Monday, October 15, 2007

Where Do All The Books Go?

I know it's hard to believe, what with my massive TBR mountain range, but I actually keep very few books once I get around to reading them. Nothing is sacred. I've even been known to unload autographed copies after I read them. I suspect it's the ruthless weeding mentality I honed once I began working as a professional librarian. Nothing is too good to eventually get tossed the curb.

Which got me thinking about what other people do. You know, those other people whose book addiction rivals my own. I know some readers keep darn near everything and my question is: Where the Hell do you put it all? Honestly. I barely have room for my unread books. Guess it's a good thing that I only keep the keepers - and long-time readers should know by now that I'm notoriously finicky when it comes to ranking a book as a keeper. Heck, I have one half-full Rubbermaid tote of read books I can't bear to part with, and about six totes jammed full of the stuff I haven't gotten around to reading yet. We'll ignore the few newer additions I have stacked in various unpacked-away piles. Denial, denial, denial.

But I like to fool myself into thinking I'm making progress. So here's what I do with unwanted books:
  • Offer them up on a book trading e-mail loop I'm on
  • Take 'em to the used bookstore
  • Sell 'em on Amazon (I just started doing this and who-ha! What took me so long? I've sold 6 books in the last week)
  • Offer them up to the So. Cal. bloggers
  • Send the readable erotica to my younger sister
  • Donate to the library
  • Unclaimed ARCs hit the garbage
So what do you do? Do you horde every book you've ever read? Are you like my sisters and use the public library for 95% of your reading material (therefore effectively avoiding this issue)? Or are you a ruthless weeder like me? C'mon, inquiring minds want to know.

And yeah, this is a lazy post because I'm back to not reading. Seriously, this is the most up-and-down year I've had in recent memory. ::whimper::


Ladytink_534 said...

I like using the library whenever possible but if the book is new or I really like the author (Laurell K. Hamilton for example) I'll collect them. I have a VERY hard time giving away books unless it's something I didn't like.

Rae said...

Sadly, I am one of those that can't get rid of a book. I might...pass it on to a good home, IF I feel I won't read it again. But that is a rarity. *Sigh* I am going to have to buy more shelves.

Catherine said...

Depending on the book I either sell them to a second hand book store, donate to charity, donate to the library or give custody to my adult daughter..(like having offsite storage) every now and then I find a book that's resisted the purge and either realise why I kept it and relive the thrill or alternatively look at it and wonder what was I thinking keeping it.

I generally donate to the Library when I'm filling in a gap in their collection say if they have most of a series but are missing one or two or alternatively if it's a great book and I'm in the mood to share.

So in my little patch of Australia, I'd tick the box next devourer of books and to ruthless weeder.

Crystal said...

I keep most books I purchase. Every so often I clean off my shelves. The only books I give away are the bad ones. Ones that I've rating below 2 stars.

Sherry Thomas said...

I used to only buy books that I'd already read and loved. As I became less po over the years, with less time on my hand to sit in a bookstore and finish a whole book--hey, the penniless has gotta read too!--I now will buy a few new books if I'd heard a lot of good things about them.

But for a writer, I have a very scanty collection of books. And I've no qualm about giving away books that I know I'll never read again and that have no sentimental values.

But my 17-y-o copy of Sweet Savage Love is still with me, as are a couple of Judith McNaught titles I'd loved back in the day, and a bunch of Susan Johnson books that were wonderful escapes when I was a very young, and very overwhelmed mother.

I have a copy of Laura Kinsale's The Shadow and the Star that's literally dripping pages. I have a newer copy from when it was reissued, but I still keep the old one.

I guess my policy is whether a book says "ME." If it reflects me, then it stays. If it doesn't reflect me, isn't something I want to be associated with on a permanent basis, then hasta la vista and off to the library donation it goes.

a real librarian said...

have you heard about Paperback Swap? It's a great site where you can swap out your books for others, and everyone gets what they want!

Lori said...

I offer my books up on Paperback Swap. But only the ones that I feel sure will be requested. Cause otherwise they'd all still sit around. Then I send those that I'm sure my buddies will want to read around to them. The rest get donated to the library. I got rid of my huge bookshelves in a grand show of "I'm cleaning up my life" and of course, now I regret that I have no space for my books LOL.

vanessa jaye said...

