I have a love-hate relationship with books. I love to own them, but I hate to buy them. I love to read them, but I hate the ever-looming, library-imposed due date. I love to look at them and smell them, but I digress.
I found a website that I love. paperbackswap.com is a book swapping site. You list books that you own that you’re willing to give away. The perfect books to list are those that you know you’ll never get around to reading, or those you’ve already read, but didn’t really like. Don’t worry that you’re giving away your less desirable books. Somebody will like them, you’re just helping your books to find a better home.
When somebody requests one of your listed books, you get a credit which can be used to request a book from somebody else. The perfect books to request are those you’ve always been meaning to read but just never had the opportunity. Once the book is on your shelf, opportunity will be staring you in the face. Every time I hear about a new book I want to read, I go to paperbackswap.com first.
The only cost for this service is the postage you pay to mail the books. The books I mail have been costing me $2-$2.50, which makes this an extremely cheap way to pick up new books. And the books you receive are yours, they’re not borrowed, as from a library. You can do whatever you want with them, including re-listing them on paperbackswap.com, or adding them to your permanent collection. (The website has a disclaimer, saying they may charge an annual membership fee of $10 at some point in the future. I’ve been a member for over a year and that disclaimer has been on there the whole time, so it seems to me like a pretty hollow threat.)
Contrary to the website’s name, it’s not just for paperbacks, you can use the service to swap any book, including hardbacks, textbooks, and bibles. You get a sign up bonus of two credits for listing your first ten books. These credits can be used immediately, even if no one has requested any of your books. Incidently, paperbackswap.com has three sister services, swapaCD.com, swapaDVD.com, and swapagoat.com. These services are similar to paperbackswap.com, and I assume, just as efficient.
So check it out. It’s a great way to unload your unwanted, gently used books, and a great way to pick up new books on the cheap.
This article originally appeared in the August 6, 2008, edition of the Greenhorn Valley View.