This is a book exchange service, whereby you pay a fee, and offer ten of your own books to the pool. You can then choose up to five books per month, and to get hold of one of these, you have to send an SAE to the person currently holding that book. Books offered must be deemed suitable according to the terms and conditions, and padded envelopes can be ordered from the website, again for a fee.
Obviously it’s a business, hence the fee; but this could easily be done on a non-profit basis. At least it is less haphazard than book-crossing, which has always appealed to me, although I’ve never done anything about it.
On top of the fee, you have to provide the SAE every time you require a book – so that’s £2 per book. If you regularly buy your books in charity shops, you are already contributing to a book-recycling scheme, for a lower price AND for charity.
So far the list of books is not that great. Of course if it takes off, it will improve, but there’s no guarantee that the other book-offerers will be like-minded readers, and so the Rushdies and the de Berniereses may never appear on the list.
I tried to set up a book-swap scheme on Uborka, and only ever managed to get rid of one book: Room At The Top by John Braine, which Stuart kindly took off my hands in return for his copy of Vile Bodies, by Evelyn Waugh.