Do You Paperbackswap? How about BookMooch?

I do! And I love it!!

It's been probably 3 or 4 years since I first came across paperbackswap in a facebook group I enjoy. Most people were singing its praises (endless supply of desirable books at minimal cost), and some where sharing their own frustrations (the pressure of getting a book in the mail in a timely manner). I checked it out, explored the FAQs, costs, etc. and decided it was for me. Weeee!

Membership in the club is free... sort of. There is no charge for joining, but there is a swap fee for every book you order after your first two (2) which are truly free, well after you post your first 10 books. Confused? Let's try that again.

The Standard annual membership fee is $20 which allows the member an unlimited number of swaps received at no extra cost. The Limited annual membership fee is $12 and allows the member 30 swaps received at no extra cost. And the Ala Carte annual membership (this is the default setting) which costs 49 cents for each swap requested.

Wait! This costs money? Well, yes it does.I purchased the Limited membership in August and have used up all 30 of my requests. That $12 has gotten me 30 books in almost new condition. So let's do the math -- $12 divided by 30 equals 40 cents per book. So each book I received cost me just 40 cents whether it was a paperback children's book or a hardbound literature book for my own collection.

And I have mailed out 30 books too. This side does have a higher cost, but it doesn't have to be a high cost if you do it right. I search the thrift stores and books for sale at the library for books I know are in high demand, namely Dr. Seuss books which are hardbound and/or softbound classics. And I use media mail which is a less expensive class of mailing than first class. These books typically cost $2.50 to mail out. Oh, and the cost of buying them ranges between 10 cents and 80 cents. My total cost for each book I receive is about $3.60.

So why do I do this? Why spend the time searching books to list and mail? Why wait and wait for books I want to be listed by other members? First of all because BOOKS! Hello!!  But secondly because there are SO many books already out there just waiting to be read. I can't and won't justify the need to purchase brand-new off the shelf books when there are so many available in the secondhand market. For me, it's a financial, environmental, and sustainable decision. 

As an added bonus, it is exciting to get a package in the mail and open it up to a new-to-me book!

While at the post office last week, mailing out books, I spoke with three other people about paperbackswap.

Right after I drafted this post, I came across another book swapping site called BookMooch. It operates much the way Paperbackswap does, but simpler, actually. There is no membership and no fees for swapping. And they swap internationally which earns/costs more points. I've just posted a handful of books on BookMooch, and haven't gone through the whole process yet. So for now that's as much as I can share about it.

Have you tried BookMooch? Please tell what you know about BookMooch and/or Paperbackswap in the comments.

Peace -- Ann


  1. I haven't tried either but I might have to try that. I am drawn into book stores but I have to say I never, ever buy there. It's crazy. I just can't imagine spending that much money for a new book. I might only read it once and then what? Let it sit and get dusty? Sell it for 25 cents in a garage sale? Donate it? I can't. I just can't. I am a frequent visitor to the library and I do pick up a lot of books at garage sales but when there is an author or title I really want to find, I can be seen fondling a book in a book store that I will not purchase. ;-)

    1. You are singing my song sister. :) There are just so many books out there in the 2nd hand market that between that and the library for newer books, I just cannot justify paying more than $3 for a book for myself.


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