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How To Host A Book Swap Party

book swap

The last year or so I’ve been making a concerted effort to DE-CLUTTER. I feel so much better when there isn’t so much stuff around! I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to getting rid of clothes, shoes, home décor, kitchen gadgets, etc. In fact, just today I took 3 huge bags of stuff to my local thrift store.

But the one thing I’ve always had a hard time getting rid of is BOOKS! I love having my shelves filled with beautiful books, but I only have so much space! I’ve started reading a lot of books on the Kindle app on my phone and iPad but I just can’t seem to completely give up the joy of reading from an honest-to-goodness book.

So the other day when Britta was thumbing through a magazine and saw the idea for a book swap party, I thought that sounded terrific! It’s basically the same idea as this “Trash Into Treasure Party” I posted about a couple of months ago, but with BOOKS instead of clothes and accessories. You get new books to read without having to make more room on your bookshelves!

I was curious about how to best work the logistics of a book swap party so I decided to Bing It! (I feel guilty always giving Google all the love when I talk about internet searches) and found some fantastic tips!

book swap

  • Cut down on your own time and expense by sending out an electronic invitation. I love Evite and Paperless Post because the invitations are adorable, and they make it easy to keep track of RSVP’s.

book swap

  • Tell your guests to bring as many books as they would like! I saw a couple of recommendations that said to have guests bring only 1 or 2 books. But I figure not everyone has the same taste. A book that just collects dust at one persons house might be read over and over at someone else’s house.

book swap

  • Include magazines in the swap! This is another thing I have a terrible time getting rid of – and I know I can’t be the only magazine hoarder around. ;-)
book swap
Image from Bakingdom
  • How about making snacks based on your favorite books? I know homemade Butterbeer (of Harry Potter fame) would be a hit with my friends and family. This recipe sounds delicious!

book swap

  • Make sure you have plenty of space to lay out all the books. Borrow a couple of tables from neighbors if you need to. You could stack books on top of one another if you have to but it will be easier for guests to browse if they can see all the titles without having to move around piles of books. If you’re really ambitious try organizing books by category!

book swap

  • As far as the actual swap goes there are a couple of options:  You can make it a free-for-all where guests can take as many books as they would like. Or, if you prefer to be a bit more organized, give guests a raffle ticket for each book they bring to the party. Then take turns letting everyone choose a book until they run out of tickets.

book swap

  • I also saw the idea of turning the swap into a white-elephant-like exchange where guests can steal books that someone else has already chosen. To keep things from getting out of hand put a 3-steal limit on each book.

book swap

  • Have some post-it notes on hand. Encourage your guests to write notes about the books they brought (and why they love them!) and put the sticky notes on the front covers. That will making it easier for guests to choose which books they’d like to take home.

book swap

book swap

  • Take whatever books/magazines you have left over at the end of the party and drop them off at your local thrift store!

book swap

  • Bonus tip: For all of you who have made the switch to e-books, I recently found out that you can lend books to friends on your Kindle or Nook! For Kindle directions click here and for Nook directions click here.

Since this post was all about sharing books I’d love to know what YOU are reading right now, or what is one of your favorite books?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Bright Ideas

  • My favourite book is The Wolf and The Dove by Kathleen Woodiweiss. Its a historical romance and fantastic. She has written several books, all stand alones and I highly recommend them.

  • […] I saw this idea on pinterest and I think it is wonderful! Basically you gather your fellow bookworms together for an evening of swapping books with one another. Once the weather gets warmer I want to organize one between my friends.  For more details on how to throw your own book swap party head on over to read the post at One Good Thing By Jillie […]

  • I love the book swap party idea. I will give it a try as I have been wondering what would be the best way to get rid of some of the over 300 books I have collected over the years. I will donate the left overs to our local seniors center.
    Thank you

  • Right now I’m reading Following the Path: The Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy by Sr. Joan Chittister on my Kindle. I love this idea to get rid of my hoard of books and not feel guilty because they’re hopefully going to someone who will love my book friends as much as I have.

  • I am reading Maternity and Women’s Health Care. It is for school, but it is slightly interesting. I would much rather be reading Divergent, though.

