Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A frugal bookworm's delight

It's no secret that we Westbrooks like our books. Just a quick glance over this blog will reveal that fact. I'm thankful I married a man who not only tolerates, but appreciates my large personal library - and has quite an impressive book collection himself! All the books definitely made our moving process more challenging (they're heavy!), but we'd do it all over again. Having books in every room of the house is a special thing for us and we look forward to the day when we have our own house and can buy more bookshelves. :D

Anyway, on the subject of books - today I'd like to talk about a site I've used for years but haven't recommended for a long time: PaperbackSwap. I know a lot of my friends also use and enjoy the site, but maybe it's still new to some of you. And I wanted to share some fun stats. So here we go. :)

PaperbackSwap is one of my favorite ways to go book "shopping" and to share books that I no longer have room for or have duplicates of. I've found so many treasures for my own bookshelf this way - including out of print editions of books by Amy Carmichael and others! I've been seriously amazed at the quality and selection of the books available. There is a waiting list for the more popular/rare titles, but with a little patience you can find some real gems. They have children's books, non fiction, fiction, Christian titles, newer and older editions, audio books, large print, school books - you name it. :D

The books are traded one-for-one, so you get a credit for every book you mail out, and then you can use that credit to "buy" of the 5 million+ books that other members have listed. So the books you receive are completely FREE, and all you pay is the postage needed to mail one of your own books out to someone else. Make sense? :)

Books qualify for media mail, so if they're under a pound you pay less than $2.50 per package you send. And if you try to post mostly smaller books (i.e., children's books or small paperbacks), they can be sent via first class for even less than media mail - sometimes as little as $1.25 or so. That's a super cheap investment for being able to select another book, IMO. It's hard any more to find decent books at that price, even at thrift stores!

Signing up for the site is completely FREE, too, and as a special bonus you receive two credits just for listing your first 10 books or so - you can request any two titles from the site right away, even before any of your books have been requested. Can't beat that. :D

It's super simple and I've never had any problems with the transactions. Most of the books I've received have been in excellent condition, many like new. The site administrators are also SO good with communication: they thoroughly explain any changes that are taking place around the site, and everything is very easy to understand. The site has a friendly, personal feel that I really enjoy.

They also have affiliated sites for swapping CDs and DVDs. I haven't participated in those yet, but I know you can easily move credits from one site to the if you have CDs you don't listen to any more you can essentially trade them for books or DVDs, and so on. Pretty nifty. :D There is also a way to purchase more credits if you choose. It's less than $4 a book, which is still a great deal compared to brand new prices, or even prices at used bookstores.

And yes, as a full disclosure: if you sign up through the link I have here in this post, I will get a bonus book credit added to my account. But that's not what this post is about: I completely, whole-heartedly recommend the site and would do so even without any referral bonus. :)

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

Okay, now for the fun stats! :D
  • I have been a member of PaperbackSwap since April 20, 2007.
  • In that time I have mailed out 59 books, going to 25 different states (including Hawaii).
  • I have received 77 books, coming from 34 different states.
  • I have saved an estimated $160.93 (after deducting shipping costs for outgoing books), as compared to buying these books new - I'd guess it's actually higher than this, personally, considering that some of the titles I've received would be very difficult if not impossible to find new.
  • I currently have 30 books available for others to request, and there are 50 titles on my wish list.
If you're not a member yet, check it out! And if you've also been enjoying PaperbackSwap for a while, I'd have fun hearing your stats: how many books have you sent or received?

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