Tags: bookcrossing


book boxes

I have a bookshelf just for my "to be read" books, sitting in my guest bedroom, next to two other book shelves that have other books on them, mostly books I have read and DVDs that can be seen. That TBR shelf of books is filled and overflows onto an adjacent shelf. More TBR books are scattered in different places in my house. I am making an effort to corral them all in that one place so I can get almost methodical about actually reading them.

But it isn't enough, see, to have that pile in front of me, as compelling and satisfying as it is to have enough to read. Collapse )

Crossing books with paperbackswap

From articles

I have a gripe. But it's ironic.

I joined paperbackswap a while back because a fellow bookcrosser suggested it. My initial impression of paperbackswap, which initially turned me off joining, was that it focuses on getting as much as you give. Tit for tat, accounting accounting. Whenever you send a book off to someone else you get one credit (two if it's an audio book). You can use the credits to order books from other paperbackswap members. One credit=one book. I didn't really like the mercenary quality of it.

The bookcrosser suggested that I might have an easier time finding books that I specifically wanted by joining paperbackswap, though, so I did.

I was primarily looking for books that were on the 2007 "notable books" lists - NYT, Christian Science Monitor, and others. These are not mass market paperbacks and I thought it would be great to be able to obtain them used.

Paperbackswap is all about the swap, as opposed to bookcrossing, which is all about the giveaway. I love giving books away, usually anonymously, with no expectation of any kind of return. Most of the books that I release into the wild go their own ways without ever getting back to me. I hope they find good homes, many of them, but it's just as possible that many of them land in wastebaskets. I don't know. I do know that recently I heard from one that I had released over a year ago. Its original savior passed it on to others and eventually one of them actually wrote a journal entry in bookcrossing.com. So I never know. I figure most people won't like throwing books away so they may well have rich lives.

On paperbackswap I list my better books, as a rule. I don't usually list mass market stuff because that's really good for wild releasing. Why go to the trouble of packaging a book to mail that can be found for a few bucks at a used book store or thrift shop?

There are over 2-1/2 million books listed on paperbackswap. Seems like my chances for finding some good ones would be excellent. But it turns out that no, my chances are actually quite slim. I have been a member for less than 11 months and in that time 25 of my books have been requested. I mailed all but three, which had gone missing by the time I got the requests (where ARE they??). In that same time I have received 13 books. There are 19 books currently on my wish list there - all set for automatic request if someone lists one of them. Seven of the books I requested are quality paperbacks. The rest are odds and ends that I thought I might like to have. Some are quite old, thirty years or more, and one is a thin child's book.

I do searches, custom searches, on paperbackswap frequently, in hopes of finding the good stuff. Most of what I find is chick lit, mass market mysteries, best sellers.

Every time I list one of my current notable books it is snapped up, so I know others are reading these books too (but they don't seem to be offering them when they are done). My gripe is that I offer the good stuff but most of the people on paperbackswap offer crap.Yet one book = one credit regardless. So here I am carping about not getting value for my money, so to speak, when my greatest love is just giving it away. I can't explain it. I just want others to let go as easily as I do.

I gave in to paperbackswap.

I am a diehard bookcrossing creature. I love the concept of leaving books anywhere, not knowing where they will go. Therefore, when others told me about paperbackswap I wasn't all that interested. But several months ago when I was hunting within bookcrossing for some specific books, to see if other bookcrossers had them and would send them to me in trade, another bookcrosser said she used paperbackswap for this purpose. She happily lives in both worlds so I thought I'd try it.

To request a book you have to register ten books of your own that are available for sending to others. I didn't get all ten listed right away and my account just sat there. Yesterday I decided to fill it up by listing some of my "better" fiction. As soon as I hit ten my books were made available to others on paperbackswap, including everyone who has a wish list that automatically hunts. Within a few minutes three of my books were requested by others.

Well, I love it when others want to read my books. For this feature alone I already love this place. But there's more. When I clicked on the button that says I would mail the book within two days, I was offered the opportunity to print the wrapper. I could choose to print just the names and addresses or I could add postage and delivery confirmation. An added bonus is that the weight of the books is on record so the correct postage can be calculated easily. The final joy came when I learned that I would not have to go to the post office to mail these books, wrapped in these wrappers, labeled (as they are) with "media mail". I could just drop them in mail drop boxes. The address information prints on 8-1/2 X 11 paper which can be used as the wrapper by itself, suitably wrapped around the book and taped securely. Where does the postage come from? By paying into a PBS account - through a credit card or paypal. A charge of 50 cents is made for each transaction.

I have therefore already sent off four books and I have a fifth packaged, ready to drop. I have also registered several more books there. And of course every one has a bookcrossing sticker inside. I can hope.

Oh, ironically, I have several books on my PBS wishlist and so far nobody is offering them.