“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”–Henry David Thoreau
A used book exchange is an event where people bring their unwanted used books somewhere in order to swap them for other people’s used books. There are lots of different ways to start a used book exchange, and you might even consider starting an online book exchange. An in-person book exchange can be better in a lot of ways, because no one has to worry about putting anything in the mail. Here are some ideas about how to start a used book exchange.
- Decide on a time and a place for your used book exchange. If you belong to a book club, that can be a great time and place for the exchange. Your local public library might also be a good place to hold the exchange. Local churches or schools would work too.
- Decide what kind of used book exchange you’re going to start. Do you want to have a regularly scheduled, anything goes used book exchange, where you can bring any kind of book? Or do you want to limit the used book exchange to a particular genre, like fiction, or horror books, or something even more specific? Do you want to hold your used book exchange as a one time event?
- Invite people to show up for your used book exchange. You probably want to get as much press and publicity for your used book exchange as possible. The more people who show up, the greater the selection of books available for everyone. If 25 people show up for your used book exchange, and they each bring 5 books with them, then you have a selection of 125 books to choose from. You can run ads on Craigslist to generate interest in your book exchange, and in the local newspaper. You can post about it on your blog too. Anything you can do to get the word out is good.
- Think about offering snacks. If you’re starting the used book exchange, then you’re the de facto host for the event. Good hosts always provide food and drink. In some locations, this might not be appropriate. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Even a cheap soft drink will make the participants feel a little bit more welcome.
- If you want to hold an online used book exchange, it’s going to require more work. You’ll need a domain name, a website, and enough time to organize how the online used book exchange will work. An easier option might be to find an already-existing online used book exchange, and just participate in that. Book Mooch is a good option for that.
And that’s how to start a used book exchange.