Did you get some summer reading done this year? Give those books away and get new ones free — by throwing a book-swap party! Last weekend, I invited friends to bring over books they no longer wanted to trade for new ones they did — and here’s why you should do the same:
1. Free books. Fashionistas have been finding free, new-to-them outfits and clothing swaps for years — and I’ve nabbed some of my favorite items in my own closet at these events myself. For bibliophiles, book swaps serve the same function — a chance to clean out the bookshelf and to pick up fresh, new-to-them reads that don’t have library due dates!
2. Edited bookcases. I forget how and why I got a copy of "Dracula" a few years ago, but I knew I would never read it again. Now, that classic has found a new, more loving home instead of just taking up dusty space in my bookcase. Plus, guests to my home will no longer mistakenly think I’m really into vampire books and buy me the "Twilight" series for my birthday (though I’ve gotten into "True Blood" — Don’t tell anyone!)
3. Bookish conversations. Don’t want to start reading a book you’re not sure you’ll love? At a book swap party, you can ask the book bringer for their personal review. One caution: Book review convos sometimes backfire as a getting-people-to-take-books-off-your-hands method if the review is kind of negative — so if there’s an extra large postmodern tome you’re especially keen to get rid of, you may want to emphasize the large print and famous author, not the labyrinthine prose and hard-to-understand time shifts. If I had followed my own advice, I may not still have my gigantic, heavy copy of "Women and Men".
4. New interests. If you’ve always been vaguely interested in, say, surfing, but never really took the time to pursue that hobby, running across a free book called "Learn to Surf" at a book swap may just give you the push you need to get started! Unfortunately, it seems all my friends interested in surfing have already learned to surf — because "Learning to Surf" is still in my apartment.
5. Organic snacks. Okay — these won’t be there unless you provide them, but a book party is a great excuse to enjoy delicious snacks you may not want to buy or make just for yourself. In my case, I baked organic molasses with fair trade Wholesome Sweeteners molasses — which ended up being extremely popular, especially with me!
6. Feel-good bonus. If you’ve read this far, you know that I still own a few books I no longer want to own — and actually gained a few books I also don’t care to own! That’s okay, because a great post book-swap party event is a donation trip! My local public library is happy to take old books — and will even bring out a cart out to haul the books from the car or bike trailer if you bring over a bunch of them. And at my library, book-swap parties happen every day, albeit sans molasses cookies. Stop by the Friends of the Library room and browse through the free cart outside for unique, strange reads to take home for keeps.
Have you ever thrown a book party? What do you do with the books you don’t plan to read again?