August 2, 2010

Recycle Old Books & Get New Ones for Free.

Have you made PaperbackSwap a part of your life yet?

Is it time to make room for new goodies on the bookshelf?

A few weeks ago, I would have sworn up and down that I cherish every single book on my shelves. I thought for sure I’d one day return to re-read,  re- dog ear, highlight and post-it every line of every page on every shelf. But recently I took a closer look.

It turns out I’ve been gathering far more junk than I thought. Example: Somehow I acquired a copy of Marley & Me (Pooch Lit – not my thing – don’t know how this got here). I’m also willing to part with The Kite Runner (sacrilege? I don’t care. I thought it was okay.), A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (sensational title much?) and James Herriot’s Dog Stories (where are these doggy tales coming from?).

So I signed up at Paperbackswap.com. Kind of like a Craigslist for books.

Here’s how it works.

Upload ISBNs for ten books you’re willing to part with, and earn two free initial credits. One credit = one book.

Wait for folks to request books from you, then mail the books diligently. There’s even a nifty way for you to print out the postage so that you can mail right from your home mailbox.

There are well over 4 million titles to choose from, so you’ll have no trouble finding books to request. The only trouble I’ve had so far has to do with users being slow to sign in and see that they’ve got requests. Also, since the preferred mailing method is Media Mail–the snail of snails–don’t try requesting a book you’d like to have very soon.

The benefits? It’s absolutely free to use; the only cost you’ll incur is postage. You can feel good about sharing your books instead of letting them gather dust. You can add new life to a complacent ol’ library.

By the way, you can swap hard covers too.


Does anyone who’s been using the service for a while have any tricks/tips for speedier delivery? Know of any service that beats this one?

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Leigha Butler  |  Contribution: 1,100