Gettin' rid of old books

There are just too many old books. You aren’t the only person with a bunch of wonderful books that are just too good to throw away. Our local library won’t accept anything over four years old. Ask your local recycler about what can go and what can’t. The rest is pretty much land fill.

I know your problem. Old books are heavy and hard to store. Had to move a relative once who used to be a librarian and had this big collection of classics.

Hate to say it but unless you know darn well that it’s say a book collectors might want (like say an original Hardy Boy) or a book with historic value (like say a first printing of Tom Sawyer) you might be saving everyone alot of trouble if you just tossed them in the trash.

The libraries don’t want your old crappy books, I’m afraid. if you have some in excellent quality, you can pull those aside and ask if they want donations. Don’t just drop them off, though.

When I purged my collection, I did a combination of things:

  • Gave some to the library
  • Gave some away
  • Gave some to Goodwill
  • Threw the rest right the fuck in the trash.

It was hard, but once I got started I realized they were just paper and bindings, and they weren’t doing any good to anyone. And my house was so much more empty!

Do this and take the tax write off. A few years ago I got several thousand dollars worth that way.

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all the replies. There are some good thoughts/ideas here. I liked Johnny LA’s best, but I don’t have the project management skills to pull that off :slight_smile: The idea about planters was very cool. They looked a lot classier than I had imagined. Lasciel and others reinforced my *fears *of donation and I was already planning to be very selective with those.

I should make it clear that i don’t want to sell any of them. I’m not too uncomfortable tossing them, but I’m interested in what value they might have to other folks. I’d not heard of Freecycle before, and I’ll have to give that a closer look. I’ve amassed a bunch of things that (at one time) I thought were cool. But most of them have been demoted to “just stuff I have to move”. Again. So maybe this Freecycle will allow me to get rid of maximum things with minimal guilt. Anyone have any experience with using that service?

I considered the nostalgic value of the Chilton’s myself, though it’s not in the best shape, either. Those manuals were cheaply made and time (rather than neglect) has been their greatest enemy. Along with the Chilton’s are a collection of contemporary tomes concerned with such things as auto electrics and -gasp- carburetors.

SiamSam got my mind wondering… would these (especially text) books be of more value in other countries? I ship 1000s of pounds of merchandise to (predominantly) Asia every month, so the freight charge could be minimal. Though, I seem to remember Indonesia having a problem with certain publications. I don’t really know how feasible it would be… just pondering out-loud.

To hijack my own thread… what should I do with this ~120 pounds of vinyl? Does anyone really want my vinyl copy of Sgt Pepper or Fool for the City?

eBay that shit.

Remember my comment about the lines down the street and around the block for the library sale? At least half of them are hipsters, and every goddamned one of them beelines it for the vinyl section.

I agree that the library itself doesn’t want old books, but in my experience the Friends of the Library book sale does (although I’m sure each one has a different criteria so it may be good to check). I have bought many a well-used book at the book sale, and the group raises thousands of dollars to buy new books for the library (books are $1/inch, so that’s a lot of books sold!). They sell the library discards there as well. I learned to check the discarded picture books fairly carefully as they tended to have pages missing…

That said, I purged a lot of my college textbooks over the last few years and they all went in the trash.

You’re not in Illinois, are you? $1/inch was how we sold our books. We had measuring tapes, rulers, yardsticks, etc. all over the place. Made calculating mass quantities of books very easy, too.

Throw them away, especially old textbooks. Nobody wants outdated information, even if they are a “poor” country. (and I’m a librarian!).

The OP is nowhere near Baltimore, but if you are in the Baltimore general area, there’s a place called the Book Thing (you can google it to find the address and directions). They are only open on the weekend. Their entire purpose in life is to take unwanted books and give them a new home. It is completely free. They accept donations (books, money, and other stuff) but you are not required to donate. They are perfectly happy if all you do is go in and take books. That’s what they are there for.

There is a limit to how many books one person can take from there per day. 150,000. :smiley:

You can’t sell any of the books you take.

