How to Host the Perfect Book Swap

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While the majority of my weekends can be captured at brunch (followed by the sofa and a binge-worthy show), this past month I decided to trade in the buzzy mimosas for buzz-worthy reads amongst fellow bookworms. Throughout the past year, I made a conscious effort to periodically gather friends together for a variety of fun soirees. For this specific gathering, I was tasked with curating my book club’s end of the year party. I knew that I wanted to bring our joint love for books and reading together to create an event that was “one for the books” (please tell me you giggled while reading that). Having already hosted a book swap earlier last year with my closest friends, I knew I wanted to revisit this super fun soiree.

Below I will share tips on how to host the perfect book swap party, including free printables!         

 

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Planning: I was curious about how to best work the logistics of a book swap, so I decided to create a private board on Pinterest. Pinterest is a great platform to gather your thoughts and ideas into one place, while also saving (or ‘pinning’) fantastic tips and ideas from others!

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Invitations: Cut down on time and expenses by sending electronic invitations to guests. I personally love Paperless Post because their invitation templates are absolutely adorable. Simply insert your content, change the font if your heart desires, and send to all guests! The specific template we used is titled “Library Card”.

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Traditionally, most book swaps suggest that you ask guests to bring as many books as they’d like (especially for those wishing to declutter their bookshelves of unread or duplicated reads). For our book swap I requested that guests bring one wrapped book to exchange (fiction or non-fiction, unused). Seeing as we really couldn’t judge a book by its cover, I also asked that guests provide three, short clues about their wrapped read (Ex: “the perfect poolside read”, “a book likely to become a movie”, “if you’re looking to branch out from your usual fiction reads”). This extra touch truly brought excitement to the exchange portion!

Food & Drinks: For my first book swap, I decided to keep options light, delicious, and nutritious. On the menu was homemade pesto pasta salad, mini tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, and tasty lemon bars. Don’t want to serve alcohol but want to provide a little fizz to the table? San Pellegrinos (blood orange flavor to be exact) are my go-to for parties!

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It’s not a party without games and giveaways! This is really where my previously pinned ideas on Pinterest were able to come to life. While I wanted the majority of the swap to involve mingling and book swapping, I had the following stations set up throughout the soiree:

  • Book Suggestion Box: Using blank index cards or library card templates have guests write down their name along with 2-3 titles of their favorite reads to place inside a box/gift bag. Later, I revisited these cards and emailed a newsletter showcasing the titles suggested by everyone. Needless to say, my “To Be Read” list grew after the swap!

  • Guessing Game: Taking a stack of owned books, have guests guess how many pages in total they think the books contain (no cheating!) on an index card, placing their guess inside a box/gift bag. The winner gets a small prize of your choice! (i.e. magnetic bookmark, gift card to local bookstore, etc.)

  • DIY Bookmark Station: Allow your fellow book-loving guests to be creative! Have precut, blank bookmarks (I used cardstock paper) spread on a table, along with coloring materials for guests to create the perfect place holder. I even encouraged guests to swap their final products with one another!

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 Printable Bookmarks: Print free bookmarks for guests to take away! My personal favorites were these adorable doughnut place holders I came across on Pinterest.

  • Party Favors: One of my favorite parts of this gathering were these adorable party favors. What bookworm wouldn’t want their own little goodie bag of “bookworms” to munch on, while indulging in their favorite page-turner?

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For the actual swap be sure that you have plenty of space to lay out all the wrapped books. I’ve seen the swap orchestrated different ways, from a free-for-all, to being a bit more organized by giving guests a raffle ticket. I chose to go the casual route, where guests selected their books based on what number they drew from a bag. As you can see from the unwrapped variety pictured above, everyone walked away with a new treasure, and for some, from a genre completely out of their norm. This unconventional soiree was surely “one for the books” and something I will surely host again in the future.

Thinking of hosting your very first book swap, or already have? Leave a comment below and happy hosting!

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FREE PRINTABLES

Guest List Printable: click here

Guessing Game Printable: click here

Library Card Template Printable: click here

Book Suggestion Box Printable: click here

Bookmark Printable (quotes): click here

Bookmark Printable (doughnuts): click here

Bookworms Party Favor Printable: click here

Suggested Reads Newsletter Example: click here