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May 20, 2009

PaperBack Swap: Feed the Mind

One thing I did for myself while on vacation was take the time to check out the website I'd heard a lot about this exchange from folks on the Compact Yahoo Group, but had yet to investigate it. Hearing about it on the group so much, I was surprised none of my L.A. friends (avid readers, all) had mentioned it. I brought it up to my friend Cathy while staying with her, and it turns out she uses it all the time.

Here's how it works: members sign up, list books they'd like to receive, and list books they're willing to send to another member. When someone requests a book from you, you pay media rate postage to send it to them, then use the credit you're given on the site to request another book from a member for yourself for FREE. It took me less than an hour to register and to familiarize myself with the site by playing around with it.

When I came home from vacation I felt encouraged to declutter my bookshelf and list books on the site that I was willing to part with. The extra room on the bookshelf is a huge bonus! Today I ordered my first book from another person on the site, so soon I'll have a book review to post on my blog.

Do any of you use this site? What other sources do you have to feed your reading habit? Let me know your experience below.


  1. Yesterday, home from vacation, I went through my bookshelf and posted some things on the site that I could give away. I actually posted some I've not made time to read yet, figuring I'd have time to read them before they were claimed. Two of the 14 I listed have already been requested from me.

    Today, I spent ten hours (okay, I took a one hour break to walk the dogs) going through the Compact Yahoo Group's archive to retrieve all the wonderful book recommendations that people had posted about. I started with a search for "book recommend" that brought up over 700 posts, then noticed the database of recommended books under the files/database section of the site. Then to be sure I hadn't missed anything I did a search of posts with "cookbook" which brought up just over 500 posts. Whew! Didn't realize how prolific our group has been!

    Frustratingly, cuts you off at 200 wish list items. This is especially a problem since different editions of the same book will have different ISBN numbers and therefore separate listings. To increase my chances of getting a particular book that I want, I "wish list" all the editions of the given book, hoping one or the other might surface.

    So, while I thought I could transfer my wanted-book list to the site only, I find I still have a book list on my computer as well.

    On the up side, I did get to request two books from other people. Now to earn more credits, so I can get more books. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Will someone come
    declutter my home?

  2. Got my first book in the mail today--a novel called Sight Hound by Pam Houston that I've been meaning to read for years. A bunch of my wishes have come available, but I don't have the credits on the site to get them for free. You can purchase credits--at $3.75/each--and clearly that's how the site makes money, but that would defeat my goal in joining. I'll wait until I've given more away to get more.


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