Spreading the Joy
What do you do when you don’t have a lot of funds available to feed your book habit? Or if you do have the funds, but don’t have the space to house all your new acquisitions?
The answer is simple – you swap. You take stock of what you’ve got, you take out the books you don’t read any more (tastes change, after all!), you clear them off the shelf, leaving space for new books to take their place and … then what?
Now you have several piles of books heaped around you and you don’t know how to get started. Where do you turn?
Well, here’s a handy idea straight off the bat – you could always join The Book Club Forum and list your books there for other members to see (membership is free and you get to chat to fellow bookworms who may well introduce you to new authors and genres). Quite a few of our members have swap lists as long as your arm, just waiting for someone to snap them up, and in the case of swapping, all you’re paying is the postage on the book you send in return!
There are also sites dedicated entirely to swapping books with other people. One particularly reputable one is Read it, Swap it. This particular site only caters for residents of the UK, but if you live abroad and have buddies in Blighty, I’m sure you could sweet-talk them into helping you out if there’s something particular that you’re after. They have thousands of books listed by bookworms up and down the country, and again, the only cost is 2nd class postage, which can be as little as 58p (depending on the weight of the package). I don’t know about you, but I’d call that a bargain for any book!
If you live outside the UK, you might like to try Book Mooch – another swap site that works on a points-based system: You don’t have to choose a book in return for any you send out – instead, you can save up your points and choose the books you want, when you want them.
Another neat idea is to start a book swap circle. Get together with all your bookish buddies and organise a Swap Meet. You all gather for a coffee (or something stronger) and take your swapping books along with you. Then you can make recommendations to your pals and have a rake through their books too, leaving you all happily headed home with some great new reading material.
And if you like the idea of keeping tabs on where your swapped-out books get to, you could always try registering them on the Book Crossing, which has been running since 2001 and keeps track of many thousands of books that are now out exploring the world. Each book is allocated a unique ID number and a sticker is popped inside the front cover to let the next person know where to make a note when they receive the book.
All these things add up to one thing – you get a bit more room for some new books AND you get new books to fill up the space. Who could resist that? And the best bit is; when you’re done with those books, you can start the whole cycle over again…
Written for The Book Club Forum by Kell Smurthwaite, 2006 ©
(edited 2007 ©)