Dang, I hate throwing away books

When we moved five years ago, I took so many boxes of “Friends of the Library” books to the library that they screamed, “Help, please make it stop.” And then they complained when I didn’t come to the book sales and take away as many books as I donated. “I’m downsizing,” I explained. They didn’t care.

Later, I unloaded (that doesn’t sound good, “so turned in”) a grocery sack full of books at a local used book store for “store credit.” Luckily, I found a couple of things that looked good. I came out with fewer books than I walked in with.

There were some places to donate books, but they’ve become more selective and, when it comes down to it, I cannot afford to pay the shipping costs for each book I want to get off my shelf.

So, it’s a crime, I know, but I’m now tossing out old, badly dated books in the trash each week. I decided, for example, that I no longer need my 1980 backpacking guide or a stack of paperbacks I didn’t like the first time I read them.

I used to sell these on Amazon, but Amazon has made establishing a seller account more difficult and I can’t compete with the sellers who’re charging a penny per book and trying to make a little on the shipping. Same goes for eBay.

We’ve discussed moving again. That means I need to get rid of a lot of stuff. Books in bulk are really heavy. I don’t feel like going through another move with more books than most small-town libraries.

Plus, boxes of books really tick off moving companies because when they make their estimates, they don’t expect all that extra weight or the time it takes to load those boxes into their truck.

Lately, I’ve been re-reading a lot of books on my shelf (as well as those stacked up in a closet). This is my poor attempt to stop bringing so many new books into the house. The trouble is, my favorite writers keep writing new stuff that I can’t resist. For example, Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus) is releasing The Starless Sea next week and Theodora Goss just released The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl, the third “Athena Club” novel. This means that I’m under relentless pressure to throw more stuff away to make room for the new stuff.

What I need, is the phone number for a place that accepts old books for good causes and then sends a truck out to pick them up. So far, no luck.





8 thoughts on “Dang, I hate throwing away books

  1. A lot of workplaces have a ‘take a book, leave a book’ shelf (for stress, charity, community) but if you’ve got boxes full, it’s finding enough places to take them. I wrote a post on a similar theme (called A Novel Idea)
    Good luck!

  2. eliseskid

    Have you tried calling up any Veteran’s associations? The VA hospitals (or even other hospitals) might welcome them? I know the Viet Nam Veterans of America take a lot of donations.

  3. I’ve gotten rid of so many books over the years, I no longer keep any I have read, unless I need them for research. The library here has an ongoing book sale back of the shelves, and I sneak my books into those stacks when I finish with them.

    One librarian I know used to take the unsalable books home and burn them for fuel, and my instinctive reaction was horror, but then, why not? What’s the difference between helping her cut down her heating bill or adding to the landfill? And anyway, they were Harlequin romances. Isn’t the point of those romances to heat up women?

  4. You do realise (of course you do) that somebody, somewhere is desperate for an 1980s book on backpacking to inform the Great American Novel that s/he is writing 😉

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