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Press & Media » Helium

Website Reviews :

Helium (Website) - 6/1/2010 by Greg Schwartz is an interesting website where people can trade used books with each other. It is a well-organized and user-friendly site, and it doesn't take long for new users to get up and running once they register.

The idea behind is that everyone has old books they no longer read. You post some of your old books that you don't want anymore, and if someone else wants one of your books, they request it from you and you send it to them. Similarly, if you find a book on the site that you want, you can request it from the member who posted it, and that member will mail it to you.

The site works on a credit system. For every book you mail to another member, you get one credit. And every time you receive a book from a member, one credit is deducted from your account. All it costs you is the shipping fee for any books you mail, which (depending on the book and the shipping options you choose) is typically about $2.50.

PaperBackSwap currently has over 3,000 members, and there are almost 4 million books posted. If you're looking for a specific book, there's a good chance you can find it on the site. And if no one currently has that book posted, you can add it to your wish list - if the book becomes available, you'll receive an email notification and you can decide whether or not you still want it.

Though the site is called PaperBackSwap, you can find more than just paperbacks there. Members have also posted hardcover books, textbooks, and even audio books. A monthly e-newsletter is sent out to members, detailing site news and new features, as well as some current books in the spotlight.

Membership is free, and the site offers many useful features to its members, including a Book Wiki (which can be edited and added to by any member), discussion forums, and a Kiosk where you can buy all sorts of things, from shirts and mugs to gift certificates and book credits (which cost about $3.50 each). There is also a section of the site where creative writers can share their work, called The Eclectic Pen.

PaperBackSwap is a great site for book collectors and those who like to read but don't want to have to pay for new books. The site is easy to use and constantly being improved upon. For music and movie buffs, check out PaperBackSwap's two sister sites - and

One of the most inventive and possibly revolutionary website that I have found on the internet in years is a small site called This site sets up a process that allows users to trade books with any other user in a safe and secure fashion meaning that every paperback book you own can be potentially traded to someone else.

One of the best parts of this system is that you don't have to trade directly with a person. Instead you list the books you have and anyone can request any book on that list. Once it arrives at their home they go onto the website and click on a button. You immediately get a credit which you can used to trade for any book in the system.

At first this all sounded like quite a hassle, but the people at have made the process quite simple from the beginning. Starting with listing your books. For each book you simply type in the isdn number on the back of the book. Then using that number the program will show the book and even the cover. You only then have to agree that the book is in good condition and that you want to trade it and it will go on your list.

As soon as you have listed ten books will give you two free credits. This is a brilliant plan because you are already two books ahead before you have to mail anything out. Choosing these books is also easy as the books are well categorized and if the book you want isn't available they even have a wish list button so that the system can tell you if the book appears.

Mailing the books is also remarkably easy. When someone requests a book will give you the option of printing a label. This can simply be attached to envelope that you mail the package in or it can be used to wrap the book for mailing. This will have all the information that you need including suggested postage. There are also two other available options. If the book is small enough you can print up, for about a quarter, a cover that will allow you to mail it from home, or for about a dollar you can get your credit immediately rather than waiting.

In addition to this you can also buy credits for books rather than waiting for the system. These credits are about three dollars and fifty cents each. Since this allows to make money it is a reasonable price and since they have over three million books available it is likely that you will be able to find something worth three fifty to you.

Along with and this is taking the Netflix ideas to the next level allowing anyone who has a book that they don't want any more to trade it for one that they do and I hope it enjoys great success because I want to be able to use it for years to come.
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