NEW YORK (AP) -- One budget line Wendy Li isn't watching even in this tight economy is her spending on books. That's because she uses PaperbackSwap.com, one of the book trading sites that are growing in popularity.
Ways readers can save money include trading books, buying titles from the library and downloading e-books.
"All I have to pay for is the postage," said Li, a 44-year-old banker in New York City. A diet of three books a month costs her only about $6, clearly a bargain for an avid reader.
Whether it's trading titles, downloading e-books or tapping discounts at major retailers, borrowing from the library isn't the only way readers can cut costs.
Here are five ways to ensure your love of reading doesn't become a casualty to high food and gas prices.
The rules are simple; generally you list the books you're willing to trade. Every time you mail a title out, you get a credit or point, which you can redeem for a book. At PaperbackSwap.com, which currently lists 2.4 million books, you can also purchase credits for $3.45.
Membership is free on all three sites, so your only cost is shipping. Mailing a paperback at the lowest rate typically takes around seven days and generally costs less than $3. After you get a book, it's yours to keep if you wish.
One drawback to these sites is that new or rare titles may be hard to find. Also, because you're trading with strangers, you won't get the same guarantees as with a retailer. But the sites may be able to help mediate a dispute, or award credits for lost damage.
Bookins.com, for example, promises to refund shipping charges and award credits if you don't get the books you were promised. However, there aren't any guarantees at BookMooch.com or PaperbackSwap.com, which, despite its name, also lists hardcovers, CDs and DVDs.