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Press & Media » Opelika-Auburn News

Locals Find New Way To Share Used Books

Opelika-Auburn News (Newspaper) - 12/15/2007 by Donathan Prater / Staff Writer
Thanks to a relatively new book club, Kathy Kyle of Opelika has an ample supply of reading material, and old paperbacks get a second chance.

PaperBackSwap ( was founded in 2004 by Richard Pickering and Robert Swarthout as a way for readers to share their already-read books with others. Joining the club is free. Members goes online and lists the books they have to swap. When another member selects a book from that list, you mail it to them paying for the postage but when you in turn select a book from another member’s list, it’s mailed to you free of charge.

Every book you send earns you credit good toward any book you pick in the PBS system and the books you get are yours to keep or read and relist them to swap again.

What started out as a club with only a few hundred books, now boasts more than 1.7 million books with over 35,000 book swaps a week in all 50 U.S. states and territories.

And if you can’t find the book you’re looking for right away, the PBS Web site allows you to create a wish list for that book which will be reserved and even ordered once that title becomes available.

Some hardcover books as well as audio books are available through PBS.

So far, Kyle has received and mailed about 200 books as a member of PBS and enjoys having a second option to get books.

Kyle has been a PBS member for two years and reads an average of 12 hours a week.

“It’s a good way of finding books that aren’t available at the public library,” said Kyle, who is currently working her way through a series of suspense thrillers by author James Patterson. “I read a lot and I read quickly.”

Apparently, nearly 45 other PBS members who live in the Auburn/Opelika area agree with Kyle. Book club members can also participate in online forums and discuss books they’ve read or titles they’re searching for.

“This isn’t just about swapping books, but being able to share your love of reading with others,” said Pickering.

And that love has now grown to include both music ( and movies (, which PBS members will have more than 8,300 titles to choose from.
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