Do you have an ereader? How many books do you have stored in it? Me, I’ve got a Kindle, my husband has a Nook and the family has a computer, all of which have books on them—thousands of books. I could stop gathering them now and still not need to buy a new one for a couple of years. I won’t, but I could. Be that as it may I still prefer a real physical book. I love the heft of it, the ease of flicking back and forwards, the visual reminder of how close to finished I am, the smell (I know, weird right), and the ability to have it autographed.
What I don’t love is hundreds and hundreds of books that I’ll never read again gathering dust in the corners, on the shelves, under the bed, or anywhere else I can find a place for them. Don’t get me wrong, there are some books I’d always want a copy of, preferably hardbound and prominently on display. Those books qualify as art and are exempt from anything I might say from this point forwards, but what of all of those relatively inexpensive paperbacks that I’m finished with?
I have tons of them and simply can’t bear to throw them away. That would be beyond wasteful. I’ve put some thought into this and I have a plan. A plan, as you might have guessed, I intend to share with you so that you might do the same. Here’s what I’m going to do to clear my shelves, making room for new books, in a series of 5 simple steps.
First, I’m getting together with a few girlfriends of mine, who like, me have too many books. No doubt you know a few too. I’m inviting them over to lunch with instructions to bring 5 good books they’ve read and are willing to part with. Over pasta and a good red (no one said I was much of a cook) we’ll lay the books out for discussion, debate, negotiation, and eventually rehoming. Hopefully everyone will leave with five fewer read books and five more new books to read. You could also join forces with your friends to have a joint book sale. Me, I can’t be hassled.
Next, those books that were a little pricier and therefore might be worth a few bob I’m giving to the local charity. In my experience they have become a lot more selective about books. They don’t want all of that pulp cluttering up their shelves either, but hardbacks still seem to be welcome.
Third, I’m sending some out into the wild. If you haven’t discovered the Bookcrossing yet, you should. The whole idea is intriguing. It started in 2001 and has grown into an international phenomenon. According to the website there are “here are currently 1,181,663 BookCrossers and 9,197,339 books travelling throughout132 countries.”
Once registered with the site (which is free) users are able to tag their books by marking them with a provided BCID (BookCrossing Identity Numbers). Each one is unique to each book. After that pass the book onto someone you think will love it, or better yet leave it on the train, in the cafe, the dentist’s office, etc. This is releasing it into the wild. Once registered and released, its journey can be followed as it travels the world.
Fouth, I’m signing up for one of the online book swap groups. There are a number of them these days, Read It, Swap It, BookMooch, Paperback Swap, Title Trader, Book Exchange (UK), etc. In most cases you just create an account, list the books you wish to put up for offer, and wait for a request. The downside is that it can be awful hard to resist also making a request or two of your own. Keep on task. The idea is to get rid of books, not find new ones.
Last, those last few books that I just couldn’t get rid of for whatever reason I’m going to get creative with. I’ve never actually tried making book art, so I don’t expect to create anything too grand. They have some amazing ones here: Book art. These two look comparatively simple though.
That’s my five stage plan to clear off my shelves. I fully expect to fill them again, but that’s part of the fun isn’t it. So, how about you? Have you got any other suggestions? I’d love to hear them.