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Press & Media » WUSA9

Free Books, DVD's, CD's, Videogames

WUSA9 (TV) - 3/18/2009 by Samara Martin Ewing
WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA)--Mary Ann Ryan is a self-described bookworm. You can tell as she takes you on a tour of her northwest Washington apartment. Shelves are lined with books. Tables are piled high.

"I love stories," says Ryan. "They take you elsewhere. An exposure to worlds you would never have before."

Ryan's love of books can be costly. Which is not good right now. Last September she was laid off from her job. While she is doing some temp work, spending money on luxuries, which some people might think books fall under, is not an option.

However, Ryan has found a way to get her books for free.

In addition to being a book worm, Ryan is also frugal. So when she came across the website it caught her attention right away.

"It's a great way to get the kick of shopping, but not with spending money," says Ryan.

Here's how the site works: book lovers offer up their unwanted collections online. The site has 2.5-million titles listed. There's no money involved. Members get points by sending out the books they post. They redeem them by ordering books they see on the site.

The only money involved is the cost of postage to mail books others order from you.

"I have 23 books posted and....according to the site, I've saved $292.50," says Ryan.

The name of the site is deceiving. Ryan not only swaps paperbacks. She can also get hardbacks and books on tape. Plus she can also get DVD's and CD's for free on and

"I always love getting the packages," says Ryan. An unopened package by her side. "It's almost like getting a present."

There are other swapping sites out there as well. There is Switchplanet, BookMooch, Bookins, and SwapTree.

There are also sites devoted just to videogames: SwitchGames which has close to 30,000 items listed as of this writing. They also have a way for consumers to swap consoles. There is also SwapVideoGames and Goozex. For Goozex, points are assigned to games according to a private Goozex system based on factors like the retail price, age of the game and its popularity.

As for Mary Ann Ryan, she's glad to see the popularity of swapping catching on and hopes it continues tough times or not.

"Actually the economic crisis has probably been less stressful to me than to most," says Ryan. "I have lived frugally my entire adult life. I feel like everyone is joining me."

Written By: Samara Martin Ewing

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