The Real Tough Challenge for 2008: Getting Rid of (some) Books

As some of you may know, the Smithereens tribe will welcome a new member next year. And as walls can’t be pushed, it will get the room in our flat where we usually put most of our books. Major dilemma: we’re going to sorely need that space, but how to part with our beloved books? 

In this room, we store:

  • Travel books
  • Dictionaries
  • Cooking books
  • Graphic novels, Comics
  • Crime books
  • A fair number of small size paperback literary novels
  • A few odd-sized hardback art books (too heavy to mooch)
  • Some language books, mainly Chinese and Japanese
  • All kinds of guide books, from “How to finish your novel” to the Best restaurants of Paris, to some wellness, health, advice books
  • In addition, this is the place where I keep all my writing projects, finished stories or aborted novels. And no, just in case you want to ask, I don’t plan to discard those (just yet). 

The exit modes will be:

  • Mooch (I gladly send overseas)
  • Sell (for un-moochable, especially Chinese and French books, maybe dictionaries)
  • Give away if I can get a charity interested in a batch, which I rather doubt after a few unsuccessful attempts (local libraries and hospitals already said no, too bad for them)
  • Throw away to the recycling container (yes, I even consider this last option, with tears in my eyes and many heavy sighs)
  • In last resort, pack to the basement for those I really can’t leave behind (and yes, Mr. Smithereens, I realize we have a small basement with already a lot of stuff inside) 

Before tackling the tough decisions, I have a few To-be-read books among them, so the nice part of the challenge will be to read them and form an opinion so that I’ll be able to make an informed decision. I have braced myself with the prospect of parting with these treasures. I will be tough. I will be inflexible. I am (nearly) ready for action… next year (20 days counting). 

Before this challenge starts for real, dear reader, I want to get your advice. How do you get rid of books? Do you have a method when making tough decisions about books? Obviously bad books are easy to get rid of, but those I have already discarded. Are there exit modes I have overlooked?

And, by the way, I selfishly encourage you to visit my Bookmooch inventory, that will be growing soon.

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5 thoughts on “The Real Tough Challenge for 2008: Getting Rid of (some) Books

  1. I’ve donated books to the public library before; they sell them in an annual book sale. Since the library isn’t interested, maybe a school would be?

    I knew someone moving across country who invited several friends to her apartment and let them choose any book(s) that they wanted. She thinned her collection this way & enjoyed knowing that her acquantenances — many who she knew she probably wouldn’t see again — would enjoy them.

    I haven’t really done bookmooching, but might be interested if you have copies of French language paperbacks, even if they’re translations from English as I’ve been trying to improve my Fr reading skills. There’s a possiblity that I may be traveling to Paris on business next year, but unfortunately probably not until after Baby Smithereens has made her debut. Otherwise, I’d bring an empty suitcase and off load some of them for you!

    Good luck with the challenges ahead of you — both the book and baby kind!

  2. Weeding is so hard. If the books aren’t moochable or sellable, then we donate them. If they are paperbacks there is an organization here called the Women’s Prison Book Project that distributes books to women in prison. All others we give to Goodwill. Don’t know if you have anything similar there. Good luck!

  3. Book mooch is a wonderful way to get rid of some books. I use it all the time. Although the Swiss Post is so expensive sometimes. I will definitely check out your inventory. And good luck with paring down the shelves, I find it hard to part with books.

  4. Cam, please do contact me if you come to France! It would be a pleasure to meet you in person if time allows! (and your empty suitcase might still be useful…)

    Stefanie, prisons are a good idea. I’ve never thought about it but will try to find out more on prison-related charities.

    Verbivore, feel free to check my inventory in january, when it will be getting bigger and bigger (just like my belly 😉 !) Please let me know your Mooch name so that I can ask you for friendship in the system.

    Dorothy, thank you and let me know if you’re interested by anything. Please let me know your Mooch name too!

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