Clear bad book clutter from your life and bookshelves

Economist Tyler Cowen talks about the sunk cost fallacy and why continuing to read a bad book is unproductive and a waste of time in the article “Closing the book on a bad read” in the July 24 Washington Times:

“People have this innate view — it comes from friendship and marriage — that commitment is good. Which I agree with,” he says. That view shouldn’t, he says, carry over to inanimate objects.

It’s not that he’s not a voracious reader — he finishes more than a book a day, not including the “partials.” He just wants to make the most of his time.

“We should treat books a little more like we treat TV channels,” he argues. No one has trouble flipping away from a boring series.

Do you have a pile of books on your nightstand that have been lingering for months or years because you can’t seem to bring yourself to finish them? Are your bookshelves filled with books that you plan to get to one day but just can’t muster the energy to slog through them? If so, I vote to abandon the books. Say farewell to the bad to make room for the good.

61 Comments for “Clear bad book clutter from your life and bookshelves”

  1. posted by Chroma Lab on

    I’ve recently adopted this attitude after years of forcing myself to keep and finish books my heart wasn’t in. What was I waiting for?!

  2. posted by Jeannine on

    Absolutely! I still struggle with this feeling — I think it comes from being in school for so long. I feel like once I’ve “assigned” myself a book, I’ve got to read it. Or because a certain book won an award, or is considered a “classic,” or even because Oprah loved it so much — that I should love it too. Pretty silly, huh??

    However — I wonder if there are some books out there I have learned to love, but that I wouldn’t have read unless I “made” myself. “My Antonia” comes to mind — the first time I read it, I certainly didn’t think it was anything special. But after a few more years and a second, third and fourth read, I just love it.

    Hmmmm….it’s an interesting thing to think about. Maybe we should remember this rule when it comes to modern novels — but when it comes to the classics, maybe we should discipline ourselves into giving ourselves time to learn to love them??

    Thoughts?

  3. posted by Stephanie on

    paperbackswap.com is awesome. I have gotten rid of about 25 books through that service and acquired a few more, which I will release out into the wild with that service again.

  4. posted by Dave P on

    Yeah, I do that with books but mostly my problem is magazines and newspapers. Can’t stand to throw them out ’til I’ve read them. Guess that’s not as bad as the people who can’t toss them even after they’ve been read.

  5. posted by Suzyn on

    Same goes for all those emails you’ve been “meaning” to read!!

  6. posted by Katie Alender on

    A while ago, I purged all of the books I’d read but didn’t absolutely love… the problem is, I keep getting new books, so my shelves are overflowing again. And I haven’t read them, so how am I supposed to know if I can purge them or not? Aah!

    Although the part about cutting a bad book loose is certainly relevant to me. Maybe I’ll go clean out my nightstand stack(s)!

  7. posted by Cody on

    So what do you do with the old books?

    We have several boxes… ok, a lot of boxes… in the garage now of books we have weeded out of our collection.

    What’s the best way to get rid of them?

  8. posted by SpaceMonkeyX on

    Cody,

    My wife and I have been selling our old books (and DVDs) on Amazon. You won’t always get top dollar for them unless they’re fairly rare, but it helps get them out of your hair and you’ll make a little bit of money in the process.

  9. posted by Anita on

    @Cody I donate unwanted books to my local library, they sell them in their lobbies and annual book sales for about $1 each as a supplementary fundraiser. Also, there is http://www.halfpricebooks.com which might be in your area that also buys printed materials.

  10. posted by Leann on

    @Cody

    You might also check out bookmooch.com

  11. posted by missdona on

    I’ve had a lot of success selling books (and other stuff)on Amazon merchants. Just find the listing and click the “sell yours here” button, list it lower than everyone else’s and you’d be surprised on how fast it goes.

  12. posted by Celeste on

    I second the library for their book sale. Some libraries have a “Friends” group that takes it a step further and puts the books on eBay. It’s a nice thing to do for your library in these times of budget cuts.

  13. posted by Kate on

    A few years ago I read an article similar to this about “divorcing” your books and it has been not quite life-changing, but definitely life-improving. I definitely don’t feel guilty anymore about putting down a book that’s not doing it for me, although I will admit that many times I still hang on to it for a little while and sometimes find that if I pick it up again a few months or even years later, I will find it to be more enjoyable, which recently happened to me with “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” For books that I really think have no hope or that I know I’ll never read again, I post on paperbackswap.com and try to get something better for it!