  • I love just about anything to read. Mysteries, historical fiction science fiction and romantic comedies are usually what I read. James Patterson, Diana Galbadon, J.D. Robb (a.k.a. Nora Roberts), and Dean Koontz are some of my favorite authors. Right now I’m trying to get caught up on my Kindle where I got behind during the holidays.

  • I am currently reading The Magnesium Miracle. I’m working towards improved health. This book has a wealth of information. I hope to have improved health by the time this Wisconsin winter is over!!

  • I have been able to divest my bookshelves of some well loved, but no longer necessary books. I only wish I could say the same of the rest of the family. A book swap would be a wonderful idea!

  • I just finished reading a bunch of Nicholas Sparks books that I had not read yet. I electronically borrowed them from my library on my Kindle app. Have a real love/hate relationship with Mr. Sparks; he constantly breaks my heart and his stories are bittersweet or down right heartbreaking! What a generous offer – thank you for this opportunity Jillee!

  • Right now I’m reading Storm Born by Richelle Mead and some of my favorite books are the Harry Potter series, the Vampire Academy series, the Divergent series, the Hunger Games series, The Mortal Instruments, the Infernal Devices, and everything Richelle Mead has every written. :)

  • I’ve been going back through my favorites lately, all things Jane Austen, Elizabeth Berg, The ‘Peabody Mysteries’, and dear ‘Miss Read’. Just finished Kate Kerrigan’s ‘Ellis Island’ and loved it. Thanks for the give away opportunity.

  • Currently rereading through my personal library, then deciding whether to keep or donate. Favs include Harry Potter series, Clive Cussler, Christine Feehan, Andrew McDermott, James Rollins, Matthew Reilley, & Christine Warren.

  • I’m not currently reading anything, but I would like to start on The Fault in our Stars by John Green since I have heard great things and would like to see the movie.

  • I need to get back to reading and it’s one of my goals this year – right after I reorganize my entire house (which is going white well). But, one of my favorite books is, “A New Earth,” and I go back to it each time I need to re-evaluate my priorities.

  • Been loving the Marisa de los Santos books, Love walked in and Belong to me. Also, Triggiani’s books about life in a mountain town Big Stone Gap and the later books.

  • Love, love, LOVE this idea!!! I am currently in the middle of about three different books… two I’ve never read before and one that I’ve read about million and a half times (A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffet).

  • I love Kindle, paper white, on my iPad, iPhone & iPod! Right now I’m reading something for work so it’s not a fun book but helpful. It’s called The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness. But I already have on my list of ‘fun’ books I want to read of World After (Penryn & the End of Days, Book 2).

  • This is so clever like a cookie exchange only using books! Our local library does a book invitation similar to this. Right now I am reading BOOM by Tom Brokaw It is about personal reflections on the 60’s and today !

  • The Pillars of the Earth, I have enjoyed every book by Ken Follett that I have read. History became interesting and the timeline fell into place for me when I discovered the John Jakes series The Kent Family Chronicles many years ago and The Pillars has a similar base in historical facts mixed with fictional characters.

  • I just finished reading Wicked Sisters. It is about three adult sisters finding out about their strengths and weaknesses. Also, finding the strength to make drastic changes in their lives. It was a really great book.

  • I am a full time mom and now full time student… again. I wish I could say I havecompletely read through an entire non-textbook lately, but I can’t. I love non-fiction historical type books though. I LOVE the idea of a book swap party though! I think I may host one for all my mommy friends!

  • I homeschool my 3 boys (ages 6, 10 & 13), I would love to win this gift card to purchase books for them. I also love the idea of a book swap party!

  • I’ve been reading Patrick f. Mcmanus the horse in my garage. Its my husbands Valentine’s present. He loves Patrick’s books, and so I thought I’d read it before I gave it to him! Its interesting, just got to have a different sense of humor. I prefer romance!!

  • I just finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth. It was great. Now I want to read the rest of the series. But I will always love the Hunger Games and Harry Potter series. They are the best.

