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Start A New Chapter: Swap Books, DVDs, CDs

Cadillacnews.com (Website) - 3/14/2009 by Kayla Kiley
A couple of months ago, a Marion woman found a swap Web site that seemed too good to be true.

"The site said if you post 10 books to swap, you get two free books," said Gina Joslin, who found PaperBackSwap. com while searching for rare books on Google. "I thought, ‘How can this be? How can they do that?’"

Joslin signed up on PaperBackSwap.com and SwapaCD.com, and right away, she started getting e-mail requests for her books and CDs.

After she accepted the requests, Joslin printed out the "handy-dandy" mailing wrapper from her home printer, packaged the CDs and books, paid the postage online and gave them to her mailman.

Meanwhile, Joslin found the rare books she was looking for and started requesting and receiving them.

Since January, Joslin has saved about $150 on books and CDs, thanks to the site. She used the site to purchase books for herself and Christmas presents for her family.

"It makes me feel pretty lucky that I came across it," Joslin said. "It was just kind of a fluke, but I’m just real pleased.

"It’s exciting when someone receives one of my books or CDs and a credit pops up. I can go and request another item - it’s fun," she continued.

Joslin said that "as easy as it is," she’s going to spread the word about the sites.

"I’ve been involved for a couple months, and I have had such good experiences that I wouldn’t hesitate at all recommending it, now that I know how it works," Joslin said.

Richard Pickering, founder of PaperBackSwap.com, SwapaCD.com and SwapaDVD.com, started the sites after realizing that many books, CDs and DVDs, end up in your "never to touch again" pile.

Pickering, who lives in Atlanta, invites people to turn a new page in their lives by swapping books, CDs and DVDs with people around the country.

"The biggest perk of swapping is the savings," said Pickering, whose swapping sites have been featured in People Magazine, Oprah Magazine and Readers Digest. "If you’re looking for family-value entertainment, this is a great place to be. Whether you’re a music, movie or book lover, it doesn’t get any cheaper or better than this."

The clubs feature more than 3 million books, 195,000 CDs and 95,000 DVDs. And the clubs boast that they save the average family hundreds of dollars per year through swapping. To date, Pickering said the clubs have saved members more than $11 million.

kkiley@cadillacnews.com | 775-NEWS (6397)

HOW SWAPPING WORKS

• If you are 18 or older and have books, CDs or DVDs that you’re willing to swap, simply log on to the corresponding Web site at PaperBackSwap.com, SwapaCD. com or SwapaDVD.com.

• Click on the "Join the Club Today!" button near the top of the page and fill out the club member registration information. Joining the clubs is free, but in the future members may be asked to pay for the service.

• Start posting your gently used books, CDs or DVDs by entering the UPC or ISBN number. Genres include everything from romance and college text books to home gardening, cook books and thrillers.

• Once you post your first 10 books, you receive two credits; you get one credit each for posting 10 CDs or DVDs. Credits are used to purchase books, CDs and DVDs. Credits may be used between the sites for example, you can use book credits toward purchasing a DVD.

• Use the search page to browse books, CDs and DVDs. When you find an item you want, click the order button. The items you receive are free and yours to keep. CDs require a 49 cent transaction fee.

• Once a person is interested in an item in your collection, the site sends a request to your e-mail inbox. If you accept, you pay the postage to mail items to other members; they return the favor when mailing items to you.

• Print out the supplied mailing wrapper, which requires two pieces of paper and the recipient’s address, return address and suggested postage cost. There is no envelope necessary. Wrap the item, pay the postage online or put on stamps and pop it in the mail. Postage is based on weight; books less than 1 pound typically costs $2.23 to send, while DVDs and CDs usually cost less to send.

• When the recipient receives the package, the recipient marks "received" online. Then you get a credit added to your account.

• The sites aren’t "one-to-one swaps," which means if you find an item from a person, the two of you don’t have to trade between your collections in order for a swap to happen.

• If you’re looking for a book, add it to your "wish list." When a member posts the book, the site will let you know it’s available by sending you an e-mail.

• The sites also offers a place for people to preference whether they do not want books from a smoker’s home or a person who has cats.

• For more information, log on to the sites.