I go through my phases. They usually last around 6 months, and then the addiction subsides and I enjoy this obsession as a casual hobby again.
Currently I’m fanatical about reading.
I’ve somehow become obsessed with reading any book about teaching, blogging, business, positive psychology, and happiness.
I’ve gone through the yearlong ‘playing-my-guitar-until-my-fingertips-are-beyond-calloused’ phase, resulting in open mic nights and a trip to Nashville. Then I became fascinated with online teaching, which resulted in my building an online course and teaching online speech and family communication classes. And then my fascination with reading and writing occurred this summer- and the ‘reading’ part remains in full swing.
I still enjoy my old favorites, playing the guitar and teaching online, but these days nothing satisfies me like a good book.
So to make my already long story short, I’ll get to my point: For those of you who like to save money, save space, and would like to read additional books that your public library might not have and might be too expensive on Amazon, I have a solution.
I just discovered PaperBackSwap.com.
Here’s how it works:
1. You create a login and password.
2. You list the books you wouldn’t mind swapping with someone on your electronic ‘Bookshelf,’ which gives you credits.
3. The credits you receive are the credits you use to ‘purchase,’ or borrow, books.
4. When someone wants to borrow a book from your ‘Bookshelf,’ you print out the mailing materials and pay for the shipping through the PaperBackSway (PBS) website.
5. Notify PBS that you’ve mailed it.
6. When the borrower notifies the company that they’ve received the book, the sender gets 1 additional credit to then borrow a book from any member they’d like.
Now, you might be thinking a whole host of things (like, that I get way too excited over discovering new websites), but you also might be thinking that it’s a little disappointing to have to pay for postage to mail a book to someone. I’ll admit, I was initially disappointed, too, and almost gave up on the whole idea.
Then I received a message saying someone wanted one of my books, and I immediately regretted my decision to join. Had I just agreed to spend my days packaging and mailing my used books? I was too busy for this.
However, after I figured out how to deal with the mailing process on this new website that was completely unfamiliar to me (but, actually, surprisingly easy to figure out), something really unexpected happened. After printing out the needed materials, I felt really happy. I felt even giddier while I was wrapping up the book. This person had probably been waiting quite a while for this book to be available, and soon they would excitedly open up this parcel that I had carefully packaged and taped.
It made me ridiculously happy.
I was the one who would be providing that joy for someone. It really warmed my heart.
I know that sounds cheesy, and there are more altruistic acts to be done in the world than to send someone a chick lit book, but it felt surprisingly good. So good that I even ended up leaving a post-it note on the cover saying that I hoped the reader enjoyed the book.
I probably could have stopped there after that ‘act of kindness’ and felt like I got what I needed from my PBS membership, but then I remembered that I now had a total of 3 credits to spend on 3 different books for myself.
I was happy to find a couple things that were right up my alley: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, and How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life by the Dalai Lama. So I excitedly ordered them.
That’s about the extent of my experience for now. However, it’s fun to be part of this new community.
It turns out that Kimberly liked the brief, friendly note I put on the book I sent her. In turn, she left me a ‘thank you’ email within the PBS community saying she and her daughter loved that particular book series, and I suppose I had given them one book they were missing. So it felt pretty cool to connect within the PBS community.
I also like to think that the person sending my books is pleased to save some money on the shipping cost since I ordered two books from her (a recommendation on the site to save members money), and to have someone else enjoy the books that’s she’s enjoyed.
What a great new experience, and yet another way to live simply, follow the ‘one in one out’ rule’ for living in small spaces, save some money, do a kind deed, and feel happy.