Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A book share that actually works

A book share that actually works
Every so often Facebook statuses pop up about book swaps or book shares. All you need to do is send off one book, pass the details on to your friends, and then in a few weeks you'll magically get lots of books in return. Except of course, you won't, because these things never work. I won't go into the details of why not, but if you want to know more there are heaps of explanations around, like this one.

But what about a book share that actually will work, won't cost you much (if anything) and will introduce you to some new books and authors. Interested?

How the book share works

My book share idea is simple, all you need are a group of people who want to take part. You can have as many or as few as you like, but 12 is a good number to work with. You don't have to find them all yourself, you could ask one person and ask them to find someone themselves and so on until you have your 12 and then take it from there.

The book share

  • Choose your participants, 12 works well if you want to do it over a year, 6 if over six months and so on.
  • Each person picks a book that they have enjoyed. If you choose a book you already own, then it won't cost you anything, or you can buy a copy of the book (it doesn't matter if it's second hand). 
  • The book you choose can be any genre of book you like, just so long as you enjoyed it. Choosing something less well known can make things more interesting as people are less likely to have read it.
  • It might be a good idea to choose people with different interests so that you get a wide range of books, or decide that everyone needs to pick from the same genre, so have a murder mystery book swap, or romance book swap for example.
  • Once your book is selected, pass it to the second person in your group, they pass their book to the third and so on, all down the chain. If there are 12 people in your group then you should receive your book from person 12.
  • You then have a month to read your book, which means those who don't read much have time to get through it, but people who read lots can read other things while they wait for their next book.
  • On a set date, when the month is up, you pass the book you have been reading onto person two, they pass the book they've been reading onto person three and so on.
  • This continues until the end of the challenge, when you should get the book you picked back.
  • You've then had a year of introducing a book you love to 11 other people, and discovering 11 other new books.


Other than the cost of your initial book, there isn't really any other cost to this. If you want, you could post the book to the next person in the chain. This way you can make it an international book swap if you want. Or you can find someone local and pass it on in person. It doesn't actually have to cost you anything and you get your own book back at the end of it.

the great book exchange

There are no rules to the book swap as such, but it might be worth having one person to oversee it all and make sure that everyone is sending their books on when they should. 

Book reviews

You don't need to do anything but read each book that comes along each month. If you want to take things a bit further though, you could set up a group on Facebook or somewhere similar. Each book could have a 'file' and after a person has read it, they could comment with their thoughts. Another idea would be put a sheet or two of paper in the back of each book, for people to add their thoughts too once they've read their book. When you get your book back, you'll see what everyone else thought of it.

I'd love to hear how you get on with the book share idea, let me know in the comments section. If you want your friends to join in, then feel free to share this post around to tell them all about it. Have fun.