Books, dead trees and downsizing

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by firestarter, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #1
    I've always loved books, and just bought books whenever I felt like it - on the basis that a book was always a good thing to have.

    Now, with a load of books (many unread) in my house and in storage, I'm facing the realisation that maybe I'd be better off getting rid of most of them. Paying to store books is insane - 'cos pretty quickly you end up paying the replacement cost of the books just to store them. I'm also not reading as much these days, and when I do want to read a book I quite like the convenience factor of it being in electronic format (Kindle, PDF, iBooks etc.).

    I've already converted a lot of my technical bookshelf over to PDF versions (I threw out all my O'Reilly books as new versions were published, and now own all of them on PDF). I've kept all my old novels though... and even though I may not read 'For Whom The Bell Tolls' again, it kind of disturbs me to get rid of it. I'd like to move towards a minimalist environment though - with most of my media in digital form. I feel I need to get over this attachment, and just start to get rid.

    • Has anyone else faced this?
    • Anyone got rid of their books entirely?
    • Any tips on getting rid of books in a 'humane' way? (selling on Amazon just seems like more trouble than it's worth... life is too short to do all that data entry and mailing for less than a pound a book).
     
  2. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #2
    There are quite a few charities that sell books - perhaps a couple would appreciate a bookish donation, and as a bonus you'll get a warm fuzzy feeling from doing something charitable.
     
  3. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Location:
    The Kop
    #3
    Agreed. Charity shops would take them off your hands. If you are going to take a huge amount in (which it seems you are) I'd pop in first to see how many they want to take. Then you can always drop them off at a few charity shops.

    My friend buys all of his books from charity shops usually for 50p ish reads then and then always donates them back.

    Some pubs in my area also have an area for books that people leave and take for free so you could put some in there.

    Failing that a local library might want them, or possibly a local school or freecycle.

    Or depending on your area and the weather you could put a table up (or just the boxes) outside your house with a sign saying "free books" and let people take them as they walk on by.
     
  4. (marc) macrumors 6502a

    (marc)

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2010
    Location:
    the woods
    #4
    You could try to sell your technical books at a university near you. Usually there's an event for that at the beginning of the semester. :)
     
  5. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #5
    This is exactly what I did. I gave some of my books to the local library, and some to a local retirement center that had a library for their residents.
     
  6. rowley macrumors 6502

    rowley

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I'm moving out of London soon to Manchester. All my books, CDs and DVDs are now digital, so, like you, I will be donating them to charity rather than storage or lugging them north.
     
  7. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Location:
    Bath, United Kingdom
    #7
    I found/find myself with the same dilemma as firestarter.
    I have a large amount of books (47 years worth) — and with London property sizes being what they are, most were stuck in storage… with little hope of me ever reading from them again.

    So I bit the bullet: I got rid of all paperbacks — except the ones which had some special memory for me… difficult that as the pile of books I wanted to keep kept growing! :eek:

    But I keep buying the damn things, although now I only buy hardcovers and any novels and such only on Kindle. :) Yet my shelves are getting full… again.

    *sigh*

    I did find quite a few charities to be a bit "picky" about what they will accept. Maybe that is just a London thing.
    For the ones I got stuck with I contacted London Book Recycling and they took 'em all away.

    If only getting rid of my books was as simple as my CDs. All those were ripped into Apple Lossless and the CDs given away (Don't start the legal/illegal debate please.)

    Good luck…
     
  8. ucfgrad93 macrumors P6

    ucfgrad93

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Colorado
    #8
    I would donate most of them to your local libraries. Many have been hard hit during the recession. Also look at retirement centers, as many have small libraries in their community centers.
     
  9. firestarter thread starter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #9
    Thanks for the suggestions so far, folks - please keep them coming.

    I am based in London, so the London Book Recycling link is a good one (and if the books find their way back to eager readers, then it's all good).
     
