To celebrate 2015’s International Book Giving Day, I’m hosting a worldwide bookswap which I’d love you to join in with.


#GiveABook, #SwapABook is all about sharing, sending and receiving wonderful, indeed brilliant children’s books. It will be a way for you to spread the word about a children’s book you are passionate about, and to discover another equally amazing book through a gift from someone else.

Here’s how it will work:

You’ll sign up and I will pair you with one other children’s book lover. You will send each other a book that you think is the best of the best. You’ll read your new book, fall in love with it and (hopefully) set off on a new adventure with its beautiful writing and/or its gorgeous illustrations spinning away in your head.

Anyone can sign up (whether or not you have a blog, whether or not you have children) but when you sign up what you’re agreeing to is purchasing and posting a lovely book to your partner. You in return will receive a lovely gift of a book back.

What do you mean by a children’s book?
I mean any book marketed for kids and young people. When you sign up, you can state your preference for approximate target age: 0-7, 8-13, 14+. The book you choose to send and the one you receive may be fiction, poetry, non-fiction, wordless, a graphic novel – really any sort of printed book as long as it is (a) something really special and (b) aimed at kids or young people.

Does the book I send have to be brand new?
No, it can be second hand / pre owned but remember you’re sending something as a gift so please only send something you would be happy to receive as a present. Vintage books would be welcome in the swap as long as their condition is good.

How much should I spend on the book?
This swap isn’t about the money. It’s hard to put a guideline on how much you might spend on the book, but I’ll be spending about the same amount I would on a special book for a friend – it won’t be a fortune, but nor will I try to buy the cheapest book possible.

Photo: Post Box

Will I have to send my book internationally?
No, if you prefer to send your book within your own country I will endeavour to match you up with someone else who lives in the same country as you do. However, I would encourage international swaps as I think this will be the best way to discover books, authors and illustrators which are completely new to you. Also, if you buy the book online you can sometimes send the book for free overseas (for example via The Book Depository). Although I hope most swaps will be international, I cannot know who will sign up for this swap and therefore I cannot guarantee you will be given an international swap partner.

Does the book I send have to be written in English?
No, but… When participants sign up for the swap I will ask about language preferences and match people accordingly. If you send a book in a language other than English it might be nice to include a rough translation or a summary. You could of course send a wordless picture book 🙂 I cannot guarantee that you will be able to receive a book in a language other than English – this will depend on who signs up for the swap.

Photo: donandcarol

How do I sign up for the swap?
Either fill in this form:

Or you can send me an email: zoe (dot) toft (at) kuvik (dot) net with the subject line “2015 Book Swap”.

The email must contain the following information:

  • Your name

  • Your postal address. Please put each line of the address on a new line in your email so I can be confident of sending out correct addresses. Whilst your name and address will be shared with your swap partner, names and addresses will otherwise be kept private and then deleted after the swap has been completed.

  • Your posting preference: choose (1) International or (2) Domestic or (3) Any

  • Your language preference for the book you receive: choose (1) Any language, or (2) English only, or (3) Name the language you would prefer to receive a book in (on the understanding that fulfilling this request may not be possible, in which case you will receive a book in English).

  • Your book type preference, if any. Please choose either (1) 0-7 (2) 8-13 (3) 14+, or state you are happy to receive any type of book.

  • Your blog address if you have one (You do not need to be a blogger to sign up, but I will collate a list of all bloggers who are participating in the swap so we can visit each other’s sites).

  • Your Twitter handle if you are on Twitter (this isn’t necessary for taking part in the swap)

  • Please do not include any details of your children. Please be assured I will keep your personal details only for the purposes of this swap, and once it is completed, all personal information will be destroyed.

    Whilst you’re welcome to leave comments and questions on this post, if you want to sign up for the swap you must either use this form (which is easier for me) or email me the details I’ve requested. Simply leaving a comment on this post will not count as signing up for the swap.

