My bookshelves post made me think about how and why I get rid of books. Weeding in the library is totally different than weeding at home, but I have a lot of experience weeding. I volunteered in a small branch to weed Nonfiction, and I weeded the Young Adult section when I was a Teen Services Librarian. It feels great to get rid of old or ruined materials, and to see how attractive the shelves look once you’re done.
At home, things are a bit different. I can get rid of my own books pretty easily. If I really love a book, I am keeping it because I know I will re-read it. I used to re-read some of my favorites every year, but never more often than that. However, last year I didn’t re-read a single book! There is just so much out there, and I’ve really been pushing myself to read as much new stuff as I can. And that’s good too, especially since my favorite indie bookstore went out of business last year. They have since reopened as a different store, thank goodness, but everything was half off as they got rid of inventory. That means I bought a LOT of books. Even with everything being half off, I’m still ashamed to admit how much I spent. Except NOT ashamed. Because it’s books! I will always, always spend money on books. (I mean, I love libraries too, but sometimes you just need a new book.)
When I get rid of my own fiction or nonfiction books, I prefer to list them on PaperbackSwap, which I wrote about before. I used to sell textbooks on half.com, and was so sad when that site closed. It allowed you to keep books as inventory, so they could sell whenever someone wanted it, instead of setting a time limit on an eBay auction. I recently listed some books on eBay and Amazon but I was so used to half.com (due to using it for over a decade!) that it’s tough to remember to list things. If I get a stack of books and don’t have the desire to post them online, I donate them to the library or leave them in Little Free Libraries.
Getting rid of picture books is really hard. I have so many, and I’m grateful for that. Some I bought, some were gifts, some were just huge boxes of books sent by friends and family. I go through them periodically and weed, but the shelves are still full. If we read a book and loved it, and it gets asked for often, of course we keep it. What’s the harm in that? If we read it and didn’t like it, I might give it another try and then get rid of it. If the title or topic seem questionable, I’ll look it over and maybe donate it before we even read it, just because it doesn’t jive with our family or personalities.
When I get rid of picture books, I like to donate them to my son’s preschool. I will also keep some aside to put in Little Free Libraries we have all around our city’s parks and community centers. Some I will put on PaperbackSwap, but I really try to get them out in the community because I know there are so many people who don’t own a book, and I want to change that.