I promised all sorts of heavy Deep Thought blog posts to assorted people this week but, darn it, I am tired so I am going to write about something fun that I like today. You’ll get your deep thought posts later, I promise.

So, as you may have picked up on from subtle hints, I sell on eBay. (You’re shocked to learn this, I know.) Over the course of many years of selling on eBay as well as Half.com and Amazon, I have amassed a lot of things I haven’t been able to sell, many of them books and other media.

I’m going to tell you about a site I really like and I am going to tell you right away that I am using a referral link. I don’t get money or anything for referring you though I think I might get a free credit which, heck, I will take. So if you do decide to sign up, I would appreciate your doing so through this link. http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php?n=7&r_by=muppetfreak
(Also, if you sign up, add me as a buddy to be friendly like!)

PaperBackSwap.com - Our online book club offers free books when you swap, trade, or exchange your used books with other book club members for free.A friend turned me onto PaperBackSwap a little over a year ago. My first thought was, thank god, I can get rid of some of these unsell-able books by trading them away! But once I started using the site, I really loved it for a lot of other reasons. My PaperBackSwap profile is here if you want to take a look and request some of my books (Books I have to swap are under Books Listed). No, those mysteries are not mine. Believe it or not, they are my grandparents. Creepy, I know.

Check out how many books I have mailed and recieved! I am edging up on 100 for each!

The word swap scared me off at first. But it’s not really a swap. It’s rather like an online sale in that when someone wants an item you have, you ship it to them and, instead of money, you get a credit in return. That credit can be traded in at a later date for whatever you want. So you aren’t limited to only trading with people who have what you want and you also can wait to use your credits on something that you really want rather than having to just take what is offered.

The site is nation wide (USA only) and free to join and when you list your first 10 items of one kind (my eBay leftovers were enough to fill that requirement) they give you some free credits to try it out. The credit exchange is 1 to 1 with some items like audiobooks and two disc sets costing two credits. You get a credit for every item you send out that can be used for getting an item in return.

But what makes this site so cool, I realized shortly after joining, is that you aren’t limited to books as the name implies.

PaperBackSwap is a misnomer because audiobooks and hardcovers are also permissable to swap on the site. What is especially cool though is that credits can be “converted” between PaperBackSwap, SwapaCD (which, as it sounds, is a site for swapping CDs) and SwapaDVD (which is a site for swapping DVDs). So essentially, you can trade all your old CDs for DVDs. Or upgrade all your paperbacks to hardcover. Or trade your DVDs for books. Whatever. There are a lot of ways to take advantage of it. 

Yeah. You see why I love this site?

Every time you send an item out (book, CD, DVD) out, you get a credit. These credits can be exchanged for books, audiobooks, DVDs or CDs from other members on the site (when swapping “cross site” as it were you just need to convert the credits from site to site which is a fast process). When you request an item, it is completely free as it only costs you a credit and the shipper pays the shipping. The only time you need to pay any actual money is when you ship an item out, you have to pay the postage. Obviously, DVDs and CDs are less expensive to ship than books and paperbacks are less expensive than hardcovers. It is up to you what items are worth the cost of shipping. For me, I rarely trade hardcovers since they cost so much to ship but I am more than happy to ship anything light because its usually under $2!

At first, I was just using PBS (as those of us in the know call it) to get rid of unwanted books. Then I realized the true potential.

Think about it. Those gifts you have never touched, that leftover textbook you have from college, those CDs your aunt gave you that you never listen to, you can trade them for stuff you actually want. I stocked up on cookbooks I’d meant to get, books I loved but didn’t own copies of, game guides for my computer games, favorite movies I wanted to own a copy of. I am in love with this website.

Also, if you don’t have time to read books in the library’s 2 week time period, then this is like library by mail! Get a book in the mail, read it, re-post it on the site, trade it back. It’s cheaper than buying it by a long shot and you can keep the ones you really like and also take as long as you like. (I actually gave this to my aunt as a gift for Christmas because she has been, long story, banned from the library for life but is an avid reader and she loves it. She just requests, reads, retrades basically keeping her in reading material for life!)

This works especially well with DVDs. You request the movie, watch it, re-post it, ship it out. The shipping on a DVD is less than a dollar. You could ship out 10 movies a month before you got close to the price of Netflix.

In case you were wondering how the site makes money, they sell credits (which I am not ashamed to say I have given as gifts on 3 occations now), they sell books and they charge a premium on shipping costs if you print your shipping labels through them. (I don’t. I am a cheap bastard.)

They also let you wish list products to be automatically requested or not which is very helpful when you want the latest bestseller and so does everyone else on earth! I have noticed that even with the biggest bestseller the wait on PBS is rarely more than a few months. CDs and DVDs, however, tend to have a longer wait time for new releases as there seem to be less users on those sites.

Have allergies? You can also refuse items from smokers and pet owners.

You know what, I’m going to shut up about this. You can see the awesome-ness for yourself. The site is free to try, just sign up, list 10 books and use those free credits to request some books if you want to try it out. Trust me, you’re going to love it. I know I do.