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What Am I Going to Do With All These Books?

Let books be your dining table,
And you shall be full of delights
Let them be your mattress
And you shall sleep restful nights.
(Author Unknown)

Books and me have made great bed fellows since I began playing contract bridge in September of 2004. Before I fall asleep each night, I cozy up to an informative bridge book. I somehow hope that the night’s reading of bridge esoterica will hijack my subconscious mind before I awake. The next day I will awaken with the world class bridge brain of the author whose book I read the night before. Don’t laugh! lol! Stranger things have been known to happen. If people can be abducted by aliens in the middle of the night, there is nothing at all farfetched about waking up in the morning with a mind completely transformed. The intermediate bridge brain of Vita Reid tonight replaced by the world class brain of Edwin Kantar tomorrow. Besides, all knowledge in the Akashic Record, also known as the collective consciousness, is available to anyone who so chooses to access it.

I have come to realize that no matter how effectively my night reading may enhance my bridge game or personal development (another genre of reading I enjoy), I can only read one book at a time. And I certainly don’t need 700 of them, 95% of which are not even bridge related. Since the likelihood of my reading any book that is not about bridge drops exponentially, and given that I have so much on my plate as it is, I decided to do the math. Were I to read one book a week for 52 weeks, it would take me at least 13 years to read my entire collection. And you know what … It’s not gonna happen. I have more books that I will ever read in my lifetime. Knowing this makes lightening my library load virtually painless. (We all know how difficult it can be at times to dispose of stuff even when we know we no longer want or need it.) I have way more books than I will have the desire or inclination to either start or finish. Moreover, I prefer the more easy and breezy approach of toting my entire book collection around on an iPad or Kindle. Making it easy and breezy is what minimalism is all about, right?

Having assuaged my fear that the sky will not fall if I lighten my literary load, I got to thinking. Uh oh! lol! How am I going to get rid of 700 books with the least expenditure of time and effort?

So I came up with several ways to put unwanted books back in circulation. Sure … I could throw them all away, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that. We all know that trash to one is treasure to another. Do you know of any other ways?

Methods I Used:

1. Harvest Books, a bookseller located in suburban Philadelphia, came to my abode and purchased 75 of my books for $75. A bookseller in your area may be willing to make a house call if your book collection is large enough to warrant the trip.

2. Paperback Swap. This is a website for swapping hardbacks, audio books and paperbacks. Check out their companion site if you’re looking to unload a few cd’s. I’ve swapped about 15 CD’s so far. Credits earned are transferable between these companion websites.

3. Deal Oz. I love this website. You enter the isbn of the book you wish to sell and a list of booksellers and their buy back prices will appear. The way I see it, the average $1 to $3 is better than nothing at all. In fact, one bookseller bought back one of my books for $33. Many booksellers will cover mailing costs, and payments are received by check or PayPal.

4. Gifts to Friends. This is a wonderful way to reconnect with friends. A friend I invited over for dinner took 20 books and VHS’s with him.

5. Patronize Booksellers in Your Neighborhood. I took at least 100 books, 50 CD’s, and 50 VHS cassettes to this book swapping merchant around the corner from where I live. Although I could have gotten cash from other sources for many of the books, I chose to patronize an independent small business in my neighborhood. He’s a nice guy and I like chatting with the employees.

6. Thrift for AIDS. Any books that Mostly Books had no interest in swapping were taken to the thirft store across the street. The people are really nice, they gave me a receipt for tax purposes, and more importantly they will take anything except mattresses.

Other Methods:

7. Books Through Bars. Donate to an organization that provides books to prisoners.

8. BookCrossing. Leave a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others. You can then register your book and track its travels on the website.

9. Donate to a Charitable Organization. This organization strives to end homelessness and AIDS in New York City.

It’s nice to know that the books we love can be recycled for the benefit and enjoyment of others.

How have you gone about downsizing your book collection? Please respond in the comments section below.

