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ladybug
07-26-2008, 01:56 PM
I'm going to be moving to a new apartment soon, and I'm trying to get rid of all the items that I don't use anymore. My unwanted items include the full set of the 1986 World Book encyclopedia.

The books are far too old to donate (I've checked around with local charities). Libraries and schools won't take them. Goodwill won't take them. I've checked online to see if I can sell them to a old/rare books dealer, but the Web sites I've seen specifically state that the stores won't buy old encyclopedias.

Is there anything useful I can do with these books? I'd hate to throw them away (they're in near-mint condition, and I hate throwing out books), but right now my only option seems to be ripping off the covers and tossing them in the recycling bin.

dangermom
07-26-2008, 02:11 PM
Build furniture out of them! Here's how to make a bookshelf out of encyclopedias (http://www.instructables.com/id/E11DRX0AC4EZ7BDKCH/). Here's other furniture (http://www.thisintothat.com/).

Quartz
07-26-2008, 02:19 PM
How about giving them to a young relation?

dangermom
07-26-2008, 02:29 PM
A 20-year old encyclopedia set is of no use to anyone. You can get a 10-yo encyclopedia set for almost nothing, and the World Book puts out a new edition every year. A 1986 World Book qualifies as trash or recyclable material--no one will want it, I promise. Do something fun with it or throw it out, but don't try to foist it on anyone else as a useful set of books.

Harmonious Discord
07-26-2008, 02:50 PM
Sell it to a second hand book store that sells books to decorators by the foot. You'll receive almost nothing for it, but it seems you are looking to not have to throw them in the trash.

Hockey Monkey
07-26-2008, 03:17 PM
Decoupage. (http://familycrafts.about.com/cs/decoupage/a/012201a.htm)

elmwood
07-26-2008, 03:19 PM
How about giving them to a young relation?

So they can learn all about such countries as the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia? It would be a disservice to them; the geopolitical and technological climate has changed a lot in the past 20 years.

elmwood
07-26-2008, 05:31 PM
Sell it to a second hand book store that sells books to decorators by the foot. You'll receive almost nothing for it, but it seems you are looking to not have to throw them in the trash.

It seems like many people are loathe to throw away any book, no matter low little value it has. Sports almanacs from the 1980s, Chilton manuals for the Chevrolet Vega, television repair guides from the 1950s, and other such tomes clutter the houses of many that hold this philosophy; not so much because they believe such books may be useful again, but because "it will desecrate the power of the written word" or something similar.

To those folks, consider that you do not have the only copy of those books. They're not rare tomes whose stewardship are responsible for. Publishers, the Library of Congress, and incurable book hoarders more obsessive than you will still have copies. Yes, a lot of work went into the creation of those books, but they're not handwritten manuscripts lovingly penned by Bavarian monks; they were mass-produced in the thousands or millions on a printing press in New Jersey. They're better used for recycling than for taking up space and serving as an all-you-can-eat buffet for silverfish because you believe "all books are precious."

ladybug
07-26-2008, 05:39 PM
Build furniture out of them! Here's how to make a bookshelf out of encyclopedias (http://www.instructables.com/id/E11DRX0AC4EZ7BDKCH/). Here's other furniture (http://www.thisintothat.com/).

I have to admit, I never thought of that. :) I'm not sure it's really my style, but it's a good suggestion.

Sell it to a second hand book store that sells books to decorators by the foot. You'll receive almost nothing for it, but it seems you are looking to not have to throw them in the trash.

Not a bad idea. I'll make a few calls and see if any of the local used book stores do that.

Whatever I do, I'm not giving the books to anyone for research/homework purposes. They're way too old to be of educational use for anyone -- they were published about a year into the second Reagan administration! They might have historical value to someone, but they're useless from an academic standpoint. There's a good chance I'll end up recycling them.

Thanks to everyone for the advice!

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
07-28-2008, 02:12 PM
I saw a 1960 World Book for sale in a thrift shop. You might see if any of those places in your area would accept it.

It's too bad you can't just keep it. Far from being useless, obsolete encyclopedias become long term ephemera that are interesting windows into the time they were published.

FairyChatMom
07-28-2008, 02:16 PM
When I was a kid, we had a very old set of encyclopedias that were a hoot just to page thru. '86 is too recent for me, but I'd love to have me a set from the 60s or earlier.

Some day. Not today. I've got to get the spousal unit to build me some bookcases first. But old reference books are still neat - at least to me.

