For as long as I can remember I’ve been a reader. As a child I spent countless hours at our local libraries. As an adult, I still frequent the library from time to time, but the selection is not always the greatest, and there are certain books that I want to keep permanently. For a long time I purchased my books from Amazon, where the price is usually far better than what I can get at a storefront. However, given my infinite love of books mixed with my finite financial resources, buying books on a continual basis is just not feasible considering that there are other things I like to do with my paycheck. Eating, for example.

So when a friend introduced me to a few months ago, it was love at first sight. Here’s how it works, in a nutshell:

-After setting up your account (quick and painless), you post a minimum of 10 “gently used” books (i.e., no highlighting or underlining) that you no longer want in order to get your starter book credits.

-When another member requests a book from you, just print out the mailing label and send it to them. You pay for shipping (which calculates for you, normally at the low media mail rate).

-Every time you send a book to a member, you get a credit to use toward ordering another book. The books are free–your only cost is postage for the books you mail out.

-Use the credits to order books that you that other members have posted. (Books are one credit each; audiobooks take two credits each.)

What I like about it:

1. There’s a huge selection of books in pretty much every genre you can imagine. And don’t let the name fool you–it’s not just paperback books; you can also swap hardbacks and audiobooks. (By the way, there are also sister sites for swapping CDs and DVDs.)

2. The cost to send out books is minimal–postage usually runs around $2-$3 per book, depending on the book’s size and weight. If, like me, you want to avoid standing in line at the post office, you can pay a slight fee to print the postage yourself and mail books directly from your home.

3. It’s a great way to get rid of books that you no longer want, as well as to acquire books that you’ve been wanting to read.

4. I can enjoy newer books that my local library doesn’t carry at a fraction of the cost of getting them from a bookstore or from Amazon.

Getting great used books for way cheap? works for a bookworm like me.

For more money and time-saving tips, visit the Works for Me Wednesday blog carnival at We Are That Family.