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Swap Books and Save Money : Online Book Swapping and Exchange Sites

Updated on August 18, 2013

Book Swapping Saves Readers Money

Book are expensive, especially if you have a habit of devouring them at the rate I do. Spending $1000 a year on books is easy to do and then what? They sit on the shelf gathering dust until the day when you just might want to read it again...which in most cases, never comes.

Well, I found a better way and it saves me time, money and does a little bit for the environment at the same time.

I discovered the joys of online book swapping!

Why Swap Books Online

How A Book Exchange Site Can Save You Money, Declutter Your Home And Be Eco Friendly

So why swap your books online? What are the advantages of online book swapping sites over traditional book stores, libraries, used book shops and suchlike? Well, here's what I love.

If you like brand new books then you're not going to like book swapping sites. These revolve around recycling books from one user to the next in a one for one trade. If you're a new book fiend then book swapping is not for you.

For the rest of us, trading books will save you at least half to two-thirds the price of buying new books which can amount to saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

A book swapping site is like a giant used book store. Used book stores save you money but their selection is pretty much potluck. You can usually trade your old books here for new ones (although they'll often refuse anything they don't think they can sell) but the selection varies from day to day so there's a good chance you'll not find what you are looking for.

Book swapping sites are simply better than used book stores aside from the waiting for delivery bit.

Right now, one of my favorite swap sites is paperbackswap and they have over 2.5 million used books sitting in their system waiting to be traded. That's a huge selection so you're bound to find something you want to read out of all those. Better still, you can make a wishlist of books and be notified when a book does come into stock. This also helps you keep track of authors and books you want to read.

You get to keep the book too. Sure, libraries and great but their selections are limited, there are those late return fines and generally, library books are not very well cared for unfortunately.

Book swapping sites require a general quality standard from all book being exchanged through them. Ratty, dog-eared copies with broken spines and missing pages are not allowed and you will not receive such books.

Many book swapping sites have great community aspects as well, giving you the option to discuss the books you have read with other book lovers, share stories and opinions and meet other online readers who share your interests. Check out the forums at paperbackswap for example, for some lively discussions.

For me, I love saving money and I love the convenience of being able to declutter my bookshelves of old books whilst giving someone else the joy of reading them. I get to swap these books for new ones, save money in the process and do a little bit for the environment too by cutting down on paper wastage.

Exchanging Books Sounds Interesting...Where Can I Do It?!

Some Of The Best Book Swapping Sites

So you like the idea of swapping books and are wondering where the best second hand book swapping sites to join are? Well, there are quite a few out there now but the following are, I believe, some of the best book exchange sites.

This is my favorite of all the paperback exchange sites. Oh, and its not just for paperbacks either, you'll find hardback books, used college textbooks, cookbooks and even swappable audiobooks all up for a swap here once you join and become a member.

Paperbackswap is an American book exchange site which is 100% free to join. All you need to a postbox and email address and some books to swap. There are no membership fees or anything else at this free book swapping club, all you are required to do is pay the postage when you send a book to another member and other members will do the same when they send books to you.

Free Books! As a welcome gift to the site, new members also get two free credits so they can start requesting books from the site straight away, once they have listed 10 of their own books they want to swap.

You can browse for books and request them directly when you have credits to 'pay' for them - you get one credit for each book you send out and every book you request will cost you one credit - so it's a straight swap. Or, you can create a wishlist of books and authors you want to read, even if no one on the site currently has that book available to swap, and either set it to automatically request the book for you when it does become available or to just keep it as a wishlist which helps you keep track of books you haven't read and authors you want to check out.

A really nice thing about paperback swap is the option to pay for and print out postage directly through your printer. This means no waiting in line at the post office, you can just slap the printable postable label on your package and slip it in your mailbox for the postman to take away. You get instant credits this way too, so you can request a book for yourself immediately.

I really like the book swapping system and the community at paperbackswap and they always seem to be innovating new ways to make it even better. I wouldn't write off the other swapping sites out there either, I am a member of others too, but this one is my favorite.

