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I was alerted to this site by another Ciao member, and I'm thankful he steered me in this direction. I usually get my books from the library or Greenmtropolis, or Ebay. Rarely do I buy them new, but my bookshelves have been straining under the weight recently. Rather than sell them all, as I realised on readitswapit.co.uk you can swop your unwanted / read books for new wanted / unread books.
Quickly hop footing it over, I found the site to be very simplistic. There are no annoying graphics cluttering up the screen. Everything is in a shade of blue and white, and seems to run very smoothly and quickly between pages, which is probably due to the lack of jargon. The site saves your email address at your request making logging in easier.
*How does it work?*
Well first of all you will need to register with the site. As per usual you have to select a username and password. Your email address is used as your username in this case. As for your real address, it needs to go on file otherwise no-one would know where to send the books should you swop them would they! That was simple enough.
So once I've registered, how do I swap a book. I started off by reading the Questions. There isn't a lot to read here, but that reflects on the site, and you'll soon find your way around and realise just how easy it is.
*Finding a book you want*
There are two options of searching for books and these are by either entering a title or an author. The site will then show you all possible books available. You can also browse through the vast sections such as horror, mystery, romance, kids, etc. There is also a section that hold the newly added books to the site. I chose a book by Richard Laymon for my first search. Up popped around 15 books that were available for swopping. Oh I found one I haven't read, so I clicked on it, excited at the prospect of swopping for one of my books.
Oh wait a minute, I haven't loaded any of my books into the system, as the site is duly telling me. Oops!
As the idea is to swop a book you will hopefully have some titles in mind you will want to get rid of. The process is very simple, and is done by following the instructions on the page, and either by entering the ISBN number which can be found on the barcode of the book. Or you can manually enter the title and author. There is an option to enter your own description of the book, and this is a good place to say what condition the book is in. I find this helpful as other viewers will know roughly the state of the book when they get it. Otherwise I'm afraid it's popt luck and you could swop a brand new book for a tatty covered one. Be warned.
You also choose a rating of the book out of ten. This is apparently done so you can be matched with books of similar ratings. I have never used this option as I know exactly which books / authors I am looking for when searching for books.
These books you have added, are available for viewing by you at all times, and you can remove them if you have changed your mind or you don't have them anymore etc.
Here is also where you will see any current swops or swop requests you may be in the middle of.
I've loaded my books and found someone else's book I want. What happens next?
Well the user of the book I want is then emailed and invited to browse through my books I have added to the site. Hopefully they will want to read one of my added books. If they do the swap is accepted and both members are informed via email, with delivery addresses included in this email so we can both send our books off. We are both required to do this within 3 days of recieving the email, so if you are requesting a swop, make sure you check your email regularly.
But another member has requested a swop and I don't want any of their books.
No problem you have the option to decline the swop, and then it's back to the drawing board for that user. There will always be other books to choose from so don't worry you don't have to feel obliged to swop a book.
The one problem I have encountered here is that if people repeatedly request to swop with you and they have books you really don't want to read, it can get tiring having to turn down swops all the time. Being able to find a mutual swop isn't as easy as you may first think.
I've agreed my swop, now what?
Well you've agreed to send your book within three days, so all you have to do is securely wrap it, and send it second class to the other person. There's always the worry that you will send your book but the other user wont. This is going to happen anywhere, and happens all the time on popular auction sites, so it's a trust issue. If you're not prepared for this then don't join. However saying that there is an avenue to go down if you don't recieve your book within a week.
I've had one successful swop, and that was my first. Since then I've had a couple rejected, but I'm not disheartened as I know there will be more. I requested a swop with a member and they agreed very quickly. I recieved my book about four days later, and I think that's about when he would have recieved mine. Upon recieving the book, I logged onto the site as they requested to let them know I had recieved my book. I sent a good condition paperback, and it cost me 73p in postage. I recieved a very good condition hard back book in return. Overall very pleased, and didn't have anything to lose, other than a book I didn't really want anymore should the deal have fallen through.
I should just add that each member has a star rating next to their name. This consists of five stars which are empty as a new user. As users progress and swop more, your stars fill up. This may be a bit off putting, but I don't think it's really needed as an experienced user could decide not to keep their end of the bargain. This however is the only negative thing I can say about this site. Highly recommended.
I have been swopping books now for a couple of months. To date, with six sucessful swops, I haven't had a bad experience. My books have always appeared on the doorstep within the alloted time of a week (this is my time limit before I would start to wonder what has happened), and have all been securely packaged.
There have been many requests both from myself and to me that have been rejected for whatever reason.
The range of books on the site is always changing, meaning if you can't find a particular book you wanted the first time, leave it a couple of weeks and search again, as you may be surprised.
Just a note to remind myself and others that may use the site. If you do use other book sites as avenues of selling or changing your book collection, just remember to update your book lists if you sell / swop one of your books listed here elsewhere.
If it's successful it sounds like bad news for my the Oxfam book shop my mother runs !! Good review ! ;-)
fallen121 20.04.2006 05:20
I use this site as well. My sister told me about it. Only bad experience I have had is that sometimes the packaging has been pretty terrible, also one time received a book with ripped pages which had been described as 'excellent' condition, emailed the buyer and they were most unrepentant! Overall though, the concept is brilliant and I like the way they listen to suggestions and try to implement enhancements to the site.
koshkha 12.04.2006 19:32
I'm definitely going to give it a go - thanks for the clear and helpful 'how to' guide. Looks like there are still some real bargains out there