I've been chipping away at the books off and on for a while. The ups and downs of book de-cluttering have been mentioned here on the blog. More than once. Recently our books seem to have been multiplying again, so the chipping away's more on than off at the moment. That's a good thing because Daughter is still raising funds for her World Challenge trip in July. Every penny counts, even if it's only a few quid made by selling old books.
Some time ago I tried selling a few online at Green Metropolis but with short-lived success - three sold in nine months was not a 'get rich quick' recipe. I'd forgotten that I still had some listed on their website until I received an email a couple of weeks ago to say that sadly, they can't compete with e-books, and are shutting up shop.
Another online outlet is WeBuyBooks.co.uk, recommended by Angela at Tracing Rainbows. They do what it says on the tin and Ang found that they made reasonable offers for her books. They didn't seem to like mine as much but Ziffit did. They liked some of our audio visual items too, and before Christmas a very quick and easy £30 came our way for about the same amount of books, CDs and DVDs.
If you just want to empty the house speedily then you can't beat taking a bag of books to the charity shop - fortunately there are more than enough books to go round in our house - I've done plenty of book donating as well as book selling; Oxfam seems to be the least picky about what they'll take. Even more fun was taking some books to the recent community Give and Take day - it's very satisfying to see someone going home with one of your old books tucked under their arm.
I love books and don't always find it easy to part with them. After several rounds of thinning out in recent years I think I'm getting better at letting go. Here are some questions I ask myself:
- Would this book prefer to be in circulation and to have the chance of being read than to be sitting on my book shelf doing nothing?
- Could I borrow this book from the library if I wanted to read it again?
- Am I really going to re-read this book (especially if it's a novel) or refer to it ever again?
- Have I looked at this book in the last 10 years? If I haven't the chances are that I won't look at it in the next 10 years...
- Does this book relate to an interest that I still have? (For instance I enjoy listening to The Archers occasionally but do I really need an entire shelf of reference books about a fictional village? Or reference books written by fictional characters about fictional villages - wave goodbye to Linda Snell's Heritage of Ambridge!)
- Could I find the information contained in this book more easily on the internet?
- Is the information in this book up-to-date or has it been superceded by something more current?
- Does this book belong to somebody else? (Then return it to them!)
I have a particularly hard time with books that were gifts but I think it's safe to assume that most book givers would not expect you to keep their books for eternity.
This half term the book mountains in my bedroom have been tamed. For now, I'm winning.