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How to Host a Book Exchange

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A book exchange or book swap is perfect for those that want to expand their literary horizons. The premise behind a book swap is somewhat simple.

Guests bring books from their collection to share and then the books are given to new owners. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to freshen up your bookshelf.

Stacks of books on table next to plant with title text "How to Host a Book Swap"

Why Host a Book Swap?

There are several benefits of a book exchange, whether you’re hosting the event or simply participating. One of the biggest benefits of a book swap is discovering new books.

Even better, everyone who participates will leave with new reading material without spending a dime! We can all get carried away in book stores and walk out with a much lighter wallet, but you don’t have to worry about that at a book swap.

And unlike borrowing books from the library, you don’t have to worry about due dates or take extra care not to tear, spill on, or misplace the book since it’s yours.

If you find that you have several books in your collection, some that may even be collecting dust, it is a good idea to host a book exchange.

How to Host a Book Exchange

As the host, you get to set the ground rules so you get to decide who to invite, what types of books can be exchanged (e.g. general fiction, biographies, romance), how many books will be exchanged, and whether or not there will be guidelines as to the quality of the books (e,g softcover vs. hardcover, like new vs. moderately used).

one lady handing another lady some books

I believe the best book swaps are those with the fewest restrictions are the most fun and the most likely to help you discover new genres and authors. Here’s what you need to do if you decide to host a book exchange event:

Create Your Guest List

When it comes to hosting a book swap, creating the guest list is important. This is because inviting the right people will contribute to the variety of books available at the swap.

Invite guests who enjoy reading and have a good collection of books. This will ensure that there are plenty of different genres to choose from.

Send Invitations

While this may seem formal, sending invitations to your book swap will help keep everything in order. Include location, date, time and duration of the swap.

It is a good idea to allow for at least 2-3 hours for the swap to take place, as that gives people time to peruse the book selections and chat. It is also a good idea to suggest a minimum number of books for each guest to bring.

This will ensure that there are plenty to choose from. Each guest should bring a minimum of 3 books to swap, without stipulating a maximum.

Encourage Variety

Not everyone has the same tastes when it comes to book genres. Encourage your guests to bring whatever it is they have enjoyed.

Welcome all genres, whether it is romance, true crime, sci-fi or anything other genre under the sun. There is no shame in liking what you like and there will be no shaming at your book swap.

Schedule Sharing Time

If you want your book swap to be a success, schedule time for each guest to share why at least one of the titles they brought to the swap is a must read. This will get people talking and interested in each title and may open people’s minds to new genres.

Make it a Party

Make your book swap a party. This is a great way to make your book swap a more exciting!

Serve literature related food and refreshments to make the get together a little more exciting. You can even play some literature related games.

When you make your book swap a party, everyone leaves with a parting gift without you having to make goodie bags.

There are several ways to host a book swap. Just make sure you are discerning with your guest list, send invitations, encourage variety, schedule sharing time and make it a party. In no time, everyone will have some new to them books to enjoy.

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