The Sisterhood of the Traveling Books

30 May

It’s an adventure of books that fly across the globe, the women who send them forming a community of readers who get a variety of new novels for just the cost of postage. And you are invited to join!

A few weeks back when I wrote a review of “When in Rome” and realized how many people wanted to read it but didn’t have access to it, I offered to send out my copy to whoever wanted it. A waiting list formed. An Australian reader volunteered to send out her copy as well. A longer list formed. And an idea that had been rolling around in my head, and my avid-reader bloggy buddy Jessica’s as well, started to come up again after months of not discussing it: why not start an actual book swap “club”?

The idea crossed our minds because, being big bookworms but living in countries where English is not the primary language can make buying English language books an expensive proposition. We thought, there’s gotta be a better way. Postage seemed cheaper to us than buying books new. Plus, it would give us a way to form a community of global readers, each of us writing notes and sharing our thoughts before passing the book on to the next person in the group. Each book would take on a “traveling heritage” and we’d all save money on buying new books in the process.

So, here it is, then: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Books. You contribute one (or more) of your books to share with the community, then you choose the books you want to receive from the community. It’s that simple!

For all the information, and to sign up, please click here.

A big, big thanks to Jonathan for getting our site up and running, and Jessica for being such a fun partner in crime on this project. I enjoyed designing the logo… do you like it?

Hope you’ll join us!

(And to any men interested: since all the people who signed up for “When in Rome” were women, we didn’t figure there would be much interest on your part… no hard feelings?)


19 Responses to “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Books”

  1. sognatrice May 30, 2007 at 12:47 pm #

    Sounds great! I’m going to apply for membership now but I’ll need a few days to select my books to put up. So exciting! Can we also include books in Italian as well–I’m just starting to read in Italian but I don’t want to spend a fortune on those books either ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Rose in Cali May 30, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Stupendo! If I am approved for membership, I’ll put up “Eat Love Pray.” Il “logo” (?) รจ molto bello! Bravissima!

  3. Shelley - At Home in Rome May 30, 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    Sognatrice: Great idea, books in foreign languages are absolutely accepted. I can throw a couple of mine in the pool too! For example, have you ever read Io Non Ho Paura? Fantastic, amazing, not so hard either, and you can watch the movie afterwards.Rose: The “approved for membership” is just because the forum makes you apply to be able to participate. We’ll only screen out spammers, everyone else will be able to participate, it might just take a day or two in the beginning to get you up and running since we’re getting lots of emails as part of the kick-off.

  4. nyc/caribbean ragazza May 30, 2007 at 2:23 pm #

    I received your email…fantastic idea. I like the logo. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Jeff Gromen May 30, 2007 at 2:37 pm #

    We men don’t have time to read books cause we goes to the gym all the time and read only the sports pages. Actually, I have already lent out a few of my favorite books and never got them back so I don’t have much and I’m getting protective of what I still have.I could register under fake name. hmmm “Jeffrina” is feminine, no?Jeff

  6. Shelley - At Home in Rome May 30, 2007 at 3:59 pm #

    Jeffy, I have an “in” with the site administrators, I could probably get an exception made for you. But I do like Jeffrina, got a nice ring to it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Oh, go back to your sports page already!

  7. Shelley - At Home in Rome May 30, 2007 at 4:00 pm #

    NYC: Thanks for the compliment on the logo! I am glad you are joining us, I know you’ll keep us supplied with interesting reads.

  8. Maeve May 30, 2007 at 6:48 pm #

    Shelley,I don’t mean to be a pest, but I was wondering if you could help me out with something. I studied in Rome for about 6 months in 2005, and while there enjoyed a very particular type of Italian cookie with my coffee every morning. Try as I might, I can’t remember the brand name. Everyone else I know in Italy has moved away and I have spent the last month trying to find it online. Do you think you could be of any help if I described the cookie for you? I found it at the nearby GS grocery store and several of the little mom and pop shops in my Monteverde neighborhood. Thanks (and sorry if this is annyoing)Maeve

  9. Jennifer H May 30, 2007 at 7:30 pm #

    This is a WONDERFUL idea! My only problem will be seeing one of my books gone…I know, I know…it said I would get it back eventually, maybe. ๐Ÿ™‚ But still.

  10. MotherPie May 30, 2007 at 7:45 pm #

    Your banner for it is just wonderful. Your own banner for this site is great, too…

  11. Jill May 31, 2007 at 2:25 am #

    I love the banner! Give yourself a well deserved pat on the back.

  12. Julie May 31, 2007 at 4:59 am #

    You have such great ideas! I love your blog!

  13. Gracie May 31, 2007 at 9:15 am #

    Being an avid reader myself, I will join the club asap! Italian or english, no problems, I have some books to give away. Nice idea, and nice banner!

  14. Shelley - At Home in Rome May 31, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    Maeve: Sounds like a fun detective assignment. Email me at ahirswap AT gmail DOT com and we’ll try to get to the bottom of it!Jennifer H: Yes, I know, I take comfort in my overflowing bookshelves as well, and sent 2 M Bags (ie like 80 lbs.) of books to myself here in Rome, because I couldn’t bear having my books in the States and not here. I feel your pain! But it should be fun… think of all the adventures your books will have ;-)Motherpie: Grazie!Jill: Grazie! Giving a pat as we speak…Julie, Gracie: Grazie, grazie! You are all too kind!!

  15. Anonymous May 31, 2007 at 11:38 am #

    Hi It’s Sonya from Australia and I’ve signed up! I think it is an excellent idea. Cna’t wait to sink my teeth into a good read.Keep up the good work!

  16. Mitch June 1, 2007 at 12:34 am #

    Hmmm… I think that Jeffinia and I may be on the same mailing list.Though I might not “qualify” – I do have LOTS of books that don’t have pictures.. and I am sure my wife has one or two as well!I’d love to share and help ease the burden of digging up English language titles for expats.

  17. sandi @ the whistlestop cafe June 2, 2007 at 4:41 pm #

    Shelley~ a great idea! It is like a rolling library.Check SlowTrav.. there is a great thread on Member’s businesses. You need to chime in.

  18. The Big Adventure June 3, 2007 at 4:53 pm #

    I love this idea . . . ! I’ve applied, and have already chosen a few books to send out to fellow readers.

  19. Anonymous June 5, 2007 at 9:04 pm #

    Great idea, as lots of people have already said. When I enjoy a book I’m alwasy looking for someone to pass it on to. I hate throwing books away, but yon on can only keep so many, so this is a terrific solution. Kind of gives books a life of their own.

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