There are many questions people ask about our Book Swap…so here are a few answers.

How does it work?

It’s really quite simple, amazingly, stunningly simple. It works like this:

  • People donate books from all over Israel (quite literally). We regularly have donations from as far north as Netanya and Beit Shean and as far south as Gush Etzion. As far west as Tel Aviv, Raanana, Petach Tikvah. From the center of Israel, Modiin, Beit Shemesh, Hashmonaim, etc. and from all over Maale Adumim…literally every neighborhood. Books are either dropped off in a central location or collected by amazing volunteers.
  • Volunteers shlep the books to the event venue (the generous Pnei Shmuel in Maale Adumim) and fill the room with hundreds of boxes.
  • A team of volunteers come the day of the book swap and organize the books onto tables. Fiction, non-fiction, Judaica, Chicklit, Self-Help, Cookbooks, Children’s books and more.
  • More volunteers come during the Book Swap. Some are cashiers, some tidy the books again and again.
  • At the end of the Book Swap, the remaining books are divided into two categories: Save or Recycle.

Charitable donations of books to good causes

We are often asked if we would be willing to donate the books to charitable causes. Please read the “How does it work” section and you’ll see how much work is put into every book swap. We have had many people come and ask us to donate the books that we’ve worked so hard to collect. The answer is:

  • We have put in a tremendous amount of work to raise money for charity. Please make us a bulk offer so that we can continue to fulfill our goal while helping you as well. Win-win for everyone.
  • If your goal is to collect books to sell to others, no, we are not interested in giving you books for free.
  • If your goal is to collect books for an assisted living center (that is charging people tens of thousands of NIS to run their business), please ask them to make an offer and we will be happy to donate that amount to charity and allow you to take books.
  • If you have a charity that you’d like to support and think it’s a great idea to get books for free and sell them, we agree. Please consider a donation to OUR cause, so that we can help you support YOUR cause.

In short, over the last 10 years, we’ve noticed that many come forward. Some are for amazing causes (lone soldier centers, free bus libraries, the local Maale Adumim library, school programs), and we’ve offered books for free or for the equivalent of a NIS or less a book.

What do you do with the books you don’t sell? Couldn’t you…

A Book Swap typically runs for two days and offers at least four different opportunities totaling around 10 hours of open sales time. Hundreds of people come and look through the books. And then, we store anywhere from 1,000 – 1,500 books for the next swap. By the time we have finished, the vast majority of remaining books are of little interest and unlikely to be sold. Many should never have been donated in the first place. What do we do with the remaining books? We recycle them. This takes tremendous effort on our part, but we believe it is worthwhile.

Often, very well meaning people come over and offer us suggestions for additional ways we could save these books. There are indeed used book stores in Jerusalem that may be willing to pay us a few NIS per book if we could shlep the books into Jerusalem. We can’t. There are senior citizen’s centers, if we could…but we can’t. There are libraries we could donate them to, if we could…but we can’t.

The Book Swap may look like it runs like clockwork. The room is simply a work of art when most people enter and we do our best to keep it that way throughout the hours of the Book Swap with the help of amazing volunteers. By the time we finish, we are exhausted physically and mentally and use much of the next six months of our lives gearing ourselves up to do it all again. It is an act of love for our community and gratitude to Hashem for giving us the strength to make it happen. Please help us by not asking us to do anymore. It took many of us a lot of time to learn how to “throw away” a book. It still hurts. Please help us by allowing us to recycle without guilt.

What charities have you supported over the last 10 years?

So many, it’s hard to mention. We’re in the process of putting the full list together and will post it. What we can say is that in the past, we have supported many charities and will continue to be open to supporting more in the future. Because this event is largely an act of love from the Maale Adumim Anglo community, we make a practice of donating to local charities from every Book Swap.

In the past, we have supported the following local charities and organizations:

  • The Cohen family after Zvika Cohen, a security guard at the Maale Adumim mall, was attacked and severely injured. That donation helped the family pay for critical expenses while Zvika was in the hospital and for months afterwards.
  • Through the Keren Yishai and Keren Nevo charitable organizations, run by HaRav Katz (שׁליט״א) and HaRav Aviner (שׁליט״א), we regularly support needy families in Maale Adumim and elsewhere.
  • Through the City Council and the office of Boris Grossman, we have supported an afterschool hot lunch program for Ethiopian children.
  • We have generously donated to MADA to support local programs and to purchase equipment used by local volunteers, and to set up “stations” where people needing medical attention can get assistance quickly during city-wide events such as Yom Ha’atzmaut.

What’s your return policy?

Return any books you purchase–no questions asked–but ONLY about six months later! The Book Swap is built on the idea that people love to read and are always looking for a new book. Here we offer an inexpensive way to try out great authors while benefiting important, life-saving causes. If you chose a book that you don’t enjoy or that you’ve already read, we encourage you to stick it in a box somewhere and save it for the next swap. Then, 7-10 days before the next Book Swap, donate it again and watch our book numbers grow! We have to manage over 6,000 books at each swap. We do not collect ANY books from anyone, for any reason, once the Book Swap starts. WE have a firm NO RETURN policy. Books are sold AS IS, with no guarantees, no assurances, no responsibility. Please remember that the proceeds to this event go to charity.

Do you have customer service?

Not at all. We can’t promise we’ve read the books. In fact, we can promise you that we haven’t. But, we do encourage you to try new authors and take advantage of our amazing selection.

Please do not hold us responsible for the contents of any/all/each of the books you find at the swap. It is physically impossible for us to know what is in each book. We do our best…the sorters, the shleppers, those who tidy the room, and the organizers, but it is inevitable that some books will slip through. If they are inappropriate, as sometimes books are found to be, we encourage you to bring this to the attention of the cashiers. They will willingly toss it into a recycle box or bring it to the attention of the organizers. If you inadvertently purchased this book, know that the money you have donated has gone to a worthy cause. Please dispose of the book with our apologies for the inconvenience.

Do you ship books to people in or out of Israel? Do you hold books for people for after the Book Swap?

Nope, never.
But we encourage you, if you are visiting Israel in May or November (about), to check out when the next one is, and come on over. Take the books and organize shipment or storage. Perhaps you have a friend in Maale Adumim. Please don’t ask us to do more than we already do. Please enjoy the Book Swap and all the time the volunteers have put into this amazing event.

How many books have you sold?

To date, we have collected approximately 95,300 books, but that wasn’t the question, was it? The answer to how many books we have sold is…we have no idea.