Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The following is not an endorsement for any site or service...

Okay, so I started swapping books online in order to get some value for the books I weed from my collection. Like any good librarian I believe that all collections, even my personal collection, should be weeded or pruned on occasion. To make room, or just to clear something out if it's annoying me. I will get rid of any book I
  • -read but didn't like very much
  • -started to read and never finished
  • -got from an ex boyfriend, even *cough*:
    • signed and potentially valuable books,
    • -books in which I am mentioned in the acknowledgments.

The problem is that when I sell books, oftentimes the booksellers won't take most of what I have, and I hate that long walk home from the used bookstore with the rejects- the ones nobody wants. I don't know whether to be more embarrassed for myself or for the unwanted books. Is there an Island of Misfit Books? There should be. Maybe that should be the name of a used bookstore. Except Rankin/Bass would probably sue.

And when I donate books I have no real confidence that they won't just end up in the trash cause let's face it, there's no shortage of used books in the world.

So I happened on to bookswapping through my involvement with LibraryThing. I looked at some different services and ended up trying two, and settled on one, because it seemed to offer the best value and the most convenience for me. So yeah.

So anyway I've been swapping away. The first swap was a disaster because I forgot to label two books as Advance Reader Copies and basically got my head handed to me by some jerk. Who ended up being enough of a gentleman to leave me positive feedback once it was resolved, but still. My first batch of books, almost all ARCs, went fast and I was off and running. Swapping literary fiction for me, Doctor Who books for my husband. Everyone was happy.

Then it slowed down. And I had this idea to replenish my inventory- buy a stash of books at a used bookstore, where they were offered in bulk at bargain prices. Like $7 for 15 books. Those have been going, but slowly. Then, last week, my husband started cleaning out the attic and gave me a stack of old Dungeons and Dragons manuals and HOT DAMN those went fast. I'm still cleaning up the mailings. I think something like twenty volumes went in about four days. Whooosh!

Which leaves me with a pile of points and so far nothing to spend them on. Naturally the books I want are unavailable. Oh, I'll get a teaser email once in a while, that one book is available, but when I click on the link to get it, it's already gone or it's owned by someone who doesn't mail to the US. Darn!

I can't complain too much. I did get some manga earlier in the year. And dribs and drabs of scifi and other stuff now and then. And maybe I should be grateful that overall it's been a net loss- it's not like I don't have anything to read, just, you know, a pile of ARCs from the last library conference I went to. And it does give me the ability to hunt around for unusual finds, like a Sholom Aleichem book I want to read as enrichment for my current job in a synagogue library. But still.

But overall I'm really happy with my book swapping. It reminds me of when I was a cagey kid and sold yard sale books because it was the only way I could afford to buy books for myself. So I get a little bit of that enterprising feeling back, and I find good homes for all my old friends. And not-so-friends.

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