In this time of economic slowdown, it is hard to justify any extra expenses. It is sad to say that I consider buying books a frivolous expense. A way to beat this slump is to host a book exchange party. You can gather a group of your friends, enjoy some snacks and find new reads without spending a buck. Not only do you get to update your library, you also get to share your books with others (and then rest to charity).
Hosting a Book Exchange party is easy and fun. There are no rules – but there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Need between 9 – 15 people to provide a range of options
- Send out an evite (Triple yay: no waste, save money and it’s free)
- Every person should come with at least 5 books (you can specify a genre ie. cookbooks, or just say fictional)
- Request they bring a bag to hold their items
- Provide warm refreshments such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate; cold refreshments such as juice, water and snacks. A potluck is a great way to avoid putting all the cost on the host. Evite has a sign-up sheet associated with each invite. You can designate several categories: sides, appetizers, dessert, salad. etc).
- Whatever is left over at the end of the evening gets donated to charity/or kept for the next exchange.
Before the event / Planning Process:
- Make sure your home can accommodate 9-15 people. If not, consider using a friend’s home that may have more space.
- Set the date a few weeks in advance.
- Find sufficient seating for the area. Once you snag a book novel, all you want to do is curl up and enjoy it.
The day of/Before your guests arrive:
- Clear two spaces in your home that will comfortably fit up to 15 people. One space for the food and drinks and the other space for your guests to peruse the books.
- Create some numbered tickets for your guests.
- Make sure the food and drink table is stocked with cups, napkins, plates, serving utensils and utensils.
- Put in your favorite listening CD or radio station.
Let Exchange begin:
- As your guests arrive, give them a number, introduce them to new faces and direct them to the food and drinks area. Let them mingle for a bit, while you start organizing the books (alphabetical order by author is easiest/fastest). Spread the books around the space so there isn’t an overwhelming amount of people in one area.
- Once the books are organized, ask the guests to file in the book area according to their number. The guests will pick one book. When they are done, head back to the food area. Repeat until everyone has picked. Then let the guests with the largest number go first and work towards one. Then let even numbers go, then odd, etc. So there is not a favor in who goes in next and all the “good” books are taken. This way, the first person who arrived, won’t pick out all the best books.
Once everyone has arrived, go over the “rules” before you start.
- The number of books you bring, is the number you can take. Unless no one wants them and they are being donated to charity. Then it is a free for all.
- You don’t have to pick a book every time, skipping a turn is okay.
- Good to go in with both a playful and assertive attitude
- Don’t take it personally when people aren’t choosing the books you brought
At the end:
Once everyone is done choosing their books, sit relax and nibble on the snacks. All the books that are left over are sent to charity or kept for the next book exchange event. If you do donate them, always a good idea to call the charities ahead of time to make sure they are in need of the books.
What do you think? Post your thoughts.
(book image from fromoldbooks.org)