Author Topic: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books  (Read 5709 times)

Mrs. S

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How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« on: May 26, 2017, 11:41:39 PM »
I have a decent book collection, mostly fiction and classic fiction and I remember buying each one of them.
However I am trying to reduce what we own and I also feel as if I am doing injustice to the books by storing them and not reading them.
It is almost killing me to give them away to others. I have thus far given away clothes and kitchenware but book seem to be the hardest for me.

Dollar Slice

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2017, 12:17:20 AM »
My books were so hard to give away! Not because I had emotional ties to them, but because no one wanted them and I don't have a car to take them anywhere. Oof. I donated them to anyone who would take them, including a random person on a web forum who was traveling through my town and had their suircase lost/stolen. I gave them a suitcase and some reading material for their trip. :-)

Honestly, I found getting rid of them to be very freeing. I kept a few that were rare or special to me (or just more practical to have hard copies, like cookbooks) so the top of my dresser has a nice row of books. I also gave a few special ones to friends (limited editions or fancy photography books) if I knew they would treasure them. The rest just got donated in big boxes to anyone who would accept them.

But it is great to know that I don't have to have a home with space for multiple big bookshelves, I don't have to pack/move/unpack a zillion heavy boxes of books if I move to a new place, and (hopefully) those books went on to make other people happy. I downloaded PDFs of the ones I know I'll reread, and I can read them on my Kindle. Anything that you can get easily in digital format or from the library should not be hard to give away.

OTOH, maybe you shouldn't get rid of them if you really want them. Is there a reason you NEED to give them away? Or you just feel like you should, because minimalism? Or...?  I got rid of all my books but kept my music because that's what I have an emotional attachment to. It helped that my CD collection takes up about a fifth of the space that my books did... but I really like having them.

Tyson

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2017, 12:22:58 AM »
I had a bunch of books and CD's I donated to the library.  Some they sold to raise money, but some they kept.  It's cool to see my old music and books on the shelves.  Now when I want to read any of it, I just check it out from the library.

marty998

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2017, 12:25:34 AM »
I had a bunch of books and CD's I donated to the library.  Some they sold to raise money, but some they kept.  It's cool to see my old music and books on the shelves.  Now when I want to read any of it, I just check it out from the library.

I've carted books down to the library before. They're very appreciative.

firelight

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2017, 12:27:10 AM »
I have a decent book collection, mostly fiction and classic fiction and I remember buying each one of them.
However I am trying to reduce what we own and I also feel as if I am doing injustice to the books by storing them and not reading them.
It is almost killing me to give them away to others. I have thus far given away clothes and kitchenware but book seem to be the hardest for me.
If you love them so much, why give it away? Are you moving and can't take them with you?

Mrs. S

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2017, 01:18:18 AM »
We are not moving right now but our job will require us to move in a couple of years for sure. We are also looking for cheaper options to rent closer to our office and reducing the stuff we own will help us reduce the cost of that move.
I have not been able to lend or give away books before because of the same reason but it also makes me sad that they just sit on my shelves and I usually do not reread the books. I just gave a few this morning with a caveat that they might have to return it to me if I need them.
I am hoping I'll get used to the idea of having fewer books at home. I saved some of the classics though.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2017, 01:19:17 AM »
I just gave away about 3/4 of what I owned, including books. For me, paper is the hardest, but with almost any item -including books- it's about the same process:

1. Like having it around.
2. Make the decision to release it.
3. Go to do so, have major anxiety.
4. Put it in a "draft" release pile, so I can try again another day, after my body has had some time to process.
5. Box it up for the real release moment. Feel a little anxious.
6. Hand it off, feeling a touch anxious.
7. Feel AWESOME, light, happy, free from that point forward :)

Mrs. S

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2017, 01:33:49 AM »

7. Feel AWESOME, light, happy, free from that point forward :)

I am hoping to achieve the same in a week or so. I have found homes (shelves?) for most of my books and just need to get over my mental barrier.
Great to know I am not the only one working with a  draft pile

yakamashii

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2017, 01:39:52 AM »
I had a collection of over 200 baseball books that I was quite proud of. I gave them and most of my other books to a local library when I moved out of my hometown for the last time. I was shocked at how many of the books were simply dated - encyclopedia-style books on the history of baseball that were written 20 or more years ago (and counting) - and felt like I was offloading a problem onto somebody else. I thought, if everyone did this, the library will have a mountain of useless books, and several copies each of books that age better or are just plain better. It makes far more sense to me to use the library, and never to own books in the first place.

