As you may know, I am an avid reader and I get through a lot of books. Before I bought my Kindle (you can read about why I made the switch to Kindle here) I had two bookcases full of them. I’ve been social distancing because of the coronavirus pandemic for two weeks now and have already read five books (on my kindle), and I am still working from home!
I live in London and as is common, I barely have enough space for myself let alone so many books. So I had to figure out what to do with the ones I had read and knew I wouldn’t revisit. Here are just a few things I do with old books once I have finished reading them, if you find yourself in the same predicament as I was.
1 Pass on to a friend. I often do this if I read a book and know it will really resonate with a friend. I just tell them to pass it on once they have finished too so more people can read it. Also it’s then their problem to find space for it hehe.
2 Donate old books to charity. I usually do this if they’re in good condition as I know the charity shop will find them easy to sell. I also donate books I know none of my friends will enjoy. I used to make yearly visits with bags full of them! Generally I donate them to charity because it’s a good thing to do though.
3 Book swaps. In London we have book swaps where you just leave a book in a particular location and you can also pick up a book to replace it. The book exchange points come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes look a little inconspicuous like this one. This one is near me in Bermondsey and it’s just a little cupboard. If you’re a local you may have spotted one or two near you! The Londonist has a map which lists all the bookswap points in London.
With the bookswap points you can also pick up a book which I think is great as a book can get the chance to be read and loved again instead of collecting dust in the corner of a bookshelf. I left a few at my local one because I thought people could use a little entertainment having to stay indoors during the coronavirus pandemic.
4 Car boot sale. I think I’ve only done a car boot sale when I was much younger with my aunt and uncle, but they’re definitely worth considering if you have loads of books and want to make some money from them. The thing I’d say about selling books at car boot sales is that they have to be in mint condition and be of value, maybe a recently published and highly acclaimed novel, a collector’s item or a special edition novel. No one wants a tatty road map from the 1960s.
I actually wanted to donate some old books to my local library and although I haven’t asked, upon researching it looks like in the UK at least, most libraries do not accept books because they need to account for it in their expenses? Also I suppose they want to know they have control and knowledge of everything circulating in their library.
What do you usually do with old books? Do you give them away or do you keep them with the intention of re-reading them again? I hope my post was helpful if you’re wondering what to do with old books.