How to Run a Book Swap

How to Run a Book Swap
By Laura Churchill Duke

I love to read. I will read just about anything. However, when I walk into a book store I often feel overwhelmed about what to buy. I’d rather someone just give me a good book to read.

I am also a huge fan of flea market book sales for charity. I come home with armloads of books to try (that the attendant has told me are good). I am also in a book club. Because of this, my shelves are full of books that I have finished but don’t want to keep.

To combat the problem, I have come up with a great women’s night idea that I have been running twice a year for the past few years. It’s a ladies’ book swap night! However, you could easily adapt this for youth, too!

Here’s how I set it up.

  1. Send out invitations to various women. I love bringing together women from various aspects of my life who don’t know each other. Aim for 10 people, inviting a few more for cancellations. Ask each woman to bring a minimum of two books to swap.
  2. On the night of the party, I ask each woman to hold on to one book that she wants to talk about and to try to “sell.” All other books are put on the dining room table.
  3. I have everyone sit in a circle around the living room. We go around the room introducing ourselves. At the same time, we give a brief synopsis of the book we brought. Remind your guests to pay close attention to this, as they will need this information later on!
  4. Distribute a slip of paper and a pen to each guest. Ask her to write on it an interesting fact about herself that the others will guess. Collect the slips of paper in a bowl.
  5. As hostess, draw a slip of paper out of the bowl and read it aloud to the group. The women guess who they think that mystery person is.
  6. The mystery person then picks any book that she wants. Much like the Yankee Swap game we used to play at Christmas, the game continues. Read another slip of paper, and that mystery person picks a book or steals one from someone else who has already picked. If you have a book stolen from you, pick another book (or steal from someone again).
  7. Proceed until all the slips of papers have been drawn and everyone in the room has a new book!

In the second part of the night, I lay all the extra books out on the table. Everyone then shops for books and takes as many new books as she wants. The leftover books are donated to charity or kept for the next book swap.

Other Swaps:

We have held other swapping parties (without the game). These include:
– Accessories, unopened make-up, beauty products, etc
– Kids’ toys and books
– Recipes/baked goods

It’s a fun way to get together with friends and leave with a few new –to-you treasures!