Posts Tagged ‘used books’


March 18, 2010 2 comments

A while back I told you guys about a book swapping website I’ve been using called Swaptree.  In the interim I started using PaperBackSwap, so I thought I should let you guys know about it too.

PaperBackSwap is slightly different from Swaptree.  You acquire books using credits. (You are given some free ones when you start.  I believe it’s 3)  You can get credits either from sending someone else a book or you can buy them.  The credits are $3.45 a piece, but if you buy larger batches of them they cost less.  So even if you buy your credits instead of only using credits earned by sending books, you’re still getting books for $3.45 or less, which is wicked cheap.

Since PaperBackSwap doesn’t use a direct swapping method, you wishlist books you want.  When a copy of the book becomes available, it is first offered whoever first wishlisted it.  This sounds like a long wait, but I haven’t had to wait too terribly long for anything yet.  Also if you put in a large wishlist, you tend to get a pretty steady flow of books being offered to you.  Another cool feature of PaperBackSwap is PBS Market, which is basically an overstock shop of books.  You can get these for super-low price either paying just money or just credits or a combination of money and credits.  When a book you’ve wishlisted becomes available in PBS Market, they notify you but your position is also maintained in the wishlist unless you choose to buy the PBS Market book.

You should be aware though that PaperBackSwap leaves it up to the requester to set the specific condition requirements for books.  The website generally requests that the book be in “good condition” with “no markings,” but anything beyond that is up to the requester.  Say that you don’t want books that have been in a smoker’s home.  You would say in your settings “No books from homes with smoke please.”  This message would be visible to the giver when you request the book.  They can then reject it for the “doesn’t meet requester’s requirements” reason.  However, I found that you should put some sort of requirement in because it makes givers think twice about sending you an iffy copy.  For mine I just reiterated PaperBackSwap’s “no excessive highlighting or writing.”  Since then I’ve been receiving better quality books.

I like using both websites, because if there’s a book I really want, I can get it quicker for cheap on PaperBackSwap, but if I’m a bit more patient Swaptree ensures that I’m doing a 1 to 1 trade.  Whereas on PaperBackSwap I’ve sent out 2 books but received 10.  Oops, lol.

If you do choose to join PaperBackSwap, please let them know that I referred you as it will get me free credits.  My username is tapcat16.  Also, please check out the books I have available and see if you want any.  You’ll know for sure that you’re getting your copy from a reliable giver and a super-speedy shipper, if I do say so myself. 🙂  I also frequently add books, possibly even ones I’ve reviewed here, so check back often.  I’ve added a widget on the right-hand side of my blog that will link you directly to my profile for future reference.  I like my books to find new homes.  It makes me all happy inside.

So there’s the inside scoop on PaperBackSwap.  Cheers!

Environmentalism’s Impact on Books

Environmentalists have their good points and bad points, just like any activist group.  I agree with some of their points and disagree with others.  However, there seems to be the stirrings of a new target for environmentalists–new books.  A blog example is this post detailing how you should only buy used books whenever possible as studies show they are better for the environment.  Then there’s the new Netflix-style business called BookSwim, which claims that it’s more environmentally friendly to have their stock of “rentable” books shipped to you in recycled packing materials than it is to buy new books.

What these people seem to be missing is that if people stop buying new books, at some point there won’t be any more new books being published.  It is important that avid readers support the publishing of new books by currently writing authors, as well as the classics.  If the publishing industry encounters a distinct lack in demand for their product, they aren’t going to make it anymore!  Environmentalists need to grasp the fact that we’re talking about books here.  Literacy.  Education.  Possessing an educated public.  That’s a bit more important than a few trees in the rainforest.  They really need to set their sights on something else.  I’m all behind finding alternative energy sources, but we need books to keep being published.

Another point that ye olde BookSwim seems to miss is the low environmental impact of borrowing books from your local public library.  I know in rural areas people have to drive there, but it is often possible to bike or walk.  No books are being shipped, plus you get the chance to meet and encounter people from your neighborhood at the library.  Not to mention the fact that the library is free.  What BookSwim cites as its most popular plan costs $29.97 a month.  They heavily push the idea of no late fees and no due date, but let’s consider this for a moment.  The most popular plan is 7 books at a time, send back 3 and hold 4.  A book is not a movie.  A movie may generally be watched in 1 1/2 to 2 hours, which leads to a rapid turnover.  This is part of what makes Netflix worth the money.  Even the most avid reader generally takes more than 2 hours to finish reading a book.  My friends who read the most avidly finish around 10 books a month.  That means they would have paid $3 a book.  Most libraries charge 10 cents a day for a late book, and allow you to have it for anywhere from a month to two months.  You would have to keep the book an extra 30 days in order for the late fees to equate the cost of the book from BookSwim.  Anybody with half a brain can see that BookSwim isn’t worth the money.  One of the major selling points of BookSwim is the ability to take as long as you want to read a book, but if you do that then you won’t be getting your money’s worth.

Come on, people.  Use your heads.  Utilize your local public library for older books or books you know you will only want to read once, and buy new books from your local independent bookstore to support the future of the book industry.  It is really not that complicated.  Environmentalists should stick to their solar panels.