February 14, 2006

LIKE SWAPPING BASEBALL CARDS WHEN YOU WERE A KID:

Avid readers swap their books online (Marilyn Gardner, 2/15/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

Avid readers everywhere can identify with the challenges Phyllis Gatto used to face in finding space for books she had read. After finishing a paperback, she would put it on a shelf. When the shelves filled, she moved books into cartons, hiding them under beds and in closets.

"The pile would just grow," says Mrs. Gatto, of Dayton, Tenn. "I'd give some to friends, but basically, they just accumulated."

Then a friend told her about an unusual book-sharing website, PaperBackSwap.com. Members swap used books, paying only the cost of postage - usually $1.59. In addition to saving money and freeing space, members can make electronic connections with far-flung readers.


I've been doing Peerflix -- which is similar for DVDs, but the postage is even cheaper -- and it's great.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 14, 2006 8:36 PM
Comments

I've signed up to a similar service here.

One thing I've learned is that women tend to buy lots of diet books.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at February 15, 2006 4:59 AM

I read author Jeanette Winterson's column on this phenomenon in The Times the other week.

She observed that the downside is that it is another blow to authors trying to make a living from booksales - apart from the ones who can command huge advances.

Posted by: Brit at February 15, 2006 6:52 AM

Ms Winterson is correct ONLY if people are less likely to buy new books, if they can swap old ones.

It's just as likely that people are more inclined to buy new books, if they know that they can swap it later for a different used one.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at February 15, 2006 7:07 AM

And, if you're a struggling-but-excellent new author, isn't it a GOOD thing to have your initial works be widely-read, even if not widely-purchased ?

If good enough, the former will lead to the latter.

John Grisham sold copies of his first novel out of the trunk of his car.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at February 15, 2006 7:11 AM

Michael:

Yes, that occured to me too. DVD sales are strong enough despite rental shops. And we've always had public libraries and second hand bookshops.

Posted by: Brit at February 15, 2006 8:16 AM

When will the companies that shut down Napster take on these criminals? We can only hope.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at February 15, 2006 2:06 PM

There's also this

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 15, 2006 7:03 PM
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