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I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember.  I’ve read between 50-100 books a year since college – my only New Year’s Resolution is to read a book a week and I have never failed.  At $7.99/book, that’s an expensive habit – more than $400 per year, not including time and gas and such driving to bookstores (though I love bookstores).  Yikes!  And used book stores have virtually disappeared.  Yes, the library is free and obviously the cheapest option, but I’m one of those folks that reads “spur of the moment”, drags books around everywhere and goes on genre binges.  Several years ago, however, I joined paperbackswap.com and cut my annual reading costs in half (remember, this is about cutting costs, not necessarily using the dead cheapest option – yet).
Basically, it works like this – you sign up and post any books that you don’t plan to read again (you are going to be sending them to other people in exchange for having people send books to you).  The books go in a queue (meaning if you posted the 10th copy of “The Possum’s Guide to Crossing the Road” you are number 10 in line) and as folks want your book, you move up in the queue – a FIFO system (First In, First Out).  When your book reaches the top, you mail it to the requestor and you get a “credit”.  You can then use your credit to order a book you want from another member.  If that’s not good enough, you get bonus credits after a you ship a few books out and for referring friends.  What you get is a clean, readable copy of a book you want, delivered to your house by the USPS.  The shipping cost for a paperback is around $2.50 per book or you can simply buy credits from paperbackswap itself or from other members.
Annual savings (not including gas and time) – $270 per year.  Check it out at www.paperbackswap.com – and consider using me as a referral (cosmichomicide) if you like what you see. 🙂
January Savings Total – $270/year
Cumulative Savings Total – $270/year
Remaing Savings Towards Goal – $5730