Monday, February 28, 2011

A Feel-Good Way to Make Room for More Books

The winner of the signed copy of
Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2 is

<<<<< Jessica >>>>>

Jessica, please contact me via my

Thanks to everyone who suggested
great ways to donate books!!

We've all got our To-Be-Read stacks, right? What happens to the books after they're read? Or what happens to that half a room of books you accumulated before you switched to e-books? If you're like me, they multiply overnight and the stacks inch a little closer to the ceiling.

On the right is one small sample of my already read books, hidden behind a door. I'd hate to tell you how many stacks there are in various places around the house. There are some I want to save to reread, some that are signed, and some covers I just can't bear to have leave my possession. But there are many others I enjoyed reading once, or found too tepid for my tastes ;-), or never made it beyond the first few chapters. (I try to learn from those so I won't make the same mistakes.) If these books suddenly vanished, there's so much I could do:

1, Have an actual bed in my guest room.
2. Probably get cheaper fire insurance for my home.
3. Install a home theater.
4. Put the cat litter box someplace better than my kitchen.
5. Have room for new additions to the TBR stack.

All very desirable, right? Well, hang on to your hats, kiddies, because I have some suggestions for clearing out those old books and feeling good about it.

First, obtain either some cardboard boxes or those great plastic storage boxes with wheels (fun!), then this is the tough part: you have to decide which ones you want to keep. Signed books are no-brainers. Then consider each remaining book. Are you really going to reread it or are you kidding yourself? I have books I've reread from twice to twelve times (Okay, you got me. There are only a few in the twelve category and I read them first before I was twenty years old. They've stuck with me.) Be honest. Be cruel. This is your space we're talking about.

When you're done, look at what's left and get rid of anything that's damaged, moldy, or otherwise unsavory. By get rid of, I mean recycle. Paperbacks are easy. Rip the covers off and recycle the text block anywhere that accepts telephone books. Throw the covers out. (Do not, of course, give away or [gasp!] resell any books with the covers ripped off.) Or make the covers into a collage and hang them up on the wall--that frees up floor or shelf space. Hardbacks are, by definition, harder. But you can do it. Get some nasty box cutters and slit the binding until the sections come out in chunks. Or, if you are frightened of blades, have someone else do it while you hide your eyes. Throw out the remaining "shell" of the book.

Now you have a pile (we won't talk about size here) of books that probably have been read once and are in good condition. You don't have any books that are porn, racist, or solicit for religious conversion, do you? Likely they will not be wanted as donations. Here are some suggestions for the next step.

The Wish You Well Foundation
Associated with David Baldacci's Feeding Body and Mind literacy campaign, this program's purpose is to distribute books to people who patronize food banks to give them access to the pleasure of reading. In addition, David and other authors collect books at their signings or at conferences where they appear. All you have to do is drop your books into the white collection boxes and everything is taken care of for you. If your town's bookstores aren't participating, find out why!

Most libraries have a Friends of the Library association. Contact yours and see if they take donations of books to sell to raise money for library events.

Books for Soldiers
Our troops abroad need our support. A good book takes you away from the present and into the author's world for a few hours. What better way for a soldier to alleviate boredom and stress? You need to submit a notarized application to participate in this donation program.

Operation Paperback
(Tax exempt) Another organization to support our troops with escape time. When you register, you specify what type of books you have available, and you'll be sent addresses of troops who have requested that type of book. In case you're thinking it costs too much to ship books overseas to troops, the Post Office has a great deal. They have a flat rate Priority Mail shipping box (12” x 12” x 5-1/2”) especially for shipping APO/FPO items overseas. Those letters mean Army Post Office/Fleet Post Office. There's another one, DPO, Diplomatic Post Office, but it's not covered by this flat rate of $12.95.  The box even has a red heart on it and says "America Supports You," which is a good thing for an individual soldier to hear. We're not talking politics, just person-to-person caring. You can ship to a person who wants to read the type of book you have to offer, you send a box(es) to that man or woman directly, you feel good, and you get a tax deduction.

So now what's your excuse for those books taking up space in your house??

There are many ways to donate books, far more than I've listed here. Tell me about your favorites so we can have a wide choice! Anyone who leaves a comment about a way to donate books will be entered in a drawing for a free, signed copy of Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book 2. The random drawing ends March 3rd. Send in those suggestions!


Sharon said...

I have donated books to the local library which they sold in fund raisers. I've donated some YA books to the High School library, which they were glad to get. I've donated to Good Will as well, which is what I would do with paperbacks that werent moldy or torn up instead of destroying them.

Sharon S. said...

What a great post! I didn't know about Operation Paperback. I think I will do that one :) I tend to donate to the local library since I have a bigger collection of UF and PNR then they do .

juliet said...

I've left books on planes, traded them with other passengers (which isn't a net loss, but it gets you a different book) and donated to the VA hospitals and Ronald McDonald house. They usually have adults who also need some escapism. You can also give to retirement homes and medical rehab centers. If you take public transportation, leave one on the seat with a note telling people to take it, read and leave it for someone else when they are done.

