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Press & Media » The Arizona Daily Star

Exchange Your Paperbacks Via Internet

The Arizona Daily Star (Newspaper) - 10/23/2008 by By Mary Pilon The Wall Street Journal
Penny-pinching bibliophiles will revel in a new batch of Web sites for paperback swapping. The sites reinvent the classic act of trading summer beach reads and expand summer reading beyond the dusty bookshelves of friends and family.
We tested four Web sites devoted to exchanging books:,, and
Unlike, users don't have to pay for the actual book, just shipping. Unlike with a library book, there's no due date (or late fee).
These sites allow readers to browse the collections of site members across the country and unload books that they no longer want in their permanent collections.
You get two free credits for listing your first 10 books and 1 credit for every book you send away. You pay to mail your books, earn a credit, then go and pick a book you want. Each book costs 1 credit.
Fellow members seemed highly engaged in the trading and felt more like a book club than just an exchange. One of the printed postage labels was 20 cents off and the wrappers didn't fit.
$2-$3 for shipping. You can print postage from the site or buy it on your own.
By far the largest selection of books to choose from and greatest response to the books we posted. We liked being able to exchange messages with other readers.
You post an item and see who is looking for it. You look through the other user's collection of books, DVDs, CDs and video games, then swap for one of the other user's items that you want. It's a one-for-one trade.
The site itself was extremely usable, but the selection is limited by what you're posting. System is much better for really popular titles rather than more obscure or older books.
$2-$3 for shipping. You can print postage from the site or buy it on your own.
Uploading items that we had by ISBN number was difficult, but uploading our wish list from saved a lot of time. The book's pages had links to Amazon, so we could easily buy if the title wasn't available.
It costs one point per book, or 2 points if from another country. You earn 1/10th of a point by adding books to swap, 1 point for sending, 3 points for sending to another country, and 1/10th of a point for acknowledging receipt of a book.
At first, the point system was confusing and the site was difficult to browse. However, the international aspect was intriguing.
Varies depending whether users opt to trade only within the U.S. or with other participating countries.
Option to donate money to charity is neat. Site is available in seven languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese.
Swapping is based on a point system. Books are assigned values based on 50 to 60 factors. You get 15 free points when you sign up. Unlike with the rest of the sites, users pay to receive books rather than send them.
The shipping cost for one paperback was flat-rate $4.49 and includes delivery confirmation.
The lists for browsing were helpful, but sometimes titles were miscategorized. Book arrived quickly. By giving points to books, users have an incentive to post diverse, fresh titles rather than traditional beach reads.
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