Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Balancing the Books

I'm having a problem keeping the books. Or rather, I'm having a problem not keeping the books. While tidying up the house for the home appraisal last week, I ran across a few boxes of books in the garage and more than one stack tucked away in the darkest, dustiest corner of my closets.

I know why I have the boxes of books in the garage. Each one of those was connected to my college education, and I in my new graduate optimism thought I might need them for reference since I was probably going to find a job in my chosen field. I was a Native American Studies major, yeah. Not much work to be had in that particular field, at least not without a Master's in education, social services, or casino management.

But I can still identify which pueblo/tribe a piece of pottery/basketry/beadwork comes from based on materials and design, and I can still partially read a totem pole. As you can imagine, it's knowledge I don't call upon very often; but it's there all the same.

The other books I seem to have squirrelled away just about everywhere are from work. It was bound to happen working for a book publisher. Thankfully, now that I've switched the the travel guide arm of the company, I bring home far fewer books.

Anyhow, I've decided it's time to get rid of them. Well, most of them. I'll keep true reference book, cookbooks, and particularly meaningful book, but everything else is going to go.

Thankfully, books are pretty easy to get rid of, if sometimes heavy. But Scoob has a difficult time giving away something if he thinks he could get something for it. So I've come up with a plan of action: This weekend we will pull together all the things we need to get rid of and we'll give ourselves 3 months to do something constructive with it, or, at the end of 3 months, whatever is left gets donated.

My first stop for all those course books will be Half.com. I probably bought a good portion of those books on Half.com when I was struggling to save money as a student, so it seems only fair.

Beyond that I'll probably put the books up on Freecycle or donate them to the SF Bay Area's Prisoner's Literature Project. Unfortunately, the PLP won't accept hardcovers, I guess the inmates could use them as weapons. Just repeating what I was told. Anyhow, anything else still left will be sent to Goodwill.

Though I do like this idea at Bookcrossing--essentially you join their site (it's free) register the book you want to get rid of and give it a tracking number, then you leave the book in a public place for someone, anyone, to pick up. They then login the book and continue to pass it along and you can see how far your book went.

While my goal is to get things out of the house, Scoob is more interested in having something tangible after getting rid of things (you'd think a clean house would be enough). So for him we will focus on swapping. If I can't convince him to get rid of things, at least I can get him to trade them for things he will actually use. Scoob has a number of things I'm hoping he'll be ready to part with, mostly books, PC games, and DVDs.

He has traded DVDs in the past using Swaptree and PC games with Goozex (that's a "z" not an "s" I made the mistake of typing it in the other way first, and you know anything with "sex" in the URL is going to be adult in nature, though at least this wasn't NSFW). Scoob prefers the Swaptree system, but so far, Goozex is the only reliable trader we've found for PC games.

A few other book trading resources: PaperBackSwap lets you print your mailing postage from your home printer. BookMooch helps you connect with people who want the books you want to get rid of, though you need to source the postage. America'sBookShelf charges a $3.50 monthly fee, but this covers the postage on your trades.

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed. I've simply launched everything we've decided to get out of the house to Goodwill or garbage or recycling. I am to the point where I just want it OUT OF MY HOUSE.