This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Kerry McKay
Need more space for the books you received as gifts last month, and for the stonking 2016 releases you’ve already got your eye on? Time to host a book swap! Follow our steps for a fun-filled evening of literary goodness with the book lovers in your life. By the end of the event, you’ll have extra space on your bookshelves and a few fantastic new-to-you reads, too!
Prepare yourself mentally
It’s hard saying goodbye to books in your collection – even if you’ve read them to death and know the lines by heart. Take some time; show the cover some love, flick through the pages, stroke the binding – whatever you need to prepare yourself for that final farewell. We won’t judge you … Still stroking, huh? K. We’ll just be over here. Join us when you’re ready.
Invite a well-read and varied crowd
Only true book nerds need apply, but it’s important to invite people with varied reading tastes. Ask everyone to bring a good selection of books to swap. If there’s a novel they absolutely loved, but think people will be reluctant to try, have them wrap it in pretty paper for the pile of ‘mystery books’. Nobody can resist a mystery book, and it’ll help introduce your friends to new genres.
Create literary-themed refreshments
Butterbeer, Turkish Delight, Hemingway's favourite cocktail (lethal – trust us on this), a hearty Winterfell stew … go to town with your literary food references. Helen’s Feasting on Romantic Comedy column is a great place to start for recipes.
The swap itself can go a number of ways. Here are a few ideas:
Organised – Separate books into genres and allow people to casually browse.
White Elephant – Everyone draws a number and selects a book during their turn, starting with number one. During the second round, things get really rowdy* when guests have the ability to steal a book from someone else. *May require protective padding.
Under the Hammer – Encourage guests to come prepared to pitch books like their lives depend on it during an epic game of ‘boast and bid’. Everyone will have a set number of bidding credits and, depending on the strength of the sell, will have to battle* it out to win novels. *May require protective padding.
At the end of the evening, award door prizes in various categories. You can reward the person who brought the most books, took the most books, offered the most impassioned sell during the ‘boast and bid’ and so on. The Literary Gift Company is our favourite bookish emporium for gifts.
If there are books left over at the end of the night, donate them to a local school, homeless shelter or charity shop. Share that literary love, y’all.