Friday, September 4, 2009

One of the upsides (actually, the only upside) of having a 45 minute commute to/from work is the time allows me to read in peace. If by "in peace" I mean "while being jostled by shoppers with large bags and having errant cups of coffee spilled on me all while trying to determine the source of that funky smell" which, as a parent of two young children, I do!

Some of my most recent favorite reads have been the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, Roma by Steven Saylor and Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. Often, my selections are courtesy of our local library but, recently, I've discovered a new way to feed my book habit....

This free online service is a way for people around the country to clear out some of their old reads off the shelf and get some new ones. How it works is easy: After signing up for membership, you list the books you are offering for trade by typing in the ISBN number on the back cover of the book. (Don't let the name of the site fool you! You can list hardcover books and audio books as well!) Then, if a person is interested in one of your books, they request it and, if you accept the request, you ship it via media mail. (Usual cost is $2-4 depending on weight of book). You can even print out shipping labels and postage on your computer. It couldn't be any easier! Once the book is marked received by the requestor, you are awarded one credit to your account with which you are free to request whatever book you want from another member.

There are all sorts of books available: fiction, non-fiction, how-to books, textbooks, children's literature. If you don't see a particular book you want, you can add it to your wish list and are alerted once someone lists it.

To get you started swapping books right away, PBS offers two free book credits when you list ten! It is almost the season to curl up under a blanket with a cup of hot cocoa (or brandy) and a good book. So, this weekend, clear off your shelves, go to and start swapping!

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