My husband and I have so many books that we’ve arranged them by color. It was the only method that made any logical sense at all. Implementing and maintaining a Dewey Decimal or even a simple alphabetical-by-author system in a family whose book acquisition habits are most notable for their voracity is frankly impractical. Besides, moving books around is easier than repainting when we want to change the look of a room.
But like any book collectors, we’ve acquired a few books that we no longer want to keep around. Some are duplicates acquired in a moment of absent-mindedness. Others are airport reads whose work is done now that the trip is completed. Still others, like the Greek language guide the used bookstore mailed me instead of the Victorian history book I’d requested, are simply complete non-sequiturs in our lives.
Whatever the reason, even I occasionally have books I don’t wish to keep around. But I can’t simply throw them away. Recycling seems equally barbaric, if slightly more earth-friendly.
Donating my used books to the Morrill Library is always a solid choice, and it’s one I’ve used in the past. If the library doesn’t need them in its collection, the Friends of the Library can set them out at their semiannual book sales.
Recently, though, a couple of other options have come to my attention. The first is http://bookmooch.com/ a website that enables you to swap books you don’t want for ones that you do. All it costs is the book itself (plus the cost of shipping it to the person who has requested it).
Along the same lines, www.paperbackswap.com lets you trade in books and receive books for nothing but the postage (media rate is inexpensive at the post office).
Or, if you prefer to donate your used books, www.playingbythebook.net has just released its annual list of charities around the world dedicated to promoting books, reading, and literacy. Just type it into the search window on the site.
It’s hard to part with books, but on the odd occasion when I have cause to do it, it’s nice to know that my books will go to a good home. Shala Howell, www.caterpickles.com www.bostonwriters.wordpress.com