Running out of space: one solution!

June 28, 2012

Running out of space: one solution!

Three Things to Do with Your Books—Other Than Keep Them

Is your home like mine, cluttered with books you don’t have room for? Are all of your bookshelves double-stacked? If so, here are three ideas for clearing those shelves.

Donate. Your first choice may be to donate books to deployed service members—but how? One such place is Books for Soldiers.com. Register and then send books directly to service members (from all branches) who request them. The message board is easy to navigate and well moderated. Operation Paperback.org is another organization that coordinates books with service members who want to read them.

Many places such as secondhand or thrift stores (such as Goodwill or Salvation Army) accept books as donations. So do most public libraries. Check with your local agency about their book donation guidelines.

Many universities have an American Association of University Women, and a popular AAUW fundraiser is a book sale.

Another option for giving books away is registering the book at BookCrossing.com and leaving it in a strategic location for someone else to pick up. Membership at the site is free, and for many members it is interesting and fun to see where their books end up (this is contingent upon the finder registering the book also, which does not always occur).

Some coffee shops and other local places have “swap shelves” for books. I have given away many, many paperbacks to local shelves.

Resell. There is a market for reselling your books. Both Amazon.com and Half.com allow people to resell books online. Of course, each site takes its own cut out of the sale, but the convenience is worth considering. eBay is another option for those who choose to resell at auction or through an eBay store. For more information, check each website for seller information and tutorials.

Many towns also have used bookstores. These stores will “buy” your books for credit, which you can then use to purchase books from their store. Credit is often 10-25% of the cover price, so it might take several books in trade to earn enough credit for one discounted used book.

Trade. This option is the most fun, and while it will not necessarily clear your shelves permanently, it will allow you to clear them for a time. Grab a group of spouses, a few bottles of wine and organize a book swap party.  Kids can get involved too and have their own version.  

Two of the best and most popular websites for book trading are PaperbackSwap.com and BookMooch.com. The premise is quite simple: Post a book you want to trade. If someone wants it, you pay to mail it to him, and when he marks it received on the website, you receive a credit. You can then use your credit to request a book you want from someone else, and she mails it to you. It is similar to a library, except you pay postage. The two sites are slightly different in how they handle the credit system, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Both are free to join.

Paperback Swap has one distinct advantage, because the site allows you to deposit money into your account to pay for things like postage and delivery confirmation which you print directly from your home computer. This is quite handy now that there are restrictions upon stamped parcels at drop-off mailboxes.

If your old book is beyond help, such as battered, without a cover, or it has been wet, the best final choice is recycling.


By Pattie Reitz



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Posted by Pattie at 08:06PM on June 28 2012

A quick note: When doing a book swap, wine is optional! :)