Join PaperBackSwap Here

Book Mooch : International Book Swapping Service

Swap Books All Over The World

I have always found Bookmooch to be a little on the scrappy side in terms of navigation and finding books. Its a personal thing though because I know loads of people love this site.

Bookmooch allows you to swap your books with other users and receive points in much the same way as paperbackswap. You can't buy points here and again, it costs nothing other than a book and the price of postage to send your book out and get a mooch point worth 1 swap in return.

The nice thing about Bookmooch is they are an international book swapping community. You can send and request books from people all over the world, in both English and other languages and you get extra points if you do so (probably to compensate for the extra postage costs). Send a book internationally and you get 3 points for the trade - that's effectively 3 books for the price of one.

You also get 1/10th of a point for listing a book which means a free book for every ten you list plus another 1/10th of a point when you leave feedback for receiving a book.

The thing which puts me off this site is the interface. It's kind of erm...clunky. Get past that however, and this global book exchange site is a great way to swap and exchange second hand books with people worldwide.

Join Bookmooch Here

Bookins : Exchange Books Online

Swap Your Old Books For New Ones

I like the concept behind this site, I'm just not too keen on the price of a swap!

Bookins assigns different point values to a book which makes more sense than a one for one swap when you consider some books are indeed more valuable than others.

However, to request a book through Bookins it will cost you $4.49, as you pay the postage to have the book shipped to you rather than the person shipping it paying. This covers shipping, tracking and apparently a chunk for Bookins because it costs around half that to ship books using the other swapping sites.

Anyhow, Bookins handles all the communication between traders so you don't have to do anything but pack and ship the book out using printable postage and if there is a problem of any kind Bookins guarantees the transaction so you'll be reimbursed.

For me personally, the cost of trading is in my opinion a little high. I can buy books new for that price with a little shopping around - my local Wal-mart and Costco regularly have new books for under $5 so why spend $4.49 on a used book AND have to give up an old book in the process?

You also need to enter a credit card to be able to even registed at this site. If you don't have one, don't want to use it online and don't want $4.49 being charged to it every time you request a book, then Bookins isn't for you.

Join Bookins Here

Frugal Reader - Online Book Sharing Site

Trade In and Share Used Books With Other Readers

Frugal Reader is another free online book sharing club for American book exchange users to check out.

*site closed*

The principle is the same as with other internet book swap websites. You trade books with other members for book sharing credits which you can then use to 'buy' books from other members.

New members get up to 2 free books when they join and list at least 9 of their own used books for trade. You can also upgrade your account and set trading prices for the books you have allowing you to charge more for in demand and more expensive books - something the other used book sharing and exchange sites do not offer.

Of course, the drawback to this is you will have to spend more credits on the more popular books you want as well.

I find FrugalReader to be more complicated to use than the other sites listed here. I also find books are much harder to find here compared to either Bookmooch or paperbackswap probably due to a smaller number of active members.

However, it's free to join and it does give you another option for finding books you might not be able to find immediately on another book trade site.

*Note: FruglaReader appears to be no more...review kept for posterity but the site appears to be dead*

UK Book Exchange Sites

British Book Swapping

Bookmooch allows you to trade your books with people all over the world, but international postage is going to make things a lot more expensive. You do get more credits however to compensate for this but isn't it better to swap locally? The UK has some great new book swapping sites to check out:

Read It Swap It : This is an established site with loads of users and a big selection of book swaps in their trading library. There are over two hundred thousand books ready to be traded at this English book exchange site. Check it out at readitswapit.co.uk

We Swap Books : A smaller book swap site striving to become the biggest and best book swapping site in the UK according to their homepage. Worth checking out also as all these sites are free to join. See it here at weswapbooks.com

Swap Shop - Not just a book exchange, this swap everything site is based in England and allows you to swap all kinds of things with people across Britain.

Swap College Text Books Online

Academic Book Swapping and School Book Exchange Sites

Save money on college books by checking out College Book Renter. This academic book rental site allows students to buy and either rent college books for far less than the cost of a new copy, or buy and sell used textbooks at discount prices, saving themselves money and helping out a fellow college student into the process. Check It Out and see how academic textbook rental can save you hundreds of dollars.

