How to Organize a Book Swap Party 

Encourage Summer Reading with a Book Exchange (Not Just for Kids!)

There are so many things to look forward to as the summer approaches! Pool parties, camp, family vacations, 4th of July – just to name a few! But before we count our calendars booked to the brim, we can’t forget about those lazy summer days when it seems the kids are left with nothing to do. Before “I’m bored” begins, stock up on books and organize a book swap party to encourage summer reading!

How to Organize a Book Swap Party to Encourage Summer Reading

Books are the perfect way to keep kids reading to prevent that dreaded summer slide, letting those little imaginations run wild even if they are stuck at home. Why not tap into friends, family, and your neighborhood for the grandest book exchange party ever? (For reluctant readers, a book swap event could even make reading more enticing!) Here’s how to make it happen.

  1. Step One - Pull together a list of people you know and ask them to pull together a list of people they know (with email addresses) – you are building a web of connections so that there are plenty of books to meet all kinds of interests.
  2. Step Two - Pass along or email out these book swap wishlists  so people can share what they’ve been reading along with any reader requests, and ask participants to get their completed wishlists to you by a specific date. Maybe they just wrapped up a kids’ mystery and they’re eager to learn more about visiting other countries. Or perhaps they’re a huge fan of Judy Blume and are seeking more books in her collection.
    • Pro Tip: Have a new, young “reader?” Ask them to put in their request with a drawing rather than words – pictures of puppies or flowers will do the trick.
  3. Step Three - Using the info provided, create a Book Wishlist SignUp with a list of wanted books – use genre, titles, author, and anything else participants asked for on their wishlists.
    • Pro Tip: Use SignUp's Add a Spot feature  so others can make additions to the list if they think of more things they're interested in reading about.
  4. Step Four - With the Book Wishlist SignUp as a guide, it’s time for everyone to scavenger hunt their personal libraries. What do you have to fulfill the request for books on butterflies? Anything to help Annie’s mom in the kitchen with her request for cookbooks on family meal prep? If someone finds a book that can fulfill a request, they simply sign up for that spot on the Book Wishlist SignUp. 
    • Pro Tip: Set spots to 5-10 people so more than one person can sign up to bring a possible book match for a request.
  5. Step Five - Host a book swap party – use SignUp to easily organize the event!  Invite everyone to gather together and pass along their books to interested attendees. Start by pairing up the matches you made with the Book Wishlist SignUp, then allow everyone to mingle and discover shared interests with others.
    • Pro Tip: Tell everyone to bring any and all books they’re willing to part with, and create an ‘up for grabs’ pile at your party.

What’s better than getting new-to-you used books with new adventures ahead, at no cost to you, never mind a fun experience to connect with friends and family? Make it happen this summer – keep everyone’s head in a good book (or two) over the break and find fun in connecting and sharing. Let the book swap begin!

Book Swap Party SignUp


Printable Book Swap Wishlists

Summer Activities & Events: Idea Center

Family Reunion Planning Guide