Over a year ago I wrote about Swap Tree (now just called Swap.com, a website that allows you to trade books with other users. I enjoyed it for the few months I was in it, but soon enough all my desirable books were gone and I wasn’t getting any more requests. I finally quit a few months ago when they instituted a fee-per-trade (50c to $1). So for many months I’ve been keeping my used books at home, planning to take them to the library (for their sale) sometime.
Apparently, I may not need to do that. My friend Cynthia introduced me to Paperbackswap.com and, so far, it’s worked for me quite well. Paperbackswap has similar mechanics to Swap.com – you enter the books you have, you are given a list of books you can get -, but it’s much more flexible and gives you access to many more books (about 5 million currently). It’s also free. While Swap.com works by linking you to someone who has a book who you want, who in turn wants a book from a third person who wants the book that you have, Paperbackswap gives you access to all the books posted by all their members. Every time you mail a book to anyone you get a point, which you get to spend on any book they have listed. Unlike Swap.com you can “bank” your points, so if you don’t see anything you want now, you can wait until it comes about. You can put things in your waiting lists and so forth. My take is that people who have popular books have a better chance to get what they want in Swap.com, but if your books are not that popular you have a better chance of getting rid of them at Paperbackswap. Indeed, I’ve been surprised at the obscure titles I’ve gotten off my hands (e.g. I sent Spiritual Friendship, a book I bought for my Medieval Intellectual History class in college, to a student @ some seminary). Now, I haven’t been able to get any of the books I really want (mostly expensive cookbooks) but I’ve been able to find a few gems within their listings (including Religions Explained: A Beginner’s Guide to World Faiths, which is a great intro to religions for little kids).
If you are interested in joining Paperback Swap, please give my e-mail address (email@example.com) as a referral when you do. If you post 10 books, I’ll get 1 free credit (and you’ll get 2!).
My personal bookshelf of books I have for trading is here. If you are local and want any of the books, please let me know and I’ll hold it for you (otherwise join paperbackswap :-).