Cheap & Easy College Recipes: Pizza! Med School Prep: Try, Try Again

Brain Break: Two Ways to Have Almost-Free Fun With Books

April 25th, 2009 admin

Does anybody remember what it was like to read a book that WASN’T assigned reading? Once an avid book-reader, I personally felt that forming a love-hate relationship with books was one of the tougher parts of college. How could I want to read for fun after I’d just spend three hours reading by assignment about ribosomes and Pavlovian responses?

Well my friends, I am happy to say that there are still ways to enjoy books (and take a study break), and I’m going to share two of my favs with you.

GoodReads (

I can’t remember how I found out about GoodReads, but it is currently one of my favorite websites. A site for book-lovers (or at least book-readers), it lets you:

  • Create lists of books you’ve read,
  • Rate each book 1-5 stars,
  • Write reviews,
  • And, of course, much more.

You can also create a to-read list, so you can keep track of all those best-sellers and indie reads you keep forgetting to pick up at the library. Best of all, when you add “friends” you can see what your roommate has been reading lately, or even check out the book lists of one of the many authors who are part of the community. And, of course, you can integrate it into your blog or Facebook. Plus, you may as well feel accomplished for all those books you have to read for school. I love seeing the tally of how many books I’ve read next to my username! (Sorry, is that terribly geeky?!?)


PaperBack Swap (

I’ve written before about PaperBack Swap, but that was before I’d even tried it out. Now that I’ve used it (I just picked up a new book today!), I’m an even bigger fan! If you missed out on that other post, the basic concept is as follows:

  1. You list all the books you have but don’t want anymore. They don’t have to be only paperbacks; you can list hardcovers and audiobooks, too.
  2. When someone requests your book, you mail it out, paying only for media mail postage (cheap!). When they receive the book, you get swap credits.
  3. You use your credits to pick out books other people have that you want, and they send it to you. This time you pay NO shipping costs. Yay!

You can also make a “Wish List” of books you want to read that may not be available yet. When another user lists one of those books, you’ll get an email offering you the option to request it.

I LOVE this service for several reasons. First, I love getting good, non-bill parcels in the mail. Second, I love a good deal. (If you like this concept, check out my previous post to find out other sites to swap DVDs, books, and CDs). And third, I love the satisfaction of scrolling through my To-Read list on Goodreads and being able to pick up a copy of one of those books without even heading to the bookstore!

Tip: You can sometimes find textbooks, too! Imagine getting a $100+ textbook for just the price of shipping! Sweet!

photo by lusi

Add to RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!

Entry Filed under: brain breaks

Subscribe Subscribe in a reader
 Subscribe by Email

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. deepikaur  |  May 12th, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    It has been SO LONG since I’ve read a book just for the joy of it! Rather unfortunate, now that I think about it, because I was an avid reader as well.

    I tried GoodReads for some time. It’s a decent site, but found Shelfari ( to be more visually appealing. Plus the community is pretty active, and you can ask the entire community whether or not they would recommend a book. You should check it out if you haven’t already. 🙂

  • 2. deepikaur  |  May 12th, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Also, regarding your poll, I marked other. I just came across your blog and have read a few other posts. You write about, well.. everything quite well, so I think it’d be interesting if you didn’t focus on one subject in particular and covered a little bit of all of the topics you listed. Just my two cents. 🙂

  • 3. Jamie  |  May 18th, 2009 at 10:12 am

    @Deepikaur: I haven’t tried Shelfari, but I’ve seen my friends “shelves” on their blogs. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  • 4. Lisa  |  September 15th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Another great site is I’ve found it to be more user friendly and more socially active than paperback swap.

Leave a Comment


Required, hidden

Surviving College Life is a drama-free zone and reserves the right to remove any inappropriate, spammy, or malicious comments. If you want to critique a post or it's content, we ask that you do so in a helpful way. Also, comments are held for moderation, so they may not appear on the site right away.

Some HTML allowed:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


FREE College Tips E-Newsletter!

Receive a FREE E-Newsletter from Fox College Funding®, with powerful tips on how to avoid paying the full price for college in each issue.

Get FREE Help with the FAFSA!

Share Your Thoughts About SCL

Suggestion Box
Your Post Topic Wishlist



Popular Posts

College Blogs

Recent Posts