Books contain some of our greatest adventures and our most important knowledge. Where would we be without them? But they also take up a lot of space, require bookshelves to hold them, and make moving incredibly difficult. Stopping reading is not the answer, so we’ll tell you how to get rid of old books quickly and effectively.
1. Break your sentimental connection.
Stories matter more than physical objects, and those stories will stay with you forever. Paper decays with wear, tear, and age, but your memories of their tales will not. Give yourself time to do this. If you read fantasy novels frequently, keep your favourite epic series or standalone novel. For example, avid readers might keep the Wheel of Time Series or the Sword of Truth series on their shelves instead of keeping both. Fourteen-part epic sagas take up more room than you might realize you have.
2. Put time stamps on books.
If you haven’t yet read a book, but a time stamp on it! Don’t actually stamp the books, but put a sticky note on the cover with the date that you acquired the book. Give yourself a set period of time to read it—let’s say six months—and then decide not to keep it if you haven’t read them. Return it to your friend, sell it elsewhere, or donate it (we’ll get to all of those in a moment). The point is to manage the books you haven’t even touched before you start tugging at your heartstrings by getting rid of the old books that you’ve enjoyed throughout your lifetime. Just put them in a pile for now. Maybe one of your friends would like to read it. Have them take it off your hands and appear generous in the process.
3. Borrow books rather than buying them.
Excessive space requirements make book collections problematic. As with the time stamp strategy, manage which books enter your home by borrowing them instead of buying them. Not only will this save money for you, you will also reduce the number of books you need to ditch without sacrificing your reading habits. Go for the best of both worlds. Ask your friends to get on your case about returning them, and use the time stamp method mentioned above to make sure that you actually read them and get rid of them again in short order.
4. Sell your books to individuals.
See if you can get any money for your books. It won’t be much compared to what you paid for them, of course, although a bit of pocket change can be put toward something productive. Start with your friends! It’s customary to give books to friends, but entire sets of books probably warrant a bit of compensation as a show of good faith. Textbooks or works of literature are also worth money, but don’t hold your breath on those Hardy Boys paperbacks.
If you do have rare or valuable books, seek out a rare book collector. The rare books industry doesn’t drive a company’s GDP, but you can ensure that your books will find a deserving home in the future. It also wouldn’t hurt to get some money on the side for your trouble. Failing collectors, sell your books in online market places if individual pieces hold significant value. There are many free classified sites on the web, and Kijiji is only one of many options. Handle the exchange in cash, or do a simple electronic funds transfer.
5. Sell your books in bundles.
Head out to find traditional brick-and-mortar stores next. Independent and used book stores are fare less popular than they were decades ago with the rise of the jointly-owned Chapters, Coles, and Indigo retail empire and Amazon, which now leads the electronic book industry with its Kindle. You can usually find one or two in downtown areas. They may not take individual books, but you can probably just offload a bundle of books at a discounted price and get rid of them in one quick trip. Used bookstores don’t move their stock quickly, but the book won’t be thrown out heartlessly, either (in all likelihood).
Are you getting rid of comic books? Head to a comic store! Almost every comic store handles other specialized collectible product, especially trading card games, but they will still likely take a bundle of comic books in the way that used book stores do. The owners will get especially excited about the old (read: valuable) comic books.
6. Donate your books to organizations that want them.
There are plenty of places that will take your used books. Start with your local library, especially if you hold non-fiction books. As usual, just drop off a pile of them if they’ll let you and never come back to pick up the ones that they don’t want. Additionally, there is always a Salvation Army, a Good Will, or other independent thrift stores in most vicinities that could use more stock. Some places, like banks, will accept used books as to raise charity funds. Other organizations often look for donated materials to raise funds; even student organizations might make the effort to procure used books (although most don’t have cars to pick them up or transport them, remember!). Other organizations include Book Crossing, Reading tree, Books for Soldiers, Books Through Bars, Books to Prisoners, and Better World Books. Most of these groups are guaranteed to take your books.
7. Execute your last resorts.
Hold a garage sale, insist that friends and family members try to read some of your books, drop off your book collections on a stranger’s doorstep, or just hide a few boxes of books throughout the homes of friends and family (remember to distribute them evenly). Only do this as a last resort as you will probably be caught and held to account for leaving boxes of books in the homes of people who trust you not to do something silly like that.
8. Get an e-reader!
Stop buying physical books and buy an e-reader already! You can get one for $100 and then you’ll start saving money on e-books because the lack of production makes them more competitive products. There is your step-by-step guide to getting rid of old books. Remember to phase them out over time rather than all at once. Out with the old and in with the new, as they say: clear your shelf, clear your mind, and maybe (if you are lucky) fill your bank account!