Paperback Swap: Save Money on Books

If you have a bunch of books laying around your home that you know you are never going to read (like I do), then you are going to love PaperBack Swap.  PaperBack Swap is an online book trading club that lets you swap books with other club members. Your trades are measured in credits: when you ship a book, you earn a credit; when you request a book, you lose a credit.

How it Works

Once you join, the first thing you need to do is list some books you have that you no longer want.  Make sure the books are in generally good condition, have front and back covers, all their pages, no liquid damage, no writing or highlighting, and are not Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs). All you need to list your book is the ISBN which is found on the barcode of your book. So, it only takes a minute to list your book! If you list 10 books then you can get 2 Free Credits. Those credits can be used to get free books! PaperBack Swap is currently free to join, but like any club, they may require a membership fee in the future.

After you list your books, you just wait for someone to request them. When someone requests a book from you, PaperBack Swap (PBS) will send you an email. You then follow the instructions on how to ship the book. You do have to pay for shipping, but since you are shipping Media Mail it is really inexpensive. It usually costs me around $2.50 to send a small paperback. The best part – you don’t ever have to go to the post office!! I absolutely love that I can just do everything online and then stick the book in the mailbox.

How to Ship

Shipping the book is pretty easy. If you don’t want to go to the post office then you will need to buy postage through PBS. PBS does charge a small fee for this, but I find that it is worth it for me to not have to go to the post office, plus you get instant credit for your shipment. You can always just opt to buy postage at the post office, but I have yet to ship a book that cost more than $3 total (including fees). If you are buying postage from PBS you will need to add some funds to your account (I usually add enough for 4-5 books at a time). Then you just follow the directions for buying postage (really, they walk you through this step by step). Then, you just print out the pages. One page will have the book information – the name of the book, who you’re shipping to, etc. The 2nd page will be your mailing label with postage and address. You print this on plain white copy paper that you already have on hand! You do not have to purchase any special paper for this! Then you wrap your book in the paper with the mailing label showing, tape it well (there are great instructions for this on the site if you need it), and put it in the mailbox. Voila! You’re done!

How to Get Books

Now for the fun part! Once you have a credit, you can go shopping! Browse through the millions of books they have available and pick one that you want! You request a book and the member ships it to you completely free! Each book is only 1 credit no matter if it is big, small, paperback, or hardback! If you are looking for a particular book and don’t see it, you can add it to your wishlist.  A wish list is like a waiting list; you get put “in line” and when you get to the front of the line and someone lists the book, you get “first dibs.” You will get an email when your wish is granted and you only have 48 hours to claim it. I have actually gotten a number of wishes granted and it is so fun!

Once you receive your book, log into the site and in your account there will be a place to let them know you received it. If there are any problems with the book you can also let them know. All of the books I’ve received have been in great condition, but I’m sure bad books fall through the cracks occasionally. After you read the book, you can keep it forever if you want! You do not have to mail it back or do anything with it. It belongs to you now, no strings attached! If you don’t like the book, you always can just re-list it on PaperBack Swap!

I am a huge book-lover, so I have really enjoyed trading in my old books for new ones. Books are so expensive ($7.99 for a small paperback?!), so I will gladly pay $3 or less instead to trade my books. Not to mention, it is so fun to get books in the mail!

Have you used PaperBack Swap before? What did you think about it?


  1. i just signed up a couple of weeks ago and am very pleased, the highest shipping i had to pay to send a book was 3.00, they even have cookbooks on there, and they have just started a new program for CD’s and DVD’s


  2. I have been a member at PBS for a couple years now and I truly love it. I love to read but I hate to pay full price for books. It is easy and you can use your paypal account to buy PBS dollars to ship your books. You just click, print and ship. It is a great service!


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