Whilst the above site is a great place to buy and sell college textbooks it is not a true swap site. If you want to trade college textbooks then you might like to go check out some of the book swapping sites like Paperback Swap or Book Mooch as they are also a great place to find and trade college textbooks and find other educational books for trade.

PaperbackSwap in The News - How Book Swapping Works

The following video is a news piece showing book swapping in action as it follows the process of listing, shipping and swapping books from the perspective of one paperback swap user.

Have Your Say

Submit a Comment

  • sudokunut profile image
    Author

    Mark Falco 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    @knitstricken: I have heard of Bookcrossing.com but have never actually bitten the bullet and used them. Maybe I will and then I can add them here too.

  • knitstricken profile image

    knitstricken 4 years ago

    This is a super lens. Are you familiar with Bookcrossing.com? Similar-ish concept that allows you to dollow your books as they travel the globe. I'll be checking out these sites you've mentioned here.

  • profile image

    anonymous 4 years ago

    The biggest problem I have with these sites (as Li-Li says) is that I don't want to permanently part with the books I have. I wouldn't mind loaning them, though. That's what www.rebooked.org is supposed to to - let you loan to friends, family, or related groups, but keep track of them so you can get them back.

  • profile image

    Li-Li-ThePinkBookworm 4 years ago

    Great sites! Too bad I'm not willing to part with the books I do have, but perhaps someday I will check these sites out.

    Li Li

  • emmber profile image

    emmber 4 years ago

    Great idea! thanks for all the resources.

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    If you have a tonne of old uni books or course work books, you could always try bookex.co.uk , they seem to specialise in allowing students to post books they want to get rid of.. might be worth a shot

  • lesliesinclair profile image

    lesliesinclair 5 years ago

    These are super resources for getting the most out of your books. Thanks.

  • Wbisbill LM profile image

    Barbara Isbill 5 years ago from New Market Tn 37820

    Fantastic idea and lens!

  • profile image

    anonymous 5 years ago

    I have a bunch of Old Books I have been wanting to get rid of or Donate, this Lens is Right on Time!!!

  • mojoCNYartist profile image

    Dan 5 years ago from CNY

    While not a book swapping site www.goodreads.com is good for the avid reader...I know I sometimes forget what books I have read and that site keeps a record and ratings. I then get recommendations for other books I may be interested in reading.

  • Khalid-Osman profile image

    Khalid-Osman 5 years ago

    Clever lens. Can I say that? I think it thinks too,-) Whereâs that (winky emoticon)? Ah, here's mine ð I liked it.

  • Rangoon House profile image

    AJ 5 years ago from Australia

    A wonderful recycling idea.

  • profile image

    WinstonEmerson 5 years ago

    Book exchanging sounds like a great idea! My next book will be available free for anyone who wants to read it. I'm releasing it in serial format on a dedicated blog. It's been an adventure so far just building the site!

    Winston

    http://theobjectserial.wordpress.com/

  • profile image

    Ericastanciu 5 years ago

    I love amazon's new exchanging library. It helps the authors' and readers share books that would've been not showing sales. Great lens. I would appreciate it if you could possibly take a look at my lens about a fantasy novel? If not I completely understand. Have a great New Year!

  • WildFacesGallery profile image

    Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

    This is a brilliant idea. I live in a very small town so often to interlibrary loans or when I do buy a book that I know I won't read again I donate it to the library to use or sell.

  • KingLobster LM profile image

    KingLobster LM 5 years ago

    I had no idea something like this existed. I love to read, and I love being frugal. This is probably something that I should look a little more into. Thank you for posting this helpful information.

  • awakeningwellness profile image

    awakeningwellness 6 years ago

    I have heard of this before but never really looked into it, now I am excited to check it out!