    Do I need to include anything else when I send my book?
    No. However, as you will be receiving a book from the person to whom you are sending your book it might be a nice idea to include a card or short note to introduce yourself and perhaps say something about why you chose the book you did. If you are sending the book via an online bookshop (and therefore cannot include a card) please consider sending a postcard separately.

    What dates do I need to keep in mind?
    You can sign up for the book swap any time between now and February 1st 2015. Your book should be posted to your swap partner by February 7th 2015 at the latest. These dates have been chosen so that books will start arriving around the time of International Book Giving Day.

    When will I find out who my swap partner is?
    I will start pairing up people from January 1st 2015. Once the New Year has rung in, I will email you with your swap partner’s details as soon as I have great match for you (in terms of book type, language and posting preferences). This may mean that you will hear early in January, or it may mean that you don’t hear until February 2nd (if I’m having difficulties matching your language and posting preferences).

    What if I receive a book I already own?
    Sorry, but I cannot guarantee you will receive a book as part of this swap which is a book you do not already own. I do suggest that whatever book you choose to send, don’t choose the current best seller – if you were to do so this would increases the chance that your recipient may already own the book.

    Photo: CarbonNYC

    Why are you looking so stern at this point?
    This swap is based on good will and trust. It’s really important that if you sign up for this swap, you honour your commitment to it. If your partner does not receive a book, even though they will have sent one to you, I will be sad, your swap partner will be sad, and you ought to feel sad. Because I will keep a master list of swap partners it will be very easy to find out who has not sent a parcel. I will contact you if such circumstances arise.

    What if the parcel I send gets lost and never arrives?
    I encourage you to get proof of posting when you post your book. I don’t know how it works in other countries, but in the UK if you have proof of postage you can claim back the cost of your lost parcel (up to a certain amount, an amount that would definitely cover the cost of most children’s books). Another possibility is to insure your parcel when you post it, but this will probably incur extra costs.

    Is there anything I can do to help with the swap?
    Please spread the word of the swap – via your blog, twitter, facebook, or email groups you’re involved in – any which way suits you. If you blog, please consider adding this button to your blog:


    To get the button you can right-click on it above and save it, or copy the HTML code below:

    <a href=""><img src="" /></a>

    What’s the #GiveABook bit about?
    International Book Giving Day takes place on 14th February each year with the aim of getting books into the hands of as many children as possible. If you take part in the bookswap I would strongly encourage you to also do something to get a book into the hands of a child or young person.


    International Book Giving Day is a 100% volunteer initiative aimed at increasing children’s access to and enthusiasm for books.

  • Most children in developing countries do not own books.
  • In the United Kingdom, one-third of children do not own books.
  • In the United States, two-thirds of children living in poverty do not own books.

  • International Book Giving Day’s focus is on encouraging people worldwide to give a book to a child on February 14th. We invite individuals to

    1) gift a book to a friend or family member;

    2) leave a book in a waiting room for children to read;

    3) donate a gently used book to a local library, hospital or shelter or to an organization that distributes used books to children in need internationally.

    In addition, we encourage people to support the work of nonprofit organizations (i.e. charities) that work year round to give books to children, such as Room to Read (international), Books for Africa (international), Book Aid International (international), The Book Bus (international), First Book (U.S.), Reading is Fundamental (U.S.), Reach Out and Read (U.S.), Pratham Books (India), Indigenous Literacy Foundation (Australia), The Footpath Library (Australia), Nal’ibali (South Africa) and Duffy Books in Homes (New Zealand). I maintain a list of over 150 international reading/literacy charities which you can also use to find an organisation to support.

    I am hoping my book swap will help spread the word about this great initiative – so if you sign up for the book swap please either also find a way to take part or International Book Giving Day, or at the very least, please do something to spread the word about the day.

    If you have any more questions, or need further clarification, please fire away in the comments ON THIS ORIGINAL POST about the book swap – if you have a question, others may well have the same thought and so using the comments section will help us all.

    I’d like to thank Ana Silva who in previous years has run the Holiday Swap for book bloggers. She gave me some really helpful advice about setting up a book swap a couple of years ago and I remain indebted to her.

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