  • I’m reading a few at the moment…
    *7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker
    *The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp
    *The No Excuses Diet: The Anti-Diet Approach to Crank Up Your Energy and Weight Loss! by Jonathan Roche
    *and Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl by Lysa TerKeurst with our women’s Bible study group
    Now is that a combination or what!?

  • I just finished the book Wicked Sisters. It is about three adult sisters dealing with their shortcomings and realizing their strengths. Also, making decisions to change their lives in significant ways. It was a really great book!

  • I am not currently reading a book but I am a magazine fiend!!!! I get about dozen subscriptions and just picked up 2 magazines at Costco today. I am lost without something to read!!

  • I am, surprisingly, not reading anything right now. I do love to read, and have a wide range in tastes, so I have too many I love to pick a favorite. If asked, I usually say Pride and Prejudice, though I also love a lot of YA and fantasy, mystery, and clean romantic comedies.

  • Oh and I am always reading multiple books. Right now I am reading The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon. If you haven’t read the Outlander series, I highly recommend it! And they are making it into a show on Starz!!!!!

  • I am reading The Water is Wide – the third book in a the Blue Bells series by Laura Vosika. I should have a book swap since we had water in our basement today and need to get rid of a lot of books that I saved from the water!

  • I am reading Words By Heart by Ouida Sebestyen. I am currently teaching about the Civil Rights Movement to my juniors in High School and this is an excellent book to use as a resource.

  • I have recently been reading the CJ Box Joe Pickett series. I went back to school after a 20 year hiatus and just want to read fun and light books! This fits the bill perfectly! Maybe in a couple years I’ll be ready to read something more intellectual.

  • I love to read….books and magazines. I like the idea for a book and magazine swap. I just finished Gone Girl and I’m about to start Anna Quindlen’s new book, Still Life With Breadcrumbs. I love Amazon!

  • Just started reading The True Story of Hansel and Gretal and so far its amazing! I come from a family that loves to read so swapping books happens often at our house :)

  • Such a great idea! I love it. I am reading/listening to The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood. I am listening to it do to eye surgery.

  • I’m in the midst of my annual reading of the Bible, plus catching up on J.D.Robb – I’ve missed THREE of her books, can’t belive it. But oh what a wonderful pleasure to know I still have 2 more books to read after finishing the one open right now …..

  • I just finished Hero by Peter Moore, which I absolutely loved. Just started Odin’s Murder by Kira Gold and Angel Lawson and am thoroughly enjoying it.

  • I am currently reading Dean Koontz’s Forever Odd. It’s a pretty good read and they did an awesome job on the movie of the first book in this series “Odd Thomas”.

  • I just finished a great historical romance book called “Sweet Mercy” by Ann Tatlock. It was awesome. Just waiting on the weather to get better so I can make a trip to the library to get some more good reads!!

  • I’m reading S by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. There’s a story, and within this story, there’s another story in the margins from notes two people have written back and forth to each other. And each of them has their own story withing those margins. Plus the other stories going on in their lives. 5 or so plot lines simultaneously? Bring it on!

  • Great Ideas! My favorite books of all time is ‘The Notebook’ I have read it lots of times. I have pages turned down, and passages highlighted so I don’t think I could bare to use it in my swap;) Its just the sweetest story! Thanks for the kindle lending directions too! So helpful!

  • I am reading several at the moment…
    One by Beth Moore….don’t remember the name.

    ‘If Chickens could Talk’ written by a friend of mine, about her pet chickens.

    ‘The Heist’ by Janet Evanovich

    ‘What we talk about when we talk about God’ by Rob Bell.

  • I just finished Unbroken – I liked it, but don’t know if I will be able to handle the movie. The book was tough enough. I don’t understand how people can treat one another that way…but then again, I am lucky because I haven’t experienced war and what it can do to a person.

  • I belong to Paper Back Swap, a great place to find the books you’ve been wanting and to share some you no longer want. I also have Kindle on everything possible and I love ebooks. I was a hard sell, fought it for years. I recently read John Grisham’s Sycamore Road and The Racketeer. I must say The Racketeer was a page turner! I love Jane Austen and I love pioneer, frontier and historical CHRISTian romance.