  • studyaids profile image

    Steve Jones 6 years ago from Birmingham UK

    A truly wonderful lens. Very informative. Thanks

  • TolovajWordsmith profile image

    Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

    As a frugal reader can only welcome sites like these:)

  • profile image

    pawpaw911 6 years ago

    Great idea. I have a lot of books that need to be swapped.

  • aesta1 profile image

    Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    Such a great idea. I have not really searched this on the internet and now you have given us a rich resource.

  • profile image

    anonymous 6 years ago

    This concept is in its infancy, I like the idea of online book swapping.

  • smithlights profile image

    smithlights 6 years ago

    I am a HUGE fan of Paperbackswap! I get lots of books for my nieces there, since children's books are expensive and will be worn in in a hurry anyway.

  • Sylvestermouse profile image

    Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

    This is such an excellent idea, especially for college students who have to take classes to meet requirements, but really have no interest in keeping all of the text books. Thanks for the information.

  • Chris-H LM profile image

    Chris-H LM 6 years ago

    Haven't heard of any of these sites. My problem would be finding a book I'd be willing to part with :(

    I love books! :)

    Thank you for the lens and welcome to the States mate!

  • kislanyk profile image

    Marika 6 years ago from Cyprus

    Since I'm not in the US, I can't use PBS. I am a happy bookmoocher from its very start. Loving it and would never leave it for anything in the world.

  • sheilamarie78 profile image

    sheilamarie78 6 years ago

    Wonderful idea! Thanks for steering us in that direction!

  • Blackspaniel1 profile image

    Blackspaniel1 6 years ago

    Great idea

  • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

    JoyfulPamela2 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

    We have tons of books in our house, so I've considered book swapping, but haven't gotten myself together to do it yet. Thanks for the info. I need to give this a try! =D

  • Wednesday-Elf profile image

    Wednesday-Elf 6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

    I read all the time and own over 500 books. I own complete sets by favorite mystery authors, which I re-read at least yearly. But I also have a lot of books I've acquired that, once enjoyed, now deserve a new reader. So... thanks so much for telling me about these book swap sites because there are many books I'd also like to find, as well as sending on former favorites to new readers!

  • profile image

    marsha32 6 years ago

    too bad the one site ended up closing down.

    I hear good things about the book swap sites. I don't get the chance to read anymore like I would like to and have lots of books on my shelves yet to be read. I should look into it though as my daughter is looking for certain books and this might be just the way to get them for her by offering up some that I am done reading.

  • profile image

    GingerbreadBaker 6 years ago

    I used to use Novel Action and I was so disappointed when they went out of business. I preferred their format because you sent your books to them and received your books from them instead of directly with the book loaner/borrower. My biggest frustration with all of these sites is that the books are often "outdated". I want the current "hot" books, the kind that I would buy from a big box book store, read in a few days and pass along to others.

    Does anyone know of a swap program with a centralized clearing house?

  • profile image

    julieannbrady 7 years ago

    I love the concept of swap! Swapping locally too can be a great thing.

  • profile image

    dolphinlover30 7 years ago

    I have been a member of paperbackswap, bookmooch, swaptree, frugal reader and titletrader. I am no longer a member of frugal reader or title trader I did not have any luck with either of those sites. I am still a member of paperbackswap,bookmooch, and swaptree. I am far more active in paperbackswap and bookmooch though. I love the 2 sites and am addicted to both of them. I do have to say that pbs has a better inventory but bookmooch is not too shabby either. I have nothing against swaptree but when you have a book that is in high demand you have several thousands of books to choose from which is great if you have the time and patience to look through all of them lol. I don't have either so that would be the only reason I don't frequent it too often. But swaptree has great inventory as well.

  • Virginia Allain profile image

    Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

    I've been using Swaptree for book swapping. You might check it out.

  • profile image

    kradical23 7 years ago

    Just wanted to give you some props for the hard work you put into the lens, I would know - I specialise in supplying books for schools :)

  • profile image

    anonymous 7 years ago

    I like swaptree.com because you can trade dvds and games too

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I have never had a problem with paperbackswap.....I much prefer them and frugalreader than the rest....and the books that I have requested arrive in great shape.

