Saturday, September 25, 2010

Paperback Swap

Has anyone ever tried paperbackswap.com? It's a free service that you register for, and then you list books you have that you want to trade. When someone requests your book, you mail it to them media mail at your cost, usually less than $2.50, and when the person receives the book, you get a credit. With your credit, you can order a book on the site and whoever is trading that book mails it to you at their cost.

Considering how expensive some books are, the cost of shipping one book can be significantly less than buying a new book. The caveat is that some books have a long waiting list because a lot of people want the same book, such as an Evanovich or a Patterson, but a lot of people also list those books when they finish reading the.

I usually try to buy my books on Kindle, because I'm one of those instant gratification type of people and because the books are usually cheaper, but with the big houses setting the price of their books on Kindle, I'm finding many of the Kindle books are priced too high.

What I found most interesting about paperbackswap was that you can see how many people are hoping for your book- 2 people were wishing for Gumbo Justice, but Mike Orenduff's Pot Thief books had more wishers, and Sunny and Marilyn Meredith also had wish lists for their books.

I understand that if someone gets Gumbo Justice by swapping one of their own books I don't make any money off of it, and some writers may object to the service thinking of it as losing a sale. But my assumption is that the people waiting for Gumbo Justice either won't or can't buy the book themselves, and if it gets swapped at least it means someone new is reading it. Maybe they'll like it so much they'll end up purchasing the second one, or another Oak Tree Press book.
I started by listing two books. One was a book my mother gave me I didn't want in the first place, the other was a copy of Gumbo Justice. Gumbo Justice was requested the same day I listed it, the other book the following day. I mailed them both out and received my credit to choose a book in two days. I ordered a Lee Child I didn't want to buy because his books tend to keep a high price, and the cost of shipping a book out was several dollars cheaper than the cost of the book I wanted.

I listed Gumbo Justice as an experiment, and it was requested by a woman in Baton Rouge, about an hour from New Orleans. She let me know when she got it, and two days later emailed me how much she loved the book and asked when was the second one coming out. She also said she would do a review and post it around once the whole book sunk in, and she was "speechless and shaken." On a completely ego level, it was more than worth the price of my book to get the contact from her.

Also, not considering my own sales, a lot of times I don't buy books because of cost and space, so this works for me because I can get a book cheaper, but am sending out a book so I'm utilizing the same amount of shelf space. Also, if I don't love a book, I can list it and hope someone else wants it so I'm not stuck with it.

I don't know if it will continue to work out as well, but I enjoy saving a few dollars since I buy so many books. The book is yours when you receive it, so you don't have to trade it if you really like it. Right now the service is free, but they've indicated at some point in the future they may do a small yearly fee like $10 per year or something like that. If it ends up costing a yearly fee, I don't know if I would continue to do it, I would have to see how many books I actually end up trading.

They also have a DVD and separate CD trading service that I registered for but haven't tried yet. I don't know about CD's because I can download a song for less than a dollar if I really like it and put it on my own CD, without having to pay for all other the songs on the CD I don't really want, but the DVD program might be useful with DVDs being so expensive and the cost of shipping a movie to someone cheaper than the cost of a pay-per-view movie.

To me the site was worth checking out just to see the wish lists for my book, as well as other Oak Tree books, and to see which authors have the most people waiting for their books.

Holli Castillo
www.gumbojustice.net

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