Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Buying Used Books for the Sole Purpose of Swapping

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Buying Used Books for the Sole Purpose of Swapping
Date Posted: 8/1/2008 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 6
Back To Top

I was at a thrift store yesterday and noticed they had a lot of used popular paperbacks (high on the PBS wish list ranking) for $1 each. Some are things I'd never read myself.

Do you think it's worthwhile to purchase a book for the express purpose of swapping (and earning credits)? Or is it just cheaper and better to buy book credits and be done with it?



Date Posted: 8/1/2008 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2008
Posts: 1,051
Back To Top

I'd say it's cheaper to buy WL books. I would buy them if I had bookstores near me.

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2008
Posts: 626
Back To Top

I think either way it really works out to be about the same.  You figure.. if you spend a $1 on a book and shipping is $2.30, it bascially works out to be about the same amount as buying the credits.  I tend to buy the books, if for any other reason than to put them in circulation... (and I just love shopping for books ;) )

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2008
Posts: 428
Back To Top

Well, shipping a book generally costs $2.23. Buying a credit from the book bazaar is generally $3.

From a strictly monetary standpoint, the book would have to be $0.77 or less to make it feasible. And, that's not counting books that go lost in the mail. The hassle of actually shipping the book. Etc.

With that being said, few people join this site strictly to save money. So, it really depends on you. For me, it's not feasible since there are too many unknowns. Other people do exactly what you said all the time.

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2007
Posts: 6,066
Back To Top

If I'm book shopping at Goodwill or another thrift store and see a book I know is wishlisted, I almost always pick it up to swap it.  I play in the Games forum a lot, so I tend to use those books for games before posting directly into the system, but I do that too.  To me, it's more fun to earn credits by sending someone a book they want then it would be to purchase credits.

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,221
Back To Top

I've learned to love so many new authors this way! I get a lot of used books suspecting they are WLed. Even though many weren't my most desired genre, I began reading them before posting and now I have lots of new favorite authors.

I think spending $1 on a book to swap would probably come out to about even in the long run. Since many MMP are less than $2 to mail and you can sometimes get orders for 2 or more books at a time, it would be about equal to buying a credit. If you want to easiest way to earn another book, then, yes buying a credit would probably be better.

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 8/1/2008 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,098
Back To Top

 If I see a book I know is WL or is in a category of WL books (cooking, crafts, etc) then I will pick it up if it's a dollar or less.  Just a few weeks ago I picked up 5 WL books at one Goodwill for .50 each!  I'm reading one now and will post as soon as I'm done with it.    I don't always read the WL books that I pick up, but I know those will go quickly and it's an easy credit.

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
Back To Top

To be honest, I really think it's a matter of Bibliokarma.  I've gotten some books from the swap that would be a heck of alot more expensive elsewhere, so I feel like I've got some karma to work off from the get go.  I also don't have a great bookshelf, don't add to it often, and therefore don't mail a lot of books, about which I feel a little guilty at times as well.  We get paperbacks for a quarter at our local thrift store, but sometimes I'll grab hardcovers for a buck or more.  For me it's not about whether it's cheaper than just buying the credit.  I think it's good to get more books into the system, and to help people find books they're looking for.  Hopefully this appeases Biblio the Wish List deity so I can get good Bibliokarma and get my listed wishes granted.  I wouldn't recommend shopping an antiquarian store, or spending more than a few dollars, but if you find a copy of something you know people on PBS want and it's a buck or two I say why not, grab it and give it.  You at least get the credit, and you're spreading the love.

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 2:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
Back To Top

I'm addicted to thrift store book-shopping trips!!  And I love being able to post a wishlisted book here.  BUT, my local Goodwills are $.49 for softback (trade or mmpb) so I'm saving a little bit of $ that way :)

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
Back To Top

Many of the books I receive at PBS are keepers for me, so in order to trade books back into the system I have to buy some.  I'm very lucky to have a charity re-sale shop near me that has wonderful books, and they are $1.00 or less.  I love picking out interesting books there, coming home and finding that they're on someone's wishlist.    Especially if the book is an obscure one, I think of how someone didn't want it so donated it to the charity, and now I've purchased it (which supports the charity) and am finding it a new home where someone has been wishing for it!  (Okay, I get way too involved in the lives of my books...)  So buying a credit is much easier and probably a little cheaper, but "re-homing" books is so much more satisfying!

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2008
Posts: 1,520
Back To Top

I'm addicted to thrift stores...PERIOD!!  I started going in them when I was really broke and, now, that's about the only place I shop!  So much more fun than retail...you never know what you will find.  Our Goodwill's and ARC's sell hardbacks  and trade paperbacks for $1.99 and mmpaperbacks for $.99.  But, when you hit a 50% off sale, you can do pretty good.  I was in a Goodwill a couple of months ago (came out with 6-7 like new hbs for $1 each) and became aware of a couple of guys standing around the book section...didn't really evesdrop, but couldn't help overhearing some of their conversation...they were obviously book dealers.  Then a couple of employess came out pushing grocery carts full of books to shelve...they obviously knew the two gentlemen...so they just left the carts and they devoured them!!!  I guess it's fair...the point is making money for Goodwill...but I would have liked the chance to see what was in the carts!!!!  I'm probably just being picky!!!  I agree it is much more satisfying to buy books to post if you can do it cheaply enough...gives you a marvelous excuse to poke around the shelves...who knows what you might find!

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2008
Posts: 352
Back To Top

I love the feeling of seeing  "Your Wish Has Been Granted".   So, I myself, love to find books that are on others WL.  Now that you mention the price though, I see that maybe I should just be buying the credits.  I guess whichever way you go, it just comes out in the wash. 

