In recent months, I have been doing my best to declutter my home. I’ve tried to get rid of things that I don’t really want or need, or things that I just have too many of. Since I just moved in September, I did a pretty good job of cleaning things out before the move, but in a few areas, I’m still realizing I just have too much stuff. One area is, of course, clothing, and I do my best to cull through my closet every so often and bag up stuff for charity. The other area is books.
I love books. I have always loved books. Bookstores are one of my favorite places to visit, and also a very dangerous place for my wallet. I find it very hard to walk into a Borders or a Barnes and Noble and come out with nothing. But I’ve been doing my best, especially since I have a giant pile of unread books at home.
One way that I discovered to get rid of books (and also get new books to read for next to nothing) is book swapping sites. There are a number of them out there, but I use both PaperBackSwap and BookMooch. The basic premise of these sites is that you post a list of books you want to swap. People request the books and you mail them (via media mail). You then get a point for sending the book, and you can use that point to request a book from someone else. Simple!
The process isn’t quite free, obviously. You do pay to ship the books, but you don’t pay when you receive, so it all sort of evens out. Either way, it’s much cheaper than buying a book new.
Wouldn’t a library be cheaper? Well, yes, clearly. But I often like to keep books that I really enjoyed, or I like to pass them on to friends or family. This gives me that option. Or if I choose, I can take the book I received and post it back into the system and end up passing it on.
One of my favorite features on these sites is the Wishlist feature. The two sites work the feature a bit differently, but if there is a book that is not posted or not yet released, you can wishlist it. With PBS, you are on a waiting list, and the books are offered to requesters in order. With BookMooch, everyone on the waiting list gets an e-mail when a book is posted and you have to go to the site to request it. Each of these methods has its plusses and minuses – if you are on your computer a lot during the day, BookMooch might give you the better chance to get the book. If you don’t mind waiting your turn and you would rather not have to rush to the site all the time, then PBS is more your speed. Personally, I use both, and frequently have the same book wishlisted on both sites.
Ultimately, this has led to me saving money, because when I go into the bookstore and see a book I really want to buy, I wait, and I come home and check the book swap sites for the book. Sometimes I can get it for nothing!