Go to a Book Swap and Make the Big Time


© 2014  by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

Books from the Gillies Community Book Swap  photo by wlk Photography

Books from the Gillies Community Book Swap    photo© 2014  by wlk Photography

Would you venture out on the highway in bad driving conditions to go to any book event?  Should a late spring, blinding snowstorm on April 19th, 2014 be reason enough to miss a scheduled book swap and make the big time?
Up the rural highway almost devoid of traffic, we discover that with care, life is passable.  Soft, wet snow. Instant road slop, slush, four inches, with freezing rain.  Slipping, sliding, so what, book lovers persist, anything to get to a community book swap.
For this event four bags (the reusable cloth shopping- kind) chuck full of well-read, used books were hauled down the highway. Some books were obtained at previous events, some gleaned and weaned from our own eclectic collection. No matter. Up the mile hill we slipped in to the ancient community center in South Gillies, Ontario.

Community Book Swap: How does it Work?

It’s a simple process.  Come and see. Haul used books to the swap, and return home —with just as many or perhaps more ‘new and different’ books. Keep them for a month or forever if you wish.  Read, enjoy, give them away, lend them to others, or haul them right back to the swap, your choice.
Creating an endless supply of excellent reading material, used books are living fuel for a healthy book swap.  Books for exchange; want one book? Ten? A hundred or more every month?  Go for it. Swap. Take’em away.   Books of every description,   Cd’s, music and movies, and older VCRs are there too.   New or used, worn, dog-eared,  some never cracked to the curious eye,  ancient,  deeply enjoyed or skimmed. Perhaps some pocket westerns narrowly missed being tossed into someone’s woodburner, —but now rescued they’re all  treasures equally tossed into the swap instead.  Each and every book can be recycled—to a new reader, a new, proud owner.  A new bookshelf, a new home.

Book Swap Rules

The rules of the community book swap are simple, smart, and green.  Every book is free.  Bring books or not, you may also make a donation, but only if you wish. It’s a kind gesture, the swap is a lot of work setting out tables, boxing, handling and displaying so many books. A whole library’s worth.  There’s a gallon pickle  jar  handy with a handful of coins,  a few loonies, crumpled fives in it, so toss in dimes, nickels, folding money, whatever you wish,  no expectations, no obligation assigned. Help yourself. 

Community Book Swap  photo  by rakukke

Gillies Community Book Swap   photo © 2014 by rakukkee

If you’re looking, the neat organization and layout of hundreds of books on endless tables arranged by the two wise and helpful, gentle organizers is impressive and eases the burden. The highly-dedicated gray-haired couple seems to have every book  in the right place,  some memorized, too, believe it or not. Mainstream fiction?  Right there. Bird identification books? Over there. Diet books?  Downstairs, there are cookbooks too, last table at the end.  You get the idea.

Get to the Book Swap and Make the Big Time

Here’s the best part. Great titles of every genre are available, reference books, poetry, fiction, instruction books, textbooks, soft-covers, hard covers, literary, the weird and wonderful,  New York best-sellers, you name it, they are all free for the taking, first come, first serve yourself.  Works by authors,  the incredibly famous to the eclectic,  virtually unknown  and insignificant are equally available.  Hemingway,  Shakespeare,   King,  Burton,  Christie,  L’amour, Gray,  Irving, Dostoyevsky,  Harper Lee,….and…I.

Yes, you heard it here first.  Browsing casually with her reusable cloth shopping bag, among a thousand other books, she discovered it. The better half found a signed copy of  The Fires of Waterland, 1st edition.  Laying there with Hemingway, Shakespeare,  King,  Burton,  Christie,  L'amour,  Gray,  Irving, Dostoyevsky, Harper Lee, and I.  My own novel.   Right there at our community  book swap, and during a snowstorm too.   Imagine that.

I showed it to the old guy and his wife.  Upon previous visits to the swap I had told them I was a writer and a published author.  I told him  the 2nd edition of The Fires of Waterland was soon going to print.  A new publisher.  “Oh my!”  he  said, beaming, as he thumbed through the prized find.

“You’re one of the authors making the big time at the Gillies Book Swap  the old guy observed, smiling widely, —and smartly tucked The Fires of Waterland into his briefcase.

I was delighted.
Imagine that.  Going to a book swap and making the big time.


Is that Incoming I hear?

photo credit © 2014  by WLK Photography  all rights reserved.

tags:  book swap, The Fires of Waterland,  make the big time, Gillies Community book swap, authors,  books



About Raymond Alexander Kukkee

A published author and freelance writing professional, Raymond lives and writes in Northwestern Ontario.
This entry was posted in Life, Writing Life. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Go to a Book Swap and Make the Big Time

  1. I love the idea of this–not seen it in our community yet, so maybe it is time to start one!

  2. Hi Audrey, welcome to IncomingBytes, and YES, it’s an amazing idea that is working beautifully. The book swap encourages reading for all ages–end enables access to books that many people would NEVER have access to otherwise because they cannot afford them, or even find them. Books are available that are no longer in print, for instance. It’s a great idea for any community. Thank you for commenting ~R

  3. We have had similar book events here and I love them! Bring on the books – it reminds me how much I loved being in a room of books at the library when I was a girl 🙂 Thanks for bringing back the great memories for me, Ray! Also, glad you made it there and back safely with that crazy weather you’ve been having.

    • Hi, Christyb ! I think book swaps are a brilliant use of a precious resource–a room of books is an amazing thing, and incredibly valuable especially for individuals that perhaps can not afford to buy them. The incredible selection of books is almost as good as any library, but being free, you don’t need a library card! Psst…the weather is getting better too. Thank you for commenting, Christyb!

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