The Basics of Paperback Swap
Paperback Swap is an on-line used book trading site. When you list your first 10 used books, you are awarded two "credits". You can then "buy" books from the Paperback Swap site for one credit each. The sender pays for media mail shipping and has a specific amount of time to send the book to you. When someone requests a book from you, you pay the media mail shipping. You earn more credits by sending books to others when they are requested. It sounds nice, right?
I think the idea behind Paperback Swap is good. However, when things like this happen on a large scale and books are being mailed to people you don't know, there is a lot of room for error.
Now is the time that I have to fully confide that I had a bad experience with Paperback Swap a year ago. It still bugs me. Today, I decided to decline a book request based on that bad experience from last year. I took it a step further and removed all of my listings from the site. I don't think I'll trade with Paperback Swap again.
My Paperback Swap Story
My son and I purchased some books at a garage sale. He was really into Pokemon at the time, so he picked out three Pokemon books. The books were in good condition. They were all most definitely readable, however, they were used books and looked like they had been read. That's not a problem for us. He read the books and enjoyed them.
Around the time that he was done with the books, I joined Paperback Swap. So, we listed them all. The first two went without a problem. Then, someone requested the third. I mailed it. A week or so later, I got a complaint about the book. She said it was in very poor condition and proceeded to list several things wrong with it. Of course, at this point, the book is no longer in my hands, so I've got no way to refute her story.
I was pretty irked. Like I said, this was almost a year ago and it still burns me up to think about it. I didn't want to get in a back and forth with her, though I felt she had greatly exaggerated the condition of the book, so I gave her credit back. I thought I'd get over it and still use Paperback Swap, but I just can't get beyond it. I am simply not the kind of person who would send a damaged, unreadable book to someone.
This woman also had the audacity to talk about it in the Paperback Swap forums. I was appalled when I saw that. I left that site feeling like I'd been accused of a crime.
The sender is at the mercy of the receiver. Unfortunately, there are people who expect their used, free books to be in new condition. I truly don't know why I'm letting this bother me as much as it does. I'm a writer, I have a pretty thick skin!
I'm not going to use Paperback Swap again. I have since searched around the Internet a bit and found other complaints about Paperback Swap. However, there are a lot of people that love Paperback Swap, too. Because of that, I'm keeping it listed in the "What to Do with Used Books" list. I do, however, feel I need to warn anyone who wants to use them to do so with caution. At this point, I prefer to pass used books on locally.
Have you had an experience with Paperback Swap? What's your opinion?