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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, PaperBackSwap.com (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.
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