Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Swapping in Australia - Does It Exist?

Ok, I have just spent two days cleaning out my three bookshelves and now have almost 100 books I need to find a new home for (the list is here on Goodreads if anyone is interested). Most of them are in very good condition and have pretty much just sat on a bookshelf for years and therefore have a small amount of yellowing of the pages and/or some minor marks and bent corners/spines.

I decided to start researching if there were any decent book exchange services in my area and discovered that there isn't! Most of the establishments will only exchange books you have originally purchased from them or if they are rare or hot selling titles.

Next I decided to see if the local charity shop wanted the books and gasp, shock, horror, they didn't! Apparently they don't have enough room to take such a volume of books.

So, next I took my plight to the online world and discovered two book swapping websites that are Australian, but just don't seem to be frequented much, Book Swap Australia and The Book Swap.

Both of these sites run on a points-per-book basis where you generally have to upload 3 books to start with to gain one point and then you can accumulate further points based on how many books you upload (and their value) after that.

Once you have some points to start with, you browse all the books listed and if you find one that you would like you just choose to 'swap' that book for one of your points and the owner of that book is notified to post the book out to you. Likewise, if someone wants one of your books you receive notification of their details so that you can forward the book to them. For every book you request, you use up a point and for every one of your books that is requested, you gain a point.

I have already personally had a couple of swapping experiences on The Book Swap which went through quite smoothly. Unfortunately, it took me over four months of having some books on there for anyone to be interested in one of my books, and considering how long it takes to add each individual book I'm not sure if I want to continue using this site (especially when I have almost 100 books to list!). I haven't had any experiences with the Book Swap Australia site as yet.

My question you is this: Are there any other sites in Australia that offer a similar service that is actually frequented and worth joining? I've noticed that the book swapping phenomenon is huge in some other countries like America and wish we had the same type of interest here as it's a great way to obtain new books that people are wanting to get rid of anyway and connect with like-minded readers.

Otherwise, my next step will most likely be just dropping them in one of those charity bins but I wanted to try and avoid this because they are hardly ever emptied, people steal from them and it would break me heart to see books get damaged in the rain or by vandals.

What should I do?


  1. I am also looking for book swap sites in Australia and have had similar experiences to you (i.e. lots of effort to upload them and very slow traffic). I'm also considering running a book swap meeting. Are you still looking to swap your books?! I may be interested in some!

    1. Hi Kirstie, I ended up giving up and gave all the books I wanted to clear to a local secondhand store. I needed to make room and couldn't keep holding onto them with the trouble it was taking to try and swap them online.
      It would be great if something better was available for us Aussies!


I'd love to hear your thoughts....

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