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Keeping it easy and breezy where less is more,

Vita Reid – The One Minute Minimalist


About Vita Reid

"You cannot Change What You Will Not Confront." T.D. Jakes. I am a 1993 graduate of Smith College, having majored in Psychology with a minor in Mathematics. I lived in Lawrence House during my senior year. I am an ardent bridge player and soon-to-be expert. My motivation to declutter, minimalize and clean my apartment began 10 years ago when I visited my friend's minimalistic apartment in Manhattan. He owned nothing. My motivation to speed the process of down-sizing my possessions along is fueled by a desire to entertain a world-class bridge player at my home during the world games to be held at the Marriott Hotel on Market Street in Philadelphia in October 2010. Being that I will be working almost exclusively from home when my voice over career flourishes, I would like to make my apartment pleasing to my own eye. Since clutter can also be an impediment to creativity, I find it essential to rid myself of it so that I can develop more creativity in many areas of my life, including at the bridge table, my blog posts and developing creative marketing strategies for my voice over business. This blog represents a diary of my genuine feelings moment by moment as I make the transformation from 12 years of disorganized clutter to owning only the bare essentials of life. May you find a few nuggets in the writings to inspire you in your life's journey. Keeping it easy and breezy in the land of less, Vita Reid The One Minute Minimalist


6 thoughts on “What Am I Going to Do With All These Books?

  1. Thanks Vita. These are all great ideas. One that I have had success with is reselling to Cash4Books: http://www.cash4books.net/index.php?ref=158402 They do all the work. You put in the ISBN#, they give you a price, add up your book total, allow you to print a mailing label and pay you through PayPal. I sold a bunch of old knitting books and made $82.18. There is an article about it here: http://www.organize-more-stress-less.com/home/2010/1/5/organizing-your-bookshelves-is-worth-money.html

    Posted by Christine Simiriglia | February 16, 2010, 10:14 PM
  2. I don’t think I’ll be parting with my entire collection, particularly of the two authors I collect, one of whom died over 70 years ago so she’s not putting out any more 🙂 however, for ones that I’ve decided I can live without, I’ve been giving them to friends / relatives or op shops.

    I’ve had a bit of success recently with winning some fiction books from a couple of blogs I read. Apart from the one I recently received that I haven’t yet read and one that doesn’t quite end (so I’m keeping it for the sequel to keep the characters straight) I pass these on to others – either a nearby friend who might enjoy it or another competition entrant who didn’t win.

    I guess that is an option for those with blogs – offer them as competition prizes, especially if they’re in as-new condition.

    Posted by Laetitia | February 24, 2010, 7:49 AM
    • Hello Laetitia: Many thanks for visiting The One Minute Minimalist (TOMM). As you can see, I’ve added one level of interaction – we can now chat live on TOMM. I look forward to chatting with you live should you feel so inclined.

      What would be names of the two authors whose works you collect? Are they authors with whom I might be familiar.

      What may i ask is an op shop?

      Thank you, Laetitia, for offering three great suggestions for downsizing our book collection. I’ll be publishing a follow-up post with these suggestions in the near future.

      Do come back to TOMM soon.


      Posted by Vita Reid | February 26, 2010, 8:01 PM
  3. Hi Vita,

    The two main authors I collect are LM Montgomery (have all the Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon books, don’t have all the Pat of Silver Bush or Story Girl books) and Terry Pratchett. I particularly collect TP’s Discworld books in paperback. Sadly, I don’t think that he will write oodles more books as he has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

    “op shop” is Australian shorthand for “opportunity shop” as they are run by charities that provide opportunities for those less fortunate. Examples are Endeavour Foundation (Queensland charity for intellectually disabled persons), Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul), Lifeline, Red Cross, Salvos (Salvation Army). So they would be the equivalent of your Goodwill; except we don’t get tax exemptions for donations of goods to them – we just donate to get the stuff out of our own homes! 🙂

    Posted by Laetitia | February 27, 2010, 6:07 PM
    • Thank you Laetitia for becoming a subscriber to TOMM.

      I can’t say I’ve heard of either of the two authors you’ve mentioned. I’m so sorry to heard about Terry Pratchett. My Grandmother suffers from dementia … we are all hoping it doesn’t worsen .. she’s 90 years old.

      I will be writing a post update to include your wonderful suggestions for downsizing one’s book collection. Thanks again.


      Posted by Vita Reid | February 27, 2010, 10:56 PM

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