Garms for Books: an experiment in FB buy&sell group

Giving things for free is stressful, so I’ve decided to ask for any book in return.

I manage a rather large Facebook trade community and also am an adept of the minimum amount of essential clothes that a human being should possess to cover oneself appropriately. So every now and then I inspect my wardrobe and get rid of some items that I don’t need any more. My vast experience of giving away stuff for free is rather controversial, as lots of people want to take free things, but then mysteriously disappear, or demand home delivery, or start a stalking campaign demanding stuff that they need.

Having experienced that, I’ve decided to conduct a small social experiment: my post said that people can take clothes only in exchange for one book of their choice. I didn’t specify authors or genres and gave them complete freedom of choice, seeing this as a chance to broaden my reader’s horizon and discover something that I otherwise just wouldn’t buy or notice myself. Clothing that I proposed was either new or in the excellent condition.

So here are the results:

  1. Eleven messages asking why I need books and what’s the point of exchanging rather than selling.
  2. Five people showed up without a book, telling they had forgotten it and would later give it to me somehow. Well, after taking the desired item they never showed up to present me any printed material.
  3. One person gave me a new unread bestseller bought specifically for our swap.
  4. Five people gave me pre-read fiction and non-fiction books that I enjoyed reading.
  5. I’ve also got three used course-books (Chemistry, Physics and Ancient History), one cookbook and two religious editions.
  6. Two people asked me about swap-conditions, arranged a meeting and disappeared.

So would I recommend getting books in such way? Not really. But if you want to exclude irresponsible takers of free staff that’s a great method. You can actually choose anything for the barter, receiving not only the desired object but also the anticipation for the surprise.