  14. posted by Dawn F on

    When our son “outgrows” his children’s books, we donate them to his school’s library.

    When I am finished with our books, I either sell them at Half-Price Books or share/give them with friends. I haven’t tried Amazon because I don’t want to deal with shipping. My niece loves using SwapTree (online book trading service), but I don’t have any personal experience with it.

    You could Freecycle them – offer them free online – and the interested party comes to pick them up from your house! Donating to your local public library is a great idea, too!

  15. posted by Anne on

    About ten years ago, I began to allow myself to stop reading books if I’m not enjoying them, even if I’m halfway in. It’s true; it’s a waste of time. As a working mom, I have so little free time to read (my favorite activity) that I don’t want to waste that time on anything less than awesome. A friend of mine recently asked me why I rate everything so highly on Goodreads; it’s because I don’t bother with books I’m not liking.

    At about the same time, I realized that books themselves really are clutter. They take up so much real estate and attract so much dust. So I only keep books that I know I’ll want to read or refer to again, or that are otherwise special to me; all the others are donated to our public library, which resells them. It makes me happy to know I’ve contributed to a good cause, given someone else an opportunity to get a book they’ll love for only fifty cents or a dollar, and frees up a lot of space at home. No one needs to see a shrine to the books I’ve read, especially if that shrine takes up a whole wall of shelf space.

  16. posted by Amanda on

    I third the idea of donating books to the local library.

  17. posted by cerrissa on

    i’m guilty :( my friends and I were just talking about this last night. it’s like sometimes you can’t believe that a book can be that bad so you keep reading to see if it will get better…but it doesn’t.

  18. posted by PointSpecial on

    I agree with Stephanie. This is a great financially responsible way to not only get rid of some of your clutter but to help others, too!

    http://www.paperbackswap.com/

    And in the instance of a really bad book, I think that donating it to a library can actually be irresponsible… kind of like dumping all of your crappy stuff to a charity. If it’s junk, it’s junk… the charity won’t be able to sell it and you’re better off just throwing it away yourself than taking up the (volunteer) time of the charity to sift through the sand for the diamonds.

  19. posted by skittles on

    I purge & acquire books via Paperbackswap.com AND Bookmooch.com! Unfortunately, because of those sites & Librarything.com I have found lots & lots AND LOTS of more books that I want to read.

    I do need to do a reorganizing of my bookshelves & that will give me a good reason to post them & then release them via PBS & BM!!

    Yes, it can become a book-addiction!! But what a way to go!!

  20. posted by Dawn on

    There have been several occasions when I thought a book was bad, but a friend absolutely loved it (and vice-versa). So you never know who might love your “bad” book – donate, sell, trade – somebody out there may truly enjoy it/them! :)

  21. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    Cody, there are lots of options for getting rid of the books you no longer want to keep. Here’s a list of 12 options (10 in original post, 2 added): http://jdorganizer.blogspot.co.....-your.html

  22. posted by Sky on

    I’ve had success selling my books on half.com. Lately, I’ve been getting my books from the library, enjoying them and don’t end up with more clutter or something to get rid of.

  23. posted by Andy on

    I finish over 99% of the books I start. But usually I finish a book in less than week, so it’s not as if they are just lying around unfinished. Maybe it’s the books I choose, but I find that most of them have at least some parts I enjoy.

  24. posted by Carol on

    This is so timely. I’ve had a box of books I meant to reread before selling/donating. Some were books I meant to read but they were so boring they’d put me to sleep. Some were books I read once before and either don’t remember or didn’t enjoy too much. Just a couple of weeks ago I said “enough” and released myself from rereading them.

    I’m trying to limit the books I have in my home to the ones I really do reread over and over again. I’m trying to make better use of the library for all the books I’ll probably only read once or twice. All other books will be sold to a used bookstore or donated to the library of Goodwill.

    One last thing in response to PointSpecial’s comment about bad books and it being irresponsible to dump them on the library. My “bad” books include novels I had to read for college classes like “Moby Dick”. Just because I couldn’t make it past page two without being put to sleep doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t enjoy it. Besides someone else may need it for their college class too. One man’s “junk” is another man’s treasure.

  25. posted by infmom on

    I almost never buy books any more. I read anywhere from four to ten books a week and I get almost all of them from the public library. That way there is no chance of their languishing unread–either I read them or they go back. The ones I read that I feel are worth having, I almost always buy used from abebooks.com. There are a few authors whose books I will buy brand new, sight unseen. (Eagerly awaiting Diana Gabaldon’s next one in September!)

