Guest post from Crystal of Serving Joyfully.
One of my favorite ways to acquire books is through PaperBack Swap. Like the name suggests, it’s a site for trading books. You give away a book you don’t need and pay about $2.50 (the cost of postage) for a new-to-you one.
Since postage alone on sites like Amazon.com is $3.99, you can see that $2.50 for a needed book is a great deal! But, as a former couponer and current deal-seeker (and as a homeschooling mom in need of lots of books!), I wanted to do better.
I’ve been diligently searching this summer, and was able to get a bunch of great books for an average of $0.40 each! And that includes Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, which I intended to purchase from Amazon for around $20!
If you’d love to get your hands on some frugal used books, here are some tips to get the most out of PaperBack Swap:
1. Sign up!
Going for the obvious here. When you first sign up for PaperBack Swap and list 10 books to your shelf, you’ll get 2 free credits right away.
2. Refer your friends.
After you’ve signed up, be sure to spread the word. If a friend uses your referral link and becomes an active member, you get a free credit.
(Full disclosure: That’s my referral link above. Crystal gave me permission to use it in this post. If you’d rather not sign up through my link, you can go directly to PaperBackSwap.com)
3. List great books.
More high-quality books equals more requests, and more requests equals more credits for you.
4. Purchase credits at a discount.
Sometimes I give away books we no longer need and sometimes I’m a tiny bit of a book hoarder. In this case, credits can be purchased directly from PBS for $3.79-$3.95. However, PBS also allows members to sell up to 50 credits per month, so you can purchase credits from other members, usually for a discounted rate.
Please note — this is done at your own risk. You’ll want to make sure that you are dealing with someone who has a strong reputation on the site. I’ve done this in the past to purchase credits for as low as $2 each.
5. Become a Boxer.
Since the only monetary cost associated with the site is your shipping, reducing the cost of shipping per book reduces your overall cost. One way to do this is to trade boxes of books with other members rather than single books. There is a monthly fee for this service, but the benefits can outweigh the cost if you’re looking to trade a large amount of books.
In the community area, there is a forum called the Book Bazaar. In that forum, members frequently request or offer “deals,” especially if you are looking to make a bulk (multi-credit) purchase.
Through this, I was able to find people willing to offer some great deals, including 25 books for 5 credits. You can also take note of, and friend, those members who tend to have books in the genres you’re interested in, and build relationships with them for future deals.
When you request a book, PBS will give you the option to request more from the same member. If there are other books that interest you, ask if the member would be willing to make a deal. Even a member who doesn’t have a running deal is usually willing to throw in an extra book or two if you are requesting several.
8. Offer a Deal Yourself.
When I purchased 25 books for 5 credits, the sender spent $5.77 for shipping, but she got 5 credits. If she had sent out 5 books separately, those same 5 credits would have cost her around $12.50 in shipping.
If you have the extra books, this is a great option to get the most out of shipping and bless another member at the same time. You can do this on the forums, or right from your bookshelf.
9. Be Patient.
Patience is a virtue here. If you are able to be patient, sometimes you can wait for a deal to come available and save yourself some money. Similarly, if a book you want isn’t currently available, you can add it to your wishlist and wait for it to come available rather than purchasing it somewhere else.
It may not come available, but it’s worth waiting a while to find out. This is exactly how I was able to acquire the Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book for such a great deal. Another member saw it on my wishlist, and offered to make it a part of a bigger deal.
Are you a member of PaperBack Swap? What has been your experience with it?
Crystal Brothers is a daughter of the one, true King, wife to a forest ranger, and full-time mommy to two rambunctious little boys. She blogs at Serving Joyfully — a blog dedicated to encouraging and equipping women to serve God and their families.