Book Crossing is a great place for book swapping. They have a system that is like a treasure hunt for books. You tag a book with their special code (BC-ID) and then "release it into the wild", meaning that you basically leave the book somewhere for people to find and then notify others on the website where you left it, so that someone else can find it.
You can browse other people's books and even email someone directly about a book you would like and request they email it to you. I have a friend that has gotten a lot of books this way and I have sent and received books in this manner.
There is no fee for this service but they recommend you buy their stickers and bookmarks. You pay postage for books sent (usually a few dollars) or just release them into the wild at no cost (you just leave it somewhere).
This service is worldwide.
Goozex.com is a swapping website for video gamers. They offer games for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, PC, Nintendo DS, PSP, PS2 PS and GBA. How it works is you list the games you own that you are willing to trade. When the game is requested you send the game for a point value.
For example, if you have Spore for the DS you list that you have this game on goozex. This game is worth 400 points. When someone else requests the game and you send it to them you will receive 400 points. Then you can use those points to "buy" another game, for example, Animal crossing:Wild world is 350 points.
This is a much better 'game for game' ratio than trading games to EB.
This service takes some time because someone needs to request your game and it goes through a list so people that listed the game first will be the first ones to send it.
This service is available in Canada, USA and Bermuda. European gamers can use Goozex.eu
There is a fee for this service. $1 to receive a trade (Trade credit) , cost of shipping to send. Under $2 to send a normal game in a bubble envelope. I carefully cut open bubble envelopes and send my game in a used envelope (taped paper over the old address) so I don't pay for envelopes but the envelopes are 3 for a dollar at Dollarama if you need to buy some.
Still, with the cost of shipping, this is still more bang for your buck than trading games in at EB or other game stores (Trade in 3 for 1 game??? YUCK)
Right now Goozex has an offer where if you sign up you get 100 free points and one free trade credit. This is the same as just getting one free game so you can see if the system works (It does, I have been using it for over a year and have gotten hundreds of dollars in games from this website) without any risk or sending in any games of your own. They also have a guarantee and a great customer service department and will give you your points back if you do not get the game or if the game is broken. I have never had to use this because I have gotten all my games in excellent condition. I highly recommend this website and if you sign up please list me as someone that referred you (My user name is Annchan)
Zip.ca I have never actually used myself but have heard good things about it. It is like Netflix for Canadians in which it is a DVD rental website. Movies are delivered to your home with a postage paid envelope and you watch the movie, send it back, then the next movie you request comes in the mail. There are several different price packs to chose from.
Quote from zip.ca:
Watch all the DVDs you want in a month with our convenient 1-DVD Unlimited Plan for $10.95, the 2-DVD Unlimited Plan for $18.95, or the 3-DVD Unlimited Plan for $24.95.
New members are eligible for a free trial. Trial memberships last two weeks which gives you a perfect opportunity to try the service. If you are happy with the service and selection from Zip, do nothing and your membership will convert to a paying membership and will continue for as long as you want.
You can deactivate your membership at any time. There are no deactivation fees.
So in retrospect, there are varying price points, no shipping and is available in Canada. It's a little more than I would pay for movies but if you rent a lot it is worth your money. Cheaper than renting at the local store and no driving.
Speaking about renting movies, I signed up for blockbuster's and Rogers video's email newsletter recently (Read: before Christmas) and the newsletters contained free rentals and other coupons. I went to their website more recently though (Read: 5 minutes ago to verify) and it shows discounts like $1 off rentals with a different coupon every week. Other local rental places might have newsletters with free rentals or coupons for signing up too so check it out. If you rent from those places you might as well get something off (if not totally free)
There are a lot more websites like these on the web but have been having a hard time finding some that are available in Canada. Here are some other links that have been recommended to me but I have not been able to try them out.
Please leave a comment with other links for swapping websites or other places for free or cheap entertainment. I would love to learn more and share the links. Thanks!