PaperBackSwap - for Bookworms on a Budget!

PaperBackSwap – for Bookworms on a Budget!

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“It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.“ S.I. Hayakawa

I’m a voracious reader. Always have been. I was the child who had a book in her hand constantly; reading while walking and running into things. But books, even used, can get expensive. And I need that money to buy beauty products! Libraries are amazing but I can be a bit rough on books. (What? Not everyone reads Susan Wiggs while painting their nails or holding a mixer in a bowl full of brownies?)

So, if you’re like me, (PBS) is a great option. PBS allows you to get books for the cost of shipping, usually less than $3. And it’s super easy, which makes my lazy, cheap bibliophilic heart sing with joy!

Yours too? Okay, here’s the low-down: first you sign up with PaperBackSwap and then list 10 books that you have at home. Not just fiction or paperbacks; that Cooking for Dummies book that your husband got you and started that week-long fight? Or the 7 books on Chaucer that you had to buy for that Lit class you dropped and couldn’t sell back? Your ex’s self-help audio books? Put those on there too! These books will count as part your “Bookshelf” and you also get 2 free credits (1 credit = 1 book) to use immediately just for signing up.

Once another member orders from your bookshelf you’ll get an email with the request. PBS tells you the postage amount and generates a pre-addressed book wrapper that you use to package your book and send as Media Mail. You send the book on its merry way and when the requestor confirms receipt, you get a PBS credit that you use toward ordering your own books.

Want books right away? Of course you do. Use your 2 free credits to order from another PBS member’s shelf. Then voila, wordy goodness arrives in your inbox in a week or two. Can’t find what you need yet? Then you can add a book to your Wishlist and PBS will contact you when another member has posted it.

PaperBackSwap has a great Help Center and FAQ that can answer pretty much any situation you can come up with regarding any part of the process. There is also a busy forum where members can ask questions, make new book recommendations, chat about their favorite books, or just life in general. They’ve also added options for you to purchase credits if you’re low (I have a hard time getting rid of my books, it’s the hoarder in me. I like this option! ~Tyna) and a PBS Market where you can buy books at a heavily discounted price.

Of course, there are a few rules to follow but they’re all common sense; such as sending out your books in a timely manner, don’t send damaged books, etc. Some members have requestor guidelines that you must consider before agreeing to send them a book (“ from a non-smoking home” is the most common). And ordering is dependent on other member’s posting, so you may not always get what you want when you want it. But I’ve been told patience is a virtue…repeatedly.

I’ve been a member for five years and LOVE it. I haven’t given up regular bookstores or my library, but it’s fun to check my mail and see a PBS package! I’ve used it during my wedding to get planning books, sent books to friends and picked up titles that my local stores never seemed to have in stock. But most of all, used books are amazing because it’s a shared experience. To read a book, you get to soar with the characters. But to pass it on someone else is giving them the wings to fly with you too.

16 thoughts on “PaperBackSwap – for Bookworms on a Budget!”

  1. Hi my name is Cori and I’m a book addict. Seriously. I have a bookcase at my parents that is stacked full, a closet shelf in my current home, and another cabinet that is suppose to store dishes full of books in my dining room. My parents just got me a Kindle for Christmas so that I can get books without worrying about where to store them after I read them. I was thinking about going through all of them and only keeping the ones I have read more than once or ones that I just can’t seem to part with. Then donating the rest to Goodwill. I started this process the other night and found books that I completely forgot about and thought, I loved this book! I need to read it again! Clearly I’m having a hard time parting with my old friends. PBS seems like a better option for me! Getting new books and sharing mine? score! Thanks for this post Alyssa!

  2. Paperbackswap is genius!! My husband and I have been using it for years. And yes we are major book addicts! My key to happiness in using the site is to have patience. Sometimes I like unusual or alternatively popular books that are not on the site. So I make a wish list. And if I can be patient and not purchase said books they will eventually become available. I have been nothing but satisfied with this wonderfully clever site.

  3. Paperbackswap is a brand new concept for me and I LOVE it! I have so many books I’d love to send on to a good home. And Alyssa, I love that Hayakawa quote so much!

  4. This is a new concept to me – but I am an avid lover of Half Price books, but sometimes their selections are somewhat limited (at least in the categories that interest me). I love a used book, they have so much character. And I just hate forking over $25 for a hardcover for the newest book from my favorite author.

    I have joined PBS and I am SUPER excited!

  5. Hello fellow bookaholics!I can’t believe I am not a member of this fantastic club! I tend to hold on to most of my books, but I know I have a good 20 or so I can list on my shelf right away. I need to pull out a few titles and get started. Alyssa thanks for sharing this site with all of us!

    So, if you swap for a book that you totally love, you can keep it, right? I’m a total rereader of books that I enjoy (which is why I have a hard time parting with some!). And, you all will think I’m crazy, but I have a few 1st editions of favorite authors that I’d like to get a second copy for reading – no worries if I want to read in the tub or by a pool and it’s ok for Giles (mt cat) to sit on said book and scratch the pages when I’ve been ignoring him too long. This could be the perfect solution. Whee – books!
    .-= Tyna Werner´s last blog ..The Ultimate Bargain-Hunter’s Guide to the Galaxy =-.

  6. YAY! I’m so glad so many of you found the review helpful; reading can be such a solitary pasttime that it’s hard to find other bibliophiles geek out over books too!

    And for you newbies, feel free to message me if you have questions, or take advantage of the forums! The FAQ answers pretty much anything, but sometimes you need a real live person’s validation on something.

  7. Amanda – Boo! Have your books sent to your work, he’ll never know! :-) But seriously, while I have gotten rid of a LOT of books, there are a few that seem to linger on my shelf due to no one requesting them. Wait, that won’t help you, never mind that I said that!

    I’ve also started a forum post on new book rec’s, stop over and post your own!

  8. I heart PaperBackSwap; I’ve been using it for about a year or so. And yes – you get to keep the books. OR you can re-post them if you want. BTW, they also have a related site for CD’s. I’ve done a lot of swaps there too.

    Alyssa, glad to see that you’ve started a thread about book recommendations. I’m always glad to see what others are reading and add books to my list. Tyna, please be sure to add yours too!

  9. @Alyssa- Hahah, I work from home!! Most of the time I take the books that I’ve read (and don’t want to read again) and I either donate them to a local nursing home, school library, or the book swap box at the grocery store. Maybe if I weed out the collection just a little bit more he’d be more willing ;)

  10. OMG, I’m in love. Can’t wait to get home and find 10 books to put on my bookshelf and get swapping! Thanks for this amazingness, Alyssa!

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