Cheyenne, Wyo. — During a time when money is tight for many people, the Laramie County Library System held another book swap Thursday, less than four months after the first one, which was called an “experiment.” Once again, many locals turned out on a mild spring afternoon to exchange the books they no longer had any use for, hoping to acquire some they could put on their bookshelves and/or pass the time with, saving money in the process.
Three-dimensional book prices over the last several years, while not generally rising sharply, have remained costly. According to Fast Facts, the average price of a hardcover book from 2004-2009 hovered around $80 each, while trade paperbacks were trending toward $40 a piece. Mass market paperbacks stayed in the $6 range.
The first book swap in December was held in a smaller room and saw books of all conditions pile up on tables and under the floors, and was at times really crowded though esteemed by the participants. This two-hour event for bibliophiles lasted from 5-7 p.m. in larger surroundings, offering the public more elbow room and air above to search out and inspect fiction and non-fiction titles alike.
There was a limit on the amount of books that could be exchanged, which was capped at 20. The books also had to be in readable condition, while children’s books, videos, and books in bad condition were not counted as one-for-one swapping credit. Such items (other than the unacceptable books) not deemed usable for the book swap could’ve been donated to the library’s used book store, which is perpetually open.
In an age when the written word is becoming more popular as an app for an iPhone or downloaded onto digital readers like Kindle, the three-dimensional nature of a book as well as its feel in the hands still resonates with many readers, including teenagers and younger children, who were among the swappers. A number of titles could be found, ranging from the writings of motivational preachers Joel Osteen and Norman Vincent Peale to the political histories surrounding former House Speaker Tip O’Neill and President Lyndon Johnson, along with mysteries, romance, sci-fi, travel, financial, and educational titles looking for new homes.
Coffee, tea, and hot cocoa were served to those who attended. One library official said there would be a book swap for children’s books taking place sometime in the future.
Colorado State Library, et al: Book, Newspaper, and Periodical Prices, 2004-2010:
http://www.lrs.org/documents/fastfacts/268_Book_Prices_09.pdf, February 19, 2009, Fast Facts – Recent Statistics from the Library Research Service