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 6
Back To Top

So, let's say I was feeling really altruistic and wanted to print out a list of the most wanted books in the system. What would be the best way to do that? When I look at the 'Top 50' it shows only completed requests, not the actual number of people wishing at that moment.


Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 8/1/2008 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
Back To Top

The Top 50 wished for books are all still wanted as far as I can tell. It's possible that there could be some books on the "all time" list where all wishes have been satisfied, but the club is growing so fast that probably hasn't happened yet. If you want to be really safe, click on "last 7 days" then on the wishes tab. There's no way a very popular book will have cleared its whole wish list in a week.

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 10/18/2007
Posts: 158
Back To Top

I buy books from my local Goodwill. The paperbacks are $0.50 and are always buy one, get one free; the hardcovers are $1.00 with the same permanant BOGO deal. I'll pick up titles that look interesting or that are/have been popular. I'm saddened all the time by the number of books I find there  that I know are wishlisted but have some sort of damage to make them unpostable. If it's for me to read, I'll usually buy it  anyway and it ends up on my unpostable list. I've been able to grant a lot of wishes this way and have only had to buy credits for my own wish to be granted once. Like others have said, I wouldn't pay more than $1 per book if I only wanted it to post.

Subject: Dollar Store
Date Posted: 8/1/2008 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2008
Posts: 25
Back To Top
I've also picked up some books at the Dollar Store. It doesn't happen too often, but I am always on the look out!
Linda S. (thk) - ,
Date Posted: 8/1/2008 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2006
Posts: 317
Back To Top

I do most everything to get and circulate books.

I watch the thrift stores and Friends of the Library for newer books in good shape.  In our area, FOL is usually a little cheaper.  50 cents is about the average I pay for MMPB.  I figure I can't pay much more, and still break even at the cost of a credit.  (I use printed postage mostly.)

I put them in my TBR to see what is wish-listed.  Then I pick out which books to trade at the UBS, and which to post.  If I think I will want to keep the book, I leave it on my TBR.

I have bought lots of credits when I was short, usually from other members.  As I said, I do some of everything.

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 663
Back To Top

I love to shop at thrift stores and picking up books at the local shops is how I keep my shelf stocked.  I look for like-new MM and trade paperbacks, but will pick up anything that looks interesting. I generally stay away from authors like Grisham and others where I know there are hundreds of copies of their books already in the system. And I don't even try to keep track of and find WL books, although I generally wind up with several each time anyway. Prices vary: 55cents at one store, three for a dollar at another, and 25cents or 5 for a dollar at a third store. Lately, I have found quite a few boardbooks for children, that seem to be snapped up pretty quickly.

I could just buy credits, but scouting out likely books is a lot more fun, and as with someone else who posted above, I tend to keep the books I get here, so I like putting books back in the system.



Date Posted: 8/1/2008 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2008
Posts: 340
Back To Top

If I see a book at a yard sale and it is in good condition and an author that I'm familiar with, I always pick them up.  It It's nice to have a variety of books on my bookshelf for people to choose from.  I just picked up several today!

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2007
Posts: 3,129
Back To Top

My friends and family tease me about my addiction to book buying.  Since I can get nearly anything I want to read through our county library system, the books I buy are almost always to post on PBS.

My sources are yard sales, thrift stores and FOL sales.  I rarely pay more than 50c per book; usually only 3/$1, a quarter each, or 5/$1.  Occasionally I stumble across a box of dime books.  However, I am very careful to look the books over to find the very best ones possible.

Of course my husband rags on me about my "business".  It is just fun for me to bring home a bag of books and plop down at the computer to see if anyone wants what I found.  In the 15 months that I've been on PBS I've found homes for several hundred books and still enjoy it immensely.


Date Posted: 8/1/2008 10:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
Back To Top

I generally will pay $0.50 for a paperback that looks interesting... either an author that I see wishlisted or an off the wall title.  If it is a trade size, I am more inclined to buy it because those seem to move faster.

I will go up to a $1 for one I KNOW is wishlisted, but only .50 for maybes.

I have a pretty big shelf because I seen to have a book buying addiction.... egads... joining this site sent me out of control :  )

Date Posted: 8/1/2008 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2008
Posts: 340
Back To Top

What does "trade size" mean?

Date Posted: 8/2/2008 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2005
Posts: 4,469
Back To Top

It's better to buy the book because it might be one I'm next in line for on the wishlist:)  Economically, its a toss up, so do the thing that's more fun(or fits your budget better at the time). 

Date Posted: 8/2/2008 12:32 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 346
Back To Top

I work at a library and we normally accept donated books and sell 50 cents paperback, buck hardcover. I used to buy tons! But now we are transistioning into a brand new building--had the last torn down. Been in a small-ish basement for over a year now. Man, am I looking forward to getting our For Sale room back!

I plan to note down isbn numbers and search here to see if I can find wishlisted books. Plus a few for me, of course :D

Date Posted: 8/2/2008 1:11 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2006
Posts: 1,467
Back To Top

Since I'm a bibliophile, and keep my books, I must buy books to post here to keep my credits up for my WL.  Just today, I went to the Good Will store; I got two books for $2. Then I stopped at a Salvation Army store and got 3 books for $1.50.  4 of the 5 were WL'ed, so they are going out right away.  Not a bad deal at all. 

Tomorrow is a big FOL sale in Hershey; I believe I'm going; depends on how long I stay up tonight.

You learn what will go and what won't.

Daphne, above, asked what a trade size is.  It's a softback that is more of a hardback size. Most books are first issued in hardback; 1 year later, the trade size softback comes out; then at some point the MMPB (typical paperback size) comes out.  I personally prefer the trade size books.