Nowadays, I still buy books I happen upon, want to read, and don't think my local library will purchase. After I read them and make notes, I go straight to the library to donate them. I still feel bad, like I've created a problem for the library. I think of the quantity of books they must have in their vault, and how most of them will age poorly and become the detritus of time.

Borrowing books from the library and being done with them for good after I return them feels as good to me as "donating" feels bad.

Mezzie

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2017, 05:10:14 AM »
I gave away and sold about 5,000 books in a three year period. The first thousand or so I put on a table in the room I was teaching summer school, and the kids were SO happy to have books of their own (I teach in a low-income area) that their reaction made me realize how selfish I was keeping all the books to myself.

For harder-to-part-with books, I made sure the library had copies before I donated or sold.

I still have a decent chunk of books that I absolutely love, many of which are now out of print, hard to get in the U.S., or reread so many times that owning them just makes sense. I also have a ton of books I use for my job.

I am more than satisfied with the library (it helps that I have cards for three major metropolitan library systems, so it's rare I can't get a book I want), and I actually feel lighter and more free owning less.

I am still culling my book collection. I have about ten books in a stack for donation or sale right now. I take care of them when I fill a box. I'm getting down to the end of what I'm willing to part with, though.

Rebekka

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2017, 06:17:37 AM »
I am a fellow bibliophile... I highly recommend reading "the life changing magic of tidying up", that was what helped me through the process

Rowellen

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2017, 06:58:00 AM »
I have very mixed feelings about decluttering my book collection.  Overall though, I haven't missed a single one. And if somehow I did, I could go to the library. I love books. Always have.  But you wouldn't know it looking at my home. On display I have half a shelf of books. I also have a small box in the roof that I intended to return to the bookshelf when the kids were older. I don't think I will though. Some are classics that I have already replaced for free or really cheap on my kindle. The others I'm sure I won't miss now. I still think about some that I have given away or sold but honestly I wouldn't re-read them so I have made peace with the loss. It is a bit of a grieving process I think. It has taken many years for me to get to this point.

mandy_2002

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2017, 07:03:12 AM »
When I left the US last year, I started going through my books and looking at Amazon's buying program.  I got about $200 from them for books and a few DVD's.  Then I went to the used book store.  I know some only offer store credit, but this store had a cash program.  I got another $200 through them.  The rest went to the local library. 

95% of my things were sold, given away, or donated in about 1.5 months in 2016, and it all made me feel so light.  Now I'm in a foreign country trying so hard not to collect things that I will not want to keep in the future.  I've always been a bit of a pack-rat (what if I NEED it??) but I thought that purge had cured me.  I still don't buy a lot, but for some reason, people give me some cool things. 

Axecleaver

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2017, 07:20:30 AM »
It was very liberating, but also sad. Just as you would expect.

I had carted around my entire library for 40 years. I read every single book in that library and displayed them with pride. Many of my books had been lent out over the years and found their way back to me. They were well loved and kept in the best condition. I had five, 2.5' x 7' bookshelves and about a third of the shelves had books double-racked in them, plus about a dozen boxes that wouldn't fit. I loved them all. But they were a PITA to move.

During our move out of our clown house, I decided I was ready to let them go. So over the summer, I went through every book, and scanned it with BookScouter. This compares the ISBN to hundreds of book buyers on the web, and you can pick the highest price or the vendor you like best. Powell's seemed to pay the best overall. Most of my books were worth nothing or under a dollar. Then I boxed them up and sent them away. Give yourself a lot of time to do this, because you will get sucked into a lot of your collection again. It is a very slow process.

The books that weren't worth anything, I put into a pickup truck and delivered in two loads to my local library's warehouse, who sells them once a year in a fundraising sale. They get a big crowd for this so I'd like to think they may have found a good home.

I did end up keeping some - I'd say of the whole collection I had, we have left maybe 3-5%. I kept my entire Philip K. Dick collection, most of which is now out of print, including _Cry My Tears, the Policeman Said_ as a gift from an uncle when I was ten. A Mark Twain anthology that my father gave me when I was five. A few books Mrs Axe gave me early in our relationship. Maybe someday I'll be able to let these go too.