    We have bookshelves in every room but the bathroom, and they’re all full. Once or twice a year, we go through, get real about what we need to keep for reference, re-reading or sentimental reasons, and take the excess to the library. We get a tax deduction, the library gets books for their book sale, everyone wins.

    We subscribe to a lot of magazines, but over the last year we’ve been evaluating them as they come up for renewal. Most of the ones that fall in the “nice to read, but we wouldn’t miss them if they no longer arrived in our mailbox” category have been allowed to lapse. My husband is the kind of guy who can’t get rid of a magazine if he hasn’t read it, which means he has months of old magazines stacked up next to his chair in the living room, so cutting down on the incoming magazines makes life easier for both of us.

    My feeling is that no matter how interesting the contents of a magazine might be, if it’s been three months since it arrived and you haven’t read it, better to put it in the bag for donation to our doctors’ waiting rooms and be done with it. The doctors’ offices are always happy to get the donations (we just cut our mailing label off the front cover before putting the magazine in the donation bag).

  26. posted by Lori Paximadis on

    This one was such a difficult hurdle for me to get over. I *always* used to finish the books I started, no matter how awful, because I needed to know how the story ends. It’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve been able to toss aside those that really sucked, and even more recently that I’ve been able to put a book down because it just didn’t grab me. Maybe it’s just a function of getting older and realizing that I’m never going to be able to read everything I want to read, so why waste time on the klunkers. But yes, definitely, unclutter those that just don’t do it for you and move on to something good.

  27. posted by Kari on

    I also donate them to the library for their book sale. Our experience with half price books has been that the return isn’t enough to make it worth schlepping them there in our case. If they are specialty books we tend to sell them to Powell’s which seems to give us a fair price. But otherwise, our library is happy to take them for the twice yearly book sale, and we are happy to have the $$ going to a good cause.

    I tend to leave magazines at either my gym of medical offices (sans mailing label of course).

  28. posted by Jobinana on

    This is a great article, and this type of clutter isn’t particularly hard to get rid of. In fact, it’s one of the main forms of clutter which I find should be dealt with regularly. My approach to handling book and magazine clutter is to look at your collection of publications from the perspective of going “paperless”. Fortunately, since the print industry is shifting their resources to the internet anyway, this makes banishing book clutter a lot easier. I find that many of the mainstream publications put some of their best articles on their online website, which keeps me from buying the print magazines and looking for the interesting information. A PC magazine that I read actually offers their old issues online for free. It’s simply a matter of exploring how the magazines you like to read are establishing their online presence.

  29. posted by Jan D - Fibrowitch on

    I have well over one thousand books, thanks to library thing I am able to keep track of all of them. My to read list currently has 12 books on it. I read about 2 or 3 new books a week.

    Having LT makes it possible for me to keep my collection organized. I use the Dewey system to file the books so they are easy to find. When I find a book I don’t like, I share it with friends or donate it to the library. If I know a book is popular, I will buy the hardcover book and donate that to the library when I am done reading it.

    To me books are not clutter, they are the life blood of a house.

  30. posted by Rue on

    I usually read books once then I’m through. So when I buy any, I try to get them cheaply (used bookstores, thrift stores, etc). When I’m done I’ll give them to a friend, donate them, or resell them at Half Price Books. As a result, I have very few books that I actually keep! Same thing with magazines – although I don’t buy very many magazines so I don’t mind paying full price every once in a while.

  31. posted by Gina on

    I love books — I’m a frustrated librarian at heart — but I’m pretty ruthless about neither finishing books that I’m not enjoying nor feeling I have to keep books once I’m done with them.

    I’ve done the Amazon thing with mixed success — I find it’s not worth my time if I can’t get at least $7.50-$10 for a book. Over the years I’ve given my local library quite a large number of books. It’s gratifying to know I’m helping them, and also it’s gratifying to see many of those books in circulation with the word [gift] on the call number label. When I find one of my books on their shelves I get a kick out of seeing how many times its been checked out.

    As for my personal library (and I’ve got 3 tall bookshelves full), I try to keep only the books that really mean something or that I want for active reference.

  32. posted by Vicki K. on

    I consider the public library an extension of my home, only they get to store and dust my books. So, unless I need a copy to write in, or the library doesn’t have it, I try not to buy books I already “own” at the library.

