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Old 12-03-2014, 10:42 PM   #21
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I donate to thrift shops and buy from thrift shops and library sales. I still like hard copy books I can dog ear and mark up. I get rid of a few bags a couple of times a year and then restock with several to new to me $1 books every week or so.

I used to sell at half price books but they offer so little these days I just donate the books I no longer want to the thrift shops instead. I probably have thousands of books but there are too many to count.
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Old 12-03-2014, 11:17 PM   #22
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I'm going through the great book purge now myself. The goal is to weed through decades of books to get down to those that will fit on our rather generous shelf space. The rest goes to book sale collection bins.

I still love physical books, but many I've collected are things picked up over the years that "I should read sometime" - e.g. classics - or that looked interesting at the time - e.g. collections of essays, memoirs, biographies, history or contemporary social commentary - or other things that I've read and enjoyed at some point but may have since lost much of their relevance. Some are keepsakes of one sort or another - art books, mementos from places we've visited, etc.

The easiest cuts have been made; now it's a tougher slog as I find myself skimming over bits and pieces while rediscovering what's there that might still be worth a look. Last night and this morning, for example, I found myself pleasantly skipping about an old copy of "Anne of Green Gables" and "Anne of Avonlea", of all things, which was actually a refreshing change from recent reads and may have earned its spot back on the shelf.

More recently (and going forward) I've been using the library for contemporary trade books of the "read once" variety that I previously might have purchased, having realized that the shelf life for those usually isn't that long. And the classics are always available at the library, should I ever really take an interest in getting around to them.

Having said that, I do enjoy having a decent collection around, including personal interest references (e.g. gardening, cooking, language, investment, etc.) as well as the more varied and idiosyncratic assortment from which to pick out something now and then to skip about in (or to reread) should the spirit so move.
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Old 12-03-2014, 11:27 PM   #23
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We donated close to 1,000 books to Goodwill when we moved from NY to TX. Plus we lost several hundred books when a tree fell on our second home in PA to ice and water damage and never replaced them.

We built a library room in our house with floor to ceiling bookshelves for the other almost 1,000 books we kept.

Now that we are thinking of moving again, I have convinced DH to get rid of virtually all the books. We shall see if that happens. I am not dragging all those books to another place again. I read everything on my kindle app now.


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Old 12-04-2014, 06:16 AM   #24
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We donated close to 1,000 books to Goodwill when we moved from NY to TX. Plus we lost several hundred books when a tree fell on our second home in PA to ice and water damage and never replaced them.

That's a lousy way to get rid of books.


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Old 12-04-2014, 07:54 AM   #25
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I am trying to reduce my posessions in general more and more.

Gave away my entire CD collection a few years ago for example. Books are also on the way out. Doing a new 'purge' this week actually, probably including some clothes. Hardest part is getting rid of travel books (even though I keep the digital pictures).

Biggest hurdle every time is the fight against emotional attachment and a strange feeling of lose of self for things I don't use or even look at.

In a way it's an exercise in letting go.
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:10 AM   #26
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DH and I have gotten rid of tons of books (well, maybe that's an exaggeration). One very specialized category was 3 or 4 boxes of books he got from a former client- they were provided to his ad agency as samples (the client was the publisher) and when the ad agency went out of business, the client said they didn't want them back. DH rescued from the office dumpster. They were bibles but in multiple languages, a few scholarly commentaries and some such as a Greek-German New Testament that not many people could get excited about. We donated some to our church and our priest, in turn, donated some of them to the local seminary. I'm slowly selling the rest off on e-Bay; I even found a good home for the Greek-German New Testament. They're going for a fraction of the retail price but I figure most biblical scholars are penniless academics so I'm doing a good deed and bringing in a little cash. I also sold a couple of his old Sci-Fi books on e-Bay including a first edition of "Planet of the Apes".


