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Press & Media » The Stamford Times

Book Swap: A Different Kind Of Recycling

The Stamford Times (Newspaper) - 3/13/2008 by Nanette Morges
The Stamford Times : Book Swap: A Different Kind Of Recycling Everyone loves getting presents.

One of the things I look forward to most is the appearance of rectangle-shaped packages in my morning mail signalling that I have received another book.

Most of the time, these packages are wrapped in familiar white paper bearing the Paper Back Swap logo.

I read a brief about this club early in 2006 where online members were swapping their books at at no charge other than postage.

After looking at my bookcases, I decided there were a few I could part with so they could be enjoyed by others in exchange for books I wanted.

Nearly two years and 200 book swaps later, I still check the site on a daily basis.

Let's face it, we all have books that we will probably never read again, or never read in the first place. Why not offer them to other avid readers?

Consider it a form of recycling, something reflected in PBS's logo.

How it works is simple. After signing up for a free account, you then post 10 books you are willing to trade.

You will automatically receive two free credits for joining. (Books "cost" one credit, while audiobooks cost two.)

And in return, you can use those credits to chose books to be sent to you from a list of nearly 2 million titles.

You can also create a wish list of titles you want, and PBS will notify you when one is posted into the system.

And if you find that you want to request more books than you have credits for, you can always purchase more credits at a cost of $3.45 per book.

This is an excellent way to acquire hard-to-find books or ones that are out of print.

Selections are not limited to just paperbacks. Hardbacks and audiobooks are also posted.

The only cost incurred is shipping your book to its new home.

The average paperback costs about $2.13. PBS will provide you with a printable label, which doubles as the book wrapper.

You can even choose to pay postage through PBS, saving a trip to the post office.

You receive a credit for each book you mail.

The process is incredibly simple and quite fun.

The site has additional features beyond the expected top lists and reader reviews.

You can create buddy lists, send messages to members, chat, post in forums, create book journals, etc.

There is even a recipe section.

And for the creative members, The Eclectic Pen section allows you post your own poetry, essays and stories for fellow members to read and comment on.

It has evolved from simply a swapping site to a community for book lovers.

Now if I could just read the books as fast as I swap them.

Nanette Morges is the features editor at The Hour. She can be reached at
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