Host a book swap

Unlike my coworker Anna who has switched to digital reading, I still love the feel of a book. I pick up books in a number of places including garage sales, thrift stores, and bargain bins. Occasionally, I’ll even pay full price (usually when I’m at an airport and desperate!) The result is that I have a lot of great books lying around. I’ve always enjoyed trading books with friends, so I decided to host a books swap.

The concept of a book swap is simple: people bring books, they leave with other books. It’s like a clothing swap, but easier since one size fits most! Following are some tips for hosting a successful book swap.

  1. Invite book loving friends over for about two hours—just enough time for snacking, visiting, and book “shopping.”
  2. Ask attendees to bring at least one book to swap and a snack or drink to share. If you have the space, you can ask them to bring a friend along. 
  3. Set up a space for the books that offers plenty of room for browsing; a dining room table works very well. 
  4. Establish some simple ground rules. I said exactly this: “Just use common sense. If you bring one book, don’t take ten.” 
  5. Identify a charity to donate leftover books. At the end of my swap, there were about 15 books remaining that were warmly received by the local women’s shelter.

Of course, I ended up with a lot of great (and free!) books. But my favorite result is that I learned so much about books, authors, and my friends.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.