    My magazine habit is a bit overboard, but my family members have Magazine Swap Bags that we exchange when we see each other. That way, the magazines have been read at least 3 times before I give them away to friends or donate them to the library to sell.

    Why do I purchase books sometimes that I think will be GoodForMeToRead? Argh. Those are the ones that sit around and I don’t read and have a hard time taking to Half Price Books because I didn’t read them. What is that?

  33. posted by Mletta on

    I long ago got over the idea that I had to finish a book that wasn’t working for me.

    Now, this differs from taking one’s time in reading some books. Some are so rich, require so much attention or engagement, that they can only be read in bits.

    What I have found to be even more important is to NOT spend time reading what I call “distraction” books. I’m a big mystery, crime book reader. And there are some great ones.

    But these days, time is limited. So I force myself to stop reading fiction of any type periodically (the no-fiction book diet, as it were) when I have a lot of other stuff to get done. Then, when my tasks and goals are completed, I reward myself with a week or two of reading these good, but not necessary for life, books.

    I still make time for business reading, inspirational (creativity, etc.) reading and some poetry. If I didn’t make a conscious effort to eliminate reading time on the lightest weight stuff (so easy to want to read them, they are fast reads and often fun), I would not have time for those books that truly ADD to my mental and emotional well-being, rather than act as the equivalent of “junk food.”

    Saves lots of time and frees it up for more constructive use.

    Paperbackswap.com is great and a relatively easy way to get a book to someone who will use it/want it. I used to donate books to Salvation army, but they have raised their prices so much, that books are no longer in the hands of the very people who need them or want them.

    I really wish every block in a city had a book swap center (dvds, cds, too) because sometimes it’s costly to do a lot with paperbackswap. (You do have to pay the postage, so if you’re not snapping up a lot of books yourself–which only adds clutter–then it’s costly.)

  34. posted by luxcat on

    a good way to do this is to use libraries… mine allows me to renew only twice, which means if I don’t get through it, I have to return it. So that means I either make time for it (a good book) or I don’t finish it (a bad book)

  35. posted by Jen on

    I rarely buy books either. I take it out of the library, and if I love it enough to want a copy, I ask for it as a birthday present. Works for me!

    My music teacher has a great method: put a bookshelf near the door, filled with freebies you’re trying to offload. When people come over they can take whatever they want. If stuff has been there long enough, then you give it away to a charity.

    Mind you, not everybody has 30+ students traipsing weekly through their home, but it works for them!

  36. posted by mae on

    after you have read a book… pass it on to someone else to enjoy… if you dont like a book… stop reading it and pass it on as someone else might love it. life it way to short to try to drag through a book you arent enjoying. magazines.. read them and cut out what you want to keep and pitch… if there are magazines you want to reread and reread… keep them. enjoy them.. make room for the things you love. same with books. a few favorites to keep is a great thing. they are not stuff or clutter if you enjoy them!

  37. posted by Laura - The Journal of Cultural Conversation on

    I agree with Mae – I always pass on a book if I’ve enjoyed it. I also donate books and if I can’t get into it in the first 30 or so pages, I give that one away too…there are so many books out there that need and want to be read so we shouldn’t waste our time with ones that don’t fit us. I also use my favorite books and bookcase as a type of wall art in my apartment. Just a few more ideas…

  38. posted by Gina on

    Oh — and I also think that except for the period of time during which you are student, there is no need to force yourself into reading a list of “classics” or “must read to be educated” books. The time for that sort of forced reading is during your school years.

    Otherwise, read what you want to read and skip reading because you think you “must” to be well-rounded.

  39. posted by Kathy on

    Another place to get rid of books is your local AAUW (American Association of University Women) book sale. In my area they are collecting books right now for sales later in August. They usually have donation bins in public places such as grocery stores.

    For the record – I am not affiliated with the AAUW in any way. I find it a convenient way to get rid of excess books.

  40. posted by Doug Ransom on

    I get rid of books as fast as freaking possible after I read them, unless I plan to read them a second time or I will need to refer to them (as opposed to say material available on the internet).

    I get rid of the half-read books that are uninteresting even faster.

  41. posted by Karyn on

    For years I used to buy into the idea that the mark of a real reader, a true book lover, was having piles and piles of books all around one’s home. Finally it occurred to me: How many of these books am I actually READING? How many of these books will I actually read in the future?