TartanTallulah

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2017, 07:24:02 AM »
I had a huge collection of books. I used to joke that they were insulation for the big old house we lived in. They were neatly arranged on bookshelves and the question of getting rid of them just didn't arise.

Then we moved to a different area of the country, and a much smaller house. This allowed us to ditch the mortgage, but ... what about my books! My life's history is bound up in those classics and novels and reference works!

I donated a load before we moved.

Then after we'd moved I discovered I still had more than would fit on the bookcases we'd brought with us (most of my collection had been on fixed shelves) and donated a load more.

I have never missed any of them.

yourusernamehere

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2017, 07:56:26 AM »
I didn't have a huge collection but it was enough to fill 2 floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, with most shelves 2 rows deep. My dream as a child had been to have a "library" in my home, and I found letting go of the dream to be harder than actually letting go of the books. I kept 2 shelves' worth of books that I reread fairly often- about 80% Terry Pratchett and Raymond Feist, and 20% stoicism, finance, and the like. The day I donated all those books I felt immediate relief. I don't miss them, and I borrow from the library regularly. When we move later this year I will probably part with even more.

firelight

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2017, 08:25:43 AM »
I am a fellow bibliophile... I highly recommend reading "the life changing magic of tidying up", that was what helped me through the process
I had a HUGE collection of books that I carted as well. Three things that helped me:
1) the realization that I can buy them on Kindle and read them anywhere I want (seriously, I had most of my library in my phone and that was awesome)
2) reading above book and finding only 10% of my books brought me enough joy to be willing to cart them across continents. So I let the remaining 90% go.
3) the fact that someday someone else would have to deal with these books and they wouldn't treat them right. Took me going to a few estate sales to give away books along with other smaller items.

I think you are in India and most public libraries there are not as good or reliable. But you can make a difference to a small library with your book donation. Who knows you might even create a new bibliophile from a kid that reads the books that you donate :)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2017, 09:31:25 AM »
It is really easy for me to get rid of books.

Why? Because I'm a librarian.

The library will always have newer books on the same subject. Better books. Maybe a hardcover instead of that yellow paperback I had in college.

I have 1 bookshelf and it is half full of games. The rest is a few favorites plus the kind of books I refer to often (think cookbooks and exercise books). I mean, it wouldn't quite feel like my home if I didn't have SOME books. But when my job at the library includes throwing away* any books with food stains or even a little water damage or loose pages or brittle glue, it makes me realize it's kind of silly to keep those at home.

I work for a larger system, so we almost never add items to our collection. It is cheaper to buy from a vendor who sends it already labelled. I think smaller systems, who maybe have less-favorable deals with their vendors and lower staffing costs, are more likely to add. We do, however, sell donations at the book sale and use the money to buy stuff.

*We don't, of course, actually throw them away. Anything that is not in salable condition, whether "weeds" from our collection or unusable donations, we sell by the pound. Your library may have different procedures, so if you're concerned, call and ask.

wenchsenior

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2017, 10:28:15 AM »
I go back and forth on this.  I used to compulsively collect books, but eventually I realized I had enough unread books to last me about 5 years if I read at my standard 30-60/year rate.  At that point, I started donating some every few years. I used to donate to Goodwill, but eventually decided that donating to the library or giving them to friends made me feel better.

Right now, I'm in a minimalist mode and I don't seem to have too much anxiety getting rid of anything but books, music, and dvds.  And I suspect the minimalism is going to last, so I've more or less stopped buying books and am instead challenging myself to read things I have.

Most books that I read I don't feel strong emotional attachment to and am happy to donate or give them away. But even attaching myself to a couple per year results in a storage problem.  Despite my purging efforts, I am in fact considering buying a new bookshelf. So far I've resisted. If I can resist another year, I might have the book count back down to numbers that fit in shelves I currently own.


englishteacheralex

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2017, 10:35:47 AM »
Like frugalparagon, I work with books for a living. And therefore have little emotional attachment to books. The two shelves of classics we have are because my husband is working his way through a list of classics and whenever we go to the used booksale he buys any titles he can find. I beg him not to but when faced with $.50 books he can't resist.

Books are easy to get for free online. If you can't find them for free online, you can usually find them for free at the library. If you can't find them for free at the library, you can usually find them used on Amazon or the used book store. I almost never read a book a second time at this point in my life, unless it's for work, and then I get them free from work. If I do buy a book (always used!), as soon as I am finished with it I either find a friend to pass it on to or I donate it.