CookingWithGas
07-28-2008, 03:45 PM
...obsolete encyclopedias become long term ephemera that are interesting windows into the time they were published.Interesting point. If they had recycling in ancient Egypt, they would have torn down the pyramids* to build hi-rise apartments. ;)

____________________________
*Actually, scavengers did tear off the limestone facing for other buildings.

Kalhoun
07-28-2008, 05:25 PM
I tried to give one away recently and even people with NO encyclopedias and NO internet didn't want it. Reluctantly, I parked it out on the road with the garbage cans.

My old dictionary is being used to raise my laptop to a better height.

Rhiannon8404
07-28-2008, 06:59 PM
My son (nearly 10 yo) loves my old World Book Encyclopedia from 1978. Articles on plants and animals are usually pretty accurate. He was recently looking up flamingos to "fact check" something he saw on TV.

He gets that the history and science are "old" but loves reading about the way things were. How we thought and felt about things 30 years ago. We have a lot of old National Geographic maps, as well. He finds the really fun to look at, epsecially the map of the Soviet Union from the mid-80's.

Otto
07-28-2008, 07:18 PM
When I was a kid, we had a very old set of encyclopedias that were a hoot just to page thru. '86 is too recent for me, but I'd love to have me a set from the 60s or earlier.
My grandmother used to sell the World Book and I have a set of hers from 1958. I'd never get rid of them. Sure, for contemporary things they're useless, but it's not like if I need to look up Mary Queen of Scots' date of birth it's going to have changed since 1958.

jackdavinci
07-28-2008, 08:13 PM
I doubt anyone will want them for their informational context. But as raw material they are useful for various things - projects like the furniture mentioned above, as booksafes, collage or origami or paper maché materials, for those people looking to have decorative bookshelves, etc. Check and see if you have a local "restore" - a store that sells random industrial materials as craft fodder. You could also offer it up on craigslit, freecycle, etc.

MsWhatsit
07-28-2008, 08:17 PM
This recent eBay auction of a full 1986 World Book Encyclopedia set (http://cgi.ebay.com/World-Book-Encyclopedia-Complete-22-Volume-Set_W0QQitemZ120287278547QQihZ002QQcategoryZ378QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem) went for $76.00. Just a thought.

ladybug
07-28-2008, 08:17 PM
I tried to give one away recently and even people with NO encyclopedias and NO internet didn't want it. Reluctantly, I parked it out on the road with the garbage cans.

I'm a little sad to report that mine ended up in the recycling bin. I couldn't find anyone who would take it. Even my mom the packrat told me to get rid of it. So I did. It's too bad I couldn't find anyone to take the set off my hands. I'd much rather have given it away.

ladybug
07-28-2008, 08:19 PM
This recent eBay auction of a full 1986 World Book Encyclopedia set (http://cgi.ebay.com/World-Book-Encyclopedia-Complete-22-Volume-Set_W0QQitemZ120287278547QQihZ002QQcategoryZ378QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem) went for $76.00. Just a thought.

Oh, sure, now you tell me. ;)

Harmonious Discord
07-28-2008, 09:17 PM
In Egypt they could throw it outside and let the sand bury it.

An Gadaí
07-28-2008, 09:35 PM
I have a few encyclopaedias from the 1920s. They're worth it for the illustrations alone.

Qadgop the Mercotan
07-28-2008, 10:03 PM
I've a set of 1930 and 1966 World Books. They're fun to page thru.

But my E. Brittanica from 1984 is pretty worthless.

panache45
07-29-2008, 12:53 AM
I have a set of 1955 World Books, which I read cover-to-cover when I was a kid. Every so often I look up a subject that I know has changed a lot, like astronomy or medicine or geography.

elbows
07-29-2008, 07:47 AM
I have a 1926 Book Of Knowledge, full set. And I adore them, the illustrations are wonderful. They were sold to families on the installment plan, one book coming every couple of months. So each book has a smattering of everything, instead of how such books are laid out now. They are very interesting to look through.

phouka
07-29-2008, 02:24 PM
I remember reading about a charity that sends outdated textbooks and references to poor schools in Africa. Older books were okay, because they had nothing otherwise. So, outdated medical techniques and technologies were actually okay. It also gave the student the chance to practice English, which was a huge advantage for them.

I remember that you had to pay to ship the books to whichever American port they went to, but I can't remember the name of the charity.

Does anyone remember this?

Kalhoun
07-29-2008, 02:45 PM
I'm a little sad to report that mine ended up in the recycling bin. I couldn't find anyone who would take it. Even my mom the packrat told me to get rid of it. So I did. It's too bad I couldn't find anyone to take the set off my hands. I'd much rather have given it away.
My dad (who instilled the "never deface a book" rule in us...which I guess tossing books falls under) was a little annoyed when I told him I dumped it. I told him I had far more current info in my computer. That annoyed him even more.