April 29, 2009
I have a thing for books. I love to read and have piles of paperbacks (and some hardcovers) stacked around. But I am not a "keeper." While many of the books may hold a dear place in my heart, I can't see just leaving them on shelves like trophies for the rest of my life. It would be one thing if I thought I might go back and re-read them, or even if I might reference them. But I know I won't, and I'd love for someone else to have the chance to read them, too.
So what to do with all those good books?
I often use PaperBookSwap.com. It is a cool concept, but I find I send more books than I receive. The idea is that you trade used books. If you mostly send books, you are essentially paying up to $3.00 to give your books away. I can do that for a small stack, but not for 3 boxes worth!
So I took the 3 boxes to a used book store. I thought they would be so excited since lots of my titles were current bestsellers. Wrong! They were mostly interested in some the classics. Seems lots of people bring in the popular titles and they can only accept what they are needing at the time.
I decided the next step might be to donate the books. I called my public library and found out that they do accept used books and where I could drop them off. The library generally will sell most of them at a huge used book sale. If they are given an important book or something they need, they will add it to their circulation. Mostly they raise lots of money selling the donated books. I was glad they accepted mine!
But what happens with the books that aren't sold even at sales like this? Before they all head to the recycling center, some artists collect the used books for their material. Take a look at this women who makes purses from used books. They are pretty amazing!
Caitlin Phillips creates these beautiful book purses, which were recently featured on NPR.
Photo by Nell Greenfieldboyce/NPR.