Whether you’re moving or just looking for a more streamlined look, your bookshelves are an obvious place to consider paring down.
Books are heavy and take up a lot of space. With the continued popularity of electronic reading devices that store hundreds of books in the palm of your hand, is it really necessary to hold on to all those beat-up paperbacks and dusty hardbacks?
Tough choices. Ask yourself a few questions about each title. Will you ever read this book again? If not, let it go. Is there a sentimental reason to keep the book? A favorite author’s signature might be a reason to keep a book. Can you readily find the book at the library if you ever needed it again? If so, why not let the library store the title for you. Is the information in the book hopelessly outdated? Time to toss.
Selling your discards. A local used bookstore may be interested in buying your books but don’t expect to make a huge amount of money. Used bookstores typically offer one price for cash and a slightly higher amount if you agree to store credit. Pro tip: Take the cash and treat yourself to lunch. The whole idea is to get rid of books, not add to your collection.
Another option is to sell your used books online. Half.com provides an easy way to list books for sale online. The site guides you through the process of judging the condition of the book and setting a price. It also does a great job of helping you assess whether selling a title is worthwhile. If multiple copies of the title are selling for a quarter, it’s time to consider donation. Selling note: Buyers pay a set shipping fee; Half.com takes a small commission from each sale.
Donating your discards. Nearby charities and your local library will be glad to accept your book donations. Some other less-obvious options: Send them to soldiers serving abroad, to hospitals, prisons, senior citizen centers and nursing homes. Regardless of where you donate, check the guidelines. Many groups, especially those involving inmates, may have restrictions on the types of books that will be accepted. Most donations are tax deductible.
Dealing with what’s left. For the books you do decide to keep, consider a new way to organize them. Instead of by author or title, how about by spine color? Seriously. Organizing by color is an innovative and inexpensive way to add color to a room. Be sure to leave open spaces on your shelving. Add an accent piece, or two, to give the bookshelves a better aesthetic.