It helps that in Hawaii books attract bugs. It also helps that we live in 850 square feet with two kids. Books are clutter! Except my cookbooks. Those stay.

wenchsenior

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2017, 11:00:14 AM »
Like frugalparagon, I work with books for a living. And therefore have little emotional attachment to books. The two shelves of classics we have are because my husband is working his way through a list of classics and whenever we go to the used booksale he buys any titles he can find. I beg him not to but when faced with $.50 books he can't resist.

Books are easy to get for free online. If you can't find them for free online, you can usually find them for free at the library. If you can't find them for free at the library, you can usually find them used on Amazon or the used book store. I almost never read a book a second time at this point in my life, unless it's for work, and then I get them free from work. If I do buy a book (always used!), as soon as I am finished with it I either find a friend to pass it on to or I donate it.

It helps that in Hawaii books attract bugs. It also helps that we live in 850 square feet with two kids. Books are clutter! Except my cookbooks. Those stay.

This post is especially amusing to me, because I actually bought 2 books at Kona Bay Books (used...books I'd been keeping an eye out for used but hadn't found at home) on the Big Island, and carted them back across the ocean. Quite irrational, really. I might have a bit of a book problem.

MrsPete

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2017, 12:46:36 PM »
I love books, but I have downsized significantly over the last decade or so.  When I was younger, one of my goals was a house full of books as decor; you know, a wall of books lining my dining room.  While that look fits my personality, the reality is that my books don't match and aren't old-world lovely like the magazine photographs that made me want the floor-to-ceiling hallways full of books.

What helped me get rid of so many books?  Mainly logic, but these are the specifics:

- I don't have enough bookcases to store all the books I've owned in my life, and bookcases are seriously heavy -- a hardship on the house itself.  I'm in the process of building a house, and built-in bookshelves aren't 'specially a good use of square footage.  Oh, I still have more than the average person, but not nearly as many as I used to have. 

- Very few of my books are actually "special editions" or sentimental in nature, meaning the vast majority are not special or valuable; rather, I value them for the reading enjoyment, not for the books themselves.  As a result, if I regret giving away a certain book, I could easily (and inexpensively) replace it. 

- Truth be told, I don't re-read fiction all that often, and fiction made up the majority of my collections.  I do keep cookbooks, how-to books, and a few other things, but largely I let go of fiction.


Hargrove

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2017, 03:01:34 PM »
Have a tag sale.

Price everything at .50 or 1.00.

Choose 10 to keep if you must.

I'm too attached to the books to get rid of them, too impatient to buy my freedom not to keep thinking about it. Unfortunately, running a tag sale is probably the most cost-effective way to ship them out.

nereo

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2017, 03:41:09 PM »
I gave away and sold about 5,000 books in a three year period. The first thousand or so I put on a table in the room I was teaching summer school, and the kids were SO happy to have books of their own (I teach in a low-income area) that their reaction made me realize how selfish I was keeping all the books to myself.
...

THis was my ultimate realization too - I love books and had, over the years, collected enough to fill about 9 large bookcases.  It was such a waste; for any given year the probability that I'd even open any particular book was close to zero since I was constantly reading new books.
It was hard at first to cull because they felt like friends (oh, I LOVE this book, I want to re-read it!)... but of course almost all are avaialble at my local library branch or ILL should I actually want to re-read it.

I went from 9 bookshelves to 2, and one of those is cookbooks and work-related science texts i reference constantly.  I love the space and the knowledge that others got to read novels which otherwise would have sat on my shelf for a decade or more untouched.

spjulep

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2017, 06:19:33 PM »
I also accepted that I would someday miss 1 out of every 20 books I sold/donated. And guess what - I can always borrow or buy that book again. I have to tell myself that this slight inconvenience is worth the freedom I gained from not carrying around the other 19. Also I enjoyed using BookMooch because I felt like the books were going to a good home. =)

Lookilu

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #25 on: May 27, 2017, 07:56:18 PM »
I remember reading about a college professor who was retiring and needed to seriously downsize her lifetime collection of books, and her strategy worked well for me when I decided to part with a lot of my own collection.

Is the book still in print? If yes, you can get rid of your copy.
Is the book out of print? If yes, do you love it? Can you see yourself rereading it yearly? If not, you can get rid of your copy.

I've sold a few books on Amazon, but most I donate to my local library. Like many others have said, I've never really missed any that I gave away and love having less clutter. It did take a while to reach the point where I was ready to part with them, but I have no regrets.