  • profile image

    bengriston 8 years ago

    I joined PBS some time ago and I love it. Of course you really need to have books that other people want to make it work out good. But for me this is not a problem.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I thought PaperbackSwap was great until I had a problem getting books I'd sent marked received. I couldn't figure out what to do and couldn't find the info on the help pages so I contacted customer service. They were nasty and difficult to deal with. It turns out that even if you've got a delivery confirmation it's no good unless it's been purchased from their site. Printing postage from them is costly with the fees they tack on and you have to have money in an account there and they charge a fee for that too. Now I am some books and the postage to send them and don't get the trade credit....basically, I get nothing for the expense. Not such a great deal after all.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I found paperbackswap first - but I have to say Bookmooch has better inventory, you get credits quicker and the books are in better shape usually.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    [in reply to Manda] You are totally right. I have't personally tried BookSmooch yet, but the people at paperbackswap were just plain rude and not very responsive. And I didn't like how long it took to get my credits.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    Here is another great way to save on Textbooks. http://www.edubookswap.com/ With our patented points trading system the full retail value of your textbook is converted to points, you then use your points to acquire the textbooks you need. If your book is worth $100 you can swap it for a book that is worth $100, any unused points are available for more swaps…it’s really that easy.

    For more info visit http://www.edubookswap.com

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    Paperback Swap needs to work on their customer service. They have much more selection, but when you need help, they are very rude. If you do not accept every wishlist book that becomes available, it is counted against you. Be sure that you have plenty of credits if you have many books on your wishlist. I prefer Book Mooch and have never had a problem with them.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I have been a member of paperbackswap for about six months. The problem I see with the site is there are too many books. The books I posted have been lost with the other 10 million books that are on the site. It is not like the books I posted are not bestsellers, they are. I posted books by Clancy, Nora Roberts, etc. They seem to just get lost in all the other books out there.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    Here is another great way to save on Textbooks. http://www.edubookswap.com/ With our patented points trading system the full retail value of your textbook is converted to points, you then use your points to acquire the textbooks you need. If your book is worth $100 you can swap it for a book that is worth $100, any unused points are available for more swaps...it's really that easy.

    For more info visit http://www.edubookswap.com

  • TreasuresBrenda profile image

    Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

    Book swapping -- however -- is a great idea. Nice work on your lens.

    A few more pictures would spice it up a bit more.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I hate hate paperback swap. Their customer service is rude,takes days to get back to you. If u don't print the postage it takes forever to get your credit. I did not have a good experience with paperback swap. I love love Book mooch. The customer service was very nice when I told them somebody has hacked into my computer and made different ids to sites I was on. They were very nice and canceled all the Ids that were associated with mine and let me keep the one I have. Paperback swap customer service were very very very rude. I prefer book mooch its more laid back and fun,then what paperback swap is

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I have been a member at paperbackswap for about a year and it is BY FAR the best of all sites mentioned here. Bookmooch has less inventory, is difficult to navigate and gives people the option to refuse your request just because they may not like your profile. And, you have to figure out your own method for printing postage. I have not had a good experience and I am trying desperately to mooch anything I can just to get to zero and then I am OUT OF THERE.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I have been a member of Paperbackswap and Bookmooch for almost four months now and I am absolutely addicted to both of those sites!! It's like Christmas every time I go to the mailbox!! I've received more than 60 books in the last four months ~ each site is very user friendly!! I highly recommend trying both!! :)

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    i just joined PBS a month ago..and i love it. It is the best and so convenient book swaping site. I can read all i want and it saves to much money

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    Totally agree with Pat. I've used both swaptree and paperbackswap, and while I like them both, I prefer paperback swap.

    Also wanted to say that this is a great site!