  • I’m currently reading Cloud Atlas and it might possibly be the best book I’ve ever read! Don’t be afraid of high level of vocabulary. It is so worth it

  • ANY Sherlock Holmes mystery is definitely at the top of my list of “GO TO” books……………………..Sandra Brown is up there too…………………..

  • Right now I am re-reading my favorite book, “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” by John Irving. I think I will be switching over to The Hunger Games series soon…

  • I am now following you on Instagram! I am currently reading Lucky by Staci Stallings. It is the second in a wonderful Christian romance series. Uplifting and romantic, can’t get much better than that in my book!

  • I’m reading Essential Oils for Beginners – learning a lot from it, your blog and your sister’s! Just made my first healing salve over the weekend :)

  • I’m currently reading “Into The Storm” by Suzanne Brockmann. After I am done with that, then I’m going to read “A Dog’s Purpose” by W. Bruce Cameron.

  • What great tips. I think I am going to organize a book club with my friends and family. Thank you! I would also love an amazon giftcard, I’d use it to get some more books.

  • Although not a novel it is by far the most useful and interesting book I’ve read in quite some time. Its called “Supershop Like The Coupon Queen: How To Save 50% Or More Every Time You Shop by Susan Samtur”. It is a very useful personal finance book that us shopaholic can learn a lot from. I just started reading it yesterday but I’m already half way done. An absolutely must read book.

  • I just read Inferno by Dan Brown. I also read Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, and The Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill. I have recently been reading on my iPad and love the convenience of it always being ready to read where you left off.
    I enjoy reading and have been making more time for it lately. I think the book swap is a great idea and could even be a good fundraiser! Thanks for the great ideas and information!

  • I am currently reading The English Girl: A Novel by Daniel Silva. John Green’s box set is waiting in the wings–I can’t wait to break it open and start Looking for Alaska!

  • I’m rereading a book I LOVEEEE, it’s called “Deathless” by Catherynne M. Valente. Russian folktales and history woven into a novel. So great!

  • I am reading Reshaping it ALL by Candace Cameron Bure. Its a wonderful book, I will finish it tonight and it has taken me 3 days to read it. She is so inspirational and its a book thats worth reading if you haven’t yet.

  • Currently I am reading the Walking Dead comic book series, but one of my favorite series I’ve read recently is the Mortal Instruments series. I ate that series up as quickly as possible, and loved every one. I immediately read the Clockwork series she wrote and am looking forward to her next books.

  • I am a true junkie for Paranormal Fiction of almost any kind. My favorite Authors are Laurell K Hamilton. Kelly Armstrong Keri Arthur, Patricia Briggs. Jeanniene Frost., Lori Handeland started thsi fascination with her “Moon” series!
    Currently I am reading Jeanniene Frost “Destined for an Early Grave” and it is WONDERFUL!
    I use both Kindle and Regular books and when we buy our own home I am putting up a “little free library” stand. I also save money on books by using PaperBack Swap.com!

  • I may be an adult, but I’m a sucker for fairy tale rewrites. I’m currently reading a few juvenile books, specifically “Wednesdays in the Tower” after enjoying the Dragon Slippers series.

  • New from John Grisham comes the gripping story of Sycamore Row. This is a direct sequel to his first book, A Time To Kill (1989) and features Jack Brigance as the leading character.

    This mysterious story begins with Seth Hubbard, a wealthy man who is slowly dying of cancer. Before dying under the Sycamore Tree, he leaves behind a will. This forces his grown children, his maid, and Jack into a conflict so dramatic and riveting- its reminiscent of the murder trial Brigance was involved with 3 years before which made him Ford County’s most notorious citizen.

    A mysterious will leaves many unanswered questions behind- why Hubbard’s maid is left with all his money, and was he thinking clearly when he wrote the will in his last few hours? And what does it all have to do with Sycamore Row?

  • My three year old daughter has me reading all the “Olivia” books possible!!!! Over and over everyday!! My last grown up book was “Catching Fire”.

