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Free Children’s Books!

Paper Back Swap Logo

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.

Photo of Book Wrapper for Paperback Book Swap

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!

Children's Books

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

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  1. rose

    Good afternoon. I agree with you that if you start to introduce books to children at an earlier age, this will give a positive impact on children. I think it’s wonderful that you read to your little one each night. I, never had that, you and the little one will always have this great memory. The book swap co. sounds like a good resource. thanks. take care. Rosie

    1. aDaddyBlog

      Hi Rosie,

      Thank you for dropping by. Yes, reading to our toddler each night gives us some quality time together each night, and as you say hopefully will also lead to a love of books and learning. I had not heard of the book swap site before, but it sounded like a great deal. No membership cost. You just need to register ten old books you’d be happy to share, and they give you two credits so you can get two free books right away. After that when you send a book from your list to someone you get a credit for another free book. The only cost is postage to send your books to those who requests them. They pay to send you the ones you request. May have to try it out.

      Have a great day!

      –Daddy

  2. Julie

    I love Paperback Swap! I have gotten great books for myself and loads of Magic Treehouse for my kids.

    Great to find a daddy blog too! I found you through Mom Loop and a FB connection!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Julie, I’m so happy to have you drop by my humble little home on the web. I’m glad to hear from a Paperback Swap user, as it seemed good, but I hadn’t yet actually used it myself. You are a busy lady. In addition to your shared blog you have one boy and three girls? A clinical psychologist and own (do you sleep?) a babysitting referral service. Is that a franchise type of setup? My wife and I were just talking earlier this evening about how to go about finding a trustworthy baby sitter. For our child’s first two years we’ve yet to leave her for more than a few hours on two occasions, and only with very trusted people we knew pretty well. Hmmmm…. I see a blog subject coming. Anyway, I best get back to bed. Have a great weekend.

  3. Jackie

    Hey, thanks for stopping by Ready. Set. Read! I’ve never heard of this book swap but I’m anxious to try it! It sounds great. I enjoy checking books out of the library but I think kids need to have their own copies of some books. A book that they can pack anywhere… to bed, to the potty, in the car. I’m totally going to try this out.
    Also, I get a lot of great books at my YMCA used book sale. Children’s books are usually sold by the inch. It’s usually one week of the year. I don’t know if it’s just my area YMCA or all Ys.

    1. Michael Schmid

      I will definitely look into the YMCA here in North Texas and see if they do a used book sale. I agree about kids needing their own books. Since our two year old was a baby I have read to her every night, and have always treated the books as “hers” and almost as if they were toys to be played with. Something fun. Now she takes out books on her own (we have a small bookshelf for her in our living room as well as tons and tons of books in her nursery) and she’ll sit and “read”. I was happy to find a site (yours) focused on books. I’ve loved them since I was a little kid.

      On your point in your recent blog about what kids are reading (or in my case) what I’m reading her, as she just turned two… I recently bought some original “Winnie the Pooh” and “Frog and Toad” books. That said, her favorite right now is “Green Eggs and Ham”. She brings it to me and shouts, “EGGS HAM”. By coincidence the publisher just contacted me (talk about synchronicity) about doing a post and giveaway about the 50th anniversary edition of that book. And of course I’m happy to write about my daughter’s current favorite book. Here’s a post I did about some of her other favorite baby books. Hope you are having a great weekend.

      –Michael (aka: Daddy)

  4. varunner7

    I just started doing swap.com. Same principle, grown up books too though, and cds/dvds. I’ve recently traded for a kid’s dvd we’ve been wanting. So far so good :-)

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hey, thanks for dropping back by. Hope you’re having a good weekend so far. I just updated the blog at the bottom to include swap.com as an alternative option, per your suggestion.

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