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Good Reads For Frugal Bookworms (Website) - 1/28/2010 by Niki Karimipour
Standing in line at one of the few on-campus bookstores can be one of the most dreaded aspects of college life for many students. The start of each new semester marks a return to assignments, papers and weekly readings from the often overpriced textbooks or course packs that each class requires. Although there have been changes to the process of obtaining books through legislation like the Textbook Affordability Act and alternative companies that allow for renting of a text, the inequity of pricing is still pretty widespread.

Many students have decided to rent their textbooks for a lower price, visit used bookstores or borrow texts from friends who have taken the course before. A new Web site called PaperBack Swap seeks to accommodate both students and avid readers alike in the way books are obtained. The site is based on the premise that books should be free, notwithstanding shipping and handling fees.

Once members register with the site, they can then search the database for books, and whoever has the book will send it for free (excluding postage). When students post a book in the database and someone requests it, PaperBack Swap will send out an alert and even create the mailing label itself, and all students have to do is print and send it. The amount for postage will even be sold to students, so going to the post office isn’t necessary.

“I started the site five years ago after collecting a large number of ‘one-time-read books’ that I wanted to share with friends and family,” founder of PaperBack Swap Richard Pickerling said. “Now we have over 4 million books available. We have over 200,000 members using the site from all across the country. College students can get books for free (except postage) and use them for classes or personal reading. We have textbooks as well that are available to request for free.”

An interesting feature of PaperBack Swap is that it also tracks how much money has been saved by using the site. For people who are interested in reading a certain book for leisure, there are also chances for members to post their own personal reviews of the books.

Finding the next great read won’t be too difficult as there is also a sense of community among the members of the Web site. For those who like to read for fun, there are listed categories such as biographies, cooking, mystery and religion.

“Buying textbooks is a rip-off,” FSU junior Andrew Mercer said. “I try to avoid it as much as I can, but if I absolutely have to buy the book, then I try to look for a good
deal, either by paying one of my friends for it or ordering them from online.”
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