Is the Facebook Book Exchange a Scam?


Scrolling through Facebook, I’ve seen this post pop up quite a few times claiming that if I sign up, I can send a single book out and receive 36 in return! That sounds amazing!! Of course, it is too good to be true.

The Facebook book exchange where you buy your favorite book and send it out – you’ll receive 36 books in exchange is a scam. However, this is not to say you won’t receive books back. But there is no guarantee, and you’ll also be giving out your personal information.

As a reminder, I have an MBA, I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and have almost 15 years working in finance and accounting. These are my opinions based on researched facts and my understanding of those facts. However, this is not legal, financial, or tax advice. This is me presenting facts and my opinions to help you decide if you think this is something you should spend your time doing. If you need legal, financial, or tax advice, you should reach out to a professional for a 1:1 chat! All opinions are my own.

What is the Facebook Book Exchange?

The book exchange (full text below) is a scheme that circulates on Facebook. It promises if you buy one book, you’ll receive 36 in exchange. It promises books from all around the world. This is very tempting due to the low cost of entry – the cost of your favorite book.

Hello Friends (and book lovers). I’m looking for people to participate in a huge book exchange. You can be anywhere in the world. All you have to do is buy your favorite book (just one) and send it to someone also participating ~ (I’ll send their details in a private message). You’ll receive roughly 36 books back to you, to keep. They’ll be favorite books from book lovers around the world. An easy option is to order your book off of Amazon and have it sent directly to your person. This should be fun!

How does the Facebook Book Exchange Work?

You’ll see someone post something on their Facebook page, similar to the above, asking for people to participate in a huge book exchange. Once you agree, you’ll get a message from the person that posted it.

In this scenario, let’s say the person’s post you saw was named Bethany. And the person that Bethany responded to was Amy.

Essentially, anyone who responds to your post will send books to the person that recruited your friend. Anyone who responds to your post will send books to your friend. Then anyone who your friends recruit will send books to you, and on and on….

They will send you a message that is something like this:

You’ll be sending a book to Amy (person who recruited Bethany).
Please post the text about the book exchange (below) on your feed and send my address to those who respond to you that would like to participate. Then place your address for them to forward to whomever responds to them. (so replace the address above with mine, and the address below with yours). Be sure to send your book within the next 2 weeks so everyone can start enjoying ASAP!
My address: Bethany – your friend that posted this on FB
Then, Copy and Paste this for your post on FB: I’m looking for people to participate in a huge book exchange. You can be anywhere in the world. All you have to do is buy your favorite book (just one) and send it to a stranger (I’ll send their details in a private message). You’ll receive roughly 36 books back to you, to keep. They’ll be favorite books from strangers around the world. An easy option is to order your book off of Amazon and have it sent directly to your person. This should be fun!

Do You Really Receive 36 Books in the Book Exchange?

You most likely will not receive 36 books in the Facebook book exchange, in fact, you may receive zero books. If the people you “recruit” to this scheme do not send your address out to anyone, then you receive nothing.

If you think about it, in what situation where you send someone one item, would you receive 36 back? Who is buying the extra 35 per person? There is a huge gap, and to meet these numbers, each tier of the pyramid would need to recruit more and more people. But in the end, someone is going to receive nothing.

You may receive some books, and depending on how large your friend list is on Facebook and how easily persuaded they are to join this, it could be more than one. But there is no guarantee.

Are Book Exchanges Pyramid Schemes?

The Facebook book exchange is the definition of a pyramid scheme. A pyramid scheme pays members higher up in the pyramid with funds from the new members. So while this is not exchanging cash, it’s exchanging books, it is still a pyramid scheme.

In fact, this could be a tactic used by other malicious people to get your personal info and the personal information of your contacts.

You should avoid these book exchanges because you are almost guaranteed to not receive 36 books, in addition, you are giving away your personal information (name and address).

Please remember – if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!

Alternatives to the Facebook Book Exchange?

If you are looking for alternatives to the Facebook book exchange, there are a few things you could try!

  1. Check out popular book lists and get them from your library
  2. Go directly to your library and ask the librarians for recommendations
  3. Check out lists of book recommendations on goodreads.com and either purchases them or borrow
  4. Find a small little library in your small town and leave a book and take one in exchange
  5. Swap books with a friend who also enjoys reading

Wrap Up

If you liked this article, you could check more of my articles here: Blog

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