Paperbackswap.com is an amazing website that I stumbled onto several months ago through the internet (maybe you’ve heard of the internet?). The site is a community of readers and the premise is simple: have a shelf of books you don’t want anymore? Share them with others and you get a free book in return. Simple, right?
5. PBS and Your Book
6. Discussion Forums
8. In Closing
The cover prices of the books are inconsequential. All you have to do is sign up, upload the ISBN numbers from those books on your shelf that you don’t want (they’re just taking up valuable space anyway!), and sit back and wait for other readers to request them. Once they do, you simple drop that book in the mail, wait for it to be received, and then go shopping! If you’re like me, you probably grew up loving a specific genre of book. Whether they were mysteries, romance novels, or suspense thrillers, your tastes have probably matured and now you’re hauling around eight boxes of books each time you move. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but those boxes are HEAVY!
As an author you’re probably more into reading your particular genre nowadays. Heck, maybe you want to build a reference library, or perhaps there are bestsellers you’ve been wanting to read, but for whatever reason didn’t pony up the cash for that shiny hardcover. Welcome to Paperbackswap, also known as your Salvation.
Now before we go any further, I’m sure this is all sounding too good to be true and you might be wondering what the catch is. The one simple catch is that after someone requests a book from you (you’re given the option to accept or deny the book request), you accept and are provided the name and mailing address of the receiver and you must take that book to the Post Office and pay for the postage. Since most paperbacks won’t cost you over $3.00 to ship, this is a small price to pay for building a great library. Books under thirteen ounces can even be shipped from your home mailbox and you can print the shipping label from home. The good news is that when you request that book you’ve been trying to get your hands on, someone will do the same for you.
You’re probably eyeing your bookshelf as you read this, considering how much shelf space you can clear up. I felt the same way, and I have cleared up a LOT of space. Now you’re snapped back into reality and thinking, “Hey, this is supposed to be an article about promoting my book and all you’ve shown me how to do is send books in the mail!”
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Once you’ve signed up for an account you can immediately begin uploading ISBN numbers to your Bookshelf (which displays all books you are looking to set free) or you can setup a profile for yourself. I’d suggest the latter since we are, after all, here to promote ourselves.
This first thing you’ll want to do is upload one of your standard author head shots so the world can put a face to the name that is sending them some awesome books. Make sure you smile, and ensure your photo captures the genre you write for. Since I’m a humor writer, I’m able to get away with all kinds of wacky pictures and no one can really say anything.
Next you’re able to input your age (if you want) and website address. Let’s make sure the link is to your book’s website, or Amazon.com link where people can quickly add your novel to their shopping cart.
Following those small text boxes you’ll see an even bigger box where you can input a full bio and write pretty much anything your heart desires. Let’s play it safe and copy/paste your professional bio, which discusses your awesome book and has a word or two about you in there. First impressions are everything. Don’t forget to add in any additional websites of importance along with reader quotes and the whole nine yards.
If you plan to become active in the Paperbackswap (PBS) forums, which I highly recommend, and will touch on later, you can upload a small avatar (I’d suggest your book cover) and a signature that will automatically attach itself to each post you make. This is a great spot to put a brief blurb, which should include the name of your book, a tagline, and a link to where people can pick up a copy. Make it short and simple. We all have ADD.