Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Half of a Paperback Swap, Successful

Some of you will remember about six months ago when I blogged about Paperbackswap.com. Well, up until about a week ago that was as far as I got with the service. I opened an account and wrote about how great it seemed like the service would be if I ever moved further into the process...and I didn't.

I have SO many books, most of which I know I'll never read, and yet I couldn't bring myself to part with even one of them. So I never listed anything. Months later I hatched a plan. Instead of trading the books I currently have, I'd keep an eye out for terribly cheap or free books that I had no interest in, and swap those instead. I got my first chance to pick up a few books in that category at the annual Abell Avenue festival that happens just down the street from us. Each year some organization sets out a table full of free books. Perfect for my purposes. I picked up eight or nine that I had no interest in but thought other people might, and posted five of them on Paperback Swap, which gives you one free credit.

I've recently taken a strong shine to a new author (new to me, at least), Robert Charles Wilson. I just finished Darwinia, an excellent book featuring an alternate history of the 20th Century in which most of Europe, people, structures and all is, in an unexplainable instant, replaced by an untamed wilderness of unknown origin. Wilson's writing style is exactly what I look for in an author; fluid, descriptive, detailed, and deeply imaginative. I used my free credit to request another novel of his, Spin, which I started tonight. I'm a chapter and a half in and I'm already hooked.

So far my experience with Paperback Swap is all positive. It seems to work flawlessly. You enter your books using the ISBN number printed on the spine. Very simple. And the book I requested was mailed to me by its owner within a few days, arriving soon after in perfect condition (obviously used, but in no worse condition for having been sent through the mail.) It cost the sender $2.38 in postage, and I imagine I can assume whatever book I send out now (when one of them is requested) will be about the same. Less than $2.50 to swap a book you don't want for a book you very much do is a great deal. It's a win-win, because each member of the swap spends the same and gets exactly the book they want.


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