I love books, and since my husband doesn’t read, I am to blame for overflowing our apartment with a personal collection of novels. While I don’t ever intend to read any less, my obsession with books can be expensive and storing them is never easy.
One solution I’ve found for taming the overflow and expense is paperbackswap.com. It’s a book-lover’s dream! The whole idea is to swap your books with other “PBS” members. After starting an account, select the gently used books you are willing to part with and post them to your digital bookshelf.
After signing up for PBS, you will get one credit. Credits are used to order books from other members. You earn credits by mailing requested books to other members. Membership is free; the only cost to you is postage. To mail your books, you can do it the old-fashioned way and take it to the post office, or you can print a pre-paid wrapper through PBS. Simply wrap the book in cellophane to protect it from water and cover with the printed wrapper before dropping in a mailbox.
To purchase a pre-paid wrapper, you must add money to your PBS account— credits only pay for books, not postage. Since there is a small charge to load money, it’s best to add enough for multiple books. The fee is marginal (roughly $0.40 per transaction), but if you only add money when you need it, you’re paying multiple fees and could end up spending more on postage than if you had just used the post office. This is the only downside to mailing your own. Since I know I will use the service, I load $20 at a time to keep the fees down. It typically costs about $3 to mail a book, which is comparable to prices at a used bookstore, but the selection is much wider. Plus, you shop from the comfort of your home!
So far there’s only been a few instances where I received the wrong book, or the book didn’t arrive. This is easily correctable and it must happen more often than I realize, because PBS has perfected the system.
Overall, it’s a great service that I recommend. I repost many of the books I receive to keep my library from growing; the only drawback being that you need to properly store the books until they are requested by the next reader.