Monday, March 22, 2010
Conservation of Books
But I still have shelves and boxes of physical books, loved and unloved, read and unread, old and not so old. What to do with them? Many of them I will keep in case I want to read them again (it sometimes happens) or for sentimental reasons. Too many actually. I've donated several boxes to the town library for book sales. I've even thrown away a few (things like ancient programming reference books). But recently I found another solution.
OK, it's actually not a solution, but it's a pleasant problem: a web site called PaperBack Swap. Basically it's a book trading site. First you sign up as a member (it's free). Then you list books you want to give away, and when someone requests one, you mail it to the other member (this costs about $2 to $3 for most books and requires a trip to the post office, though there are ways around this). When the other member receives your book, you get a credit with which you can request a book from the many listed by other members (there are over 4 million books listed). The site has many features that make this all pretty painless (book search, wish lists, labels, reminders, etc.).
But since you get 2 credits just for signing up and listing 10 books, it's not really a way to reduce the number of books I have in the house. But it finds good homes for books I don't need and serves my need for serendipity at very low cost.