Oct 15, 2009

Meme- Weeding

This question comes from Booking Through Thursday, and it's rather long, so I've just included highlights here (or what I want to answer):

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...?
Or do you simply not get rid of books? At all?
And–when you DO weed out books from your collection …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?

The last (and pretty much only) time I seriously weeded my library was when we moved from California to Virginia. We had a volkswagon type van and filled it to the brim with all the stuff we could carry, and drove it across the country. There was little room (or weight capacity) for all my books. I left half of them behind (a few hundred). It really hurt to cull them all out! Once we found a permanent place here I settled all my books on the shelves, and after a while started missing many of those left behind. Over the past few years I've gradually found new copies of many of them. If I run out of shelf space I might start getting a little more picky, or ferret out those books I don't truly love, but for now I'm not putting a cap on it. Dangerous, I know!

Only two times ever have I thrown a book away. Both had come to me used. One had such an awful odor I felt sick every time I tried to read it. Trash can. The other had some pages stuck together with gum, no way I could get that apart and still read it. That book got composted into my garden.

Books that I don't want to keep- that I'm not enthralled with or don't see myself reading again- either get traded on Paperback Swap or Book Mooch. Sometimes I make up a box and send to Powell's for credit so I can buy more hard-to-find books I really want from them. (I used to trade books in for credit at used bookstores in person, but there aren't any close to where I live now). At my local community center they have a book trade every month, I take a lot of books there and look for new ones. And the last time I traveled to my in-laws I left a book behind that I read on the trip, decided not to keep and found someone who wanted to read it. One route or another, the books I don't want find their way into the hands of new readers.

What about you? Do you regularly cull through your book collection, or only (like me) in dire straits? What happens to the books you decide not to keep?


Nymeth said...

I've been getting better at giving away books I don't want to read again via Bookmooch, but I'm a bit of a pack rat. It probably helps that I have to pay to ship any books I give away - it'd be easy if there were charity shops or used bookstores near me! Your community centre's trade sounds great.

bermudaonion said...

I'm like you, but I need to get better at getting rid of books.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Hey, I like your new look! I don't weed near enough, and frankly I need to do it right now. I'm spilling over. I also tend to hoard books, even though I almost never re-read. This is going on the project list!

Anonymous said...

Adding them to the compost pile....what a great idea! Of course only when they are in really really bad shape!

Melanie said...

Happy Birthday - I hope you get a few new books today to replace any that you have weeded!

Jeane said...

Nymeth- I use my "found change" for shipping the books- monies discovered lurking under couch cushions or from when my husb cleans out his pockets.

The commnity swap isn't really as great as I first hoped. Lots of very tattered books, and ones I'm not interested in- romances, mysteries, etc. I have to really hunt to find some I want, but occasionally come across a treasure.

Bermudaonion- Me, too. I just added two bookcases a while back and filled them up pretty quick and husb said no more! (for a while). So I'm trying to read all the TBR ones because I know I won't keep them all, and that will free up a little space.

Sandy- Thanks! I spent two whole days reworking it, and still have a little tweaking to do. I hoard wayyy too many!

Vicki- Yes, yes, only the hideously beaten and mangled ones get this treatment. And I've only done it once. Don't know when I will again.

pussreboots said...

I use BookCrossing to weed my books. My full post is here.

Jeane said...

Melanie- Thank you! Actually I did, I bought In the Company of Newfies from Powell's- one of those out-of-print hard-to-find books I've been looking for a long time!

gautami tripathy said...

I truly hate foul smelling books. Some people just don't know how to care for a book.

Booking Through Weeding

Chris said...

I take a lot of my books to the used bookstore after my friends & relatives have read them.

Gavin said...

I love the new look. I try and weed through my books every 6 to 8 months. I will trade them on Boochmooch or at my local used bookstore. Some books I give to the local Goodwill.

Trish said...

Oh I don't know how you left all those books behind! I would have been in a fit of panic. :)

I hold on to everything but it's time that I need to let go of some. I don't go to the library ever, and I don't generally like borrowing books, so my shelves are overflowing. Even if I didn't like the book when I read it, I think that maybe I'll like it better when I re-read it. Who am I kidding? I won't get to read all the books I *haven't* read let alone go back and re-read some. Silly. :)

Jeane said...

Gautami- I usually don't even pick up ones that have bad odor, but somehow that one got by my nose into the collection. Not for long, though!

Chris- I wish there was a good used bookstore near me. The closest one is almost an hour away.

Gavin- Thanks! I only give the worst ones to Goodwill- I'd rather swap 'em!

Trish- It was a real heartbreak. I tried to only leave behind ones I really didn't care for, or thought I could replace easily- only to find later that some of them are kind of obscure. I'm still searching for those!

There have been a few books I hung onto for several years and gave a few attempts before finally enjoying them- Their Eyes Were Watching God and National Velvet were like that. Most that don't grab me on the first read just get shuffled out, I'm afraid.

Jude said...

Funny coincidence, I'm up late tonight cuz I just got done sorting books to bring to the local library for their book sale.

Hazra said...

I'm a hoarder too, but I generally weed out my bookshelf once every two years or so. I hadn't known about Bookmooch and Paperback Swap before I began blogging, so I usually gave the books away to my library.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

I don't like to weed out my books! If I don't care for a book (wouldn't want to ever re-read it or recommend it to a friend), I try to get rid of it right away via PBS or Goodwill.

I LOVE that you composted a book! I put dryer lint in with our kitchen scraps and autumn leaves ... I thought that was unusual, but you've got me beat!

Jeane said...

Jude- I've never taken books to a library sale. I always bring many home from them, though!

Hazra- I don't weed my books nearly as often. But when I run out of shelf room soon I might have to.

Dawn- I put dryer lint in the compost, too! And kitchen scraps, coffee filters, autumn leaves, sometimes shredded paper. Whatever will feed the garden!