Sharing - Always Good?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013



Lately, I have found myself wondering if some of the sharing that I've done has always been a good thing. Now, I'm not talking about the sharing of toys when someone comes over to play - as we have taught our children. I'm thinking more on the lines of the "You give me something and I'll swap you something of mine" type of sharing.

One of the more popular websites for sharing is Paperback Swap. I was a member of Paperback Swap for five years. With this program, you have a book you've read and no longer want it. Someone else has a book they no longer want - but you do. So you swap it out, sending out your book to a member. You receive a credit for another book. You go ahead and use the credit to "purchase" the book you want from another member. Each member pays the shipping charges to mail out his/her books.

Sounds good, huh? Well, in the last year I have had a good deal of problems with this program. I no longer think it's a good deal because, well, I can't trust people to be honest. That's right. Honest.

I have mailed out books that I KNOW are in very good condition. None of us smoke; most of my books are brand new (reviewer copies) that I read but still keep in very, very good shape, protecting them from harm's way; and I send them out well-protected, using lots and lots of shipping tape to make certain they don't escape from the packaging or become damaged during shipping.

Still, many members receiving my books have complained that the books are in terrible shape and they demand their credits back. That means I swallow up the cost of shipping the books (nobody as yet sent them back to me - surprise) and I get no credits that I can use for another book.

Rather than argue or complain, I refund the credit (give it up so they get a free book and I am duped out of one). I want to be gracious, but I really have to tell you that we don't have the extra money to do this sort of thing.

So....is Paperback Swap a good use of my finances/time? I would say not. God calls us to be good stewards of all that He gives us. Wasting money sending out these books is not being a good steward of our finances. I have closed my Paperback Swap account (feeling a bit sad as I did it). I will now donate my used books to the library in which I work.

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