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Press & Media » The Glennville Sentinel Explodes

The Glennville Sentinel (Newspaper) - 6/15/2006 by
Virtual library becomes mecca for book lovers

Conceived by a consummate reader in an effort to utilize discarded books, had developed a website where members from all over the United States can trade books for free.

After launching of its "virtual library" last year, has members in all 50 states as well as Puerto Rico and Guam. Club members find a book they want and then swap it with other members by mail. Growth had been tremendous. In less than nine months, the number of books had rocketed from 10,000 to more than 300,000 titles, according to Co-founder Richard Pickering. (As of 5:01 EST on May 21, 2006, PaperBackSwap reached 500,000 books.)

"I used to buy books on eBay or Amazon," says Pickering, a dedicated reader while traveling during business. "But I was so frustrated with having to pay for the books and then all the extra handling charges in addition to the postage."

He founded the website along with his co-partner, Robert Swarthout, and created an environment where members can trade books for free. The buzz over PaperBackSwap was been growing, and the club has become the talk of book lovers all over the United States, according to Pickering.

Nikole Meisner from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, exemplifies member enthusiasm. "I have truly become addicted to this site. I find myself checking in on my account numerous times through the day. I can’t seem to stop myself…I also love being able to recycle books I have read in such a way that gives me a credit for a new book."

The club operates on a simple premise. When another member requests one of your books, you mail it to them. You pay the postage, but then another member returns the favor when you request a book and they mail it to you. The books are always free because all club members are willing to trade their books with other members.

"The goat of is to become the largest virtual library of paperback books in the world," says Swarthout.
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