PaperBackSwap (PBS) is a club co-founded in 2004 by Richard Pickering and Robert Swarthout of Suwanee and Rome, Georgia, (USA). Swarthout later left the company to pursue other ventures. The purpose of PaperBackSwap is to use the Internet to facilitate the parity trading of books (or "book swapping") among member bibliophiles in the United States. The club also operates sister websites Swap-a-DVD and Swap-a-CD to facilitate parity trading of DVDs and CDs, respectively.
Membership is free and is offered to individuals residing at addresses served by the United States Postal Service, including APO and FPO (military mail) addresses. Commercial enterprises are prohibited from membership. Membership is restricted to adults 18 years of age or older. Membership restrictions are covered in the site privacy statement.
As of February 1, 2015 PaperBackSwap announced that by February 15, 2015 they will start charging fees for their services.
A credit system is used to enable members to trade books for credits and credits for books. Credits may either be purchased, or they may be earned by mailing books which have been requested. Consequently, a member need not seek another member who desires a parity trade; credits are the medium of exchange. Both paperback and hardback books may be traded, as well as audiobooks. Within the PBS system the value of any bound book is always one credit, and the value of an audio book is always two credits.
When it was started, PBS expected to have to charge for membership once costs became too high. Instead, they found they could survive by offering a few paid services to the membership.
The Box-O-Books program allows paying members to exchange boxes of books (rather than one at a time) to save on postage and provide variety. PBS offers optional printing of online postage for a small fee. PBS also sells book accessories and other items bearing the club logo.
- PaperBackSwap's Complete Press & Media
- The Today Show (April 21, 2009). “Get paid to recycle! 15 green tips for the lazy” - by Marisa Belger
- O The Oprah Magazine (March 1, 2009). “Books on a Budget” - by Katie Arnold-Ratliff
- People Magazine (February 23, 2009). “More Books for Your Buck” - by Thailan Pham
- PC Magazine (Sept. 18, 2006). “Web Site of the Week: PaperBackSwap.com” - by Sean Carroll
- USA Today, CBS News, The Christian Science Monitor (February 15, 2006). “Avid Readers Swap Their Books Online” - by Marilyn Gardner
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution (April 17, 2005). “He Traded Reading Habits” - by Doug Nurse
- Newsday (July 27, 2005). “Read any good books lately?” - by Andy Rathbun
- The New York Times (October 16, 2006). “I’ll Trade You My ‘Titanic’ for Your ‘Spider-Man’” - by Bob Tedeschi
- San Francisco Chronicle (June 23, 2009). "Book lovers trade tomes through Web sites" - by Tara Dooley