SandyG265 said...

I usually donate them to either the local Visiting Nurse Association's rummage sale or my library's book sale. If I've been on a trip with a book that I don't want to read again I've left it for the next traveller.

Casey said...

I'm pretty selfish when it comes to books (as in, I don't want to give them away). But when I do, I either give them to my sister or donate them to the library.


Bookwyrm85 said...

I'm a big re-reader. If I like a book, I will read it over and over again. But on those occasions where the book just didn't hold my interest,I will usually donate to the library, or retirement/nursing homes. I like the idea of sending a box of books to troops, I think I will try that next time!

Teril said...

I donate a lot to our local library and then a book exchange for foster kids in our area, and a local women's shelter. Since I read a huge variety of genres I can pass them around to different groups.

Kaya H said...

I run a Girl Scout Troop and monthly we pool in our read books and take them to our local women'sshelter and then our local hospice center.

Ashleigh said...

I live near Powell's Books in Portland so my favorite way to clean out books I don't read is to pack them all in a box and bring them to Powell's. Then I get a store credit for each book they take to resell, with which I can go and buy MORE books. It's a win-win.

Stephanie said...

I usually donate my books to my younger cousins. I also take them to the library. I still have way too many books in my house.

smccar1 at hotmail dot com

nymfaux said...

I already have a *signed* copy of Sacrifice!!!! *GIANT GRIN* so you don't have to enter me...Plus I feel kinda selfish after reading this...I got my ereader right before I moved, so it was the perfect time for me to downsize w/out being too squeamish--I took a few carloads over to a used bookstore, got cash back and put it toward building my digital bookshelves.

As for donating, I think my favorites are to the troops or a local library!

tsalvatore said...

I give my books to family members to read. I love to read so I try to spread the love..

Her Media said...

I donate our books to a local elementary school who sells then in a fundraiser ...

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Our local library takes books and will resell most of them in good or better condition at their bookstore. All proceeds go to the library. The library is a big thing in my town. :)

heatwave16 said...

First - I'm a total pack rat, so it is hard to give away anything, but I do try. I often give mine to family members, or friends that I know don't have the extra cash to buy books on their own. I've donated some to Goodwill as well.

Jessica said...

I like to keep my books as well, but then there are some books in the house--not all are mine--that no one reads or touches. I like to find donations to give them to rather then taking them to the Goodwill store where they will just be sold.

When I was a senior in high school we did have some sort of book drive to donate books. So I went through a lot of my YA and other younger reading leveled books and filled an entire box of them!

Lately, I've been keeping some books that I didn't really care for to use as giveaways on my blog. I just want my extra books to go to a good home or to a good cause. Just because I may not have enjoyed a few of the titles doesn't mean someone else won't.

Terri Garey said...

Great ideas, Dakota! I, too, store my excess books behind a door -- one day they're going to fall over, I just know it!

I recently donated a bunch of them to a brand-new thrift store in my neighborhood that uses their proceeds to support pet shelters. They were thrilled to get them, so it was a win/win/win for me, some readers, and some homeless pets!

Asenath said...

As a teacher, I know that schools need all the help they can get! More English teachers need to have books in their classrooms, readily available to students.

ARCS float on helps connect awesome donors with schools and teachers!

Candace said...

My two favorite ways are actually donating to soldiers (through something like operation paperback) or donating to my local library. I like donating to my library because they could always use more books, they can sell some of them to help with the costs of running a library, and sometimes libraries also do donations and book drives.

Sullivan McPig said...

I always donate the books I'm not going to read again to the library of a hospital.

Jackie (Literary Escapism) said...

What perfect timing! I've actually been going through my books as well and trying to figure out what to do with them. I love donating to my library and I just found out that they'll add donated books to their collection before passing on to the Friends of the Library Assoc if they are still in good condition.

I didn't know about Operation Paperback - I'm going to have to take a look at it.

Do need to enter me in the contest.

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

I pass my books on to other readers at PaperBackSwap and Bookmooch. Although I now have an e-reader, I'm still buying just as many books, I'm just carrying over 300 around in my purse instead of one.

Meredith said...

After I read my books, they go one of three places--mailed to my sister if it's something she wants to read, PBS to trade for something else to read, or to my sons' high school because they are desperate for fresh reads for both their library AND reading classes. I even taught one of the vice principals (former reading teacher herself) how to use PBS to trade and freshen up their library and she LOVES it and the kids are loving the newer books they are getting. I also showed her Goodreads and she's introducing it to students so they can track their reading, especially some of the students are a little competitive in what they get done.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Serena DeNardo said...

Great blog! You really got me thinking!

TheBookAddictedGirl said...

This is a brilliant post: books are living under my bed, on windowsills and on top of bookshelves at the moment in my house!
When I give books away, I often give them to family friends, and I'm constantly swapping books with family members. I also donate to charities, though.
I didn't know there were so many options though, so thank you for sharing!