The way the economy is these days we all are looking for ways to conserve our cash. One area in which I refuse to skimp is with books for my toddler. I want her to grow up with a love of books, reading and learning. Every night since she was a little baby, she and I have gone to her room after her nightly bath and we’ve read books. I’ve become quite familiar with the bargain books bin at Barnes & Noble, and strongly recommend both Half Price Books and of course your public library. But I’ve recently discovered another cost effective and environmentally friendly alternative to purchasing books. It’s an online company called PaperBackSwap.com. I have no financial interest in them, by the way. I’m just sharing a savings tip from one parent to another.
PaperBackSwap.com, an innovative web site that allows the public to recycle used books. They began in 2004 as a way for book readers to share their already-read books with each other via the Internet. Since then it has grown enormously with a library of over 2.2 million books, which includes paperbacks, hard covers and audio books. The club boasts members in all 50 states and U.S. territories/military APO/FPO addresses. To date over 2 million books have been swapped successfully through the U.S. mail with an average of over 35,000 book swaps each week.
The club is easy for members to use. A member simply logs onto the site and selects a book that they want. Then the system sends an email to the member that has the selected item. The sending member then simply prints two pieces of paper from their printer, wraps the item with those papers, attaches postage and drops it in the mail. It is so simple and convenient for members since they do not even have to go to the Post Office. Just drop it in the mail and the requesting member gets the book for free! Of course, members do have to pay for postage when they mail an item. But every time you mail one, another member returns the favor and mails you one that you have selected from the club. Postage to send a typical book is $2.23 Media Mail rate, and the mail transit time averages about a week.
Membership requires only a working email address, a valid USPS address, and Internet access. At PaperBackSwap.com, members post at least 10 books that they have read and are willing to send out to others. Posting the first 10 books earns each new member 2 free book credits (after posting 10 items on the CD and DVD site you get 1 credit to try out the club). One credit is all you need to request an item from another member. You can request a book from another member your first day of membership, free of charge!
I checked out their books for preschoolers and found literally tens of thousands to choose from, all of the big name books (and some obscure ones) you’d want for your wee ones. And of course they are not limited to childrens’ books, you can find nearly any book or audio book (and even CDs and DVDs on a sister site). The books you receive in the program are yours to keep or to pass on when your done with them. It’s your choice. I thought it was an interesting concept, and right now they are not charging for the service, so give it a try if you’re interested. Again, I have no financial interest in this site. Just wanted to share something with my fellow parents out there that I thought might help. What do you think? Is this something you’d consider using? Do you have any good parenting or savings tips to share? In fact, please leave a comment anyway so I know you were here.
Update: A friend just left a comment that she’s trying out a similar site swap.com… same principle, like Paperback Swap they feature adult and childrens’ books, and also cds/dvds. She recently traded for a kid’s dvd they’ve been wanting. So far so good