There is an enormous sea change that is rocking the publishing world – digitization. From the number of blogs and articles debating the relative merits of print versus eBooks, it appears passions run high on both sides. E-readers and tablets allow for the storage of thousands of volumes on a single device. An eBook is easier and cheaper to buy than a bound book. Furthermore; they permit the reader to increase the font size. You might as well prepare for the inevitable deterioration of your eyesight now, rather than squander your life savings on an endless progression of drug store reading glasses ending up in bifocals. Yet for a true bibliophile, nothing compares with the experience of reading a printed book.
Our clients, in particular, usually weigh in on the side of words on paper. For those attached to books, no argument, not even the ecological one can convince them otherwise. When we talk about the problem of paper clutter, somehow books get excluded from that category. Books tend to assume an unimpeachable status that exempts them from further scrutiny. Yet, blasphemous as it may seem, books fall under the rubric of C.R.U.D. when any of the following criteria is met:
Books that Bore
Has this ever happened to you? You pick up a new novel or biography full of anticipation. After 20 pages or so you realize nothing is grabbing you. You close it, and place it back on your nightstand or book shelf…where it remains unread for eternity. You tell yourself, you will go back to it one day. This never happens.
Books You Intend to Re-read
Let’s put our cards on the table shall we? Can you honestly believe you are going to read all the books on your floor to ceiling shelves for the third time? A number of our clients claim they read the same books over and over. The amount of dust coating the book’s dustcovers tell quite another story. We would not be surprised if bats flew out of them.
Books in Boxes
So, you claim to love books more than anything in the world. Then why do you keep them in boxes in your crawl space or storage locker that has flooded on more than one occasion? If that’s how you treat what you love best, one can only imagine what the family pet has to endure. Books in boxes do not get read. Lifting those heavy cartons every time you move to a new residence brings you that much closer to a hernia. If opening the boxes some day is part of your plan, rubber gloves and masks are advisable.
Saving for the Children Books
There are two aspects to this that need to be identified. The first is the tendency to save treasured, childhood relics for your own children. Nancy Drew dominates this segment. The follow-up is to then save all of your current children’s books for the next generation. This strategy can only be practiced in homes where the number of bedrooms exceeds the number of occupants. You need a dedicated room to handle not only the books but the clothes, and toys and games as well.
Our experience tells us there are a great many people sitting on massive collections of books who would like nothing better than to have them disappear, if there were an easy and responsible way to do it. There is no denying the importance of books and reading. Like everything else, even books have a shelf life. Whatever you decide to do, make sure those Self- Help books become a major component of your purge.
While some books can be sold through dealers and on line, the vast majority wind up being donated. We certainly welcome the proliferation of charity book bins often positioned besides clothing donation bins around the city.
If you choose to donate to excess books to the library or school fundraiser, try packing them in the wine boxes you can often get at no charge from the liquor store.
Books, especially if they are attractively priced, are a big attraction at garage sales.