Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Thingers: Book-Swapping

Today's topic for the Tuesday Thingers group:

Book-swapping. Do you do it? What site(s) do you use? How did you find out about them? What do you think of them? Do you use LT's book-swapping column feature for information on what to swap? Do you participate in any of the LT communities that discuss bookswapping, like the Bookmooch group for example? (Thanks to Marie of Boston Bibliophile.)
Well, the short and honest answer is no, I don't do it. Although I think it's a very good idea. I believe I'm signed up at both the BookMooch and Book Crossings sites, but haven't done anything about it. Don't remember how I found out about them. (Actually, I originally signed up with BookMooch just to find out more about their BM Journalers group.) And once again, until today I didn't even know LT had groups that discuss this topic.

Didn't there used to be something called the "read and release" program where you were encouraged to leave your unwanted books "in the wild"? That is, just leave them in public places where others could find them. Maybe that was just in the DC area. Anyway, our condo building has its own version of that – people frequently leave books or magazines they're finished with on a table in the lobby, for others to claim if they're interested. Not exactly a "swap," but a good way of spreading the reading around.

See, the thing is – I have a lot of trouble letting go of books. Even books I've no intention of ever reading again. And to be really honest (isn't this the Tuesday therapy group?), I even dread lending books unless I can be absolutely sure of getting them back. But that's a terrible character flaw that I'm trying very hard to overcome. And I do find the idea of swapping very appealing. So I have every intention of becoming an active book-swapper in the very near future. No, really. I do. Really.


  1. I can really understand being unable to let books go and not lending them. You can never be sure what condition they'll be in when they get back. I don't think that's a bad thing - until you can't walk through your house because of all the books. :)

  2. I guess that is something that you, Bri, and I all have in common. Bri is the worst -- she will only lend me a book if I take a solemn oath to not make the spine wrinkly. So, if she has something I want to read -- I just go get it myself. Then I can be particular about my own book -- no dog ears.

  3. Years ago, I saved my books until some began to get that old smell. I had to throw them out, and that hurt me.
    I've had some negative experiences lending books, so now I eBay 'em.
    This gives me a small measure of comfort as the book that I paid full price for is going to go to someone--who may be on a budget--for a couple of dollars. It's a GREEN-thing, and I'm promoting reading.

  4. meh... I've not had good experiences buying and selling books on ebay. I have bought audio books on there with much happiness, though.

    I used to be horrible about hoarding books, too, until I discovered BookMooch and decided there were other books in the world I might like more.

    Once you've read them, they're in you forever, so I have no problem letting them go. BTW, I think BookCrossing has the "read and release" thing.

  5. I'm with you in the "I can't let go of of books" club. I like to write in them and will often go back to find underlined passages or things of note. I do loan books to friends occasionally, but only to friends I know will return them, and in good condition at that! I went through my bookshelves a few weeks ago when I joined LT, and there's really not much I'm willing to part with.

  6. literatehousewife--
    Well, I'm just about at that point now - books spilling off shelves and into major pathways. But I think instead of getting rid of books, what I need to do is get a larger house!

    Do you remember the library card I issued you so you could borrow books from my library when we were kids? I definitely have the soul of a librarian, but I was hoping for more exciting things for Bri.

    Ooh, I hate to have to throw books out - that's real trauma. Yes, I've been thinking a lot lately about putting some books on eBay. Or rather, I guess it's really my hubby who's been thinking about it!

  7. thekoolaidmom--
    Yes, I think you're probably right about BookCrossing having "read and release" – it's been quite a while since I looked at their site. I've had some good and some bad experiences with buying on eBay. Depends on the seller – some are honest and reliable, but others sell mostly junk, at annoyingly exorbitant prices!

    Oh, I'm definitely a margin-writer – almost all my books have at least a few notes in the margins. Unless it's a really valuable edition or something, but I don't have many of those. I love going back over books I read years ago and reading my notes, even if I no longer have any idea what they meant!

  8. Yep--trading books with my friend is kind of like Christmas once a month, and with media mail, it's relatively inexpensive.

  9. I'm an inveterate BookCrosser - everything I'm not likely to re-read goes there (I still have coming up to 2,100 books in my personal library, though!). I buy second copies of books I love in charity shops in order to share them, I wild release a lot of books, and many I put into Official BookCrossing Zones, which are shelves in cafes etc where BCers can leave books for other people to find. That's a lot of fun and I get a lot of positive comments from those.

    I will comment more on my own blog, but that's just a bit to explain about BookCrossing!

  10. I've heard a lot about book crossing, but I just don't understand it!

    I don't lend my books out though - I've had too many go missing!

  11. Reading and releasing does seem like a cool idea... I may have to look into that. I like the idea of being able to watch where my books travel.

  12. lyzzybee--
    Book Crossing does sound like something I should try – that is, if I can ever bring myself to turn a book loose!

    s. krishna--
    I know what you mean – and it always seems to be my favorite books that disappear forever.

    Yes, I think I'd probably be more interested in BookCrossing than in BookMooch. But the BookMooch journal project is interesting – creating themed journals and then sending them out to be passed around and added to. That sounds like it could be fun.

  13. Yes, I'm another for whom "swap" involves the horror of letting go of books. :-) But I really am going to have to start dealing with the fact that I'm really not going to read some of them again. It may be donation to a local charity shop rather than swap sites, though.

  14. See, BookCrossing never worked for me - I tried "releasing" several books, and they seemed to just disappear. That was frustrating. At least with the swapping sites I get something in return - and I really only swap the books I hate. =)

  15. I know exactly how you feel about letting books go. I've only been willing to give up the ones that I really, really didn't like, and I have to really not like it for that to be the case.

    I like the idea of leaving them out on a table for fellow tenants. If we did that here, people might actually put something in the trash can for the first time ever. (Somehow the junk mail ends up on the table, on the floor and on top of the trash can, but I'm convinced that they would manage to get the books into it first thing.)

  16. I'm definitely better at giving books away than at lending books that are important to me. I think I may have to look into Bookcrossing! I have some books that could be passed along, for sure.

    Thanks for visiting me at Worducopia, Joy. Nice to "meet" you!


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