I still love print books and I have a substantial number of them.
But I recently got rid of most of my print books, and here’s why…
It takes time, space, and energy to keep a lot of books. You need room to store them. And just seeing all the spines can be a distraction.
Over the last couple of years I’ve removed about 80% of the books from my home office.
Why I Keep a Print Book
For me to keep a book it must meet at least one of these criteria:
1. It has information I realistically believe I’ll need to access within the next year or two.
2. I’ve underlined it and/or made notes in it — and I think I’ll need to refer to it someday.
3. It can’t be easily replaced — and I think I’ll want to read it at some point, or give it as a gift.
What You Can Do with Print Books You Don’t Want
You have several options:
1. You can sell them yourself on ebay or Amazon or another site
Of course, this can be a hassle and a substantial investment of your time, and your competing with many other sellers on price.
2. You can also sell them to a used book dealer
But don’t expect to get much for them. In my experience over the years, used book dealers won’t give you much cash, though they’ll give you more in store credit. If you do the store credit, make sure you check any restrictions, like using the credit within a year. (I got burned on this by a used bookstore back when I lived on Kauai in the 1990s.)
3. You can donate them to your favorite thrift store or to your local library
This is the option I do most often. It allows me to support causes that are important and get books quickly back into the hands of people who want to read them.
And there’s the unique town of Ashland, Oregon where I live; it’s the home of the Rogue Valley Free Media Exchange where you can take as many books as you want for free. They just encourage you to keep the cycle flowing by donating books you don’t want. Such a deal!
4. You can give them to family and friends
Many of the people you know have interests similar to yours. Let ‘em have first crack at the giveaway stack.
5. You can recycle them
Don’t laugh: I’ve done this with a couple of books on Internet marketing I bought a while back that I don’t think anybody should read.
Be Careful Which Books You Have in Your Home Office
Certain books can distract you. When I recently moved from the Mount Shasta area to Ashland, Oregon, I decided to only have certain books on the shelves in my office.
Why? Because some of them can distract me from getting my work done. For example, seeing four reference books I bought three years ago for a business idea I haven’t yet pursued gets me thinking about that idea rather than what I need to be doing right now. It can also feel like an unfinished task, which my mind will keep jumping to.
What I Haven’t Done (Yet)
I haven’t made the move to reading books digitally, although I’m considering getting Amazon’s Kindle Fire or a similar reader.
I do read e-books and PDF files on my computer, and I’m cool with that, but I still prefer to read print in a book I can actually hold in my hand. It’s easier on the eyes and I don’t have to attach myself to another electronic device.
Are you one of those people with lots and lots of books or are you a minimalist? Or have you made the big switch to e-readers?