The idea of exchanging your old used books for new ones you haven’t read is an idea which is gaining momentum across the internet. Used book swapping sites now boast hundreds of thousands of registered members and millions of used books ready for to be exchanged with other book lovers.
So what is the appeal? Why should you join an online book exchange web site when there are so many other ways of acquiring books? Well, here are some arguments for and against joining.
The Advantages Of Online Book Swapping Sites
Why should you join a book trading site?
Well, for a start, if you are someone who regularly buys books, it is more than likely going to save you a lot of money. Book swapping sites are free to join, and for the price of postage and one used book from your collection, you can get new books to read. Effectively, this means you can pick up a new book for under $2 – this includes hardback books, cookbooks and textbooks too. That offers the possibility of making big savings when compared to any other way of buying books.
Secondly, you can give yourself a pat on the back for recycling books and saving the environment in the process. Swapping rather than buying books means less trees are felled to produce reading material. Again, this can only be a good thing so far as environmental issues are concerned.
Thirdly, it’s a great way to declutter your book shelves and help out someone else at the same time by giving them a book they are looking for.
Book trading sites are also a great place to find out of print and hard to find books. These can often be expensive to find otherwise, and you can waste a lot of time looking for them. At book swapping sites, you simply add the books you want to a wish list and when it comes in to the site, you are sent an email alert saying its there. Much easier.
One more thing – the selection is huge. Sure, you can go hit all the used book stores in town and you might find what you are looking for but probably not. A used book club on the other hand has millions of books in their system. One swap site claims to have over 2.5 million books and that’s just on one site.
The Disadvantages Of Online Book Exchange Sites
Firstly, why not just use a library? Then the books are free right? Personally, I look at libraries as something aside from all other forms of acquiring new reading material because you do not get to own the book. You get a specified period in which to read the book, in many cases will get fined for returning it late if you’ve not done with it, and have a limited selection to choose from. Libraries are great, but they’re not ideal.
Used books are not for everyone. If you like your books shiny and new regardless of the price, then an online book swapping club is not for you. Most swap sites have rules about the quality of book allowed to be offered up for exchange but they are predominantly used books.
New books make money for the publisher and the author, used books do not. Whilst its easy to argue they have already factored in trading on the used book market into the price of a new book, the fact remains, buying or swapping used books costs them money and may affect new authors in particular.
Either way, online book swapping sites are becoming increasingly popular, with millions of books waiting to be traded with swappers all over the world. Whether a book swapping club is right for you is a matter of personal choice, but either way, it is something to consider the next time you look at that shelf full of books you’ll never read again or choke on the price of a new hardback.
About the Author:
Mark Falco is an avid reader and is always on the look out for ways to save money on his literary addiction.