06 November 2013

Unpacking All Those Books

We are slowly but surely getting our household effects unpacked. We are down to half a dozen boxes of books that we do not have enough shelf space for. So we have to decide which go on shelves, which stay in boxes in hopes that our next home has more space, and which books we really have to get rid of now because we are unlikely to read them again. It hurts to get rid of books but I realized that books are meant to be read, not sit in boxes gathering dust.

So I dusted off my PaperBackSwap account. At PaperBackSwap, you list books that you want to get rid of. Someone says they want your book. You pack it up and pay for media mail shipping. When they receive your book you get a credit. With that credit you can request a book from someone else and they pay the shipping to send it to you. 

While we were overseas, I ordered a few books through the site because we had an American mailing address that our mail was forwarded through. I couldn't swap any books back from overseas, though, because the shipping takes too long. I got in the habit of bringing a few books back to the United States with me to post and send so I could have credits for requesting books once I was back overseas. 

Over the last few days I've listed fifty books and twenty of them have been requested so far. I have a big trip to the post office planned for Friday. (You can print postage from home and drop the package in any mailbox if it weighs less than thirteen ounces.) I updated my wish list and am waiting for a few books once my credits are approved, but mostly I'll be using the service to send cheap paperbacks to Mike while he's overseas. He can trade them or leave them behind for others to read. Fresh reading material for almost free is always a good thing, especially in a place where there's very little local entertainment.

To see my books and request them from me, click here. I think you can request from me as a friend without signing up for the site. If you do decide to join, please use the referral button:

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

If you're ordering through the pouch, they ask you to include an apartment number with the address. I used Apt. #1 and never had a problem. I have not tried sending to DPO/APO addresses yet. If someone else has, please let me know if it works.

Sure, sometimes you need the convenience of dropping off a box of books at the recycling center or library. But sometimes it's nice to get those books directly into the hands of someone who wants them, then get a few reward books for yourself.


Linda Roy said...

That's a great idea!

Benjamin 'Bungee' Bynum said...

Great post! I also use book mailing services while overseas--posted as a FSO like your family. I use Bookmooch.com to do it and recommend it. It's got a little more timing flexibility than paperbackswap and it's also free. On the other hand, I also use paperbackswap too and just message people and tell them my situation (that I'm overseas, using the pouch, etc.) and they're usually fine with that. Whatever works!

Suz and Allan said...

I have a friend that does this and I think it's such a great idea. I really need to sign up!