Swap your books and DVDs

I’ve been getting more free stuff in the mail — a book on caring for geckos for my son, some preschool books or my 4-year-old, and a copy of “Boondock Saints” to replace the one we lent a friend that hasn’t made its way back from Hong Kong. (For fans of expletive-filled, violent shoot-’em-up movies in the vein of “Snatch” and “Go,” the never-released-in-theaters “Boondock Saints” is a must-have for your library).

ANYWAY, I’m getting the books and DVDs through paperbackswap.com and swapadvd.com, sister services that act as a virtual exchange. It’s free to sign up, and the only expenses are the mailing costs of the books or DVDs in your own library that you send to other members (usually no more than $2.50 in my experience). They ask you to sign up with 10 in the beginning, which gets you 2 credits; credits are the currency with which you order books and DVDs that other members have posted, and it’s usually 1 credit per book/DVD. If you have a DVD set with 2 discs in it, they’ll give you 2 credits.

You can send paperbacks, hardbound books and audiotapes on Paperback Swap, so I’ve been able to get rid of the David Sedaris “Holidays on ice” audiotape that my husband never opened as well as other books we’ve read but didn’t like enough to keep in our library. Same with the DVDs, and I guess you could theoretically use the DVD swap as a video store, posting a DVD that you’ve ordered and seen but didn’t want to keep. The cost would be $2 per DVD for the postage.

Another great service they offer is allowing you to pay for and print postage labels from their Web sites. I haven’t used it yet, but it’ll save you a trip to the P.O.


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