Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Make friends by saving money on books

One of my favorite hobbies is reading. Even when I was little, I preferred to have my nose in a book rather than pressed up against a television. For the last few years, I haven't been able to indulge this hobby as much as I otherwise would have wanted to; my heavy course load and busy study-job schedule kept me from reading much more than the occasional quick read or a daily to weekly check of Google Reader.

For the first time in my life, I actually have enough time to read for leisure. The only downside, of course, is that for the first time in my life I am living in a place where most people do not speak English natively. Although the experience is wonderful overall, there are of course downfalls: one big one is the cost of books.

If you live in a non-English speaking country, you know exactly what I mean. New books are expensive. New books written in a foreign language can easily cost three times more.

With that in mind, I've found that one of the best ways to get new books is to trade them with other people. My friends and I are always exchanging books we loved, hated, or anything in between. Scarcity of cheap books has also meant that I step outside the genre boundaries I would normally tend to prefer. I've discovered new authors and styles that I never would have without book swaps.

If you're new to an area, or don't know people who like to read, try looking on social networking sites for book exchanges. Some great resources are couchsurfing and meetup. You could also try facebook or any other website that you feel comfortable with. Another great place to look at is local hostels - where there are bound to be a few travelers who would like trade books. If you can't find any, think about starting your own!

Book exchanges are great. They're really a way of killing three birds with one stone: get books, save money, make friends.

Photo by Faeryan


  1. happened upon your blog, and it's awesome. it should have been a crime for having to pay so much for new books in a foreign country. more than once I was kicking my arse for buying a book and spending ten more dollars on it than I would have stateside. anyhow I'm actually looking to do some expating in Instanbul and your blog has been very helpful!

    hope your day is fabulous