Because yesterday's entry started to get long, I chopped it up...
So to continue:
Even if you aren't a big fan of going to the library, or your local system doesn't have the best selection, don't despair! You, too, can re-use, and recycle books, and read them on a semi-permanent basis! In addition to simply swapping with friends (who knows your taste better than some good friends), you can also use internet sites, like PaperBack Swap. In the interest of full disclosure, my friends, local libraries, and own book-buying habits keep my To Be Read pile well-stocked, so I haven't used this myself, but do have friends who have used this site with success.
PaperBack Swap is pretty straight forward (there's a neat tutorial here). Basically, you list what books you want to swap out, get two credits for listing your first ten, and use those credits to request books to be sent to you. Everyone pays postage to send books, but not to receive. So, there is some money involved, but much less than buying books, especially new.
One potential problem I've heard of is that it can be difficult to get some of the more popular books this way. A friend waited a long time for a Sookie Stackhouse novel to come available, and not be snatched up before she could get to it.
Patience is required, but the same situation often arises with using the library.
Again, while I have not used paperbackswap.com, I do have a mini-swap set up with a friend still in NC. It is so exciting to come home to find a package filled with book-goodies from her. If you set up an informal swap with friends, near or far, you can try new books, and new genres that you haven't tried before, and experience a whole new world of books.
What about you?