Advantages Huge library of books, lots of users, easy to use
Disadvantages I suppose some dishonest people but they are rare on here
Now I realise that there are already quite a few reviews on this website, which I am glad about as hopefully it is spreading the word of a superb site.But in the past few weeks, there have been some changes to the Read It Swap It site, so I hope to either introduce to the site if you haven't heard or visited it before, and if you have, then update you on the new features which have been put in place, making it even better than before!The Read It Swap It site does exactly what it says. When you have finished reading a book, or for whatever reason you have a book at home you would like to get rid of, then you list it on this site, and swap it for a book belonging to another member that you actually want to read. All you have to pay is the postage to send your book to your swapping partner, which ranges from about 80 pence for a small paperback to around £2 for larger books. Whatever way you look at it, you are saving a fortune compared to the RRP of books which these days is about £6.99.
Now, to the website itself. It is one of the easiest websites to use, even for beginners, which is handy for people like my mum who enjoy reading and browsing the internet, but isn't a computer whiz! The homepage introduces you to the website, and tell you a bit about how it works. It currently also tells me that there are currently 143,493 books available for swapping. There is also a link to register, a box for logging in existing members and a browsing feature enabling you to see what is available on the site without registering or logging in, so you can how it works.*Joining ReadItSwapIt*
*Adding your books*
Adding books is easy. You can do this in one of two ways. Simply click on the My Books tab at the top of the screen. It will then give you a link which says "Add Books" and underneath that, it displays the books you currently have on the website. You can either add a book using its ISBN number, found on the back of the book, or just manually type in the Author name and title of the book. It also asks you to fill in other criteria, such as the condition of the book, any damage and the option to add your own comment about it. It is important to fill these criteria in accurately as swappers will rate you according to how accurately you describe your book so if you say it is "Like New" and your book is a scruffy copy, you will be given a low rating. On the page of the Book Description, it will give you a picture of the cover of the book, a short description taken from Amazon, and a list of available copies. You can also click on the picture of the book which will take you to its page on Amazon so you can look up reviews, something I have done a few times!
Now to the most important part of the site, swapping! As I mentioned, you browse the site for the book that you want to swap for. When you have found the page for your required book, there will be a list of people who have the book. CHoose someone from the list who has a copy and click "Swap With This Member". This then sends them an email telling them someone wants to swap a book of theirs, and then they are given the option to choose a book from your booklist. This is why it is a good idea to have a few books on your list allowing swappers a good choice. If they choose one of your books, you will be notified with an Email detailing their address and the book to send them. This is also available on the site too in case you delete the email! Of course, sometimes people won't want to read any of your books, so they can choose the option of "I don't want to read any of their books right now". You get an email saying that they don't want to swap. This means you have to try for another copy, or add it to your wishlist in case someone else adds it to the site.
Also, once you have swapped with 50 different users, you get awarded a Super Swapper badge next to your name, so users know that you are a good and reliable swapper. The badge and title changes for every other 50 swaps that you do, so it is a good way of increasing your reputation on the site. I have been a member for around 8 months and have just received my first Super Swapper badge, and I'm quite proud!*My Swaps*
This is the area of the site which has the information about all of your books. When you click the My Books tab, you are given a list of your Active Books. They are listed alphabetically according to the title of the book, with the option to edit the details (damage, comments etc), delete the book from your active books and Make Inactive. Now, making a book inactive takes it off of the library of RISI, but it remains in the My Inactive Books section until you either delete it or reactivate it. When you swap a book and the swap is completed, the book automatically goes into My Inactive Books, ready to be relisted. There is also the option to tell the website that "I'm Going on Holiday", which makes all of your books inactive. When you return, simply click the option "I've returned from holiday" and books which were inactive now become active again.
The website also has a forum which is for the use of the registered users of RISI. I only started using this forum about a month ago, as I didn't really know much about it, but it actually is a great place to pop onto. The users are all really friendly and have a wide range of knowledge about books, so if you have a specific question, these are the people to ask! There are sections to review books, create your own "To Be Read" list, ask users for books you are desperate for (and some even let you borrow a book if you are really desperate, how nice is that?!) and just generally discuss all things to do with books.
I think RISI is one of the gems of the internet that unless you have heard of through your friends or a site like this, you sadly won't have heard of! It is a great idea, especially as the only people who will really bother to sign up are book lovers themselves. Obviously there are the odd dishonest people around who will request a book and not send their book to you, but luckily for me, this has never happened and so far as I know, it isn't a regular thing. I think if a user gets lots of low feedback about this, the RISI admin block this user. You can also report members for abuse of the site. But 99% of the people are great swappers, who send you great books quickly, and are such nice people. I always get a sticky note on the front saying they hope I enjoy the book, or something similar, such a nice touch but it makes using the site all the more enjoyable! If you love books, want to save yourself a few pennies, then RISI is the place for you!
I hope my review has been helpful, thanks for reading!
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