Bethany Dean By Bethany Dean, 3rd Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Web Sites

A review of ReadItSwapIt, which lets users from the UK swap books for free, or rather cost of postage.

ReadItSwapIt - the Gist of It

ReadItSwapIt is a UK-based site which allows users to swap books they have read or don't want for books that they do want. It's a very simple premise which, upon getting registered on the site and engaging in a swap process, proves to be very successful. There are many US-based sites that are similar, but ReadItSwapIt caters exclusively for British readers.

How to Swap

First of all, you must register on the site. This is very easy indeed - you assign yourself a username, which can include the usual characters, although as a little note, my username includes an accented 'e' and I was accepted, so very pleased with that! After the registration process is complete, the first step is listing your postal address. Some people will understandably be uncomfortable with this, but obviously, it's the only way for your books to get to you. I've seen people's workplace addresses up there, which could be a viable alternative - it's worth pointing out at this point that NO ONE can see your address unless they have engaged in a swap with you and it's accepted from both sides. No one can just go on and see your address, not even registered members, unless they agree to a swap.

The next step is listing what books you have to swap. This is as simple as entering an ISBN number. After you've added enough books, it's time to go shopping! ReadItSwapIt has numerous categories that help make finding the book you've always wanted easier. There's also a great search function that will let you search titles, authors, descriptions, all of the above, search for members, or search for books on ReadItSwapIt has an affiliated link on Amazon which means if you click through to that site from ReadItSwapIt, they get a percentage of whatever you buy off Amazon, a great way to donate to the site and keep it going!

When you find a book you want, you'll see how many copies are available, and an option to 'swap with this member'. It's as easy as clicking a button. Hopefully within not too short a time the member will accept your swap and choose one of your books, or decline it. A good feature ReadItSwapIt have included is giving a reason for declining - the most common is 'I don't want to read any of their books right now', but there's also options for people who cannot reach the post office, have had trouble with members in the past, or don't have the book any more. If your swap is accepted (hurrah!), you will see that person's address, and they will see yours. It's common politeness to get your book wrapped and sent off as quickly as possible, as in my experience they all do the same, and I've never had a book not arrive within a week. You will get notifications on your swap page (and in emails if you choose to) when the other person has sent theirs, and when they have received yours - likewise you must click when you've sent the book and received the one you wanted. There is a feedback system, like eBay, which lets you give the member a star rating and a written comment.

After the swap, the book you sent is removed from your 'active books' list, and the book you received is put on an 'inactive books' list, so that if you decide you don't want to keep it, you can offer it back up for swapping with just one click. Simple as that.

Other Features

ReadItSwapIt has a useful Wishlist feature - the option to add any book to your Wishlist appears on search results, and ReadItSwapIt email you when someone lists a book with the same ISBN. One small criticism is that obviously different editions of the same book have different ISBN's, so you may have to keep up a regular search for your book, because there is no feature that notifies you when a book is listed with a specific keyword or author.

There are also forums where you can discuss books, request unusual ones, or just chat with other members.

Using the Site

ReadItSwapIt is overall excellently designed. There are sections for books added within the last 24 hours, so you can be guaranteed a quick swap, most popular, so you can see which of your books to list, and most common, so you can decide whether to really list than Dan Brown novel there are 94 copies already available of.

The categories are altogether reliable, however just a few more would be better. As readers know, books often straddle two or more categories.

You can also swap audiobooks on ReadItSwapIt - I'm about to receive my first one. Anything with an ISBN can be listed.

There's lists galore, for everything from your wishlist, your active books, your completed swaps, your uncompleted swaps and declined swaps. You can choose an option called 'I'm going on holiday', which sends a notification to all swappers to wait until you're back. Your profile is easily accessible, concise and to the point. You can see other members' total swaps, books registered, last swap, last login, requested swaps, and Wishlist, which is useful for targeting users who have a book you specifically want. You can also send members private messages through the forums.

If your search results find no books listed for swapping, it gives you the option of buying off Amazon (support the site) or adding to your Wishlist. This can be a little misleading however, as the text which states 'no matching books found' at the top of the page isn't very large, and missing it might get your hopes up. This is a tiny niggle though, and I only fell for it once.

ReadItSwapIt is a great experience, and works primarily on user trustworthiness. If you post yours but don't get anything back, there's very little you can do apart from contacting the site and getting the member disciplined. Also, your books may become victims of the postal system. Sheer courtesy dictates that you address and package your book properly, and use sufficient postage - however it's perfectly fine to use second class postage on all your send-outs. They get there quick enough.

If a member doesn't respond to your swap request within a reasonable amount of time, you can click 'cancel this swap' with no repercussions. Members get a limited number of swaps according to their feedback - having dead ends cluttering your list means you cannot swap for another when it is more likely to be accepted.


I would definitely recommend ReadItSwapIt as a great experience, and a way to share tastes with other bookaholics. You never know what you'll find on there by putting in a keyword!

See my profile on ReadItSwapIt
Read my Tips for Swapping on


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Meet the author

author avatar Bethany Dean
Author of the Rose Prince, available on Kindle and in paperback. | @bethanyrdean

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
10th May 2011 (#)

Good and informative.

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author avatar Melissa Dawn
22nd Dec 2011 (#)

I had never heard of this. THanks for sharing.

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