I love to read, you all know that. I have stacks and stacks of books and am always looking for more. I read my favorites over and over again, I've lost count of how many times I've read the Harry Potter books and the Chronicles of Narnia.
When we lived in Clovis, a friend introduced me to paperbackswap.com. PBS is an awesome site where you can post books you no longer want and earn credits when you mail them to others. You then use those credits to request books that you want and they are mailed to you by someone else. There is no exchange of money and since all books are mailed via media mail, your personal outlay of $2-$3 per book is well worth it. I LOVE PBS and have used the site to fill in my favorite series. Currently, I'm getting rid of a few series that I'm bored with and am using my credits to get some books that John wants and to explore a couple of new series.
One of the best things about PBS is that you can still use it if you live at an APO or FPO, which is not the case for many websites. Stores that only use UPS or FedEx to ship will not mail things to us. We are also limited by weight requirements and a few other requirements. I love that I can still get my books through PBS and I take full advantage of the service.
Since we moved to Japan, my access to English-language books is limited. There's a library on base, but I like owning books and sometimes I put a book down in the middle of the story and don't pick it up for weeks because I get busy. Libraries don't like it when you keep their books for a month... There's also a small bookstore at the Base Exchange, they stock a lot of popular authors, but you can never be sure that they will have the exact book that you want. My last option for buying books is the base thrift shop, which is a crapshoot. The stock there depends on what others are getting rid of, so I seldom find something I want to read at the TS.
My PBS buddies have kept me sane, I can usually find the books I want on the site and wait anxiously for them to arrive (sometimes it takes 6 weeks for media mail to get here). Getting mail is like having a birthday, it's a wonderful little surprise and I love going to the post office and finding out that a new book has arrived. I started noticing the sweet little notes in my books not long after we moved here, notes thanking us for John's service. Those little notes make me smile, they remind me that although we're sacrificing a lot by living so far from our families, we are appreciated. There is a woman on PBS who has told me that if there are ever books on her list that I want, she will mail them to me without me having to use my credits. This week, I received a message on PBS from a woman who is mailing me a book and also wants to send us a care package. Then this morning I woke up to find a message that someone had given me 10 book credits, just to say 'thank you' for John being in the Air Force.
I am so very lucky to have a wonderful family and friends, but the PaperBackSwap community is an unexpected blessing. I cried a little this morning when I got the message about the credits, it warms my heart knowing that people appreciate what we do. I have more to say, but Annelise just woke up from her nap. That's the way I roll now...
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