Operation Paperback, a great place for your gently used books

I used to re-sell my used paperbacks on Amazon. Sometimes I still do. But, for most books, the profits aren’t very good because so many people are selling books for a penny or two, hoping to make a pittance on volume by taking a cut of the amount Amazon allows for shipping. Then, too, you have to buy mailers or boxes and rush to the post office within two days of getting a SHIP NOW e-mail from Amazon.  Selling books on eBay has similar hassles and low profits unless you have something out of print and/or rare.

There’s a used book store in town that takes in used books IF you want to use the value they assign to them and apply that against a purchase in the store. The thing is, if the store is selling used books, I’ve probably already read them.

If you have an eagle eye, you’ve noticed the Operation Paperback logo on the right-hand side of this blog. Anyone can sign up and either donate money or become a shipper, all of this to give our troops books to read. When I was in the Navy, I would have welcomed an occasional box of books from people who cared that I was sitting on a ship in the Gulf of Tonkin with time between watches to use up.

Operation Paperback was founded in 1999 and since then has shipped 2.2 million books around the world and to veterans and their families in the U.S. In my case, I participate in the program via my publisher Thomas-Jacob Publishing. This means that when Melinda runs out of books she’s been stashing under the bed, I send her a few boxes to add to her collection. Then she ships them out to people who are looking for the genres I send.

The literary fiction I read isn’t in high demand. But the Tom Clancy/James Patterson kinds of books are. So, she gets all these because they’re not the kinds of books that lend themselves to reading them multiple times. I mailed her two boxes of books this morning, and snuck in a batch from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. Think of them as cops and robbers with a wizard in the mix!

It’s amazing how much space paperback and hardback books take up in my den. So, I’m happy to have a good place to send those I’ve read. It sure beats throwing them in the trash! And, since I think it’s a crime to dog-ear or scribble in books, mine have no bent pages because I use bookmarks. And, as we used to advertise on eBay, my books come from a smoke-free environment. Of course, it’s possible my books smell like fried chicken, steak or beef stew.



A thousand or so books with no place to go (in my house)

DCFC0011.JPGI’m glad the new public library is open. As the busiest library in the regional system, the Jefferson, Georgia public library needed to get out of its old, cramped facility. The new facility opened June 27 in half of an old grocery store building and the result is a lot of upscale space.

This is where the books in my garage play into the equation. After years of moving stuff from one house to another, my wife and I are downsizing. I’ve already taken about forty sacks of old magazines to the recycling center. But the books–some 15 boxes–aren’t going to be thrown away.

These usually don’t go into the library’s collection. Most are sold by the Friends of the Library group at the annual book sale to help raise money for more programs. Our library will probably have this year’s sale in the fall. Meanwhile, a few books went to the Berry College Library, a couple of boxes went to the library in nearby Talmo, and the rest have been waiting for the Jefferson library to finish moving from the old building to the new building.

In general, I don’t like disposing of books. On the other hand, the place where I’m sitting right now is a home and not a book storage facility. I hope the books find new readers when the next book sale comes along. Needless to say, I’m not going to the sale. I know it’s for a good cause, but seriously, I don’t want to see a thousand books coming back into the garage.

One box went to the library today, but there are more to go in the coming weeks.


The Annual Library Book Sale

jeffersonlibraryEvery year, our local library holds a book sale that has become so popular it can no longer be held in the library’s modest lecture room. Now it occupies a huge space at the civic center where multiple tables have been set up with books grouped under multiple subject headings and genres by the Friends of the Library and other volunteers. This year’s library sale will be next week and, as usual, I have collected a box of books to donate for the sale.

The sale has been a good fund-raiser for the library as well as an opportunity for readers to find some great books marked down even lower than the used books (when the shipping costs is factored in) on Amazon. The books tend to sell at a blanket price depending on whether they’re hard cover or paperback. This streamlines the checkout procedure, though I think there are some cases where a few of the more popular, recent books could be marked up.

The Murphy’s Law of Donating Books

Over the years I’ve discovered a universal truth about book sales, a truth that also applies to anything sold on eBay or Amazon or donated to book drives held for various worthy causes: You may not have looked at the book for years, but once you sell it or give it away, you’ll sooner or later want to look at it again, Years ago, after finishing my first fantasy novel The Sun Singer, I sold off an Allerton Park brochure (where the real Sun Singer statue stands) on eBay because the book was done and I needed the money. Years later, I bought it (not the same copy) back on eBay because it was the only source for information I was using to market the novel.

Now, once again, I remember that a book by Eric Berne (widely known for Games People Play) that I’ve been looking for around the house for several days was, in fact, donated to the library book sale several years ago. I wanted information for an upcoming post on this blog about the multiple meanings behind the popular Little Read Riding Hood fairy tale. I’m still going to look at LRRH, as Eric Berne calls her, but the post would be easier to write if I still had Berne’s book about psychological scripts.

My wife and I will probably got to this year’s library sale. I’ve gotten in trouble there before, mainly for buying only one or two books when the librarians remembered me donating 50 books. “Malcolm, you need to take away more than you bring.” Sorry Laura and Amy, but the house isn’t big enough.

I don’t expect to find any books by Eric Berne, but there’s probably going to be something tempting on one of those tables. The librarians know that those of us who are addicted to books are going to show up!

Coming on Monday, February 18th:  Speculative Supernatural Novels and the Growing Fantasy Genre, a guest post by Laura K. Cowan (“The The Little Seer”)

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