While reading one of my favorite parenting blogs Z Recommends, I noticed an advertisement for Swaptree. Swaptree provides an online service where you can trade books, music, dvds, and video games for free with other users. This is a great idea for children’s books, especially as children outgrow pictures books and are ready for chapter books.
Swaptree was started because the founders noticed:
- their mothers were frequently trading books with their network of friends
- their nephews played a new $55 dollar video game for a week or so, and then never again
- their shelves (and everyone else’s shelves that they knew) were filled with hundreds of CDs and DVDs that weren’t going to see the inside of a CD or DVD player anytime soon
- the price of college textbooks had gotten out of hand
Swaptree works like this:
- List an item you have to trade.
- Swaptree’s algorithms discover what you can receive in trade for your item.
- You chose what you want in trade.
- Print postage and mail your item.
Similar to Ebay, users on Swaptree give each other feedback on shipping speed, accurate descriptions of the items, etc., in order that you know who are the most trustworthy people to trade with on the site.
Personally, I have not completed a trade on Swaptree, so I decide to join and see what I could get for a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a book we have multiple copies of in our home. After I entered the ISBN number of the book, 14 items came up that I could trade for it. Unfortunately, none of the books were ones that I wanted. I then decided to search for a book I wanted to read, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. By adding this book to my want list, I let other users know I am willing to trade my Eric Carle book for it; however, I suspect it may not be a fair trade. I was also able to see what items people who have the Harry Potter book up for trade want. It turns out I have several books and DVDs people are willing to trade for the Harry Potter book. Unfortunately, they are not books I am ready to part with yet.
The concept behind Swaptree is very interesting, and I have not given up that it might be a great solution for my family. I tend to donate books to the school or take them to a thrift store, but the idea of trading for something we want saves money and resources. Swaptree helps people get back to a trade economy via the Internet. “Swaptree allows people to acquire items in a way that is cost-effective, friendly to the environment, and rooted in the basic notion of sharing.” I’d be interested to know if any of our readers have any experiences with Swaptree to share.