PaperBack Swap // PBS

{Update 4/16/2015: Since writing this post, PaperBack Swap is no longer a free book swapping service. There are, however, three ways in which you can continue to utilize PaperBack Swap to fill your personal library. They now offer two annual membership options, or you can continue using the service a la carte, which charges a small fee per book swapped. Click on my referral button below to find out more!}

I developed a love/love relationship with books very early in life. I was THE frizzy-headed, nerdy girl with purple glasses and a book covering my face. Not much has changed. I prefer to be whisked away to a Tuscan country side or learn about the life of Queen Elizabeth II over turning on a pointless television show any day. (A little piece of trivia: We don’t even own a television!)

Bookstores and the used book section in a second-hand store are my spending vice. Don’t get me wrong. I love the library and the thriftiness of being able to borrow versus buy. But there is just something about having a bookshelf full of hardcovers and paperbacks that are truly mine. It warms my soul.

In this post, I alluded to the fact that I use a book swap as one way that I fill the bookshelves in our home. After receiving a few questions about the swap I belong to, I decided to write a quick post to give you a little insight.

I don’t actually belong to a monthly book club, (although I would be the most enthusiastic member, front and center). Instead I belong to an online community of people, as the title implies, swapping books. I use . . .


This is an online book swapping service that allows you to swap books from the privacy of your own home via snail mail. I have been a member since 2009 and so far I have swapped over 70 books! Here is how it works:

1. // Sign up to join the community, hopefully through my referral link (click on the banner above), please!

2. // Post the books that you no longer have room for, hated, or are ready to pass on. PBS will generously give you 2 free book credits after you post your first 10 books.

3. // Wait on other members to request books from your library. When a book is requested from you, PBS will send you a notification with a link to print an already addressed label or wrapper.

4. // Wrap your book securely in the wrapper or package in an envelope or box and add the label.

5. // Take your package of knowledge to the post office to mail. Since your package only contains a book, you can use the Media Mail service, which is pretty inexpensive in comparison to other postal rates. You also have the option to pay for and print your postage at home, but remember, if your package weighs over 13 oz., you must take it to the post office so they can ask you that annoying string of questions.

6. // When the swapper receives the book you mailed to them, they will log the transaction as completed and you will receive 1 book credit.

7. // Now you can browse the vast selection of other books available for exchange and request books from other members.

That’s it! Easy-peasy. The website also offers many other options for you to utilize, such as a wish list if the book you are looking for is currently unavailable, and a ton of other stuff that I have never explored. For only the cost of postage, it’s one option for you to own the books you have been dying to dive into.

Of course, there are always cons that accompany the pros. I have been burned a few times by other members making up excuses for a credit refund, such as “The book smells funny and I can’t use it.” Really? Now, I am just extra careful about sending books to members based on their “requestor conditions.” People will be, well, people.

So now that you are gung-ho and ready to sign up, where do you find books to post to the swap? Here are a few ways I scour for those book credits.

1. // Browse what you already have on your bookshelves. I’m sure you can find a few books that were so terrible, you just couldn’t get past the first page or some that you really don’t ever see yourself reading again.

2. // If someone offers to give you a book, take it. Even if you don’t want to read it, swap it.

3. // Keep an eye on Freecycle. I have done multiple incognito front porch pick ups for boxes and boxes of books with the intention of just using them to swap. Even textbooks. You would be surprised at how many old college textbooks I have swapped!

4. // Although not the preferred method, I have found a few books in the garbage. Just make sure they are clean before posting!

5. // Purchase inexpensive books from yard sales, library book sales, or used book stores that you think will be swap worthy. You can often find books for less than a quarter!

6. // Re-swap books you received from the swap. That is, if you don’t want to keep them.

Happy Swapping!!!


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