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There Is No Need To Give Up Entertainment (Website) - 3/31/2009 by Prue Salasky
Dear Readers: A gentle reminder that this column thrives on your tips for how to save on big items or small, whether it's a matter of a nickel saved or a penny pinched. So, keep the suggestions and confessions rolling in.

For this week, readers weigh in on how to have fun without breaking the bank.

Cheap reading
"If you can't make it to the library, check out and its sister sites, and," writes Cindy McClintock of James City County. "Earned credits can be transferred among the three sites, and the system is simple.

"Using paperbackswap as an example, list paperbacks, hardbacks, or audio discs that you're willing to part with into the system, using the ISBN numbers. Once members request your books, you can print out mailing labels to mail the books via media mail. Once the requester receives the books, you get credits to order books for yourself from any of the members."

Since December 2007, McClintock has mailed out 71 books and received 61. "Paperbacks seem to cost about $2.23 to mail, so I've come out ahead of what I would spend in a used bookstore," she writes. (Packages weighing less than a pound cost $2.23 to mail. The swap sites allow you to print out mailing wrappers so no envelopes are necessary.)

"The library is still my first choice," McClintock adds, "but this system is so user-friendly that I've been able to satisfy my urge to shop sitting at home. And what a treat when, like today, a book arrives in my mailbox!"

In order to participate, you'll need a valid e-mail address, a valid postal address and books (or CDs, or DVDs) that you're prepared to give up.

The site gives participants two credits to get started one credit equals one book. The site notes that "the books you receive are free and yours to keep." You can search by title, author and genre. For now the whole system is free but the swap site reserves the right to charge in the future: "We may ask members to help support the club for around $10 to $20 per year."

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