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Press & Media » The Orange County Register

How To Get Books Cheaply

The Orange County Register (Newspaper) - 8/16/2010 by Maria Jo Fisher
If you’re a regular reader, then you know I am a big fan of the public library, where I can usually find nearly any book my heart desires and borrow it to read without paying one red cent.

However, there are times when a library book just won’t do, like when you’re going on vacation or to the beach and don’t want to risk damaging a library book in the process.

(Against my orders, my son hauled a library copy of “Island of the Blue Dolphins” to Venice, Italy in his suitcase, where it still reposes, somewhere, while we had to pay a big fat fine for losing it.)

My friend Ana, who loves to read, told me about this online service, as did reader Becca Rackleff. Thanks!

This is a website where you can offer up your old books and get new books in return. Not even just paperbacks, by the way, but hardbound, textbooks and even audiobooks.

Now, the books aren’t completely free. Because you do have to pay for postage when you send someone a book. However, you can send it media mail, which as of this writing costs $2.38 for one pound or less. (If you use their super easy label-and-postage-print service, you can download a printing label with postage already on it which costs around $3.89 including fees)

And, in return, you get to pick from a cornucopia of other books that people have agreed to send you!

In fact, you get two free book credits just for listing your first 10 books you want to swap, so you can start getting books right away.

Another benefit to me would be to finally find something to do with some good books I can’t really bear to donate, but maybe I’d give to someone who really wanted them. Like my guide to the wild animals of East Africa, which would probably be wasted at Goodwill, but would be really useful to someone who’s actually going on safari.

Pretty cool, huh? I haven’t tried it myself yet, but Ana does it regularly and likes it.

If you use this service, report back please and let me know how it went!

Some available books recently posted on

* The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
* Princess in Love (about Princess Diana)
* Dinosaur (Eyewitness Books)
* Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
* Lonely Planet Thailand, 8th edition
* And about 4 million more

Here are instructions from the web page:

It’s easy: List books you’d like to swap with other club members.
Once a book is requested, mail it to the club member.
In return, you may choose from 4,625,620 available books!
- Books you request are mailed to you for free.
- No late fees. No hidden charges.
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