First of all, they really should call it something else.  Here is a stack of recent books I’ve received through paperbackswap.com and — to my delight — actual paperbacks are few and far between. Instead, what I’ve been receiving are lovely (sometimes right off the bookstore shelves) hardbacks . Take a look:

I’ve been using the site for about a year now. There are no charges for anything, and the idea is simple:  You sign up, then post 10 books you would like to swap with other paperbackswap.com members. Just for signing up, you receive 1 credit for a free book — which you select by browsing the 4 million titles currently listed by others.  They are arranged by topics and include both fiction and nonfiction; I like gardening, nature and art. When you find a book you want, you select it and it is mailed to you within 3 days by the member who posted it. When you receive their book, they get a credit to select a free book. And so on.

If someone requests one of your posted books, you mail it to them at media mail rates (for most books, that is $2.23) and then you get a book credit. See how it works? There are audiobooks listed, too… I just finished listening to one of the late Ellis Peters’ wonderful mysteries featuring the wise Benedictine herbalist, Brother Cadfael.