  • I am currently reading a book called most talkative by Andy Cohen. It is his fascinating story about His rise through the ranks of pop culture. Fascinating to read about All the celebrities he has Rubbed elbows with in his maturing process

  • I just finished reading The Grimm Diaries prequels 1-6 on my Kindle and the bedtime story, for my boys, is Ludo and the Star Horse.

    I think another fun idea would be to wrap the books (so you can’t see the title) and put the genre on it. Have a Book Blind Date!

  • I am reading “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. One of my all time favorite books, and one I would recommend everyone to read, is “Night” by Elie Wiesel…it is an amazing testament to the human spirit and will never leave you.

  • My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. As a retired reading teacher, I have cases of books that I used in my classroom library. Another suggestion for after your book party is to check with local schools, they might be needing additions for teachers room libraries or the school might be raising money with a book sale. That is what I did with mine.

  • I’m currently making my way through 50 Classic Books on my Nook. I just finished Te Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and started Alice in Wonderland. I love classics and my favorites are Pride and Prejudice and The Count of Monte Cristo.

  • I am halfway through the fifth Mortal Instruments: City of Lost Souls. My sweet hubby got me the whole set as a gift. :-) My kids and I are also reading Howl’s Moving Castle!

  • Actually, I never read any book beside my course text books. I am so much interested to start reading since it brings you wisdom, makes use of your free time when you think negative about yourself & your life and hurt yourself. Can someone please suggest any book for beginners? I like comedy.

  • I don’t have actual books as I read on a tablet. I am always sharing and swaping books with friends. However, the magazines can be an issue. I think I have 2 years worth of Food Network that are just taking up space but I keep for the recipes.

  • I have been reading everything from romance to science fiction to cookbooks from amazon on my iPad. I just love that you can use the cloud and store and loan out books to others.

  • I am currently reading Allegient, the final one of the Divergent series. Love this idea of a book exchange, we have so many sitting around that I hate to get rid of but would love for someone else to use.

  • currently reading Cut to the Bone by Jefferson Bass, listening to Doing Hard Time by Stuart Woods. Just finished The Maze Runnerby James Dashner (being made into a move) and have sequel The Scorch Trials ready to read. It is a young adult novel. If you like dystopia (Hunger Games) type books, you would like The Maze Runner. I also recommend Unwind by Neal Shusterman, another YA book. It has sequels that I haven’t read yet. I’m in graduate school so most of my reading is sporadic these days other than what I have to read for classes.

  • Currently, I am reading CCNA Routing and Switching: Introduction to Networks. It’s a dry read, however, I have to read it for my class. Before that, I read John Grisham The Racketeer! Great Book!!! Much better reading than CCNA. After this semester is over, I’ll be looking for my summer by the pool reading material! :D

  • Got a Kindle for Christmas….and its been fun. Looking forward to using it over the summer at Camp and at the Beach! But I’ll need BOOKS to read!!! ;-)

  • I really enjoy Jodi Picoult’s books and Anne Rule’s true crime stories. Actually I like to read just about anything. I think the idea of a book swap would be so much fun! I may have to try this with some of my “bookie” friends, thanks for the idea!

  • I am currently into “How To Books/Blogs” Having a baby around doesn’t leave much time to read, but when it does I hurry to Safari and pick up on my “reading list.” XOXO Love your blog, Jillee!

  • Actually, I never read any book beside my course text books. I am so much interested to start reading since it brings you wisdom, makes use of your free time when you think negative things about yourself & your life and hurt yourself. Can someone suggest good books for starters? I like comedy.

  • I am a Harry Potter nerd through and through but I am going to start The Hunger Game series tonight when my daughter brings me her copy. I am the type of person who reads books again and again so if I borrow a book & like it I have to go buy a copy of it.

  • Hello everyone! Right now I am reading The Hobbit. I know it’s a kids book, but I had never read it & I am enjoying the movies so much I just wanted to read the book finally!

  • I read the “Hobbit” for the first time when I was 14. Almost 50 years ago! How time flies. Since then I have re-read the “Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” multiple times. I have several editions; hardback, paperback and now on Kindle. They never fails to delight me!