Monday, August 18, 2008

Swappin' & Grinnin'

No, I'm not advertising the book -- although it is a very good one. I popped the picture up there because it's the first book I scored from a terrific online site that specializes in the good old-fashioned art of trading. If you love books as much as I do, I think you'll want to check this place out.

It's called Swaptree and it's set up so members (the membership is free) can trade for books, DVDs, CDs or games and all you pay is the postage for sending off the item you're trading. They make it easy for you, too. All you have to do is enter the ISBN number or the barcode number and they'll pop up a cover picture of the item, plus basic information about it -- such as whether a book is hard cover or paperback, year published, author, etc. Then you rate the condition of the item and explain any dings or wear it may have.

As soon as you've entered the information on your Have list, signifying it's something you want to trade, you're told how many items are available to choose from. Sometimes you enter an item and, for that moment in time, there isn't anyone looking for it. Not a problem. It will happen, sooner or later. On the other hand, if you happen to enter an item lots of folks are lusting after, you will find yourself wading through hundreds of choices. The more things you have on your Have list, the more possible trades there are available.

But you don't stop there. You can browse through all the categories and click on anything you might want and it will be placed on your Want list. Now Swaptree can start working its magic, matching traders with each other. It can even set up three-way trades, which is pretty cool. Or maybe you see something you want right now. You don't mess around with the Want list. You click on Get Now! By the way, you aren't limited to category trades. If it's available, you can trade a book, for instance, for a DVD. Or whatever.

They have a rating system like eBay so you have a pretty good idea whether the trade partner will be okay or not -- and you'll have incentive to earn good ratings yourself. Swaptree encourages you to ship out traded items fast -- and they make that easy for you, too. They set it up so you can print off already addressed shipping labels right from the site, on regular printer paper, and will bill your credit card once a month for all the postage you use the previous month. Even with the $1.00 fee they charge at billing time, you still pay significantly less postage than you would if you ordered a used item from Amazon -- and the traded item itself is free! (You can opt to do the postage thing yourself if you want to.)

At first you're limited to 2 concurrent trades but that changes as you participate. I've only made 3 trades and they've upped my limit to 5 concurrents -- and there hasn't even been time for ratings yet. But I'm glad they're holding me down. I start browsing the available books and it's like being turned loose in a chocolate factory. My Inner Greedy Gertie tries to take over and she would put me in the poor house in a hurry if there wasn't some kind of damper on her enthusiasm.

If you will excuse me, while you're checking out the Swaptree playground, I'm going to distract Greedy Gertie by making her help me find a fantastic recipe in the new book. When one must accommodate greed, one can profit from re-ordering priorities.


John Bailey said...

Sounds like a splendid wheeze, Dee! Wish we had the same over here.

Anonymous said...

There is a bookswap site for the UK :

Maggie said...

Bows and trades. At least they are low fat and salt free. LOL

Bonnie said...

If I started swapping stuff Wil would probably list me. :-)

John Bailey said...

Thanks, Anonymous! I'll check it out.