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Press & Media » Helium

Website Reviews:

Helium (Website) - 11/19/2010 by Marie Lorraine
Anyone who loves to buy books can tell you that it gets expensive fast. A book-buying habit can also leave us with stacks and shelves full of books that we may or may not ever read again, taking up precious space in our homes. One modern alternative that has been getting a lot of publicity is the digital e-book reader, but that just won't do for many of us who love the feel and smell of a real life paper book.

So what is an avid reader to do? One of the most eco-friendly, inexpensive, and fun methods of obtaining books when e-books and full retail prices aren't an option is the website This website allows you to send books that you don't mind parting with to other users who want them, and use the credits you get for sending them out towards books posted by other users that you want. is free to sign up for. When you list your first ten books you will receive two credits before even sending any books out, which is a wonderful treat. Just browse through the books posted by other members at your leisure, and with your free credits you can get either two regular paperback or hardcover books, or one audio book absolutely free. There are over 4 million books listed on the site at any given time, so it probably won't be difficult to find something you want.

Next thing you know people will be requesting the books that you've posted, and this is your chance to get more credits. If you use the printable postage, you will get a credit instantly when you click “Mailed” on the site. If you use your own postage, you will get the credit when the other party receives the book.

Postage is the only expense involved in using PaperBackSwap, but the site will let you know the cheapest shipping method for each book depending on its weight, and it generally runs about $2.00 for First Class or Media Mail. Considering that $2.00 or so will get you another book you want, with its postage paid by the user who is sending it, it is a great deal, even for used books. is a perfect alternative for those who love books but want to save money and help the environment by recycling books at the same time. It is just about the best deal you can get for used books, and unlike the library you have the option of either keeping them or sending them on to another member for credit when you are done with them.

Sending a book you've loved reading to someone else after you finish it is not only good karma, but it will help the community of book swapping grow and keep a large number of books available for everyone to read. It is an easy way to be conscious of the environment and others as well as ourselves.
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