Sitting here today, I feel that I need to probably confess to being a bit of a hoarder, but it has always been with good intentions. You see… I am officially a hoarder of books.
I have no doubt that my husband is going to completely agree with this as well, especially as only this morning yet another book (his terminology not mine) has arrived in the post.
However, with more and more books being published each year, I can’t help myself. There are just too many good books out there not to offer them space on one of my many bookshelves. There is just one problem; there is no more space on the shelves to house these new gems.
Perhaps therefore it is time to give some of these well-read books a new home.
Now before bibliophiles the world over start to scream down the internet at me please let me clarify. I am not saying that we need to limit the amount of books we own. After all, I too was upset when Marie Kondo stated(*):
“Ideally, keep less than 30 books.”
Nope, sorry! I cannot commit to something so outrageous and I would never expect that of anyone. However, I also know that we all have books we will never ever read again, or in fact potentially never even read in the first place. So in that respect are we hoarding unnecessarily?
Let me give you an example here.
While working in Italy there were limited English-Language bookshops in the remote locations where we were based. Trust me when I say I was not alone in my search for trusted booksellers, and using certain online sites turned out to be extremely expensive. Therefore we have to rely on the people around us and created a sort of book-swapping service to make sure that we never ran out of reading material.
However, and this was always going to be the sticking point, we didn’t all have the same taste in books.
There was one particular book, and I won’t name it as I don’t want to offend the author or their readers, that kept reappearing. Any time someone passed on a bag of books this particular title appeared. I don’t believe anyone but the original owner ever read it, but it kept doing the rounds.
This is a book that none of us wanted but didn’t have the heart to get rid of. However, I am sure that, if we had found the right reader they would have really enjoyed the novel.
This is a perfect example of book hoarding.
Likewise, I am guilt of having multi copies of the same book, and I don’t mean a first-edition, signed, never to be touched copy plus a paperback copy of the same title to be read kind of thing (although I may have a couple of these as well). I literally mean that I have looked at my bookshelves and realised that I have several copies of exactly the same paperback sitting on the shelf collecting dust.
So, what is the solution?
5 Ways to Combat Book Hoarding
#1 Book Swapping
As a bookworm the ideal solution for every book lost is to replace it, and what better way to do so then with a book swapping service. This means that you are in fact giving a pre-loved book a brand new home so a win for all those involved in the swap and for the environment as well.
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For those based in the UK, Book Swap can help all those that are looking to swap titles and currently have around 10,000 books available in their library. This is a great way to support the environment and become more sustainable with your reading.
#2 Give to Charity
I love a good charity book search because you never know what you may find and for a reasonable price. Not only that, all money donated goes to a good cause. The only problem I have found with this way of giving your books away is that certain titles are now no longer wanted as charities are struggling to shift them. I will let you imagine for yourself what popular titles they may have been overrun with in recent years.
#3 A Car Boot Sale
I know that this is a very English suggestion, although you do have garage sales in the US, but this is another great way to sell on what you no longer need and make a bit of extra cash for yourself at the same time.
It is also a great place to seek out new book purchases. Over the years I have found some fantastic titles while rummaging through other peoples toot, as many like to call it.
#4 Online Book Selling Sites
Just like the apps that will buy ‘vintage’, second-hand clothing or even your car, there are now many sprouting up looking to buy your books. So if you don’t feel like storing everything up until the sun is once again shining, perhaps this is a more immediate option to look into.
Should you go down this route though, my advice is to check out the price offered on a couple of different sites. For some reason, certain titles seems to be worth more to one app then they do another, but then you put a second title in to the search option and that is worth less. It may mean you have to use two or three different apps in order to make the most of your book selling potential.
Apps include: Ziffit.com, webuybooks.co.uk, zapper.co.uk and Music Magpie. Also remember that Facebook Marketplace is another good way to sell items without having enforced commission charges forced upon you.
#5 Add to a Free Little Library
I love the idea of going for a wander and stumbling upon a little box of books or an old telephone booth filled to the brim with pre-loved books just waiting for a new home. If you too like the idea of this as a cheap, local way to swap your books, why not add a book for every one you take away. That way, it will always remain well stocked for when the next bookworm arrives to take a look.
There are, I am sure many other good ways to dispose of your unwanted books or perhaps those of a loved one which you could share with us.
I remember when my nan sadly passed away we had several bookshelves crammed full of her books – mainly Catherine Cookson and Victoria Holt novels that none of us tend to read – and we simply didn’t know what to do with them. We obviously weren’t really up to the task of thinking clearly at the time, but now I think I would be inclined to look into house clearance options, just to make everything a little bit easier on the family during their grieving period
I would also just like to add a word of caution to those thinking that recycling their books is the best way forward…
Whilst you may feel sending your books off to the recycling plant is another good way to help the environment please double check that your local council does in fact offer this as an option. Putting books into your normal household paper waste hoping that they will be recycled automatically is unfortunately not the correct thing to do. We often fail to consider that our books also have other materials in them – such as the glue used to bind them – and therefore cannot easily be repurposed for some other cause.
Are you hoarding your books? Have you found other ways to exchange your books? Perhaps you have a different idea and would like to share it with us. I am always looking for ways to pass on books that I no longer require, while at the same time seeking out new ones to add to my book hoarding collection.
(*I am aware that this quote by Marie Kondo was blown all out of proportion. It has been used here to highlight that maybe we could all take her advice on board and think about whether we really need all the books we own)
Thank you to A1 Nationwide House Clearances for sponsoring this article. I have been paid for my time but all views and opinions mentioned in this piece are my own.
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