An Excess of Books

Nancy J. Cohen

What do you do when you have too many books in your house, and you can’t possibly read them all? Give away the print books and switch to Ebooks? That’s one solution. I prefer to be selective about the print books and combine my reading of paper copies with my Kindle reads.

Recently I had the occasion to sort through two cartons of books sitting on my dining room floor since who knows when. They contained an assortment of books obtained from conferences and booksignings. This examination became necessary when our recent ceiling remodeling had us moving loose items of furniture from the room, and we noticed flying insects along with coffee grounds material against one wall. And—uh,oh—they were in the boxes of books as well. My bookshelves are overflowing; I had no choice except to box up the surplus.

I reverently removed each book, dusted it off, shook out the pages, and stacked them on top of my washer in the laundry room. Noting the dust on the open bins in which I’d kept them, I resolved to obtain some sealed plastic containers from Target. But first, I really should decide which books to keep.

After making an appointment with the termite inspector, I proceeded to weed through the dozens of books. I made a pile out of the ones I knew I’d never read, the ones whose pages were yellowing, and the ones that only mildly appealed to me. The remainders I put into those plastic containers I’d just bought for that purpose. Hopefully these closed bins would not allow insects to penetrate even though it might not be ideal for preservation.

So what to do with the giveaways? These are not books I’d written, mind you. Those are in cartons as well and need a thorough inspection. But these discards deserve just as much respect. So here are the choices in giving away print books:

1. Donate them to the local library for their book sale.
2. Trade them in at a used bookstore and get some hard to find backlist titles in return.
3. Give them to a booklover who will enjoy them.
4. Bring them to an assisted living facility or other needy place that will accept them.
5. Donate them to the library in your housing community building which could be similar to the master planned community Epperson, if there is one. If not, you could possibly start a library there with permission.
6. Offer a couple of dozen each as a contest prize (but only the newer books). I got this idea from another writer who does a Rafflecopter contest for her gently used books.
7. One of my FB friends suggested setting up a Sidewalk Lending Library. Maybe she has nothing else to do, but I’d rather just donate the books to the community center and set one up there. Plus you might need a vendor license for this option.

Do you have any further suggestions? And no, a bonfire is not an acceptable option. Where do you store your excess TBR print books if not on your shelves?