Friday, October 24, 2008

In which I get rid of books

I want a library. I want a room of my house to have huge shelves well-stocked with good books, comfy chairs, and appropriate lighting. Artwork and curios would be ideal, but not necessary. Maybe a station for my writing, although I'm probably better off having an office space with fewer distractions (ha, like I'll have the time and space to pull off both!).

I certainly have enough books to fill a library now. The problem is, I don't -- can't -- read them all. So over the next several months, I plan on sorting through the crates and boxes and shelves of books I own, and making four piles:

Favorites. Books I love, and will definitely re-read. Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow. Anita Diamont's The Red Tent. Heck, Little Women, which I actually replaced when my old, battered copy finally died. I am always looking for new books to fill this category, and am willing to lend them to friends (at least, friends I trust to return them!).

Resources. Dictionaries. Style guides. Poetry prompts. Organization manuals. And other books, which may be more trivial or less wholesome. I may not read them out of love, but I'll refer to them out of necessity. And, yeah, sometimes fun. I'm a nerd like that.

To be evaluated. Books I haven't actually read yet, or never finished, or read too long ago to inform a decision. These will be read. If I can't read them, or don't like them after having finished, then they go on to...

Elimination. It'll be hard, but the books in the section have to go.

Now this raises a new question. What should I do to get rid of these books? I've got a couple options that will directly benefit me:

Sell them. A good option for textbooks (the nice thing about having been an English major is that most textbooks are fairly timeless). Novels, however, may not pull in more than a dollar or two. And where would I sell them? Is EBay really the best choice?

Swap them. This might be a better option for the novels and fluffier nonfiction. I can offer some books up on Paperback Swap, and get new books in return. My reading list is pretty long, after all. Then again, that doesn't really eliminate books so much as it rotates them.

Raffle them. I have a review blog. There are books I've read that I enjoyed, that I might even recommend, but that just don't make it to my "Favorites" or "Resources" piles. If I review one of these books, maybe I could then give it away as a promotional event. If it works, it could definitely draw in readership. If not, I'm out the cost of postage with nothing to show for it but an empty spot on my bookshelf.

What would you do?

The good

No question, I'm blessed to have such a love of reading and the means to amass such a collection.

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David L said...

I love books, and we have the same problem. Our house is much to small to really display the books appropriately, so we display our favorites and the rest lie in boxes. Certainly not the best, but it works.

One idea I heard the other day that I liked was donating them to the library AND then claiming the donation on your tax return. You get a better value out of a donation than a sale, and then you can use the additional money in your tax return to buy more books.

sigh... If only getting more books were the problem.

Laura said...

Thanks, David! I thought about that, but I'm not sure I'll be donating enough -- even with my other charitable donations -- to get much of an exemption. It's definitely worth looking into, though.

CJ said...

Post them on! When someone wants them you'll get credits. Trade those credits for more books, or transfer the credits to for music, for movies, or sell the credits in the forums>Book Bazaar in packs of 10 for cash/paypal, I also heard they were going to start a plant-a-tree campaign in the near future... where you donate a credit back to the company and they'll plant a tree or something. Anyways... that's what I do :)

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