in, click on “check-out,” and tell us the thing you’re lending and to whom. When you look to see where you stand with your friends, checked-out stuff shows up along with monetary debts.

As your stuff is checked-out and returned, your personal collection grows. What makes the library so powerful is that people can choose to share their collections with friends. Want to read a new book, play a different video game, or watch a movie? Browse your friends’ stuff! People who know each other form ad-hoc community lending libraries.

Adding items to your library is easy. You can either search for it in Amazon.com’s catalog or you can describe it yourself. The nice thing about adding items via Amazon is that you get lots of additional information like CD track listings, a product description, and more.

What if something is lost or never returned? No problem, you can sell it as a BillMonk debt!

When we first launched BillMonk, our goal was make borrowing and lending money between friends easy. But we realized, why stop at money? BillMonk’s goal should be to make all borrowing between friends easy. For this reason, we now offer two closely related features, BillMonk Money and BillMonk Library, together on the BillMonk site.

The BillMonk Library has been a fairly covert operation since it so radically changes the look and purpose of BillMonk. It also required a bit more work and caffeine than we anticipated, but we’re well pleased with the results.

That said, the library is new and very much in beta. We will continue to hammer it into shape in the weeks to come. Some of the additional features we are considering include:

  • Product search
  • Post comment about your stuff
  • Cell phone SMS library interface
    • Check-out and add items on the go
    • About to buy something? Search to see if a friend already has it
  • Item picture upload

As always, we prioritize based on your feedback. It’s great when you tell us what you need – in fact, the reason the library happened is that so many of you asked for it.

The BillMonk Library does not diminish the importance of BillMonk Money. Of all our tasks, the #1 priority is providing online payments.

So without further delay, head over to BillMonk.com, enjoy the new scenery on the front page, and take the tour to learn about what’s new!

9 Responses to “BillMonk Library – beta”

  1. billmonk Says:

    WordPress had a glitch and DROPPED this post, which removed all 5 comments that people had left.😦 Here is my reconstruction of these comments, with apologies to everyone.

    BRANDON says:

    Bravo! I’d thought exactly of this thing at one point, when my friend bought a tripod she was only going to use once. I thought, Billmonk lets several people share the bill for a divisable commodity. Food or a heating bill, for example. There must be some way for Billmonk to enable the sharing of a nondivisable commodity, like a tripod. But you found a way!

    Quick thought: What about borrowing cars? They’ll cost too much to liquidate into cash debt, and they can’t exactly be lost. Those two conditions sort of cancel each other out, but it would be nice to use billmonk to “rent” a large borrowed item to pay down debt, in the same way you can sell a small borrowed item to pay down debt.

    PARIK says:

    Great feature addition! I will be definetely be using more of this feature. One good thing would be a reminder for myself. For example I would say after lending a book, I would also like to add a reminder for me to collect it back after 1 month from my friend, or neighbor. In that case if I can see a reminder message on the home page each time I log in. That reminds me I need to borrow the “Mahabharata” book from Gaurav🙂

    GWENDOLYN says:

    Ah…love this!!! Now I cannot find one of my favorite books because I lent it to someone and I can’t remember who. I’m so upset. I hope this feature will prevent this from happening again in the future. =)

    PAUL IRISH says:

    Great feature idea. It might have been taken to far.. (I dont think people will use billmonk to manage their media library.. ).. but its a very practical idea.

    You guys are doing great. Keep it comin.

    DAVE MOORE says:

    Dude! Very cool, I like it a lot, I think it could be even more useful than the billing features for some groups of people… maybe time to think about getting an extra domain name just so people don’t think billmonk is strictly about bills…

    Just from how easy it was to upload groups of books and dvds I could see myself using this to manage my library of physical media… I used to keep an excel spreadsheet of CDs I owned, but haven’t updated it since college.

    The sharing feature is what is cool to me, if I’m bored on a Friday night [ahem] sitting around on the internet doing nothing [cough-cough] instead of zoning out to a 6-hour marathon of “Hogan Knows Best” I could see if my friends have any new interesting DVDs I could borrow or go over to their house to see. Even with my friends that don’t live in town, I could at least see what they are reading and maybe buy it myself from amazon.

    Anyway, I think it is a cool idea, and could attract some users that might feel it selfish to worry about $5 owed for dinner, but might want to share and swap DVDs and books with their friends. Keep the good ideas coming, continue building sleek and simple interfaces!

  2. billmonk Says:

    Sorry, I missed one other comment:

    ARTHAEY ANGOSII says:

    I agree with Dave Moore that I may very well be tempted to use BillMonk to manage my collection of stuff. Obviously there are also people like Paul Irish who aren’t interested in such features. The nice thing is that no one is forced to use the library if they don’t want to.

    The beta notice says that collections are limited to 99 items “for now” — what is your intended upper limit once the kinks are worked out?

  3. Moof Says:

    Have you thought abotu integrating it with something like LibraryThing.com ?

  4. Paul Irish Says:

    I second Moof’s suggestion of LibraryThing integration.

    But also,
    This library feature is perfect for dorm floors or frat/sorority houses. I think you have a definite market there. I’ve used the library a couple times now and really like it. Anything that requires me to remember less things is good.🙂
    cheers fellows!

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  8. Tibbetts Says:

    Nice sharing. Thanks… I wait for my blog🙂

  9. Murad Says:

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