The rest go to libraries and to the local second-hand store. DH buys paperbacks there, reads them and donates them back. I mostly get mine from the library.
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:23 AM   #27
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We purged the out of date and uninteresting professional stuff long ago. However, I actually have the house with the room full of books. For me there is something so magic about being in that room. The bulk of the year I read nearly every evening for a few hours. Having said that, the room is more or less full, floor to ceiling and so I too have instituted a no buying without knowing where it is going policy. Plus I use the library's inter-library loan system and only buy books that I have read and know that I will re-read and must have. Plus, I am also building an electronic collection so that I have a lot of material at my fingertips when traveling.

However, if I were a young man I would go pure electronic and never buy a paper book unless I had to.

I am sure I am leaving a problem for my children to clean out but at worse case they call the dealer and take the flat price for the lot. No muss, no fuss.
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:23 AM   #28
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....
Biggest hurdle every time is the fight against emotional attachment and a strange feeling of lose of self for things I don't use or even look at.

In a way it's an exercise in letting go.
Well said. Thank you for letting me know I am not the only one with these feelings. I have an irrational attachment to many things that I will likely never use again along with a love of physical books that I cannot really describe.

Just thinking about a major purge puts me in a state of melancholy that is hard to shake. But, hording is not conducive to the more nomadic lifestyle that I find very appealing.

Sometimes I think that a storage locker might be money well spent just to avoid these feelings; but, my cheap frugal tendencies tell me that is a waste of money.
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Old 12-04-2014, 09:17 AM   #29
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... Recyclers don't want them because of the bindings.....

Hmmmm.... At my recycling center they take hardcover books. They have separate bins for paperback and hardcover. In the hardcover bin there are always lots of new-looking textbooks on all sorts of subjects.
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Old 12-04-2014, 09:23 AM   #30
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In the hardcover bin there are always lots of new-looking textbooks on all sorts of subjects.
The town where in lived in NJ recycled books. I rescued a few!

Sometimes when I'm throwing things out I mentally calculate what they all cost and realize it added up to a lot. Then I remind myself that I used and enjoyed the item for a time, that was the cost of the enjoyment, and I let it go.
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Old 12-04-2014, 09:37 AM   #31
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We downsized to a container. Had a large home with a wall of books. We like to read.

It was ever so difficult. It took at least four attempts. We gave away books to friends. We gave books to a local book sale that raises money to help people read. We called the local schools...took boxes of childrens books and school supplies over to them.

What has changed? We use the library much more than we used to-especially for ebooks. If I buy a book I either pass it along to someone or simply donate it to our local library.

We really miss our bookshelves. But at the end of the day they were dust collectors and we had no room. But we are reading more than ever.
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Old 12-04-2014, 10:36 AM   #32
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I"m having a hard time letting go of the travel guides. Many are from places we visited and loved but are unlikely to visit again. Still, sitting here in my office and seeing them all on the shelf reminds me of good times. They're an anachronism now, of course, although I always start with guidebooks from the library when researching, then supplement it with Internet research. I like to have at least one paper guidebook with us and a good hard copy map, even though we're both very computer-literate and I've got a smartphone.


And then there's my giant dictionary. Everything is on the Internet now but I hate to throw it out!
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Old 12-04-2014, 10:42 AM   #33
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I am trying to reduce my posessions in general more and more.

Gave away my entire CD collection a few years ago for example.
That's a great idea. I need to go through my CDs and see what I can get rid of. Sure, they don't take up much space, but if I don't use them, there is no point in keeping them forever.
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I am sure I am leaving a problem for my children to clean out but at worse case they call the dealer and take the flat price for the lot. No muss, no fuss.
Back in 1981 when my father died, I took his books (mostly medical books) which otherwise would have been donated. They were a great comfort to me at that time and I enjoyed reading them for many years. 29 years after his death, I finally donated most of them.
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:28 PM   #34
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We should have a giant bonfire with books we don't need. ;-)
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Old 12-04-2014, 01:12 PM   #35
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What has changed? We use the library much more than we used to-especially for ebooks. If I buy a book I either pass it along to someone or simply donate it to our local library.
It seems to be a running theme in this thread. I stopped visiting the public library for a couple of decades, then rediscovered it about five years ago, when I realized how easy they had made it to reserve a book online from any city branch and pick it up at the nearest location. Then they added e-books, making it even more convenient.

