2 min read

A few of my favorite things: Paperback Swap

At the desk, 10:24 a.m.

I thought I would share some of my favorite things every once and a while. Don't worry. I'm not Oprah. My favorite things are usually fairly inexpensive, practical, and easy to use.

Today, I'd like to share the Paperback Swap.

The Paperback Swap is a website that facilitates you sharing/giving your books to other people in exchange for Paperback Swap credits. You get 1 credit for every book you send and you lose 1 credit for every book you receive. You can purchase credits if you run out.

Here's how I use it:

1. When I read about a book that sound interesting to me, I check at the Paperback Swap to see if it's available.

2. If the book is available, I click the request the book button and within a couple weeks receive the book in the mail. (Yes, it's that easy.)

Posting books is a breeze. You simply put the ISBN (usually on the back above the bar code) and the book comes up.

When someone wants your book, you receive an email requesting the book. You must then agree to ship the book within 2 days. I ship everything media mail.

For less than $2, I get a chance to read and explore books that I wouldn't have a chance to otherwise.

The greatest thing for me is that, as an author, I can find a lot of books that are out of print or unavailable on Amazon. For example, when I was researching Seth O'Malley's background for Denver Cereal, I requested a book about the American Tunnel Rats in Vietnam called "The tunnels of Ci Chu," a book about the experience of being a tunnel rat in Vietnam. At the time I was doing this research, the book was out of print and unavailable at even Abe books. Someone posted it at Paperback Swap and a couple weeks later it was mine! The book I received is definitely used and isn't in mint condition, but the photos are great as is the stories about the tunnels. While I haven't used most of what I learned for Seth's story, it gave me great insight into his character.

I've recently launched a search for the character Jeraine. What books should he read to help his brain and help his emotional development? I asked people on Facebook and Twitter and received a long list of great books. I'm slowly going through them to see what he needs to learn.

As an author, you'd probably think that I'd resent my books being placed for swap at the Paperback Swap. Personally, I believe there is nothing better for an author than to have his or her work in circulation. I'm delighted that someone is sharing my work so that other people can read it.

If you like books, I'd encourage you to set up an account at the Paperback Swap.