I joined a book exchange: You should too!

photo of someone flipping through a book
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Have you ever seen an opportunity to join a book exchange? Last summer, an old classmate from my high school posted details about a book exchange on his Instagram story. The rules to participate were simple. First, I texted him that I wanted to opt in (to use an alias, we’ll call him Greg). Then, Greg gave me the address of the person who told him about the book exchange — Dave. I would then purchase my favorite book and send it off to Dave. Next, I reposted the book exchange on my story, and anyone who opted in had to send their favorite book to Greg. This way the cycle continues, and the people sending you books are friends of friends so it feels more comfortable, especially when giving out your home address.

I had no idea how fun this would be. Plus, it was unbelievably easy to buy a book for Dave because I found my favorite book on Amazon, typed in his address and Amazon did the rest for me. Since an overwhelming amount of my friends replied to my story saying they wanted to participate as well, I was thinking I might just get a ton of books. Think about it – if 10 friends replied to my story, and at least five of their friends replied to theirs, that meant 50 people would technically have to send their favorite book to my address.

I told my parents about the book exchange. We immediately placed bets on how many books I would receive. Figuring that some people might not follow through, I guessed I would receive about 10 books. My mom had more faith and guessed I would receive at least 15. But my dad guessed I would receive 30 books. I should note here that my parents are both super competitive, and although there would be no “prize” to whoever won this bet, the winner would be able to carry around a sense of pride.

Then, it began. The tally after the first week: seven books. Not bad. Then, the books started coming in more slowly and after the second week, my total was 13 books. Mom had won, right? Wrong. I started to receive more books! I was completely shocked. Throughout the third and fourth weeks, I received 14 more books, totaling 27 books. Let’s just say my summer reading list was overwhelming at this point. My dad was so happy he had won.

Later in the summer, I was talking to my dad about how cool it was that I received so many books and that the entire experience was so much fun — receiving a favorite gem from friends of friends felt so special. From mystery to romance to detective novels, I had my own little library all in exchange for sending one book! That’s when I found out. My dad knew during the second week that he wasn’t going to make it, so he picked 14 friends and family members and asked them to send me a book anonymously. So, looks like my mom won after all.

But overall, in my opinion, I was the real winner, because I received 13 people’s favorite books in exchange for sending one. This was so worth it. It’s so easy to go on Oprah’s Book Club list or The New York Times Best Sellers to pick out your next read, but receiving people’s favorite books opened me up to so many reads I would have otherwise never come across. Next time you see a book exchange on someone’s Instagram story or on a Facebook page, make sure you opt in!

Contact Natalia Brusco at [email protected].