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Swap Meet Club Allows Members To Exchange Books

NewsHerald (Newspaper) - 12/16/2007 by By S. Brady Calhoun
The swappers

On Saturday, Pickering sipped on a Diet Coke as PaperBackSwap members trotted into the restaurant carrying books and magazines. One man even had a box full.

The books were free to anyone who saw something they wanted, club members said.

"Books are living things," said Rick Catalano, one of the club's members. "They need to be passed on."

Catalano currently is enjoying Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe books. The series chronicles the adventures of a British soldier who becomes an officer. Catalano joked that his wife, Elayne, reads anything on paper.

The couple does not have room in their Panama City Beach house for all their books, so after giving away several vanloads a few years ago, they joined the swap club, Elayne said. She described it as perfect.

Norm Gulkas, 75, praised the site's programmers, saying it is simple to become a member and swap books.

"It is so easy to work," he said.

Members are so passionate about their club that one flagged down a reporter who was leaving the restaurant.

"I tell everyone I know about it," said Sandy Riley, as her child thumbed a Sherlock Holmes book.

A friend got her hooked on the site, she said.

"I like books, and I like helping people," she added. "What you put into it comes back to you."