    I think I got the idea from a feng shui approach to clutter clearing, that yes, books can be clutter, and if they have “old energy” about them–that is, they were once useful, but I’ve moved on since then–then they tend to create a stagnant feel in the home, instead of a spacious, airy feel leaving room for new things to enter in. So I tend to ask myself, Is this still “now,” or is it the “past”?

    Rather than propping up a Proper Writer’s Image, I now look at how I actually allocate my time. A lot of my reading gets done online. A lot of my time is spent on my own writing. More often than not, I read for reference to something I am writing. Recreational reading can come from the library, instead of sitting around forever and aye taking up space in my one-room apartment.

    When I do buy books, I periodically go through them and see if there’s anything I no longer need to hang on to. We have several used bookstores in my area, and anything that doesn’t sell at the used bookstores I take to a local coffeehouse that has a shelf full of books free for the taking.

    The idea of having thousands of books in a personal library sounds very romantic, but realistically, how many of those books ever get read again? It just feels like clutter to me, and a pressure that I “should” be reading all of these books that are taking up space. I live in a city; I don’t need a personal library! Living in the “now” frees up a lot of space. ;-)

  42. posted by Vanessa on

    I know I should get rid of my books (and my boyfriend would be cheering me on the whole time), but I love my books. I live in a small apartment, so I only have two average sized bookshelves, but they’re stuffed with books. I would never want a Kindle or anything like that, because I love the feel of holding a book. I don’t like to get rid of books, either, because I like to reread books a lot. Even kid books; I kept all my childhood books so that when I have kids, they can read the same books that I read and loved.

    I don’t ever buy books though. If there is a specific book I want to read, I just go to the library, but I usually get all my books from my family- right now I have about 30 books in a box from my family that I’m trying to find room for. I like getting books because they’re not usually books I’d pick out, but I end up loving them. I can only think of one time in the past year that I read a book I didn’t like. And it’s STILL on my bookshelf.

    I definitely have a VERY cluttered addiction to my books.

  43. posted by Debbie M on

    I have a few strategies for deciding whether to quit reading a book. 1) Read reviews of the book–if they say it starts out terrible but then gets good, then I’ll keep reading. 2) Read the last chapter. Usually that satisfies me and I’m glad I didn’t waste my time reading the rest. Sometimes that intrigues me and I want to know how they could possibly have gotten there.

    It also helps that I mostly read only books that have been recommended to me. This has cut down quite a lot on the problem. Even then I’ll sometimes get rid of a book that’s just not for me.

  44. posted by Jessica on

    Absolutely correct! Since graduating college in 2000 I have never wasted time reading a book that I did not find interesting, fun or engagingly informative. I always try to convince friends and family that a book that does not grab you in the first two chapters is not worth reading!! My shelves are full of books that I personally find wonderful (and who cares if your taste does not conform to the ‘bestseller’ norm).

  45. posted by Peter on

    I wrote an article about book clutter on my site http://dwellupon.net/2009/07/f.....-for-less/. It’s something I’ve always had a problem with and even if I have a bad book often wont put it down. I only keep the very best books though.

  46. posted by Jay on

    Almost all of my family’s books cost nothing and are stored in a large building down the street. All I have to do is hand the people in that building a library card and walk away with books. Very convenient and cheap. I can even reserve books online. I am willing to buy a reference book that I will consult regularly (e.g., child rearing books or cookbooks).

  47. posted by Another Deb on

    We have books in about 10 bookshelves all through the house. They fill an entire closet and assorted drawers of bedside tables. When I met my husband, we had very similar libraries, since we teach the same subject, so it was an act of commitment each time one of us agreed to release our extra copy of a favorite. ;-) Now to sweet-talk him into releasing the ones neither of us ever uses!

  48. posted by gypsy packer on

    Purchasing books off eBay , scanning them to PDF, and reselling them is one option I’m considering. The more I see of ebooks, the more I like them. These could be stored to a microSDHC card and reaccessed as needed.

    If I don’t like a book, often it’s because my attention span is limited from stress or exhaustion, or because the book is simply a “slow start”. If it’s still dull and dense after three tries, it goes to the Salvation Army store.

  49. posted by John Soares on

    I only keep books that are either:

    1. Important reference materials.
    2. Ones I have highlighted and written notes in.
    3. Ones I still feel I’ll read in the next few months.

    All the rest go, especially those that I can easily get from the library.

  50. posted by Gina on

    @gypsy packer:

    I just have two questions for you before you start scanning your ebay books.

