If you’re an avid reader, you no doubt have a collection of books on your bookshelf – or spread about your home – that you’d like to exchange for other titles, at virtually no cost. Enter!

This online club – essentially a huge book swapping site – enables you to swap books you no longer need for titles you want. Each time you mail a book to someone, you get 1 credit which can be used to get a book of your liking. Your only cost is in mailing your old books to other members – at Media Mail rates, that averages $2.23 to $2.75 (Delivery takes about 1 week.)

Signing up is simple, free, and requires just a few minutes. Post 10 books on your virtual “bookshelf,” and you get 2 credits to start you off – you can use them right away to get a couple of titles.

Posting books or searching for books you want is simple – simply type in the title or the book’s ISBN. Other users – there are tens of thousands of them – can browse your bookshelf and if they want a title, they simply click on it. PBS will let you know via email and if you’re still willing to share your book, you respond accordingly. You print off a pre-addressed shipping label and another sheet, both of which are intended to serve as a wrapper for your book. You can even print a postage paid label, saving you a trip to the post office (there’s a $ .40 fee for this. At today’s gas prices however, that may be a bargain!)

Each book requires one credit, with the exception of audio books, which require two. If you have a number of books you’re willing to part company with, you’ll rack up credits quickly. When I first signed up I posted 11 titles, and shipped 5 of them within 48 hours.

There are some restrictions – books are to be in overall good condition, can’t be missing a cover, be water damaged, or have highlighting or underlining. Some users may specify that they want books only from non-smoker homes. Books do NOT have to be paperbacks, by the way: hardcover books are acceptable, as are audio books.

Paperbackswap’s current listings include over 2,000,000 titles, so you’re sure to find something you want. If the title you’re seeking isn’t listed, you can add it to your Wish List and when someone posts it, you’ll be in line for it.

If you have a boatload of books lying about your home that you don’t need to hang onto, this is a great way to get some new titles to read. Give it a shot – click here to go to the PBS site.

-Kevin   8.6.08

PS has two related sites: and – same principle, same simplicity, same great execution.

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