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Abandoning the Past: The Brutal Truth About Your Book Hoard


The War on Used Books: How to Dispose of Your Book Collection Without Losing Your Mind

When my partner and I moved in together, we didn’t just merge our furniture, posters, and clothes, we also combined our massive book collections. But as our collections continue to grow, we’re faced with the daunting task of deciding what to do with our beloved books. The problem is, getting rid of them is like betraying our literary souls. And yet, we’re told to declutter, to digitize, and to recycle. It’s enough to drive a book lover to the brink of madness.

The Folly of Online Book Sales

If you’re like me, you’ve considered selling your books online. After all, what’s easier than listing a book on Amazon and waiting for the dough to roll in? But think again, my friend. Amazon’s fees can eat into your profits, and navigating the site’s complex seller interface can be a nightmare. The commission on each sale is 99 cents, plus a referral fee of 15 percent of the selling price, plus a closing fee of $1.80 per item. No wonder many people have lost faith in the online book sales experience.

The Dark Horse: Alternative Online Marketplaces

But what if I told you there are alternatives? Powell’s, for one, is a haven for book lovers and book sellers alike. Enter your book’s ISBN and condition, and you’ll get a quote. You then send them your books and receive payment via PayPal. But be warned: AbeBooks, another popular platform, mainly deals with professional sellers, and its fees for selling start at $25 a month. It’s a double-edged sword: while it provides exposure, it also means a potential financial burden.

The Rebellious Spirit: Building Your Own Used Bookstore

If you’re fed up with the corporate book industry’s stranglehold on our reading habits, why not create your own used bookstore? There’s still a place for small, independent sellers who care about literature and its preservation. You can set up your own online store or, better still, put up a physical location and make it a hub for book enthusiasts.

Charities That Accept Book Donations

For those who want to give back, there are countless charities that accept book donations. Books Through Bars sends free books to incarcerated people, while Operation Paperback ships books to US troops overseas. And don’t forget the American Library Association, which provides a list of local resources for book donations. Your old books could bring joy to someone in need, whether they’re a prisoner, a soldier, or simply a book lover.

Recycling the Paper

And when all else fails, it’s time to confront the grim reality: recycling. Don’t get me wrong; pulping a book feels like an existential crisis. But consider the paper within those pages – recycled paper can become new books, saving trees and reducing waste. Make sure you check with your local recycling center to see what types of paper they accept. And while hardcover books may not be recyclable, paperback books can be reused in various ways.

In the end, what’s the best way to get rid of your used books? Sell them? Give them away? Recycle the paper? The answer lies in understanding your own values and priorities. Whether you choose to profit from your book collection, support worthy causes, or preserve literature in its physical form, know that your decision will have consequences – both personal and environmental.



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