Shedding my fiction

I know this idea will come as an anathema for many people, but as Rob and I get ready to move, I’m getting rid of most of my fiction.

Let me rephrase that. I’m getting rid of the book forms of most of my fiction. I realized that I moved books out here that I haven’t read since before I moved them to Portland, OR back in 1993 and that some of them probably haven’t been opened since before that.

Don’t get me wrong, these are all books that I loved, but do I need to own them still when I don’t read them? I’m using a barcode scanner and saving a list of them on LibraryThing, so if I ever miss one I can remember that I owned it and then buy a new copy, although that new copy will likely be electronic.

The ones that I’m keeping are the ones where the physical artifact has meaning. The complete collection of Narnia that my grandmother gave me? Stays.  The copy of Small Gods, which was the first book I read aloud to Rob? Likewise, that’s a keeper.

I’ve sort of been doing this for awhile with new books. I finish reading them, then mail them to my niece or nephew.*  But all the older books? Iif I haven’t opened it since I moved here, I’m shedding it and not because I don’t love them.

My question is, since I want them to go to a good home, how should I go about it?

*By the way, if you see one of your books on the list, please don’t be offended.

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24 Responses

  1. Lawrence M. Schoen

    For paperbacks, I would recommend donating them to the armed forces. We can talk more about this when you come down at the end of the month, but I used to run a project that sent books to the troops overseas. Paperbacks work best because you get more book for your shipping buck.

    For hardbacks, well… I do have a birthday coming up… 🙂 Is your collection on LibraryThing? I’m curious to see how much our tastes/collections overlap.

  2. Julia

    Give them to a library. If the library has enough copies of a certain book, it may do like my local library does and sell them for a couple bucks a pop. Either way, the library wins, whether it be more books or a little extra money to fund some kids’ activities.

  3. AMLau

    If you have lots of YA, i might be able to put you in touch with some NY public school teachers who might be able to use them.

    1. Mary Robinette Kowal

      It’s old school juvenille, mostly. If you look in the library thing box over on the left and type in “shedding and childhood” you should see what I’ve got. Of course, I’m still adding.

  4. Elizabeth Donald

    Strongly recommend donating anything that’s appropriate to a school library. They don’t have a tax base to fall back on like municipal libraries; nobody ever donates to them; they get zero price breaks for being a nonprofit; and when a school district is strapped for cash, fiction book purchases are the first thing to go. I did an article once on the woefully out-of-date books and scant fiction collections of local school libraries – seriously, one science book breathlessly foretold that day “one day soon!” that man would walk on the moon. Yikes. If I’ve got books to shed, I always look to the school libraries first.

  5. Lawrence M. Schoen

    Surely you have a home for the various puppet books, or you’re planning on passing them along to someone in NY. If that’s not the case, I can query my friend, Shae Uisna, in Portland. I can imagine that she would be extremely delighted to receive such a winfall. If this seems like a possibility, I would happily cover the shipping, as a gift to her.

    For myself, I’d happily welcome the Card book on character and viewpoint, the collector’s edition of the Hobbit (oddly, I don’t have a copy of this book), and the colloquial Icelandic text.

  6. Sarah Monette

    I’m amused at myself. I was going along, noticing how many of those books were books I owned as a kid (some of them, I still own, because I am a crazy hoarding packrat), and agreeing that I could see where a person would no longer need to own them, and then I hit The Last Unicorn and went apofbhjnaop;hijptgwhip;!!!!11!1!!!

    *ahem*

    Some animals are more equal than others.

  7. Melissa Mead

    Thank you!

    Hm For some reason your Contact form won’t let me post because it thinks I’m running Javascript, which I’m not. Is there another option?

  8. Jen

    I would second donating them to a school- many teachers pay for “supplemental reading” books out of their own pockets, and schools are often very far down the list of places that people donate books to.

  9. Melissa Mead

    I’m still having the same problem. Could you e-mail me at JayneknoxATyahoo.com and I’ll reply with my address?

    Sorry to be so complicated.

  10. Pam Adams

    I love the ‘tall blond bookcase’ tag. Is there also a short, dark bookcase for those of us who don’t prefer blondes?

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