One of the best things about pulling into a new cruiser “hangout” — marina, laundry, restaurant or even a bar — is finding a new book swap.
Basically, these operate on the “take one, leave one” philosophy — leave the books you’ve already read and pick up a few new ones. Or I should say, new to you. We found we read far more on the boat than previously (no TV!) and getting new books was a big occasion.
The biggest problem with ebooks is that it’s hard to pass them on to someone else. And for just light reading, most of us don’t want to go out and buy a stack of books. That can get expensive if you read one every couple of days! Hence the attraction of the book swap.
Admittedly, most of the books you’ll find are in the “light reading” or best seller types. But it’s where I was first introduced to the Outlander series (a great story and long books that are great in remote anchorages) and Wilbur Smith’s books (the ancient Egypt series and Courtney Family saga are my favorites).
What we learned, however, is that book swaps are often in sort-of unused corners of buildings, sometimes even just open-sided buildings. And bugs seem to love books. After a couple of buggy experiences, we got into a routine for getting books from the book swap:
- Carry a plastic bag and put the books into it to take back to the boat. Don’t put the bag into a backpack or with anything else!
- As soon as we got to the boat (because we’d never remember to take it with us) we’d squirt a shot of bug spray into the bag and let it sit for a few hours before taking the books out. Then let them air out a bit before putting inside the boat.
As a side note, if you want some free ebooks, there are a number of services that will send you a daily email with lists of books in your preferred format (Kindle, Nook, iTunes, other). The one I use is Book Bub (if you’re on Facebook, “Like” their page and you’ll get links there too — frequently different books than show up in the email; they also tweet lists). I used to find a fair number of interesting free ebooks but lately I’m lucky to find one a week (maybe I’m getting pickier?).
Got other tips for book swaps or good sources of free ebooks? Leave a note in the comments!