We all know that currently times are tough and we are all watching our spending. But this doesn’t mean we have to give up our leisure entertainment activities like reading. It just means we have to be more creative on how we spend our money so we can get more reading for the money.
One way I have found to do this is to participate in book trading sites. A book trading site is a site where you can list books you don’t want to keep and trade it for a book listed by another member of the site. Sites handle these trades in various ways. Some give you points. You get a point when you send a book and then you used that point to get a book of your choice that is listed on the site. Some do equal trades where someone sends you a book you want the same time you send the book you don’t want. Either way, you can receive new-to-you books for the price of postage.
Below are my three favorite swap sites. They all have their plus and minuses. I would recommend for maximum book trading that you sign up for all three.
Paperbackswap is my favorite swap site. It has the easiest to use site and it has the most books available. You can swap paperbacks, hardbacks and audio books on this site. The site uses a point system. You list the books you want to trade. When someone requests a book you have you mail it to them (you pay postage) and then when they receive the book you get a point. You can then use that point to request a book you would like to have. Its a very nice system. This site also has a very nice wish list system. So if there is a book you would like to have that is not available then you can add it to your wish list. The site keeps track of who put it on their wish list first so you are in a wish list line so to speak. When the book becomes available who ever is in line first or the person who put it on their wish list first gets the first opportunity to request the book rather than it being first come first serve. Another perk of the site is that you can purchase postage on the site as well cutting down on your trips to the post office. You can also buy points on this site if you run out. So you don’ t have to list books to get books. And If you list 10 books, you get a free point. Unfortunately, this is an USA only site but I hear Canada is coming soon.
Bookmooch is also another point system site. However, their site is not as polished, and you can’t buy postage on the site. And their wish list system is not as nice. They use a first come first serve wish list system where if a book you have on your wish list is posted, then they send out an email to everyone who has it on their wish list and the first one to request it gets it. One nice thing about the site is that they are linked to Amazon.com so that you can add books to your wish list from the Amazon website. This is a feature that I really like. Also bookmooch is international. This is good in the sense that you have access to more books, but if you send to a foreign country shipping is pretty high. You are compensated for extra shipping cost somewhat in that you get more points for sending internationally, and you don’t have to send internationally if you don’t want too. You can opt to send in your country only.
Swaptree works a bit differently than they other two sites. Its does and item for item trade. So you send a book to another member and they send a book to you at the same time (you can also trade CD, DVD and games). So its an item for item trade. So sometimes it takes longer to get a trade here because someone who wants what you have listed has to have something you want. Its still a pretty nice system. It has a wish list system as well and will email you when someone who has something on your wish list wants something on your have list. You can also incorporate your Amazon wish list into the site and has a toolbar that works with several sites that lets you know when something you are shopping for is available on swaptree. You can even keep up with your swaptree happenings on Facebook with their facebook tool. You can buy postage from Swaptree’s site but it is over priced. They charge you too much and then they tack on a $1 fee per month that you use their postage system. You would be better off buying stamps in bulk if you plan on doing a lot of trading.
All three of these sites are good sites. I have traded on all of them and have gotten books from all these sites with no problem. If you are like me and have a long book wish list then I would suggest joining all three sites you can do a lot more trading that way, but if you are looking for an occasional book trade then I would say being a member of paperbackswap would be sufficient.