Bookswaps Are the New Black

After attending a Queer Book Swap in NYC  in May, I was motivated to host a book swap of my own. And so it was! Next month I will co-host the first Vegan/Animal Rights Book Swap in NYC with my friend Olivia Lane at Sustainable NYC.

A rabbit reading a book.At the Queer Book Swap, I snagged some pretty fab reads and unloaded some magazines and books that I totally enjoyed once over but was ready to pass on.

I told my friend Jasmin over at Our Hen House about the plan to host the event, and she was way into the idea. Yesterday, she wrote up a nice blog post about it. She writes:

I can’t even begin to explain to you how many animal rights books and vegan cookbooks we have. Mind you, we live in a 380 square foot apartment, and we’re constantly trying to optimize our space by making regular runs to the thrift store to donate dishes that don’t match, clothes that don’t fit, and tchotchkes that we’ve inexplicably acquired – despite our frugal and sensible buying habits. Yet every time we make our thrift store run, I refuse to get rid of any of these books. They are, in so many ways, my precious stones. But the better part of me knows that donating them to the Goodwill – or the Housing Works Bookstore, which is nearby our apartment, or even to the library – is much better advocacy than my holding onto them. Yet, when it comes to these books, I don’t budge. I just can’t.

However, miraculously, I think I might’ve found a compromise to my “problem,” something that will at the very least rotate the books with which I cannot part, allowing me to still have my share but spread the wealth a bit.

My sentiments exactly. I have separation anxiety when it comes to sharing my animal rights books that right now mostly serve to take up space. So thusly, the bookswap! When it comes to purchasing books, I sort of won’t allow myself to acquire any more until I get rid of more – another reason why bookswaps are the bees knees.  

The basic premise is that you bring up to 10 items and can swap out as many books, DVDs, magazines, etc. as you bring. Those items left over are then donated to a local thrift store by the organizers.  And what a wonderful excuse to mill around with like minded people after the exchange!

In addition to bookswaps being a fantastic way to get new reads while passing on books you’ve already devoured, they can also serve as an awesome community organizing venue. The Queer Book Swap I attended was hosted at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transexual Community Center in soho, an awesome place to network with other queers.  I’m looking forward to hanging out with lots of new folks with similar interests at Sustainable NYC.

Our first bookswap will double as a fundraiser for Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Here’s hoping the event is a raging success and I can host more events like this on the regular!  Check out the facebook page for our first swap. 

By Jamie J. Hagen

Jamie J. Hagen lives in Brooklyn and is a Contributing Editor for Autostraddle and writer for The Line Campaign. Follow her on twitter @jamiejhagen and visit her personal website for more of her work.

2 replies on “Bookswaps Are the New Black”

Leave a Reply