  • mrsm54321 profile image

    mrsm54321 8 years ago

    An excellent idea which should save a lot of money and perhap encourage readers to try something they wouldn't necessarily buy.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    Hi Albert I use swaptree in conjunction with paperback swap. The problem with swaptree is you have to find a match but with paperback they find it for you. I like both of them but for convience Paperback Swap is tops. Also try DVD swap too great way to get some good movies

  • profile image

    jagsag 8 years ago

    I have been a member of Swaptree for quite a while now. I've cleared out so much space and gotten some really cool books and DVD's. You do have to be careful of the pre-paid service Swaptree gives you though. They quote everything you send out (whether it weighs 5 ounces or 5 pounds) the same way so my postmaster had a fit a few times. DVD's always go fine and smaller books ship fine. Either deal with this inconvenience or just pay the postage yourself when shipping. It's usually about $2.50 to send something out and you get something you want for free! It's pretty cool. Check it out.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    Has anyone tried SwapTree?

  • Mar1anneC profile image

    Mar1anneC 8 years ago

    Thanks for the info - I am going to give it a try.

  • profile image

    Jason_Wright 8 years ago

    Great lens! You've done a great job collecting together all these book swapping sites. Please feel free to drop by my lens and say hi when you get the chance.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    Just listed 20 books and dvds! Also found SwapSimple.com where you pay postage on the books you want instead of those you are sending. I will be so happy to clear some space!

  • Bellezza-Decor profile image

    Bellezza-Decor 8 years ago from Canada

    This is a great idea! - Favorited and 5*****!

  • ArtSiren LM profile image

    ArtSiren LM 8 years ago

    Great idea! I had never heard of this. And I'm a 'book-aholic' with stuff I never read, so this might be right up my street. Thanks. 5*

  • evelynsaenz1 profile image

    Evelyn Saenz 8 years ago from Royalton

    Sounds like a great idea!

  • profile image

    MUJERDEEXITO 8 years ago

    What a wonderful idea and what a wonderful lens. I love to read and like you said then I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THE BOOKS. swapping It's a very practical thing to do. Thanks for sharing...

  • TonyPayne profile image

    Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

    Really nice lens, and I agree, swapping books really does help save money. 5***** Picked this up via AJ's share at Tagfoot.

  • RyanRE LM profile image

    RyanRE LM 8 years ago

    I have never really considered an online book swap. What a novel idea ;)

  • Rusty Quill profile image

    Rusty Quill 8 years ago

    Great info on book swapping, I never even knew there were places online to swap books. A mighty fine addition to Review Central!

  • Mihaela Vrban profile image

    Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

    You collected here great deal of resources for book swapping! Great idea - reuse it/pass it forward! Welcome to Reuse it all! group!

  • jimmielanley profile image

    Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

    I've always been disappointed that I can't do paperback swap since I'm not in USA. I'll check out book mooch for sure!

    You're officially blessed!

  • surfsusan profile image

    surfsusan 8 years ago

    Wow what a great and informative lens, thanks for the follow on Twitter.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I am so glad you found me on Twitter and I checked you out. This is an excellent lens for anyone who cares about recycling. 5*s & moving on to share it at Tagfoot

  • The Homeopath profile image

    The Homeopath 8 years ago

    What a brilliant idea! We have a charity book swap here, you just drop off books that you no longer read and take whatever you'd like for a $1 donation. I'm getting about 5 new books each week - it's addictive!

  • sudokunut profile image
    Author

    Mark Falco 8 years ago from Reno, Nevada

    Hey Stazjia, I added a couple of book swapping websites which are specifically aimed at the UK. Obviously, I haven't tried them myself since I'm living in the US right now (been here three years since moving from England) but they look pretty good too.

  • Paula Atwell profile image

    Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

    I am a huge reader and will check these out. Welcome to the Living the Green Organic Lifestyle Group.

  • profile image

    anonymous 8 years ago

    I'm going to tell my sister about your lens. She's an avid reader. Great info!

  • Holley Web profile image

    Holley Web 8 years ago

    I needed all of this info! Thank you! Welcomw and thank you for joining the group "How Do You Save?"

  • Stazjia profile image

    Carol Fisher 8 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

    This is great information for a book addict like me. I'll definitely check out the sites but I guess only Book Mooch will be applicable to me as I'm in the UK.