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Wordy lot’s swap story

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2009 00:27 IST
Ruchira Hoon
Ruchira Hoon
Hindustan Times
Geetanjali Krishna

Geetanjali Krishna can’t remember when she realised she was truly addicted to books.

But after spending over Rs 2,000 on four books and finishing them in just two days, she felt quite cheated that she had nothing left to read any more. Tired of wading through traffic to get to far-off libraries and spending a bomb every time she wanted to read a book, she knew she had to do something about it.

If only she could swap her entire library of 800 books for hundreds of books that she still had to read, life would be perfect, she thought.

That’s when it struck her — book swapping was the answer. So Krishna and a cousin decide to launch a service where people across Delhi could barter their books.

“I wanted a group that could read with no guilt attached. I didn’t have to buy a book or even keep it on my bookshelf if I didn’t like it,” says this 39-year-old. “Nor did I want to be egged into returning it if I really liked the book a lot. Swapping seemed like an equal transaction and made the library a lot more dynamic.”

Thus Wordbuffs was born. A community of book lovers who get to swap some of their books without losing those they love the most.

Only about 15 days old, the group already has 100 members and 1,200 books with absolutely no advertising and is growing every day. Each member has to upload at least five books that they’d like to swap and tag them in three different ways — Wuthering Heights, for instance, can be tagged as a Classic, Victorian romance and Tragedy. You can then swap this book with another whose tags match. In this case, with Jane Eyre, perhaps.

The books range from Mills and Boon romances to popular fiction to thrillers and murder mysteries. But what’s important is the condition of the book. Krishna is very clear that since her books are all in great order, the ones she receives should not have dog-eared pages, torn or missing pages or have yellowed with age. So far she says, she’s been very lucky.

For several voracious readers, Wordbuffs has been the best news in a long time. Art collector Ritu Khoda says: “I’ve spent just Rs 300 so far, and I’ve already swapped eight books. I’m a total fan.” She has suggested several ideas for the group to take off on a bigger scale. Adding testimonials for members is just one of them.

Joining the group is easy. All you have to do is log on to www.wordbuffs.com and follow the rules. Books are swapped every Tuesday and Thursday and delivered within 48 hours. You can also take part in discussions about the books, post your reviews of them and even organise a reading circle in your locality.