I hope not everyone follows our example, though! Folks have to be willing to buy books -- electronic or paper -- for publishers to stay in business. They're having a hard enough time as it is. Worthy self-published works are few and far between.

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I still love physical books, but many I've collected are things picked up over the years that "I should read sometime" - e.g. classics - or that looked interesting at the time - e.g. collections of essays, memoirs, biographies, history or contemporary social commentary - or other things that I've read and enjoyed at some point but may have since lost much of their relevance. Some are keepsakes of one sort or another - art books, mementos from places we've visited, etc. ...
Right. What seemed intriguing a couple of decades ago might not hold interest now. I'm tending to keep books in four categories:
  1. Reference works that are still relevant, since I find it quicker to thumb through to the information I need.
  2. Some large art books.
  3. Collectible books signed by their authors.
  4. Older, rarer books that are unavailable in e-book form and hard to obtain in paper.

I've also retained a row of books that I want to read in the coming months and then donate to the library.

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It was ever so difficult. It took at least four attempts.
I suspect it's going to be the same for me. Thus far into this first big purge, about 500 books remain.

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Biggest hurdle every time is the fight against emotional attachment and a strange feeling of lose of self for things I don't use or even look at.

In a way it's an exercise in letting go.
Very true. Our bookshelves are representations of us, right? I miss going to someone's home and looking at their bookcases to get a sense of their interests and pick up on possible topics of conversation. I can't very well ask to browse their Kindle collections!
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Old 12-04-2014, 03:30 PM   #36
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Another overlooked reason to keep old fashioned books is for research.

Picture a researcher seated at a large table with books spread out all over. Most of them have multiple bookmarks stuck in them, and many are laid out open to particular pages, while the person makes copious notes on a pad.

Pretty standard mental image, right?

Now try to picture the same person trying to do the same research with a bunch of pdf files on a computer screen. A lot tougher!

If you think about it, this is one of the big reasons why bound books replaced those long, rolled-up scrolls back in the day.
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Old 12-04-2014, 04:00 PM   #37
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Now try to picture the same person trying to do the same research with a bunch of pdf files on a computer screen. A lot tougher!
I used to have to look at a lot of different articles for research purposes. Paper definitely beats PDF but I would just print them out (I've killed way too many trees).

It got so bad at one point that I would have multiple copies printed of an article because I couldn't find my previous copy!
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:01 AM   #38
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I'm a mix of old fashioned and new. I got rid of a bunch of college text books and #1 paperback 'bestsellers' to downsize.


But have kept and will keep (for now) certain books not available on-line, oversized art books, specialty books, and other books with sentimental value.


If I actually sit down to read a 'book' - I still prefer the printed copy. I can't seem to relax and enjoy the experience with a laptop and a mouse/touch pad scrolling up and down.
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:08 AM   #39
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I went through this purge last year. I kept only those books that had sentimental value and art books. All others went to the library for use or sale.
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:48 AM   #40
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I use paperbackbookswap for getting rid of unwanted books, but the only trouble is that you earn credits that you can use to get (you guessed it) more books. It does make me feel like they are going to a "good home" though. Like many, I made a commitment to lower my book purchasing expenses and use the library more often, and now my shelves are a bit less cluttered, but by no means empty.

I still have an entire collection of both John D. MacDonald books and (childhood fave) Dick Francis. Plus all of Ted Bell's books and Randy Wayne White. And various others I can't seem to get rid of...does anyone else have a half dozen of the Southern Living cookbooks or Better Homes and Gardens from the 1990s and before? I can't bear to send them away, though I rarely refer to them.
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