Monday, November 4, 2013

How to Host Your Own Book Swap Party

Today Kerry Hammond tells us all about her book swap party and even reveals how she did it. 

Mystery Playground provides it’s readers with book ideas, author information, craft projects, and even television updates. But wait, there’s more.  The May 13, 2013 post provided me with a must have party idea. The Kepler’s Mystery Book Swap event sounded like so much fun, that I decided to have a similar party in my home this past week.

There were nine of us in attendance, and each person was instructed to bring a new or gently used (hardcover or paperback) book from the mystery genre. Not just a book they found on their shelf, but one that they would recommend to their friends as a great read.

I had three tables set up for people to sit and pitch their book, and each table had three people for each pitch session. The logistics of moving people from table to table to allow for each one to pitch their book to each person at the party was a bit of a math dilemma my friend Sharon and me (Sharon graciously came early to help). I would also not recommend that you start drinking Death by Chocolate Martinis before trying to crack the algorithm.  It all worked out in the end, and we rotated 4-5 times with only a few duplicates.

I provided three things to each guest to help them with their book selections:

    1)     I bought pencils at the Library of Congress gift shop. Each had a quote by Thomas Jefferson and said “I cannot live without books.”
    2)     I also gave each person eight library cards, purchased on Amazon. That way they could write down the author and book title for each book (the 9th being their own) and any notes they wanted to make. 
    3)     I also found library card pockets on Amazon for the guests to keep their notecards together.

Here are some of my shopping resources: 

Once the pitches were over, we all convened in the living room and proceeded with our white elephant-like swapping.  I had written numbers 1-9 randomly on the library card pockets, and drew numbers from a hat to decide the order we would choose.  We allowed each book to be stolen a maximum of three times.

The most stolen book was Joyland by Stephen King, it hit the three steal limit and was retired. Another  popular choice was Dead Sleep by Greg Isles. Two of the books (“A” is for Alibi by Sue Grafton and Scent of Fear by Tom Adair) were signed copies, I thought that was a nice added incentive.  Kryss, who brought the Sue Grafton book, came to the Tattered Cover booksigning with me to meet the author.

I provided lots of door prizes. Each person received two hardcover mystery novels ribboned in crime scene tape, and a surprise paperback (these were wrapped).  I drew two numbers from the hat and gave away a Vera Bradley quilted paperback book cover and a $25 gift certificate to Amazon.

We had lots of appetizers and drinks, including Blood Red Wine, Death by Chocolate Martinis, and Killer Cosmos. The night was a great success and I plan to make it an annual event.

Kerry Hammond


  1. This sounds like a blast. I wish I lived closer.

  2. This looks like an awesome party.What fun!

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