Friday, December 2, 2011

Making Room

For the past few months I've been weeding books out of my library. I do this every few years (and should probably do it more often). I hate parting with these books, but I know I'm not going to read them again and I tell myself that it's time to let someone else enjoy them.

The books I remove say a lot about where I am in my book journey. A few years ago I came across a second-hand bookstore that dealt in scholarly books. Wow, I thought. Someone who might actually want all of those books on India that I'm no longer going to use. I pulled out a couple hundred books (and it took that many to free up space that I could actually notice) and carted them into Somerville. I got a fair price and left happy. I made a few trips in, browsing and buying at least one book to take home with me. But that store has closed, and my eagerness to weed out books has waned. If I pull out another one or two hundred, what will I do with them.

I have a couple of outlets for my old books. Libraries and their books sales are an obvious one. But some of my books are probably not going to find a new home even through library sales. I know a couple of second hand bookstores that occasionally want something I have, and I'm glad to sell them. But I still have a stack of older novels, general interest nonfiction books (some picked up a thrift shops or yard sales), and a few outdated reference books. For now these sit in paper bags cluttering up my library because I cannot bring myself to throw them away. I am convinced that all books can be recycled. I may be wrong, but I'm not yet ready to give in to the inevitable.

I'll keep looking for outlets for used books and asking others what they do. Until then, my village of paper bags stuffed with books continues to grow. And, alas, I continue to buy books, new and used, and pass around some of my favorites.


  1. Hi Susan,
    I know your dilemma. One more book, and the house sinks another half inch. But...our dump in Weston (pardon me, our transfer station) has a box just like the clothing recycle boxes for books. I'll try to find out how it works in case your "dump" could have a similar place.

    Recycling in China? My husband bought some beautiful books from a bookstore in China this summer. They charged him by the weight of the books. Oh my.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Kat

  2. A few years ago we downsized from house to co-op apartment. Parting with thousands of books we no longer had room for broke my heart. We donated them to the library's yearly booksale. They were beautiful books mostly in very good condition. I like to think they made a lot of other people happy.

  3. I'm not sure what i think about buying books by the pound. Would it change what I purchase? I've never thought about weighing my books but I think I'll try it. I just came back from the library with four hardcover books, but I'm pretty sure they weigh less than my cat (of course, she wiggles and struggles when I pick her up, which makes her seem heavier).

  4. I have this problem too. It's so hard to let go of books, and I tend to buy books faster than I can read them. It's time for another clean out...I tote mine to one of the branch libraries which has a used book store on the premises and holds an annual book sale as well.

  5. It's interesting that we all want our old books to have a good home, and we look to library sales for that. Thanks for the comment, Pat.