It’s a great place for folks like my wife who like to unload books after they read them, and it’s a great place for book hoarders like me (I usually come out of there with somewhere between 30 and 50 books, so I try to limit how many times I go down there in a year).

(note - I am not affiliated with them in any way, I’m just a book addict)

If you are looking to unload a bunch of books, they take just about anything.

I’ve used freecycle and it worked out ok. I gave away a ton of yard plants and loads of cats. The yard plants because they needed thinning. The cats came from the neighbor’s farm: they lost the farm and moved. They did come by to feed the cats but cats need company. Plus I give off the crazy cat lady scent. A local farmer and his wife came and took all of the cats but the 2 we were keeping. One ended up going down the hill to live at my sister’s. She (a tortie) had a litter of kittens and then went missing. I have her daughter who is a calico. The other boy cat also still lives with us. He’s a 20 lb brown tabby. We speuter because while kittens are cute… they cost $$$ to keep up with on shots, food and toys. <-- top kitty is now the Big Boy.

Apparently, they had a bad fire last night.

My mom volunteers for a Friends of the Library branch. She says they have a group that buys textbooks/old software books/manuals/yada-yada-yada from them by the pound. They get some money for all of those donations, in other words. Some of them end up sold, some are recycled, but this group manages all of that.

If anyone is interested, I can find out what the group is that buys these things. We have gotten rid of a ton (possibly not kidding) of my husband’s old programming books.

Some folks can get quite crafty with old books. I like looking at pictures of old book art, but I know I wouldn’t want to keep any of it dusted. And I’m sure never going to make time to make any.

The planters are simple enough that they might happen.

If you are feeling generous, the contact info for our library can be found in the link in my previous post. I’m not sure they would care for textbooks or anything like Chilton’s Repair Manual for American Cars, but they do take book donations. I’ve routinely passed along books to them over the years. And several times a year, they hold a book sale to clear out some of the more worn ones. (Some of their books are so old and worn that it’s not unusual for me to have to do a repair myself when I check one out!)

As for the vinyl, isn’t that making a comeback? I agree you should think about eBay.

Here’s another idea. How about the community theater? Sometimes, they can use them for sets. It doesn’t matter what they’re about; they just need them for looks.

Doesn’t hurt to ask.

Another librarian here, and 1980s textbooks are not the sort of thing that brings in money at a book sale. I’m at a university library, and we stopped having book sales at all largely because people (mostly professors, actually) kept dumping old textbooks on us and it was a waste of staff time to organize a book sale for books that no one wanted to buy.

You can’t toss hardcover books in with regular paper recycling, but there are various groups that take books for recycling. The one I’m most familiar with is Better World Books. They will resell, donate, or recycle as appropriate. They have drop box locations throughout the US (mostly on the East Coast) so there may be one near you.

Before my last move, I had two 3 shelf bookcases overflowing with paperbacks. 2 rows on each shelf plus what I could shove in between the tops of the books and the bottom of the next shelf. I started a campaign of getting Ebook versions of everything I wanted to keep and sorting out what I didn’t want to reread. I was considering recycling the excess or donating them and ended up selling them to a used book store. Of course, I didn’t get much for them, but more than I’d have gotten by giving them away.

Currently, I have 1 2/3 shelves of paperback books and 1048 books on my Nook HD+. I’ve added some since I moved.

Old does not equate with crappy. I go to library sales hoping to find some obscure treasure and to find out that some nimnod may have cut the covers off something on my want list really gets my goat. It galls me to see so much space devoted to creative typists like James Patterson et all taking up space which could be devoted to the kind of stuff I want to see.

My library uses Better World for overstocks. You have to be able to send them a LOT before they will come and pick them up, and as for the deposit boxes, they’re basically trash cans.

As for Freecycle, my experience with it was that at least 75% of the responders are going to be no call/no shows. :mad:

ETA: FWIW, I started this thread about BWB a few months ago.