Paperback Swap

paperback-swap.jpgOver 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 (marga@lacabe.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 :-).

Swaptree.com

books.gifIn the last couple of months I’ve become a swaptree addict, and of course, I want to share my addiction with you 🙂
Swaptree is a website that allows you to exchange books you no longer want for books that you do want. It works quite simply: you make a list of the books you have to swap (you enter them into their database by ISPN number) and you make another list of the books you want. When swaptree makes a match you get an e-mail asking you if you want to do the trade. The cool part is that their database allows them to match you with people who want a book that someone who wants a book you have, has – so that makes it more likely that you’ll get a match. You can also go to their website and look at all the books you can trade the ones you listed for. Right now there are about 6,500 books I can trade mine for – but the number has been as high as 13,000 (the more popular a choice in your “have” list is, the more books you’ll be able to trade for).
The swaptree service is free, but you do pay for mailing your own books – that can cost from $2-$4 depending on the size/weight of the book.
So far I’ve made about 15 trades – I’ve gotten 3 Harry Potter books in great condition, a couple of craft books, some novels and some cookbooks. Of course, I’ve also traded most of the most wanted books I have – now I’m mostly left with books people don’t want, so my trades will slow down. BUT, the more people who use swaptree, the more likely I’ll be to find people who want my old college textbooks 🙂
One caveat before I save this post: as cool as swaptree is, it’s not really a way to save money on books. You can often find used books at abebooks and even at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com for $4, including shipping, and of course, you can find books at local librarysales for pennies. And taking the books to the post office is a pain. BUT, there is something just fun about trading.

New San Leandro Blog

Former School Board Member, lawyer and community activist Stephen Cassidy, has started a new blog on San Leandro matters. Go San Leandro contains/will contain news, opinions and calls for action on matters important to the community. Stephen has been at the forefront of the fight to save San Leandro Hospital, and many of the posts so far concern that issue.
So, if you are from San Leandro, check it out. And while you are at it, if you are not already a reader, check out San Leandro Bytes, the blog that my husband Mike keeps also on San Leandro matters.