D and I are moving in the fall to the San Diego area; she got a job doing science stuff at the University of California there. The move is still a few months away but the two of us have started looking around at all of our stuff and asking ourselves, “Do I want to cart this across the state?” For a surprisingly large amount of things the answer is, “no, I don’t.” This is especially true for books now that I have a kindle. As I looked over my bookshelves I noticed that a great deal of the books on the shelves were over 100 years old and they were now in the public domain. With the kindle (or my computer) I can have access to those books without having them take up all this physical space. I did this over a decade ago with my music collection and had been putting it off with books because I love them so and the technology just wasn’t there yet, that isn’t the case anymore. So, I started sorting…
I know what you’re saying! Getting rid of books is a crime. I used to think so to, but what I really love about a book is not the binding, or the paper, or the ink though with some books those are very nice things. What I love about a book is that it allows me to experience another person’s thoughts and ideas. That is what makes books amazing and for their time they were the most efficient and effective way to spread ideas. That isn’t the case anymore though.
For every book that I knew I wanted to keep I checked Amazon’s Kindle store and Project Gutenberg; if a free copy existed I downloaded it and set the book aside. For every book that I wanted to keep but there wasn’t a free version available on-line I looked for a $0.99 version. If there was one I purchased it. I splurged a few times and spent $1.99 or $2.99 for a digital collection that would replace multiple physical books. After I had downloaded all the books I was going to I went back to the stack of books and started entering them into Amazon’s Trade-in store to see if Amazon was interested in buying a copy from me. Every book Amazon wanted went into a box to ship to them, every book they didn’t went into another stack. At the end of that process I had one 40 pd box of books to send to Amazon and another stack to put up on Freecycle.
Amazon offered me $78.81 for all those books. I spent $12.93 picking up digital editions. That’s a net gain of $65.88!
EDIT: I made a second pass through my library and found more books that are available digitally, so I repeated the process and sent off another box to Amazon! This time they’re giving me $27.42
In the last week I’ve eliminated two entire bookshelves worth of books! The now empty bookshelves have gone up on Craigslist.