Thursday, June 04, 2009

What to do with books you've finished reading

I saw in the Oregonian today that the level of donations for the Fall Friends of the Multnomah County Book fair is lower than expected. Who knows why, but I suspect that more people are selling their books rather than donating them. The line at Powell's is always long for people selling or trading. I realize I do not donate much because donation is the last choice on my book funnel.

The books I like best I keep and put on my shelves. In nearly all cases, it is nonfiction that I keep. I tell myself that I want to keep books in certain subject, in case I need to look something up. I don't think this has ever actually happened, but in case I need to at some point, I am ready. With fiction, I quite often send it off. I only keep them in case my wife might want to read it. If not, it is usually gone.

The ones I think are good, or that I am not ashamed that I read, I tend to loan out or give-away to someone to read. I used to want them back, thinking I would loan them out to others I know, but I am just as happy to have people pass them on to someone else. The same people will usually share their books with me, so everybody wins. If I don't think my friends will want it, I go ahead and trade it in, usually at Powells but sometimes at the local paperback exchange. I like to help out the little guy, but man, having some credit at Powells is like a ticket to Willy Wonka's factory.

By the time I have loaned out or sold my excess books, I don't have a lot left to donate. I've come to recognize the books that Powells and the paperback exchange don't take. Out of convenience some of these go to Goodwill and others go to schools for fundraising. I am slightly ashamed of the books that I hand over to the school. I want to attach a note that these aren't my regular sort of books, no, no, no, but then I would have to admit they are third in line for books.


Citizen Reader said...

I'm ashamed to admit that I don't buy enough books to sell back or donate, but the few times I have had some books I didn't need, it's been really easy to take them in for library sales, so I appreciate that outlet. I don't have a Powell's and my local Half Price Books pays, seemingly, pennies for pounds of books.

I too am a keeper of some hardcovers, definitely nonfiction. I've picked up books at library sales that I just would like to have around when kids are in my house browsing--and it's worked. My niece heads right to the bookshelf whenever she visits! So my fiendish plan is working (the big coffee table book on jewelry used in Hollywood films was the hook for her.)

Tripp said...

Ah! I neglected to talk about keeping books the kids might want to read at some time. I find that this only works with books that they might want to read SOON. We were putting aside college philosophy books before they were born. That I think is a bit much.