Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

The Book Buyer's Dilemma

I have a dilemma based on  the fact that I am a heavy reader. I’ve started getting books from the Berkeley Public Library lately but I’m a pretty heavy reader. I also happen to read a lot of stuff that is semi-obscure (from a library’s point of view) or just very very recently published.

The result of all of this is that I collect books the way a cat collects hairballs. The difference is that the cat can cough up the hairball and walk away. I’m stuck with the books. R reads a certain amount of the stuff I acquire, so I keep some of it for her, and some of it is good enough that I want to shelve it with the roughly 5,000 books in my library. The problem is the rest of it. In my office space/library in our house, I have seven full height bookcases and two third-heigh wide bookcases that are full of books. I have two more full height bookcases in the closet (literally). In the living room, there are two more bookcases hovering on the edges. This is after selling a house, moving interstate, and then moving again six months later into a new house. At each stage, I’ve gotten rid of a bunch of books but I still have a few piles stacked on the floor due to lack of room because I keep getting more (see cat comment above).

Now that my MA is finished, I am planning on using ebay to sell some of my more esoteric books. I’m keeping most of the Buddhist books that I acquire for study and reference. This leaves several hundred paperbacks and hardcover fiction books, for the most part, and a certain amount of history, social commentary, and technical books. I’ve found that there is no way good way to get rid of these that isn’t wasteful. I was selling books in an Amazon shop for a while but the only ones that moved quickly were recently published novels (“recent” being within the last six months or so). I closed that down eventually. There is a Goodwill down the street but they don’t just want books dumped on them.

So, the question is how do I get rid of books in such a way that it both doesn’t cost me to do so and the books are not wasted. I spend a fair amount of money on them and it would be nice to get some of it back but, at this point, I’m more interested in moving volume. I haven’t been selling to used book stores because they are few and far between, only take about half of what you bring in, and give you so little that it effectively isn’t worth it to bother normally.

For the paperback novels, it would be nice, since most of them are recent, to be able to pass them on to people who would actually read them but I’d like to avoid doing so one at a time because that just eats into my time for other things. I’d like to be able to give someone or a group a box of novels at a time, if I’m just going to give them away.