I've become a ruthless purner over the last couple of years. But I do have keepers that I know I'll re-read. I've also, just recently, started to use the library again. I had to stop when I started writing and was racking up late fees like crazy. Of course, taking out 20 books at a time probable didn't help then. *g* Now I take out 2 or 3 at a time and make the trip to the library a weekly thing to do on Saturdays. Having the grocery store just across the street makes it even better to kiil to errands in one trip.

Kate Diamond said...

I used to use the library all the time. Then I got out of grad school and got a job... and oh, how the books are piling up.

The Fiance is Not Pleased. But I tell him it's better to be addicted to books than to clothes. Or shoes. Or handbags. Or crack.

I really need to stop hoarding my books. My brother, my dad, and The Fiance curse my love of literature every time I move.

Rosie said...

I've got too many books. There are about 7 six foot bookcases double and sometimes triple stacked. I've got books from my school years to books I bought last week.

That said I give books away, donate books and trade at the UBS. My theory, which I keep tellig myself and anyone who will listen, is that I've got to have a good supply of books for when I'm "old" to read and can't afford to go out and buy books any more.

That said I need to do a big purge again because my shelves doth runneth over.

nath said...

Hmmm, I'm a keeper/hoarder. The thing is that I live in a French-speaking province and so, the libaries have less choice than me ^^; So I can't use the library... I purge my collection 3-4 times a year and will only get rid of the books I really hate. If the book is from one of my fav. authors, I won't get rid of it even if it's bad. I plan to have a room in my future house to keep all those books :) Also, I don't know what to do with the bad books - can't give them to paperswap... for the price the UBS gives me, I'd rather give them to charity... perhaps I should give them to the library though.. that's an idea.

Kristie (J) said...

Me - I build my own library. But I think I'm going to have to expand 'cause it's pretty much full and now I have a couple of tubs full sitting next to me and a couple of little 3drawer plastic shelves almost full. But if I get rid of any of them, I just know that will be the one I want to read again somewhere down the line. It's happened before

Jennie said...

I keep any book I liked (and I've been buying more and more lately). It's okay now, but in about 5 years, I'm going to be in trouble. I'll have to start getting a little more ruthless.

Kerry said...

I'm moving 2,000 miles in 3 months, so I have to hop to it and get rid of stuff. If I think it has resale value, I use Ebay gets the collectibles. If it doesn't sell there, used book store, or thrift gets it.

And I toss bad condition too. Such a librarian.

Wendy said...

Re: Paperback Swap - it's a good idea in theory, but not one I can use. I'm one of those anal retentive types that's militant about the condition of books. I like 'em pristine, and experience has taught me not everyone is as crazy as I am :)

KristieJ: Given my mammoth TBR, I do very little rereading. Like Sherry said, the book practically has to scream "ME!!!" before I grant it "keeper" status. The only book I really regretted getting rid of was The Heart Breaker by Nicole Jordan (in all it's un-PC glory) but luckily a friend of mine had a duplicate and hooked me up.

Katie said...

Ok, de-lurking here *g*. For the following seven month I will be in Glasgow and have all those wonderful books from the library at my disposition. Therefore I try to cram as much as possible into this time. Otherwise I am a die hard bookmoocher and trade practically every book I read (mainly because I have only a student budget for this hobby). As to the erotica part, I also review erotic romances for a German romance print journal, therefore I get a good pick of new releases in e-format and print. My keepershelf is very small, since I started reading romance six years ago I have only collected about 150 books, of course, my other book collection (literature, classics, ...) is about five time that big. LOL. Btw. Ms Super-Librarian, you need to blog more often, I need my daily dose of dry humor!!!

C2 said...

Let's see, I keep books I think I'll read again (because I really liked them or because they are part of a series and I might want to fact check. ;-) The Keeper shelves are in a closet - one 4-shelf basic bookshelf and one 5-shelf tower.

The books I don't keep go to the UBS or to people I think might enjoy them...mostly the UBS, though. My tastes are different than most of the reader friends. If the UBS won't take them, my dad is the king of yard sales. He can sell anything! :-D

Alie said...

I either put them up for trade on or I give them to Goodwill lol. Depends on the authors and trading value, etc.

Which email loop are you on that you do trades with?