I discovered this website a few weeks ago (courtesy of Mrs. Z.), and I think it might have changed my life a little bit.
Sort of like a combination of the public library and Netflix, Paperbackswap.com is a website where folks trade books (any books; not just paperback ones). Here's how it works:
First, you sign up.
Next you pick 10 books that you would like to get rid of (or, at the very least, don't mind parting with), and post them on the site. You punch in the ISBN's, and they ask "Is this the book you have?" and you say "Why yes, that is the book I have," and you're good.
Then they give you two credits you can use to order other books. Most books are worth 1 credit each. So when you find a book you want, you say, "Hey, I want that one, please," and the old owner sends it to you.
"Well great, Skerrib," you might say, "But what if I want more than 2 dang books?" This is where your books come in. When someone else orders one of your books, the site will help you print an address label, and once the book is received you will earn another credit. So the more books you give away, the more new (to you) ones you can get. When you receive a book it's yours to keep...unless you decide to pass it on after you're done and earn another credit. And the only cost is the postage you pay when you send someone a book.
If no one has a book you want, you can put it on your wish list, and when it comes available the site will notify you. AND it keeps a running tally on where you are in line for that title, how often it has been exchanged in the past week, and roughly when you can expect to get it. For example, I was something like 228 of 247 for The Tipping Point, and it had been exchanged once last week, so they were estimating it would be 228 weeks (4-ish years) or so until someone sent it to me. Well, I didn't want to wait that long, so I caved & bought it cheap off of Amazon last week. But that's neither here nor there.
It's a great site if you get in trouble for spending too much on books, or if you have a sucky library or something. We have a fantastic library here in Cheyenne, but between it, half.com, and now this site, I've got an awesome reading bag-o-tricks. Plus, for you bibliophobes, they have a CD swap and DVD swap as well. I don't normally swear about media mail, but this little site is just plain kickass.
True, I don't make any money like I could at half.com or ebay, but I also don't have the stress of trying to collect money, giving a portion of the profits to a middleman, and all that. And I like the grass-roots, free love (book love, that is) feel of everyone trading books with one another, happily retreating to our little corners with brand new books we didn't have to pay for.
Go on, check it out: Paperback Swap