I recently learned about the site PaperBackSwap.com that allows you to swap books with others via mail. They have a nice system with some checks and balances that facilitate trust and honesty between traders. The site works on a credit system. When you sign up, if you immediately list 10 books you’re willing to trade, they give you 2 credits. Each credit allows you to receive one book. Audio books can also be traded and require 2 credits to receive. Every time you send a book you get a credit. You’re basically trading a book for a book.
How does the shipping part work? Once someone requests one of your books you have two options. The first option is to go to the post office and send the book. Once the person receives the book, they login to the site and mark it as received and you get your credit. The second option is to use PaperBackSwap’s built in system to pay for the postage and print out the needed labels at home. Using this system allows you to avoid a trip to the post office since you can just drop the book in your mailbox. Using this system also gives you your credit immediately so you don’t have to wait for the person receiving the book to mark it as received to get your credit. There’s a small additional fee to use this service, but it’s typically less than a dollar and probably cheaper than paying for the gas to go to the post office.
So far I’ve sent three books and have yet to request any. The selection of books posted looks decent, but not overly comprehensive. I found a few books I was interested in. If a book you want isn’t listed as available, you can reserve a copy and once someone has one available, you’ll be notified. The jury is still out for me on this site. I’ve spent an average of about $3.00 per book for each book I’ve sent. That’s less that half the price of buying a book new so if I end up getting some books I want through the service, I’ll consider it a success. If nothing else, it’s good to get rid of some books I no longer needs and reduce my clutter.
PaperBackSwap also has two sister sites; one for trading CDs and one for trading DVDs. I haven’t looked at them closely yet, but assume they work on the same system. If you want to refresh your collections, take a look.
Have any readers used these services? Let us know how you liked them in the comments.
Tags: books, Saving, Shopping
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