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Booking Through Thursday

Written by Kirsten on October 15th, 2009

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When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?
Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all? (This would have described me for most of my life, by the way.)
And–when you DO weed out books from your collection (assuming that you do) …what do you do with them? Throw them away (gasp)? Donate them to a charity or used bookstore? SELL them to a used bookstore? Trade them on Paperback Book Swap or some other exchange program?

I went through my entire library about two years ago, and purged all of the books I either (a) had read and knew I wouldn’t re-read, or (b) had never read and had no intention of reading (most of which I had no idea how I came by in the first place). I traded them primarily on BookMooch and also a few on PaperbackSwap, being more particular about the books I acquired through the same. It was the first voluntary book purge of my life, and it was painful, but necessary.
Since I joined LibraryThing and have been more deliberate about my reading selections, I’ve considered a second purge; having just moved myself, this is an ideal time. I have to go through my LT catalog and remove those books which were Mare’s or which she elected to keep that were ours, have those migrated to her new account, move the ones I’d like to replace to my Wish List collection, all that jazz. So, it’s going to be a huge project, but a very comforting one, a la Rob’s vinyl reorganization in High Fidelity.

Howsabout you?

 

8 Comments so far ↓

  1. Yes, that does sound painful. I’ve never been able to do much weeding or purging when it comes to my books. They just keep piling up more and more every year.

  2. Kirsten says:

    Joy, I was pretty lenient on myself – the idea of getting rid of any of them was hard enough! – and it hasn’t stopped me from buying, mooching, and otherwise acquiring more than I released into the wild… :)

  3. foggidawn says:

    I’m pretty good about getting rid of books that I don’t think I’ll ever read again. I usually trade them in for credit at a used bookstore. I’m not as good about getting rid of books that I have because I think I might want to read them . . . someday. My TBR piles are truly daunting, and they grow with ever conference (free galleys, how could I resist?) and trip to the bookstore. I estimate that, if I read only books from my own collection that I haven’t read before, and gave up checking out or acquiring new books until I had read everything I own, I would be in reading material for at least a year and a half, probably more like two years. And I read a lot of books every year (200+). And while I was reading, think of all of those exciting new releases I would be missing! Good thing I’ll never actually do it, right?

  4. Kirsten says:

    Haha, good thing indeed ;) I had about 300 on my owned TBR at last count, and that was over a year ago. I *know* I acquire faster than I read, so the new number is going to be scary…

  5. First of all, I can’t tell you how happy I was to open up my Reader this morning and find that there were new FolioFiles posts! I really missed it, though I totally understood why you weren’t doing it.

    Now to your question, I can remember 2 major book purges that happened prior to my joining LT, once when I was about 17 and I gave away all my Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley books to the kid sister of a friend and once right after my separation when I moved across country in my car and had to be selective about what I brought with me. Since joining LT I’ve taken a good look at my library and pulled all the books that I knew I would never read again (or a first time) and sold them to my local used book store. (Yay store credit!) I managed to get rid of a grand total of 43 books, then promptly replaced them with new books…most of which I haven’t read yet.

  6. Kirsten says:

    Thank you, bib!!! It feels so good to be back, and every comment notification has brought a huge smile to my face :)

    I’m a little jaded about selling to secondhand stores; I don’t know if it’s just because there are so many of them here (which is a beautiful thing; I’m not complaining!), but it seems as though they give pennies on the dollar for what they turn around and sell them for. I’d just as soon wait for someone to mooch it and get a 1:1 ratio :)

  7. Ahhh…that’s why I love this store. I’m given 1/4 of the cover price as store credit. They sell all the books for 1/2 the cover price (they have to make a profit after all) but if you have credit you put it toward 1/2 the price of the book, so you’re only paying 1/4 of the price of the book. It’s the best system I’ve ever seen.

  8. Kirsten says:

    That *is* a great system! Where do you live again? ;)

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