Trade CDs, DVDs, Games, Books with Swap.com
- Friday, 17 December 2010
A good swap is a wonderful thing. You save money, get rid of things you no longer use, acquire something you can use, and help the planet by reducing the need for new products and preventing items from ending up in the waste stream. And if there aren't a lot of swaps in your area, Swap.com is a fantastic option.
Swap.com has taken the concept of the local swap and magnified the scope so that people across the country can trade books, CDs, movies and video games—popular items that fit in a small package and can be shipped at a low cost. For each item you swap, you pay Swap.com a fee: $0.50 for most items, but $1 for video games for the newest platforms, movie sets with three or more discs, and CD sets that contain four or more discs. However, the maximum monthly fee is $10, so you can end up paying a lot less per item. Shipping using a Swap.com label is $3.18 for a one-pound media package, but swappers may be able to get less expensive postage at their local post office.
Though there are a lot of other swap sites out there, many deal in a specific type of item only, such as only books or only DVDs, or they simply facilitate direct swaps. But Swap.com helps people find what they're looking for with their system, and they let users complete three-way trades. Swappers can also trade different types of items; as Swap.com account manager Jennifer Dziubeck puts it, "moms can swap in a video game their son no longer plays for the latest Stieg Larsson book."
The process is simple: Swappers create "have" lists of things they want to give away, and "want" lists for things they are looking to get their hands on. The site then uses algorithms to create a list of the things a member could exchange for the items on their "have" list. Then it's time to get down to trading.
Jeff Yale, who lives in Meriden, CT, and works for a water utility company, is a master swapper with almost 400 Swap.com exchanges under his belt. Yale, who likes to exchange items to save money and "get a good deal," mostly trades books for DVDs, but he has also received CDs, other books and video games. "It is a great way to get hard-to-find books and get rid of items I no longer want," he says.
Paula Parker, a retired internal auditor who lives in Denver, CO, started trading books on Swap.com because she found the ones she read just piled up in her basement. "I could give them away, but then I get nothing from that except a good feeling from having donated them," Parker says. "By using (Swap.com), I get a book that I am interested in reading in return."
Parker doesn't just use Swap.com to find books she's looking for. "It introduces me to some authors and books that are new to me. I can swap for one, read it and see if the author is to my liking," she says. "It doesn't cost as much as if I had bought it in the store. If I don't like it then I haven't invested much."
Both Yale and Parker value the environmental benefits of swapping. "I like the fact that items are being reused instead of being thrown out," Yale says. "If people get some use out of an item then trade it, companies will have to print less media and use less resources."
Parker also sees tangible benefits in reducing resources. "I do love trees and appreciate the fact that this reduces the number that have to be cut to produce paper," she says.
In addition to reduction of resources, Swap.com produces significant environmental benefits. Last year alone, the company helped people make more than one million swaps, and they estimate the total carbon offset of the swaps at five million pounds of carbon emissions, which is like taking 30 cars off the road for a year.
With the average American household storing more than $7,000 of unused items, there's no time like the present to get swapping.