Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Will Send You Free Books

We have half as many books in our house as we had last year. This is my strategy with paring down and organizing in general--divide into roughly equal piles of "top half" and "bottom half" based on how much you like something and it's a whole lot easier to let go of the bottom half. You can almost feel that bottom half weighing you down, and feel lighter when you let it go (see part 1 of this series here)

In practice, rather than making piles, for every book I kept on a shelf I had to find another book to put in a box and move out.

We still have a lot of books.

Archaeology, Egypt and
General YA
American history, memoir
and travel

More YA, general fiction
and contemporary romance



Romance favorites
Dystopian YA












Historical romance
















ETC. 
(emd of thinking capacity)

And there are always more incoming. I have 20-30 books on pre-order at all times (to make sure I don't miss a new release by a favorite author), plus new interests or authors I want to try out. Bookstores are my idea of a good day shopping. When I love a book I take out from the library I'll buy it somewhere else so I can re-read. Mark has favorite authors he buy on release day, as do Ciara and Liz. Keeping my mom stocked in books is also a pleasure, and a quest since I try to give her complete series.

So now I have a system of moving books out as new books come in. Some can't be saved and go to the landfill (Sorry planet but I've found that people want only one kind of dirty book and it does not involve coffee stains). Some go to the library (a few for the shelves, most for their lobby sale). Some I trade for credits at our local used bookstore (Penny's)  where I get older books I wouldn't pay full price for but would pick up and try for a fraction (I've found some new favorite authors this way). Some I re-sell on Amazon (only worth it if they're out of print).


And the rest? I give them to people who want to read them.

This is harder than it sounds. If you give them a book they will not thank you; they'll feel burdened. You want to expand their horizons? They won't want them expanded. You want to share a book you loved? They'll skim it and say "Yeah, it was great."

And most people don't read much. Given how easy it is to buy books and their relatively low cost, those who read 2-10 books a year will buy what they want to read and that's that. When you do find someone to share your favorite books with it's a light-up-your-life gift. The two people I share books with the most are my mother and father. Apple and tree :).

So I use a book swap site. There are others but PaperBackSwap is the biggest so it's the one most likely to have books I'm looking for, and vice versa.

What is trading paperbacks like? Partly chain mail (the site has a map to show where you've received books from), partly charity (you have to spend the money mail the book before you get a credit you may or may not find a book to request in return), and mostly a lot of fun. This is a book community for omnivores, willing to see what's scrolling on as "new postings" and take chances on books that sound interesting. These are my people :). You get a public profile (mine is here and highly incomplete) and there are tabs for FABIL (find a book I'll like, based on your postings) or for referring friends that give you credits (mine is here, if you wanna be book buddies). You can sign up for "friend boxes" where you can share boxes of books without using credits, and you can review books, win prizes, all kinds of stuff.

What I send out once or twice a week
What I receive, every few days
Most of the books available are older because everyone gets a
wishlist (of varying length, based on your membership) for the books not posted, which automatically get sent to them when the book is posted. Which means you'll send a lot of books before you see the ones you may want in return.

I like the giving karma. It's kind of like paying it forward. I also like giving people the exact book they want, and the little thank you they usually send when they receive it.

If you see any books on my shelf that you'd like you can also email me without joining the site. I'll just send the book to you. Free. How great is that?

This is what it takes (for me) to have less stuff. For anything that's still in good shape but I don't need there's a stewardship process where you find the right place to send it.

Or the right person.

Love, Lisa


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