How to Host a Book Swap

How to Host a Book Swap

In honor of the re-release of the Cultivated Reading Journal, we're chatting all about how to host a book swap today! A book swap is a fun opportunity to gather with book-loving friends, share your well-loved reads, and find a few new titles for your bookshelfand even more for your TBR list! Whether you've attended one of these parties before or not, we're covering everything you need to know about how to host a book swap in today's post.

What is a book swap?

A book swap is a book lover's dream! At its most basic, it's a fun opportunity to gather with book-loving friends and swap books you're ready to pass on, and receive new-to-you books in return. There are many fun details you might consider including—we're covering several of them below!

In addition to bringing home an armful of books, book swaps are perfect opportunities to discuss what you're reading and the books you recommend with others who also love to read. Be sure to bring your Cultivated Reading Journal, because you'll definitely need somewhere to jot down all the new additions to your TBR list!

Floral reading journal and open books with a cup of coffee

How do you organize a book swap?

There are several ways to organize a book swap.

The Yankee Swap

Some hostesses ask guests to bring a single new or pre-loved book for a Yankee Swap-style book swap. Everyone is given a number, and guests choose a book from the pile in order, with good-natured stealing along the way. Ask everyone to wrap their book (with or without a clue on the tag!) for an added element of surprise.

The Free-For-All

If the goal is to clear your shelves of books you've already read and enjoyed, you might encourage each guest to bring up to 10 books to share. Loosely organize the books by genre and allow everyone to take home the same number of books they brought.

The Themed Swap

Narrow the focus and ask guests to bring books to swap in a particular genre: nonfiction, cookbooks, memoirs, thrillers, or historical novels could all be fun options!

No matter which type of book swap you choose, you'll get to share beloved books with friends and receive beloved books in returna win-win!

What are fun details for a book swap?

As if taking home a new book wasn't fun enough?! Here are some other fun ideas to consider for your next book swap:

  • INVITATIONS: Even though book lovers are also stationery lovers, too, an e-vite is an easy way to gather your guests. Paperless Post and Minted both have lovely book-themed digital options.
  • DECOR: Grab an armful of dusty books from the thrift store and use them to set a bookish scene. Paint the covers and use them as signage, combine torn-out pages into bunting or a table runner, or use stacks to display food and drinks.
  • FOOD: Depending on when your party falls, you might consider serving themed food. Many beloved novels or series have accompanying cookbooks you could select dishes from, or simply creatively name your dishes! A little fun signage and a few puns go a long way. Think: The Crepe Gatsby or Game of Scones (more ideas here!).
  • FAVORS: Is it a party if you don't take a little something away? Wrap up gummy worms in glassine bags for a fun nod to bookworms :)

We'd love to hear: Have you ever hosted or attended a book swap? What's your favorite book of all time? Leave a comment below!

P.S. How to start a hobby

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Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas

Emily Thomas is Cultivate What Matters' Content Strategist and Writer. With over a decade at Cultivate, Emily loves helping women uncover what matters, set good goals, and live them out with joy. Her free time is spent with her high-school-sweetheart husband and three young kiddos.

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