Photo courtesy of Swaptree.com
How many times have you heard, “Mom, I am bored of this game? Buy me a new one!” Perhaps, you’ve just bought another book (again), finished it, put it on the shelf to never open it again. You are tired of spending money on games, books, or CDs that you or your family gets bored of so quickly. Unfortunately, this is the age of instant gratification. So how do you lessen your consumption impact on the Earth, but enjoy more?
Swaptree.com is the answer to this question with a feel good green twist. It is an online portal for you to trade your unwanted music CDs, DVDs, books, and games for ones that you want with the convenience of retrieving it from your mailbox. Best yet, you only incur the cost of postage, which can be printed right from your computer! So if I were to describe Swaptree, I would say that it offers the online trading of Ebay and Craig’s list, the convenience of Netflix, and the “giving away what you don’t want” of Freecycle™.
Photo courtesy of Swaptree.com
So why is the Company’s concept green? Let’s start with swapping books online will reduce your gas consumption and thus, our natural resources. Secondly, the 3Rs’ mantra, reread, reuse, and reswap should be the Company’s theme. Opps! I mean recycle, reuse, and reduce. Reusing what we already have reduces our consumption of new materials.
So how does this concept work? Here is an example using my favorite books and music. I have a Danielle Steel book that I no longer want, but I really would like a Madonna CD that I don’t have. (I am such a fan.) I log on and put my wish list up and the items that I have to trade. Then I enter my UPC code or ISBN for my items. The system connects me to people who want my item and perhaps a totally different person who wants to swap their item. My only cost is the postage which I print online. It just does not get easier than that.
How about swapping college textbooks within the college community? Since I have a child going to college soon this is one of my favorite concepts. Log on and you will see many colleges listed. I shutter to think how much those books are going to cost. Even used books were expensive! They were an arm and a leg when I went to school. That was…um let’s just say that was a while ago.
Although swapping seems very easy, I would advise you to read the FAQ section and take the tour which explains how everything works on the site. When you are done playing, reading or listening to your new treasure, swap it again! To be even more environmentally friendly, keep the original mailing envelope so you do not need to create more waste when you re-swap it. Who knows who will be the next recipient of your swap book? Kind of like the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon concept!
If you are the cautious type like me, you are wondering, knowing my luck I will swap a great book and receive a scratched up DVD. Just like EBay, you can provide a positive or negative feedback of the people you are swapping with. All members see each other’s ratings, so you can decline to swap with a person who has a poor rating. In addition, the Swaptree staff will temporarily freeze that particular item so it cannot be swapped until they review it to see if it met their guidelines. So, this feedback system behooves swappers to be honest or they will never be able to trade again.
As a word of advice, if you are currently buying CDs, video games or movie DVDs, keep the artwork and covers that they come in. Swaptree will not accept for trading any movie DVDs or games without their original cases and artwork, and will mark CDs as acceptable condition without their artwork and cases. The Company has many future goals.
One of the more “on the horizon” goals according to Mark Hexamer, co-founder of the Company, is to return to our community roots. A user will have the option of creating a group of like-minded users who may appreciate the same type of music or a group from the same city or neighborhood who can then swap items in person.You can invite your friends and see what they want and have. (Right now Swaptree has a promotion. If a friend you invite makes a trade then your postage is free on your next trade.) I bet you might learn more about your friends’ tastes for that next round of birthdays!At the moment swapping is limited to the Continental United States, but the Company hopes to expand to international trading.Thinking about the holidays coming up? How about getting that favorite book for your teacher’s wish list, your boss, or your mom (hint hint) with all the extra books and DVDs that you no longer want? At Swaptree, the possibilities are endless and the rewards are forever. Get swapping. It can be very addictive….