    1. Why not buy it as an ebook to begin with, assuming it’s available? rather than spending time doing all that.

    2. Does it seem less clutter to you if it’s electronic? I’d say just because you can store a ton of ebooks in a small space doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a wise use of memory. It’s still a good idea not to horde ebooks just because you can.

  51. posted by Kristin on

    A book really has to catch my attention right away because I will close the book and never look back. It gets put in the goodwill pile right away. I’ve rented Audio books when I’m on vacation from Cracker Barrel restaurants and if I don’t like the book I return it at the very next restaurant and pick out a new book. (If you keep the book for only an hour or so, they usually let you exchange it.)

  52. posted by Wendy on

    As a librarian I adore books but I also know that I only have so much shelf space so weeding a collection is important. I frequently go though my personal books and evaluate. Those that I don’t want I donate to my local library for resale with the benefit that the sale of the books raises money for the library.

    I will always check a book out of the library first and as a result I buy very few books and those that I do buy I get used. I love used books for vacations, don’t have to worry about losing a library book, and I will leave it at the resort (if they have a library) when done.

    Just a suggestion, if the books smell bad, are growing mold, and severly damaged and unsueable consider throwing away or recycling before donating

  53. posted by Jeff Huber on

    I put down ‘The Tipping Point’ … it just got so boring, repetitive, and long winded. Great advice!

  54. posted by Lisa on

    Our school has a book swap and donates others to needy organizations.

  55. posted by Sandra on

    Before moving across the country last year, I had many, many books to get rid of. I sold many to powells.com online (they provide free mailing labels), and ended up with $1K in store credit, but I was running out of time and the books I had left were less likely to be of interest to them. I didn’t have the time or energy to take them anywhere to donate. There were several hundred.

    I had a garage sale just for books and only 3 people came. One of them was a dealer. I offered her the rest of the garageful for $200. She said because of health problems, unemployment, etc., she could only afford $100. With that, I said if she took them all she could have them for free. Win/win. It was hard letting go of these books for free after I’d spent so much money on them, but live and learn.

  56. posted by hadley on

    You can swap books for DVDs, CDs, or more books at swaptree.com

  57. posted by Finish That Bad Book? : on

    [...] of my favorite non-book blogs, Unclutterer,  recently had a post about clearing book clutter, specifically that book you just dread reading [...]

  58. posted by Slackerjo on

    In June 2006 I read a non fiction book and one of the people featured in the book noted that he always wrote a review of every book he read. I thought that was a good idea. So 221 books later, I am still writing my reviews.

    This can be a way of not owning the books (I buy 1-2 books a year) but having a recorded memory about each book.

  59. posted by LJ on

    A few years ago I removed three huge bookcases from my house, along with the books on them. These were books I had not read, but thought I might at some point. The amount of creative energy I found by clearing out that space was amazing.

    There are a lot of good books out there. I try not to waste my time with them anymore. I have many reasons I feel obligated to finish a book (see Reclaim Reading Time By Giving Up) but I really try not to anymore.

  60. posted by Pammyfay on

    Coming to this late…

    But another way to offload your unwanted books is to look in the Yellow Pages or online to see if there’s a used-book store in your area. The one in my neck of the woods–C&W Used Books in Northern Virginia–will buy books, CDs, DVDs, maybe even videos, all depending on what their stock needs are at that time. They will give you either store credit or (a little less) cash. Because one of their stores is in a convenient shopping hub, it’s not a big deal for me to throw some books in the car and make a stop over there when I’m doing other shopping. If they take them, terrific; if not, then I donate them to the Friends of the Library group for their book sale. If the stuff doesn’t sell at their book sale, there are always ‘bulk dealers’ who come and buy the lot for shipping elsewhere. My library, at least, doesn’t get “stuck” holding a bunch of books it seems nobody wants.

    As for ditching a book midway, I think I’ve done this maybe just twice in my life. You never know where that lightbulb moment will go off in a book–everything could tie very nicely together in the 3rd quarter. Also, some books that I thought were so boring at the start, turns out I was just not ready for them at that time. The next year, I pick up the tossed-aside book and realize that it’s a gem. It’s all about timing for me.

    The books I own that I really like, I keep in the guestroom so others can get a taste of them (but I make them leave them there and get them from their own public libraries! I can’t stand lending and not getting them returned!)

  61. posted by On My Mind « Questions and Anchors on

    [...] for the first time- or whether I should send it on its way.  These two posts are what I keep going back and forth between.  Additionally, with regard to the first, I don’t necessarily agree- at [...]

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