Cool Website Tuesdays: Swaptree

I love books. I have a ton of them. OK, maybe not a ton, but I estimate I must have about 600 books or more. In my days as a graphic artist, I’ve designed two book covers, so I have an affinity for the art of cover design and the construction of books. I read everything from technology books, fiction, and non-fiction. For awhile, I tried to keep all of my books, but I can no longer do so. My shelves are busting at the seams. Once I read a blog about a guy who kept only 10 books. If he bought one, he had to give one away. I strived to be that guy, but I tended to read too fast and couldn’t give them away fast enough.

My list of must-have-books-that-will-always-remain-with me-in-case-I-am-ever-stranded-on-a-desert-island already total up to 50 books or so. I needed an easy and convenient solution to stop my habit of buying books. I’ve been to the local library, but find that it doesn’t have enough of a selection. I’ve even read all of the reptile books from the animals section, but that’s another story. It’s people like me who donate books to the library.


Swaptree Logo

It’s a site where you can trade books, music, movies, and games with other users. It’s a one-to-one trade. Simple as that.   I signed up about a year ago, but didn’t use it very much, because there were few users who wanted  exactly  what  I had and vica versa. It was difficult to have matches. When I reactivated my account last month, I found that swaptree had improved the trading algorithm, where users can form a trade ring of sorts.

Since then, I’ve successfully implemented 4 trades. Seems like I’m trading every week.  I don’t even have to go to the post office and haven’t been to the bookstore since. I can print the postage online and swaptree will bill me the amount at the end of the month.

The  only painful part is entering in the  ISBN code of the items  I  put up to trade. However, the UI manage to  alleviate some of the pain by displaying a drop-down of the thumbnail of the book as soon as the system recognizes the UPC, even when  I’ve entered it partially. That way, I can confirm that the item I’m entering is correct.

It is  nice to know that I am not killing more trees with my habit. Hi, my name is Ha Phan and I’m a book-a-holic.

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