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Written by Javier Bustamante   
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Thursday, 07 November 2013

Trading Books

Libraries are great, but sometimes you may want to keep a book, or write in it, or find an obscure book your library does not have. Or perhaps you do not live near a big library. Buying new books can be fun, but sometimes you just want to read a book and then read another and another, without amassing a huge collection. Trading books gives you an opportunity to reduce waste and save the energy needed to print new books. If you're an avid reader or someone who enjoys reading something new from time to time here are a few sites that will allow you to read as much or as little while reducing the waste that comes from consumerism.

Paper Book Swap
How it works: Sign up for membership and post ten books. Each time a book is requested you print a "wrapper", affix postage, and drop it in the mail. For every book you send out, you receive one credit, worth one book. You can then request a book, and the owner will mail it to you. If you're also intrested in trading CDs or DVDs they have sister sites that allow you to do that as well.

Cost: Membership is currently free. You pay the price of postage on the books you mail.

Loan or Keep: "The books you receive are free and yours to keep"1 or repost them on the website. You do not get the books you give away back.

Special Features: For an $8 yearly fee you can participate in the box-o-book program. This allows you to trade a whole box of books with someone with a collection you are interested in, if they want to borrow books from you as well. This allows you to save on postage and make one trip to the post office.

The site also has an app you can download for your iPhone but it'll cost you $1.99.



How it works: This site is fairly similar, but the point system is different. For every book you post you get one tenth (0.1) of a point, and every time you send a book you get 1 point for locations within the country and three points for outside the country. Requesting a book costs 1 point within the country and 3 points outside. The founder wants to encourage the sharing of books between countries since books from other countries are often hard to find using traditional methods. You must share 1 book for every 2 you receive.

Cost: Membership is free. You must pay postage for the books you mail.

Loan or Keep: "Once you've read a book, you can keep it forever or put it back into BookMooch for someone else, as you wish."2

Special Features: If you have extra points you can donate them to charities so that people can receive free books. Book receivers rate the book senders. People may be more willing to send books to people with good ratings.

How it Works: A book renting site that has been reffered to as the "Netflix for books".4 You order the books you want and return them when you are done. Since you don't have to pay for shipping, if you read 4 or 5 books a month it probably comes to about the same cost as the trading sites. On the other hand, you don't get to keep the books you receive.

Cost: The cheapest plan will cost you $7.50 the first month to rent two books at a time and then $14.99 thereafter.5 There are other plans that will allow you to rent more books at a time but are a bit pricier. They also have separate membership plans if you're interested in audiobooks. Shipping is paid for in both directions.6

Loan or Keep: Rental. However, you can buy the book if you would like to keep it.7

Website: 8

Book Crossing
How it Works: You choose a book you would like to "register" and label it with a BCID which is a number the site generates that allows you to follow your book.9 Users write journal entries about their books and track the journeys of the books they have "released".

Cost: Free. You give away books with no promise of receiving a book back.

Loan or Keep: Once the book is released, who knows what will happen to it. The idea is to keep passing the books along.

Website: 10

Check out Friedbeef's Tech listing of Top Ten free book sites: Part 1 and Part 2, as well as a compilation of reader suggestions. These include both real books and e-books.

What makes the online sites so clever is that they can connect you to books from all over the world but there are other ways to enjoy a second hand book. An alternative to trading books online is visiting a used bookstore. There you can sell or trade in your books and buy different ones. Many libraries have book sales, either of their old books or of books people donate. You can also trade books the old fashioned way with family or friends. However you trade a book, it’s a great opportunity to read more while wasting less!

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 November 2013 )