Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trading old books for new on PaperBackSwap

Join me in sticking it to corporate America. Join, and take a stand against consumerism.

The web site, which boasts hordes of bibliophilic members, is based on the decidedly sensible philosophy that if you're not going to read the book collecting dust on your shelf, chances are good that someone else will. The site provides a virtual clearinghouse for these books, giving avid readers a chance to pass old books along to new homes, keeping them out of the trash and in circulation.

It's also useful for saving money. Since joining about three weeks ago, I've found new homes for four of my old books, worth in aggregate about $40 bought new at a bookstore, or about $20 at a typical used bookstore. The new owners haven't had to pay a cent. (These books probably got snatched up so quickly because they're out of print, and have a strong appeal to a small demographic group.)

It works like this. You join the site, and agree to give away books you no longer read. The books can't be advance review copies, and they have to be free of water damage and in readable condition, and must have their covers.

Once you list the books, any other member can request a book of yours, which you then ship at no expense to them. That might seem like a downside initially, but the flipside is also true. You don't have to pay a cent for books sent to you, either.

Just by joining the site and posting an initial 10 books, you get credit for two free orders. Each time you ship a book to another member, you get another credit. Thus, just for joining and having four books that other people wanted, I now have six credits toward books that I want.

Alas, no one right now is offering any of the graphic novels by Alan Moore or Walt Simonson that I've been looking for. On the other hand, today I ordered a "Charlie Bone" book for Evangeline, and a Magic Tree House Merlin mission for Rachel. The site probably will come in handy for locating book club selections also.

So I ask everyone who reads my blog: Join the site and put its power to use.

Copyright © 2008 by David Learn. Used with permission.


Liadan said...

>>Alas, no one is offering any of the graphic novels by Alan Moore or Walt Simonson that I've been looking for.<<

That's what the Wishlist is for. I've gotten wishes that I put on thinking no one would ever post them, like the first two volumes of Finder and all four volumes of Blue Monday.

Blair said...

Just discovered a nice little trick for getting books a bit more quickly.

A few months ago, I put The Draco Tavern on my wish list. I've been requester number 2 out of 3 ever since.

So tonight I went back to see if the paperback version was available. Voila! It should be arriving sometime in the next week or so.

So that's the moral of the story. Check whether there's more than one edition.