29th Aug 2013

Book swapping explained

Book swapping explained
Rachel Tyler Jones

One of the easiest ways to indulge your passion for reading and save money is to join a book-swapping group. Find out how it works so that you can start swapping.

Book Swap Australia is a website where you can swap books you have already read for something new (to you - the books are all second-hand). You simply search the website for the book you are looking for, or set up a wish list to tell people which books you are hoping to read.

In order to make a swap you need points on the website. When you register, which is free, you start with one point, and each book you put into the book swapping system is worth one point. It costs you one point to request a book from another user, so it's a pretty simple exchange system.

Book Swap Australia is, as the name suggests, an Australia-only service, which aims to connect book-lovers locally to ensure quick exchange times and low postage costs. In order to get started, you need to list three books, which will get you one point. Every book you list after that will get one point, which is enough to request a book for yourself. If you don't have three books to list you can pay $9.95 upfront to get started, but giving books away is in the spirit of the website.

Listing your own books is quite simple. You simply type in the book's ISBN and the website will find information such as the title and cover photo for you. If you aren't sure which books to offer, you can browse the community wishlists, so you can be sure you're listing a book which someone else will love. If someone requests a book from you, it is up to you to pay the postage to send it to them. You are, in a sense, reimbursed for this cost when someone else pays to send a book to you.

Have you tried Book Swap Australia? Share your experiences, or tell us about other tricks you use to keep your reading costs down - see if you can get more creative than visiting the library.


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29th Aug 2013
I spent quite a few years cruising in my yacht, & a lot of time working on isolated atolls & islands. I bought many books from the secondhand bookstores in most coastal towns, & swapped even more with yachts I met along the way. Many of the swapped books had been at sea for years.

There was a convention that you wrote the name of your yacht, the date, & the place you swapped it in the flyleaf of these books.

Many had traveled a bit, but one stood out. It was called The Ant World, & I acquired it at Nugirea atoll, north east of the Solomon islands. It was in very good condition for an aging, much traveled book, so perhaps not read by everyone who had owned it. When I finally read it, I found it fascinating.

According to the fly Leaf, it had circumnavigated the world 3 times, & then spent 4 years traveling all over the Pacific. I would have loved to know the story of it's travels, they might have been more interesting than the fascinatingly different ways of ants.

It might be interesting to do something similar with this system.
29th Aug 2013
Nothing wrong with joining a library....if they don't have what you are looking for if possible they will get it in for you.
29th Aug 2013
Spot on Mamacrystal. Another source is community markets, most of which have acres of books priced around $2 to $5. A better deal than $9.95 for postage. I have acquired dozens of great titles this way.
29th Aug 2013
Bookswap sounds great - unfortunately could not get to it. Error message suggests the webpage is not currently available. Could be a temporary glitch.
8th Aug 2015
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