You may or may not know, but recently I have decided to cull some books from my ridiculous, over the top TBR. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are still more books on my shelves than I will ever read in a lifetime. But I decided to rehome over 200 books, and I think that’s kind of a big deal. Only… it isn’t easy. So I thought I’d share my process! Not to be helpful, just because I feel like it. 😉
The problem can be one or many of the following:
- You have officially run out of space and it’s starting to look like an episode of Hoarders in your house.
- You need to downsize, and how rude of wherever you are going to not have enough storage space!
- You’ve been hanging on to the same crap since 2003, and you finally were able to admit that you might not be interested in some of it anymore.
- You’re moving and you straight up do not want to lift more boxes of crap than necessary.
Mine was… all of the above! But recognizing and actually taking action are two very, very different things.
“Nah, I can carry extra books. What’s the big deal? Maybe I can store them in a closet!” Sure genius, but where are you storing your actual clothes? Even bookworms need a shirt in the morning. While you’re denying, you can also make excuses. Such as “but I am totally going to read that series one day!” or “I didn’t hate book one that much…” or “but all my friends loved it!” Well Sheila, that’s super, but just because your buddy loved it doesn’t mean you will. You DNFed it last time you tried, remember?
Look at you, throwing those two sequels to series you hated in the giveaway pile! Yeah, pal, not going to cut it. I found a couple books that I knew damn well I was never reading, and placed them (hesitantly, of course) into the trade pile. This will not lighten your load, nor free shelf space. This is you, deluding yourself. Sure, you’ll feel moderately proud for a few seconds. Enjoy it, because shit is going to come crashing down- maybe literally, depending on the size of your book stack.
Take a step back, and gaze upon your space. Does it look as though nothing has changed? That is because it hasn’t. You still have rogue books on surfaces not designed for books. You still own series upon series you’re never going to read. And those two random books you traded? Well, since you traded them, you’ve just recieved two new books in their place, making your Total Removed Book Count steady at zero books.
You sigh, because this shan’t be easy, but you’re going to have to be brutal. Vicious. Downright harsh. These books have got to go.
Look, we all know what you have to do: go through every single book on your shelf, deciding which can stay and which need to go. This generally involves unshelving all the books. No one likes this. Because it inevitably means you’re going to have to reshelve all the keepers.
My room currently looks like a large bookstorm (that’s a rainstorm, with books) has just passed over the area, and oops, my roof leaked. Books are strewn everywhere. Now, not only do I have the mess I made while organizing them into keep versus purge, but I also have piles designated for other people. It’s… not great.
See? This isn’t a good look. At all.
You’re also going to have to decide which books make the cut. And this is hard. Here are a few questions I asked myself:
- If I had to read this right now, would I?
- (For sequels) Did I like the predecessor? At least 3.5-4 stars?
- Did I see reviews that have kept me interested?
- Do people with similar reading tastes seem to like it?
- Have I had this for more than a year? If so, can I honestly say I still am interested?
- If I’ve read it, is it a favorite/part of a series I know I want to continue?
If I answered “no” to most of those, it’s got to go.
You’ve done it! You have actually found some books that you can part with! Nice job, Sheila! Now, you must find them homes. If you’re like me, you wouldn’t mind making a few bucks off the finished copies (spoiler: this doesn’t work very well). And you want to find good homes for all the books. So you have some options!
- Post on Twitter. The #booksfortrade is a pretty jumping hashtag- but it can be tough to navigate. People have done full posts about it, so Google away. Basically, there are a lot of awesome people who want to trade books, but there can be a few bad apples. And also, it can be a pain in the ass, so just… be ready.
- Post on your blog. This didn’t work that well for me, but it was a good way to get all the info I wanted in one place. I would personally suggest a combo of some of these options, because one isn’t going to cut it.
- Sell finished copies on Amazon… if you don’t mind Amazon taking a cut. I did this with my Sarah J Maas books because it was worth it- people paid full price for even my used books! But if you have a lesser known book, it is so not worth the hassle for the dollar you’ll end up making.
- Donate! Where is up to you- libraries have rules, so check yours. Same with schools and such. But I think anything goes at Goodwill and such? Don’t quote me, I made that up. Also look into other places, like women’s shelters, hospitals, etc. Basically anywhere someone may want to read a book but doesn’t have access to them!
- Give them to your friends. Especially if your friends are local, this could cut down on shipping costs.
- Make art out of them! I am no artist, but Cait does such a thing, and it’s really great! I have seen a lot of amazing shops that do a variety of stuff with old unwanted books. Plus, you could make money! (I feel like this is an extra great solution for all those Problematic Authors™ we’ve heard about recently.)
I haven’t gotten to this step yet. But it sounds awesome.