Book Exchange, Downed Tree Removal, and Other Barter Agreements

The installment of an ongoning feature about barter agreements includes a report from a reader in India who established a book exchange and a college student in Pennsylvania who offered downed tree removal and downed limb removal services to obtain firewood.

| November/December 1981

  • 072 food and labor exchange
    A reader in New York City family was able to get by on comfortably on food and labor exchanges,  including baked goods for live theater tickets.

  • 072 food and labor exchange

Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of mankind's better ideas — barter — and offered up an interesting suggestion: "I'd like to see a continuing feature on barter agreements and skill-and-labor exchanges," said Bill. "You're on!" MOTHER EARTH NEWS replied. 

Book Exchange

When travelers from the West visit Ahmednagar, India on their way to Avatar Meher Baba's tomb, they frequently bring along reading materials and—inevitably—some such folks end up leaving books behind. Rather than let the volumes simply collect dust, or—worse yet—be lost or destroyed, a group of us living in the area decided to gather the discards. We soon formed a small library.  

However, it wasn't long before our athenaeum owned three copies of Tolkien's Middle Earth trilogy and five volumes of Watership Down, as well as surplus copies of other popular books. The duplicates were of little use to our library, and it was evident that—if they continued to accumulate—there would soon be no available shelf space for new titles.

Well, a bit of old-time bartering solved our literary predicament. In the nearby village there's an English bookstore that carries the latest best sellers. We arranged to trade our duplicates (often in mint condition) for credit toward new volumes of our choosing. The swap has now been going strong for three years, and it's been so successful that the shop has opened an entire used-book section, so that other folks in the area can trade in their reading materials, too!

Furthermore, since foreign magazines are very expensive here, our newspaper deliverer has devised a system by which, for a monthly fee of $1.20, he'll circulate periodicals to his subscribers every day. I contribute my old copies of such publications ... and receive a fret, daily newspaper in return. (My back issues of MOTHER are not part of this round-robin arrangement, however. Those I keep!)

D. F.
Ahmednagar, India  

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