  10. Surely Guest

    Surely

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #10
    Bookburning? That would satisfy your username, no? :D
     
  11. firestarter thread starter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #11
    It would certainly serve a dual purpose by helping offset my house heating costs, but I'm not sure I could bring myself to do that.

    OK, perhaps if I owned some Dan Brown books...
     
  12. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #12
    Dan Brown, yes, maybe that is justified on house heating costs, but, as for the rest, (and I know it was written in jest), book-burning is a truly terrible idea and an even more dreadful act; societies that start by burning books often end by burning people - it reeks of a loathing of learning, a monumentally, insanely confident intolerance......and a desire to control what people read, learn and know.

    Personally, I love books, and their physical presence, and three rooms in my house have floor to ceiling shelves, and books are sneaking into other locations, as well,......having said that, a bit of de-cluttering is worth contemplating; so, to the OP, the charity shop option is certainly worth looking at, - you'll feel good and do good all at once - as are any libraries near homes for older people, who tend to read and who may well welcome an opportunity to use their minds and imaginations with the gift of books.

    Cheers
     
  13. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    East of Lyra, Northwest of Pegasus
    #13
    I dunno, I got rid of some tech books that were only good for burning. I mean, really, what else would I use that Windows NT admin guide for? 800 pages of burning goodness! Or that VB6 programming guide?
     
  14. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    I tend to only own physical copies of cooks I value for a particular reason, so despite being fairly well read I only have perhaps 50 books? As a kid I used to borrow books a lot and use libraries often.

    Though, that said I'm in a position where I could have 20x that number and not really have a problem storing them all.

    As for what to do with them it depends on the book and who you know really, we may face this same problem ourselves with technical books as our household has 100+ of the things that just never get used.

    I'd be inclined to give as many as I thought would get read to younger people I know, I would have loved to be given a big pile of books as a kid.
     
  15. Firestar macrumors 68020

    Firestar

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Location:
    221B Baker Street.
    #15
    Take them to a library or charity. I'm sure they would be glad to have some extra books to rent out/sell.
     
  16. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    New England, USA
    #16
    I'm totally irrational about books. Seeing films of the book burnings in Germany left an indelible impression.

    So, some of my books are still on the shelf. Some are in boxes. Some are in a storage locker. Totally nuts, no?

    The rest I gave to my local library.

    I know I'm a troglodyte, but I still love real books. Paper, ink, all that outdated stuff. :D :p
     
  17. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #17
    Okay, okay, maybe, perhaps, just possibly, you might, you very well might have a point here........

    (Ever read James Morrow's wonderful and incredibly inventive "The Last Witchfinder"? It is brilliant, and hilarious. There is a wonderful conceit that books can write books, and he has a hystericaly funny passage where....he writes "....Mein Kampf can claim credit for most of the Hallmark greetings cards printed between 1958 and 1967....Richard Nixon's entire oeuvre can be traced to a collective effort by the science fiction slush pile at Ace Books......Once The Waste Land and Other Poems generated its first Republican Party platform, it couldn't resist creating all the others. After Waiting for Godot acquired a taste for writing Windows software documentation, there was no stopping it....")

    So, maybe that is what happens......do we ever know?
     
  18. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #18
    Have you decided what you want to keep and what you want to throw away? A technique that i have used is to seal a load of books up in a box (do this multiple times until you run out of books) and then leave them in a cupboard out of the way for a few months. Any boxes that remain should be taken to a charity shop - but don't look in them. That way, you avoid any lingering doubt about whether you need them. You obviously don't if they have just been sat there.

    Good move :)
     
  19. firestarter thread starter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #19
    I have about 20 boxes of books that have been in storage for a couple of years. I was actually organised enough to spreadsheet them all before I stored them, so I have a list that I've been through to decide what I want to keep/throw. I plan to get down to 2 boxes.

    I've got stuff in there that I don't want to get rid of... like a 'Complete Hitch Hiker's Guide' that Douglas Adams signed for me.
     

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