Back in 2010, I (Dawn) wrote the below post about the website I have been a member of PaperBackSwap for more than 2 years now, and I still feel that it’s an amazing site. This week, I was reminded of how much I love this site, and I wanted to share it with you again.

Once you set up your “bookshelf” where people can choose one of your books from, you can often go months without having someone request a book for you. Obviously, if you have more popular books to swap, your books will go faster. Since many of my books are older and not always very popular, I don’t have as many requests.

This week though, I received a request for one of my books. Then, a couple hours later, I received another request! How excited that made me is a testament to how nerdy I am. So, for the price of mailing 2 books (probably less that $5 – I’m going to the post office later today), I will receive 2 credits, which I intend on using to expand my hardcover collection.

That is usually how I use my credits. I have collections of books, usually from series (The Song of Ice & Fire by George R.R. Martin and The Mary Russell Series by Laurie R. King for example), that I like to keep. I’ve expanded my personal library this way, collecting hardcovers for the cost of mailing a book instead of the $20-$30 you can usually find them for.

That’s not to say you can’t find good deals elsewhere. I once found a book from The Mary Russell Series at Borders before they closed, a $25 hardcover in the $1 bargain bin. So, I’m still always on the lookout!

One of my favorite feature on the site is the “Reminder List.” If I see or hear about a book that I’m interested in, I’ll usually add it to this list. Even if I don’t intend to use PaperBackSwap to get the book, at least I won’t forget about it, and I’ll have it on the site when I go to the library to browse. Then, once I’ve read the book, or decide I’m no longer interested, I can delete it.

I would highly recommend the site for any reader, but especially for those that spend money on books (or would like to build up their own library for cheap). As of today, there are over 5,000,000 books available. It’s been a great tool for me over the years, and there are many other members who would agree! (From 11/15/2010)


Today’s post is going to be different than any post we’ve done so far, but hopefully useful to someone nonetheless! This tip comes exclusively from Dawn, since Keith doesn’t use the site.

Back in April, I read a post over at The Simple Dollar about money saving websites (while there check out all the other sites he recommends, you might find something useful). That’s where I discovered PaperBackSwap. After looking into the site, I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about it yet. For a book lover like me, PaperBackSwap is an incredible resource, and if you ever spend money on buying books, this site will save you a lot of money.

It’s basically just a book trading site. You sign up for free and post books that you no longer want to keep (as long as they’re in good condition with no writing or highlighting – which I find to be the hardest part since I’ve highlighted in many of my books). They can be any type of book about any subject. After you first sign up, you will receive 2 credits for posting your first 10 books. Then, others can request a book from you, which you will mail to them, and then you will receive another book credit. You use those credits to request books from other members.

Like I said, if you buy books, this will save you money in the long run. From my experience, it typically costs about $1-3 to mail a book. Obviously, the more expensive books tend to be hardcover, but if you consider that you can also receive a $25-30 hardcover book for the postage price of mailing a small paperback (maybe $1), think about how much you would save over time (which the site will track for you). And many (though not all) of the books are in like new condition.

There are some downfalls though. One is that there are a limited number of copies available. So, if it isn’t a mainstream/popular book it may not be available. Also, if it’s a very popular book, it may not be immediately available. However, if you are willing to wait, you can put it on your Wish List and wait in line for it to become available, but it may or may not be a quick wait depending on the book. Also, it’s an issue if no other members request your books. If you aren’t getting anyone requesting your books, you can’t get credits this way. You can buy credits on the site, which are more expensive than paying for postage, but still much less expensive then buying a book outright.

Recently, the site has also added the feature of buying new books, where you can pay in all cash, or use some of your credits plus cash. I haven’t used this feature, and I’m not sure if the prices are better than buying new elsewhere, but it might be worth looking into if you do plan on buying a book new.

If you like the idea of this site, but are more interested in movies and music, there are two sister sites, SwapaDVD and SwapaCD. They are less popular, with less members and less selection available, but they function very similarly. A feature that might be helpful is credit transferring. If you get a credit for mailing a DVD, but want to use it to get a book, you can transfer that credit to the other site.

Hopefully someone finds this site useful!


  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.