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Paperback Swap

A new website called PaperbackSwap promises to build the largest library in the world.

It’s an online book club where you list books you want to trade to get credits which you in turn use to get books from other members. You don’t pay for anything except postage – when another member requests your book, you mail it to them (~$1.50 in postage). There is currently no fee for this service, but there will be one eventually. The video and small print on the website explains it in more detail.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

3 Comments on Paperback Swap

  1. If you’re a person who has a lot of time on their hands and loves books, is a God send but for those who simply want to get rid of their thousands of books, its like having a second job.

    I started the site a two months ago, with high hopes I listed 50 books. At first I would get 1 request a week. But now I receive daily requests for books. At first it was fun but over time it became overwhelming and expensive. Each memember of Paperback Swap has to pay and ship each book request for credit. Now, Media Mail is cheap but when you have to ship 5 books a week at $1.59. It can quickly add up. On average I would receive 5 book request a week. Spending up to $31.89 a month in postage fees alone. Its still cheaper than buying a new book but not if they don’t have the book you want. Within a year, I would have spent $382.89. I could have easily take that $382.89 and brought the books I wanted at my local Goodwill, local book sales, and even ebay. free is okay, if you’re up for it. But as a paid service, no way. You’re better off setting up your own bookswap in the real world. At least than, you won’t have to pay for shipping and you may get a new friend.

  2. Also take a look at BookCrossing.Com.

    We’re a very informally organized group (over a half million participants in 76 countries) with a primary goal of recycling and freely releasing books locally, but many of our BookCrossers trade books by mail with each other. By searching the “books available” database for a particular title or author, you can find other BookCrossers that have the book you want, and may want to trade for it.

    Another site, linked to BookCrossing is Cliff’s Wish Lists. At this site, BookCrossers can list the books that they are looking for, also all searcheable by author and title. Links on the list take you to that person’s bookcrossing database.

    Messages between bookcrossers are sent through a private messaging system within Bookcrossing, and everyone uses a handle. You only have to give out a mailing address if you’ve reached a deal with somebody.

    No charge to sign up at bookcrossing, and none expected. No charge for trades other than postage. I get about a request a week for something on my available list, and I have one of the largest ones in the system. No “credits” or anything like that, though some bookcrossers will only deal with folks who participate in book releasing as well as trading. I have traded for over 500 books in the last three years, mostly initiated by me.

  3. Thanks, Paul. Yep, we know about BookCrossing. I’ve even seen some books in “the wild” here in Houston. 🙂

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