Last week I opened my email account to the usual: spammers trying to poach my bank account information, two to three newsletters I can't remember subscribing to, a few people trying to get free links on my site, and the like.
Among the riff raff is one of my favorite notifications: an almost free copy of The Light Between Oceans: A Novel just waiting to be mailed right to my door.
It's a book I saw one of my close high school friends rave about on Facebook, so I added it to my Paperback Swap list months ago.
Since I've got the patience of a snail avoiding the salt mines of Salzburg, I forgot about it and merrily went on my way.
Sure, I could have ordered it from the library for free. There's a fantastic hold and interlibrary loan system (interlibrary loan system) and I routinely take advantage of both (right now a really cool Nordic Cookbook has my name on it).
But sometimes I just don't want the pressure of three weeks to finish something (the rumor is true: I have a two-yearish waiting list on reading a book). And it's super convenient to not have to go to the library to pick things up at all now that I've got a five-month old.
Also, since I own the book through this service, when I'm finished with it I can donate it, relist it on Paperback Swap, sell it at a Half Priced Books store, give it to a friend, or keep it for life.
Here's How PaperBack Swap Works:
- Sign up is FREE. You have to list 10 books you are willing to send to others through the mail if your book meets something on a customer's wish list (by the way, audio books and hardback books are totally welcome).
- You can then create a wish list of all the books you're dying to get your hands on. When you look at your wish list, you can see what line in queue you are for all requests (for example, The Life-Changing Magic Tidying Up I'm in position 1 of 815 with an estimate of one week until I can get my hands on a copy; however, I shouldn't hold my breath for Tiny Beautiful Things where I'm resting at position 115 of 212).
- When someone requests a book of yours, you need to accept/deny. Then you have a couple of days to mail it off. Don't forget to mail “media mail” as it costs much less than normal (just tell the post office person that it's a book and they'll know what to do). Postage typically will cost you about $2.50 per book.
- You gain a credit for each book you ship off.
- You then get to use a credit to “pay” for each book that you request.
- In order to request a book, there is also a $0.49 swap fee you need to pay.
From what I've seen, Amazon's typical book shipping price is around $3.00+, so even if you find a book for $0.01 there, you're saving money by using this service (of course, you can get totally free shipping on Amazon if you have qualified purchases over $35).
So far I've mailed 6 books, and have received 8 books. The system says I've saved a total of $12.46 (after postage paid), but obviously the savings is much higher if I had bought each of these books new.
Ready to learn more? Great, head on over to PaperBack Swap and create your free account. Then come back here and let me show you reasons to use it.I’m in love with PaperBack Swap as it’s reaped me some great books over the last few years. Click To Tweet
Reasons to Use PaperBack Swap
- If you read a library book that you very much loved and would like to own forever.
- If you own the book already but want to get a copy for a friend so that you can read the book together and discuss.
- For book groups (be sure to look ahead on books you will need so that there's plenty of time to find one).
- To source books for cool crafts, like my sister's book folds.
- To freshen up your child's library as he/she ages.
- To source homeschool book supplies.
- For those serving in the military overseas that don't have access to big bookstores.
- For those living in a rural area without a big bookstore.
- If you'd like some frugal karma. By sending out more books than you want to request (decluttering!), you can donate credits to schools needing books for their libraries.
Overall, I'm in love with this service as it's reaped me some great books over the last few years. If you're a reader as well, then please tell me what's your favorite way of getting your hands on the books you're dying to gobble up?