Bookworms are pretty well-known for their hoarding capacities. Oh, come on, don’t deny it. You know it’s true! *casually moves in front of mountainous TBR pile*
But as much as we collect books, occasionally we also like to have clean outs and declutter our shelves to make room for all the newer, shinier books. The biggest problem with this? No, it’s not parting with the books like it should be, it’s knowing what to do with these books! Getting rid of books is hard enough, but when you don’t know where they are going it can be even harder to part with them. If you’re like me at all, you like to know that your books are going to good homes. They are my babies! I don’t like giving them away to just anyone. It has to be to someone/where they will be appreciated and cared for.
I thought it might be a good idea to have a post collating some of the things you can do with books you know longer want on your shelves… so here it is! Hopefully, this is just the slightest bit helpful.
1. Give Them to Friends & Family:
If you have friends or relatives that love reading, why not spread the love? My family always share our books around, It’s good to know that your books are going to homes that will love, respect and appreciate them. Afterwards, the two of you can discuss the book! It’s a win-win – you get rid of books that you don’t want or need anymore and your friends and relatives gets one they do!
2. Donate Them:
There are literally so many ways of giving back. Obviously, the where and how of this is going to depend on where you live and what organisations operate in your area, but I have no doubt that there’s some sort of charitable organisation in your neighbourhood. I personally adore this method! I give a lot of my books to op-shops (or second-hand/charity stores – not sure if that’s just an Australian term or not). You can choose a shop that supports a charity you also support. I use Savers a lot (their funds go to diabetes research), but there’s also Salvos, Red Cross, Goodwill, St Vinnies, and more. You could also donate to shelters or hospitals. I’ve never done this myself, but I’ve heard that children’s hospitals always accept donations of picture books. Schools and libraries also accept donations of books with obvious expectations and limitations depending on the individual school/library.
3. Sell Them:
If you are a little bit stingy and don’t want to simply give away your books – don’t worry, it’s not as selfish as it sounds. There’s some situations where I’m like this too! – there’s still a lot you can do. I use Gumtree to sell my books (I’ll talk about that more below), but if you’re not Australian than I’m sure they’re are other websites that offer similar services. I know that Amazon and Ebay have secondhand programs, but I’m not sure how they work. It’s definitely worth checking them out though if you use those websites. Many second-hand bookshops also take donations in return for store credit. Check out what’s around you and support local businesses if you can.
I love Gumtree! I use it all the time to buy and sell things, especially books. I got my complete Ranger’s Apprentice series – yes, all 12 books – for only $12 and the American hardcovers of the Divergent trilogy, brand new, for only $30. It’s literally heaven! There’s no shipping costs if you don’t want there to be. It’s reliable. You can check out the items without buying them. It’s actually quite versatile. It’s free to post an ad (you can buy add ons if you want to, but you don’t have to – I never do) and you can choose whether to sell, trade, or give away your items. You set the prices. You set the details – pick up only, negotiable or fixed prices, etc. You can even post ‘wanted’ ads if you’re looking for something. It’s perfect. I think it’s only an Australian site, though? That’s the only downside.
5. Trading Rings:
Check out trading sites near where you live. There might be a book exchange in your local shopping centre or your office/workplace. My mum works at a school that has a cute little half-bookshelf in their staff room/break room where you can drop off books and pick up a few in exchange. If you don’t work or this isn’t an option, maybe set up a trading ring in your book club? I did this and I have two trades planned for our next meeting. Best part of this option? You can discuss the books once the other person has read them! It’s a conversation starter – which is super useful for awkward peeps like me.
Twitter & Instagram Hashtag:
There’s the #BooksForTrade, #BooksforTradeUK and #BooksforTradeAU hashtags on both Twitter and Instagram. People post a picture of a stack of books they are looking to trade and you can respond with books you are interested in receiving and what you have to offer. Now, I’ve never used this before because shipping is expensive but I’ve honestly heard no horror stories (though I’m sure there are some, obviously). It’s a great way of dealing with unwanted ARCs since it’s completely legal! You’ll need to check the specifics of the trade with the individual trader but a lot are US only because of shipping costs and there’s general rule of tit for tat – one book for one book, two paperbacks for a hardcover, new ARCs for new ARCs etc. There’s also a #SwagForTrade hashtag if you have swag to trade rather than books.
… well, was that helpful? I hope so! There is so much you can do with your old books and it’s such a refreshing feeling to clear your shelves out every now and again. Get rid of the old, bring in the new. I’m planning on doing a massive clean-out and reshuffle at the end of the year – once school and exams are over and done with and a have a couple of months off. Yes, I’m probably going to need that long… I’m bad at making decisions.
I do need feel the need to point out the fact that it is illegal to sell ARCs so please be careful with what you do with them. I didn’t specifically mention that above really, but I obviously do not support selling ARCs or even donating them to op-shops (because they will end up selling them as the poor volunteers working there don’t know about our book laws – and it really your responsibility, not theirs). Please just think about the poor authors and publishers.