I have recently re-developed my affinity for books. Having to travel here and there every other week gave me a lot of down time at airports and on planes, so I started to read more to pass the time. I’ve bought maybe 5-6 books in the past couple of months, but started to wonder if there was an easier (and less costly) solution to procuring the books I am interested in reading.

After about a half hour of surfing the gnarly waves of the world wide web, I came across a website called swaptree. The basic idea behind swaptree is that it allows its users to swap items they have for items other users have at a minimal cost (you only pay the shipping and handling necessary to send out your product). For basic setup, you create a list of things you want (i.e. books you are interested in reading, CDs you wish to listen to, and/or DVDs you wish to view) and then you create a list of the things that you have and are willing to trade. Once you have done this, the swaptree database will automatically find trades that may appeal to you – often involving a trade with a user who has something you want that is willing to trade for something you have.

I will be shipping out my first book (Into the Wild) this afternoon and receiving my first swap (Tuesdays with Morrie) sometime this week or next. You can even swap books for DVDs or music and vice versa. There are even opportunities to swap items completely free if a person is located near you. In that case, you would simply meet up with them in your city of residence and swap items in person.

If this site turns out to be reliable and consistent, then this would be a significantly better alternative to purchasing books. Rather than having to shell out $10-$20 each time I want to purchase a new or used book, I could now just pay somewhere between $2-$3 for shipping and call it a day. And the best part is that I can just drop it in my mailbox at my apartment and be done with it.

I’m sure there are a ton of other websites like this, but this is the one I stumbled across. Plus, it has a really clean interface to use and has a lot of registered users. Sheck it out.

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