Secondhand Bookshop Love

October 18, 2009


There was a wee little article in the Guardian about the 10 best secondhand bookshops in the UK.  Barter Books, Alnwick Station, Northumberland (above) gets my vote.  Isn’t it wonderful?  Has anyone been?


After the lovely Caroline’s guest post review about ReadItSwapIt, I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and have a nosey round myself.   I’ve now parcelled up and packed off two three books to loving new homes and I’m very much looking forward to recieving the swapped ones in the post (I must now mentally prepare myself for my postman’s evil eye. The poor lamb, I always have him lugging around heavy parcels up two flights of stairs). 

One thing though : I’d like to ask you lovely folk in bloggerland with regular ebay/swap site experience for your tips on cutting down wrapping costs.  I don’t send parcels very often and I must admit the cost of even 2nd class post shocked me slightly.  One book cost £1.80 and the other £2.40 – have Royal Mail hiked their prices alot recently?!  I know, I sound like a right cheapo, but back in the day when I used to send parcels more regularly it was a lot less dear…I think?!  Anyways, whinging aside, post office prices are out of my control so I’m looking to cut down the cost of wrapping the books.  At the moment I’ve first wrapped the books in a plastic bag to make it waterproof, then I’ve just shoved the books in a jiffy bag.  Is there a better, cheaper way?  Jiffy bags are costing me about 30p each. It’s not extortionate but it will start adding up so if you know of a nifty trick, please do shout!

Kat xx

If you’re anything like me, you already have an obscene and overwhelming  pile or list of books waiting to be read and you don’t need any more inspiration. 

BUT…if you don’t, check out this little internet gadget: The Book Seer.  Type in what you’ve just read and it’ll give you some recommendations of what else you might like (assuming you like what you’ve just read, I guess!).

Thank you to Caroline for doing this guest post for us.

Source: Read It Swap It
Cost: Just the cost of second class postage
User friendly: 7/10
Overall Rating : 8/10

I always thought that an Internet book swap website would be a great idea, then I came across Read It Swap It – and it is! I’ve been a member since 2005, and have now completed almost 300 swaps, and (touch wood) have never had a major problem.

Basically, you put in the details of books you have available to swap, and then you can look through the ‘library’ of books other people are offering. If you see something that takes your fancy, you request to swap, and your booklist is sent to the person who has the book you want. If they see something they want on your list, you receive an email saying that the swap has been agreed, and telling you which of your books to post off and where to post it to. You are requested to post the books within 1 to 2 days, although a lot of people take longer than this.

Obviously, the wider choice of books you have on your booklist, the more likely it is that people will see something they want, and your swaps will be agreed. I usually have between 30 and 40 books listed. There is also a ‘Wishlist’ feature on the site, where you can put in books that you’d like, and you receive an email when somebody lists that book on the site, so you can put in a swap request.

I’m very pleased to have been asked to write a guest post for The Book It List (one of my favourite blogs), and do hope that some of the readers will try Read It Swap It.

Source: Book Crossing
Cost: Free – just how we like it!
User friendly: 3/10
Overall Rating : 3/10

It might be free, but I’ve never come across a book crossing book!

The idea is you ‘release’ your book in a public place and track this via the website.  Via a sticker in the book, the finder of the book should track the books’ progress and release it again once they’ve read it.  So in theory, you could track your book on its journey around the country or even the world!

I’ve released a few and they’ve not been tracked at all, save one I released to Caroline.

So the scores for this are slightly low, only because the chances of finding one of these are very low, but it’s a great idea for recycling books.

Go to the site and search to see where books are released in your area.  They are often scheduled in advance, so if you find yourself at a loose end one day, hop foot it a book crossing release.  Oh and make sure you come and tell us about it!

Sourcing Books : Snazal

June 18, 2009

Anyone heard of Snazal?

I can’t do my usual review as I haven’t heard of it, let alone used it.

Be interested in anyone’s opinions if they have used it?

Source: The Library
Cost: Free, unless you return books late or reserve them!
User friendly: 9/10
Overall Rating : 9/10

I can’t rave about the library enough.  Free books – what more is there to say?

You can manage your library account online as well, enabling you to reserve books (for a small fee – 84p at my library), extend the loan period (if you can’t get to the library) as well as searching for books across the area where you live to see which library has the books you are after.

I am loving the library at the minute.  Times have changed.  You can now take out something like 20 books on a ticket.  They have CD’s, newspapers, Internet access as well as a raft of local information.

The biggest plus has got to be the cost, or lack of it.  Free books.

The only note of caution would be you have to keep on top of your returns, or else the fines can mount up fairly quickly.

That said, I don’t see how you can go wrong with the library.

Source: Amazon
Cost: mixed
User friendly: 8/10
Overall Rating : 8/10

You can buy both new and used books on Amazon. For buying new books, I find the prices comparable with other retailers and if you buy in quantity, you can avoid any postage costs.

I only discovered Amazon Marketplace recently and have bought and sold on there.  Great for selling books, as it’s a fixed postage price and you can list for ages at the price you want, avoiding the unpredictability of an auction on eBay.  Plus if it doesn’t sell, you don’t get charged, although the fees are higher that eBay.

Buying is a different matter.  Yes you’ll probably pick up most books from 1p upwards, but the postage is £2.75 regardless, which begins to make it a less cost effective method.  Probably better for those harder to find books or hardback book that you may be searching for rather than paperbacks where there is a good enough supply to go elsewhere.

What’s your experience of using Amazon?

Source: eBay
Cost: variable, bargains to be found, but watch the postage!
User friendly: 6/10
Overall Rating : 6/10

Good old eBay has been around for a while and there are thousands on books to be had on there.  I used to use it a lot when I found a particular author I liked and wanted to obtain all the books they had ever written.

You can pick up books for as little as a penny, but watch the postage as this can bump the cost up hugely.  You could always sell the books again and get some pennies back.  If you do buy items and use paypal, you are protected against loss and items not as described.

The flip side is you have to be a registered member and be prepared to trek down the post office sometimes.

So, although you can find nearly any book you want on there, it’s not the cheapest or the most user friendly of ways to bag books.

What’s your experience of buying / selling books on eBay?

Based in London?  Bored of the monotony of your daily commute? Sick of reading the Metro or the London Lite?  Check out the newly founded Choose What You Read Scheme , a not-for-profit organistion set up to enble commuters to borrow books donated by a member of the public.

The next book “handout” will take place on Tuesday 5th May 5pm-7pm at the following stations: Liverpool Street, Waterloo, Westminster, Euston and Padington.

When you’re done reading, just drop the book off at the box in Curzon Soho (other drop off points are currently being negotiated).

If you take part in the Scheme, let us know how you get on!