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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.

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