I'm a red panda

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2017, 05:30:40 AM »
After giving away many hundreds of books I found myself looking for a few and repurchased them.  Pretty much didn't care about the rest. I couldn't bring Ludwig to give away all my books, but I sure have away a lot. I'm a re-reader so I never thought much of storing books I read again and again, but I prefer storing on the Kindle now

Infraredhead

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2017, 05:56:20 AM »
Retired English teacher here.  I promise there is an educator somewhere wanting books for their classroom library. Books disappeared from my shelf yearly and I was always having to replenish my shelves on my dime.  The goal at my last move from house to house was to minimize from five giant shelves to one. I put the titles on a list of the ones that I wanted to donate and posted them on my FB page and told all of my friends to come get them. They were gone within two days and for a good cause. 

I LOVE to read and it took a while to get out of the mind set that books are meant to be read and not to be looked at on a shelf.  It delighted me to no end to see a teenager read a book and ask if I had more by the same author.  You are helping create a lifelong gift.

lemonde

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2017, 06:23:50 AM »
Great. The less, the better.

NinetyFour

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2017, 06:32:27 AM »
Great. The less, the better.

+100

Haven't missed them at all.

iris lily

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2017, 07:48:58 AM »
I always say that getting rid of books is the Final Frontier of declittering.

Many decades ago I made the smart decision to stop  buying books and I pretty much kept that vow, with two exceptions. For twenty years I admit to buying picture books (both new and antiquarian) but those are my art collection, not my reading collection. I still have that  collection but stopped adding to it about ten years ago.

The other exception is technical manuals from plant and gardening societies.  I am studying to be a judge in a couple of horticultural organizations and
I need their documents. These all take up less than one shelf.

Otherwise, my reading books are provided by the public library. And while
I do have various books that people have given me over the years or from an occasional impulse buy, I am not attached to them and could jettison them easily.

I worked in libraries for 35 years and I saw plenty of books, and refuse to see them as sacred objects. They are just things. I like the public library to store and maintain my collection, that is why I pay taxes.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2017, 01:52:33 PM by iris lily »

Noodle

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2017, 01:35:18 PM »
Would it help to think of the book as the text, not the physical object? You might send the object on to a new home, but in 99.9% of cases the text will be available to you for a few dollars at most.

Many years ago I was graduating from grad school and my first apartment was very tiny. I had piles of academic books and nowhere to keep them. The compromise was that I gave them to a friend who was in my field of study, but continuing for a doctorate instead of entering the workforce as I was. We agreed that she would give anything back that I found I needed. Of course, I have only needed a couple of those books in the last twenty years and I just went on Amazon rather than to put her to the trouble of finding and mailing the books. Thinking of the transfer as generosity to someone else, who will now also get to enjoy the book, might help it feel less of a loss.

Books I keep:

1. My reference collection for work. Most of those books are out of print and not available anywhere except specialty libraries...the information is not online anywhere.

2. Sentimental books: my Christening bible, books signed by friends, etc.

3. Cookbooks (I occasionally thin the herd)

4. A few select books I actually do reread--Terry Pratchett, some romance novels, etc

I am also currently giving shelf space to a number of books that aren't available as e-books or through the library. I got a little carried away when I discovered Amazon used books a few years back. I am actively trying to read through these and donate them, the motivator being that when I clear them out I will have space to display some of my photos.

Mrs. S

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #32 on: May 29, 2017, 04:51:24 AM »
Thanks a lot for weighing in. I have managed to reduce my collection to barely 4-5 books. We are in India and free public library is not something I have been able to access. I have however located a library which will allow us to join as a 10 year member for  barely Rs10(17 cents) a month and I am almost ready to go out and get the membership.
I was lucky to have a well stocked school library and read a lot of English classics and YA while in school. I have also wanted a home library for the longest time especially because my parents weren't too fond of my reading habits (I read more fiction than text books)
I have found home for my books in family, friends and colleagues and maybe will donate any remaining ones. I cannot relate to text unless I can feel it in my hand. I know not the most eco-friendly way of reading but ebooks just don't feel the same.

Kriegsspiel

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Re: How did you feel when you donated/ gave away your books
« Reply #33 on: May 29, 2017, 04:55:59 PM »
Completely, utterly indifferent. Except when I moved, then I was happy. They were heavy.