Most people don’t see the allure in renting books. It’s understandable—why rent when there are libraries? Why shell out the cash, especially in today’s economy? I once followed that way of thinking, but became a convert to the idea of renting books almost two years ago, when I discovered Bookswim. Bookswim (www.bookswim.com) is like the Netflix for bookworms. You choose a monthly membership (anywhere from 2 books at a time for $15/mo. to the devout reader plan, 11 books at a time for $39.94/mo) and, depending on what level of membership you have, you get to keep a certain number of books while sending the rest back (this excludes the occasional reader plan, in which you get two books per shipping and must return them together).
Each time you send books back, you log onto Bookswim and change your status to reflect that your books have been shipped. You then have the option of reserving one book in your pool that you absolutely MUST have next. That book is guaranteed to be shipped in your next package. Bookswim is also great at making sure that they offer the most popular books, including books from the current NY Times bestseller list. Meanwhile, if you decide you’d like to keep a book instead of sending it back to Bookswim, you can notify them via the website and your credit card is automatically charged during the next billing cycle. I used this feature once when I rented American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis. Once I finished it, I couldn’t bear to send it back.
Personally, I rarely ever use the public library. I am constantly racking up fines and the convenience aspect is just not there for me. I also get excited to find a new package of books waiting for me in the mailbox. I currently do the 3 book at a time plan (light reader) because I already have so many books at home that I have yet to read, plus I’d prefer not to pay more than $20/mo, which is what my current plan costs. I have to say, I’ve had nothing but good experiences in the two years I’ve been using Bookswim. My one complaint is that you can only have up to one hundred books in your rental pool at a time. If I had my choice, I’d have probably double that number in my pool at any given time.
Bookswim isn’t for everyone but, if like me, the library isn’t really an option that you have or use,, Bookswim is a great alternative.
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