PaperBackSwap (PBS) is a book swapping website which was founded in 2004. The purpose of PaperBackSwap is to use the Internet to facilitate the parity trading of books among members in the United States using a credit based system for swapping. The club also operates sister websites SwapaDVD and SwapaCD to facilitate parity trading of DVDs and CDs, respectively.


PaperBackSwap was founded in 2004 by Richard Pickering, a former economics student, and his friend, Robert Swarthout.[1] Sister websites SwapaCD and SwapaDVD were founded in 2008.[2]


A credit system is used to enable members to trade books for credits and credits for books. Credits may either be purchased, or they may be earned by mailing books which have been requested. Consequently, a member need not seek another member who desires a parity trade; credits are the medium of exchange. Both paperback and hardback books may be traded, as well as audiobooks. Within the PBS system the value of any bound book is one credit, and the value of an audio book is two credits.[3]

Pickering patented several embodiments of the program with the US Patent Office involving the swapping process of books, CDs and DVDs.[4][5] Pickering continues to run the company to date. However, members often complain about the site being slow to load, constantly down, and nearly unusable on a phone. There is common sentiment among the members that if they are paying a membership fee, the site should be upgraded to work

Other complaints include deactivation of accounts based on unclear guidelines and selectively enforced rules about late shipments or unmailed CDs, including accounts with cash or credit balances that go unredeemed or unrefunded upon closure.


  1. ^ "Press releases". PaperBackSwap. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Media & Press". SwapaCD. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  3. ^ "How to request a book". PaperBackSwap. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  4. ^ "System and method for swapping of tangible and intangible items". Justia Patents. Retrieved 12 September 2019.
  5. ^ "System and method for swapping of tangible items". Justia Patents. Retrieved 12 September 2019.