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Trade Ya

SmartMoney.com (Website) - 2/24/2006 by Kelli B. Grant
SmartMoney.com : Trade Ya REMEMBER THE GOOD OLD DAYS when you were a kid, and you and your friends would swap, say, Garbage Pail Kids cards and scratch 'n sniff stickers?

Well, swapping is all grown up now, and thanks to the Internet, you can now swap books, CDs and DVDs online with minimal hassle. And the price is right: You'll typically just pay for shipping along with perhaps a small fee.

We've tracked down a few of the big-name media-swappers out there:

Bookins

  • What you'll find: Books hardcover, paperback and audio. Currently, there are more than 7,300 titles listed in 50 categories. Fiction titles abound (representing more than half of the selection).

  • How it works: As a new member, you'll create two lists: One of books you want, and one of books you have that you're willing to trade, says founder Mitchell Silverman. The swap is automatic you'll never need to search for a seller. When someone requests one of your books, you drop the book in the mail. Upon receipt, the system searches all available books on the site for ones on your wish list and initiates another swap.

  • Swap math: One book can equal from four to 20 points, depending on how valuable and popular the book is. The system assigns a point value to your books when you list them, and you earn those points when you mail out books. This fair-market point system helps ensure you get the most value per swap, says Silverman. "When you ship a new bestseller, you should be able to get one bestseller or three romance novels or some combination," he says.

  • Cost to you: Membership and swaps are free. New members get three free books at the start. When you request a book on your wish list, you'll pay a flat fee of $3.99 which covers shipping (including delivery confirmation and tracking). When shipping a book, you then print out prepaid postage from the web site.

  • What we like: Every shipped item is tracked via the United States Postal Service (using that prepaid postage) to avoid mishaps and weed out bad swappers (i.e., people who send books late or offer damaged books). "With consumers shipping books to each other, there can be some debate: Did you ship the book? Was it received?" says Silverman. "We eliminate that." And the site guarantees swapped items, so you'll be reimbursed if the book gets lost in the mail or arrives damaged.


Frugal Reader.com
  • What you'll find: Books hardcover, paperback and audio. The site currently carries nearly 29,000 titles in 29 categories. The selection is heavy on fiction (particularly romance novels), but there is a significant selection of children's books, as well as those focused on health and religion.

  • How it works: When you sign up, list at least five books for trade in exchange for two credits. Browse the lists of available books, and use your credits to place orders. When other members order books on your list, mail them out.

  • Swap math: One book equals one or more credits. Most paperback books are one credit, while hardcover books are worth two. You'll earn credits when you send out a book and your swap partner confirms its receipt.

  • Cost to you: Standard membership is free. You'll pay media mail rates ($1.59 and up, depending on weight) when you ship a book. Premium members get access to special features, including ability to order a book within the first 48 hours of its listing, and automatic ordering of books on a wish list. Right now, you can upgrade to premium membership for free once you've mailed out two books and your swap partner marks them as received.

  • What we like: The Buy It Now feature helps you find low prices on Amazon.com for books that aren't currently available to swap.


My DVD Trades
  • What you'll find: DVDs. An undisclosed number of titles separated into 19 categories.

  • How it works: You create two lists, one of DVDs you want and one for DVDs you have and are willing to trade. The system will find possible one-on-one trades based on what you have and what you want. You can then propose a swap. If it is accepted, you and your swap partner mail the DVDs to each other.

  • Swap math: One DVD for another. Single DVD titles and boxed sets count as one title, no matter how many discs are included.

  • Cost to you: Membership is free for the first six months. Thereafter, you'll pay $4.95 a month, or $2.95 a month if you pay for a full year in advance. Swaps are unlimited. You'll pay for shipping when you mail out the DVD. The site estimates you'll pay $1.29 for a 5-oz. DVD in its case, and up to $1.98 for an 8-oz. DVD in its case.

  • What we like: You can request DVDs by condition (brand new, no case, etc.). You can also give feedback to your swap partners, which helps you find reliable swappers.


PaperBackSwap.com

  • What you'll find: Books hardcover, paperback, audio and large-print. Currently, the site boasts more than 365,800 titles in 29 categories. "Pretty much, they can find any kind of book," says Richard Pickering, the president and co-founder. Right now, he says, two hot genres are mystery/thriller and romance.

  • How it works: When you first sign up, list at least nine books for trade in exchange for three credits. Browse the lists of available books, and use your credits to place orders. When other members order books on your list, print out the book wrapper and put it in the mail.

  • Swap math: One book equals one credit. You earn a credit for every book you mail, once it is received by your swap partner. You can also earn credits by referring friends.

  • Cost to you: Membership is free; however, Pickering says the site is considering instituting an annual membership fee of $10 to $20. Shippers pay for the cost to send the book via media mail. Postage is prepaid "We know how much the book weighs and can estimate the cost," says Pickering.

  • What we like: The site has fun features like Box-O-Books, which lets you browse other members' book offerings and arrange swaps of multiple titles. You won't get (or use) credits for this, since it's an equal trade.


Peerflix

  • What you'll find: DVDs. The site currently lists about 250,000 titles, says founder Danny Robinson. There are more than 1,000 swaps per day, however, so the selection is constantly changing.

  • How it works: You'll create a list of DVDs you want, and another list of DVDs you have and are willing to trade. The swap is automatic any Peerbux in your account will automatically be applied to get available titles on your wish list.

  • Swap math: Each DVD is worth one or more Peerbux, says Robinson, based on the value of that DVD. You earn Peerbux by mailing out DVDs. "About 80% of our titles are worth two Peerbux," he explains. DVD sets and popular titles may be worth three or more, while obscure or less popular titles may be worth only a single Peerbux.

  • Cost to you: Membership is free. You'll get one free DVD when you sign up. After that, you'll pay 99 cents per trade, plus 39 cents postage when you mail a DVD. Shipping stays low because you don't mail the DVD in its case just the disk. Don't have any DVDs to trade? You can also purchase Peerbux: $5 for one, $20 for five, or $100 for 30.

  • What we like: The PeerSafe Protection Program gives you credit for a DVD that is lost in transit, or that arrives damaged.


Title Trader
  • What you'll find: Books (hardcover, paperback), CDs and movies (VHS and DVDs). You'll also find individual magazine issues and videogames. Currently, more than 30,000 titles are listed.

  • How it works: List items you want to trade. When someone requests one of your items, mail it out. You'll then receive a credit to request an item on the site.

  • Swap math: One item equals one request credit. You earn a credit each time you send out an item. You can also earn credits by referring friends.

  • Cost to you: Standard membership is free. You'll get three credits free after you get your first positive feedback. You can upgrade to premium membership for $19.95 per year. Premium membership gives you access to features like a daily newsletter and email notification when someone lists an item on your wish list. You'll also pay to mail out items. The site recommends media mail rates, which start at $1.59.

  • What we like: Trading is world-wide. You can choose which countries you will ship to.