What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

28 October 2011

Libraries, Amazon, Goodreads...

I'm still in the throes of trying to get homework, grad school applications, and my proposal for undergrad research next semester all done before next Tuesday hits and NaNoWriMo commences. Oh, and pre-scheduling some blog posts, so you don't all think I died. (Although, if I pre-schedule... never mind, let's not go down that garden path.)

So! Today's green tip is meant to be in keeping with the book theme I have going this week (like that's different from any other week): Make sure to get as much use out of your books as possible.

No, I'm not going to say to never buy new physical books, even though I know that technically, that's a darned green thing to do. But as we booklovers all know, to give that kind of advice is to dance on the edge between "taking care of the earth" and "enjoying my time on earth". If I didn't buy books that I love, I would be depriving myself of one of the great joys in my life and I'm not going to do that.

So, what do I mean, then? Well, try before you buy. Borrow a book from the library before deciding to buy it, and if you love it and you know you want to have it available to read over and over, then absolutely, go buy it.

Next, try to buy secondhand. Look on Amazon, Ebay, or one of the dozens of secondhand booksellers online. Better World Books donates some of their profits to literacy programs, as well as donating actual books. Plus, they send the best "your order has been shipped" emails that I've ever read. Seriously, order a book from them just to get the email. You won't regret it-- unless you buy a book that you didn't really want. You might regret that. Also in good-karma-land: Chegg donates to education programmes and they plant a tree for every book they sell or rent.

At the risk of entering the realm of broken records, e-books save paper, shipping, and for most titles, some of the sticker price.

If you get a book that you thought you would want to keep forever but it turns out it wasn't meant to be between the two of you, find it a new home. Swap with friends (either in person or virtually), post it on one of the aforementioned sites, donate to a local library... you get the idea. Old textbooks or books that you can't unload get a bit tricky... here in Austin, we have Recycled Reads that actually recycles books that they can't sell (and anything they do sell benefits the local library system). I turned to my good friends at Earth911 for a solution, and they do have a search page where you can find book recycling near you.

And finally, I can't leave this subject without a strong plug for local secondhand bookshops. Every place I've lived, I've been a frequent customer and donater to a secondhand bookshop. They have mixed results if you're looking for something in particular, but I've found just going round every couple of weeks and browsing yields some really nice fruit. Good place to bring the books that no longer fit on my shelves, too. And, if you get a really good one, where you can get to know the owners, they just might take note of your reading preferences and keep something back for you if a book they think you'll like comes in. No guarantees... but it has happened.

What do you do with old books? Any good secondhand bookstore stories (those are the best, imo!)?


M.J. Fifield said...

I'm thinking of using my ever increasing number of books as a sort of insulation to keep cold air out of my house this winter.

Mia Hayson said...

There exists this Charity shop near my parents' house that I simply love going into.

I tend to use it as a library and buy several books at a time whilst giving back ones I've just read. I don't know. I feel like everybody wins in some way.


Su said...

@MJ: Not a bad idea!

@Mia: Yes. That. That's what I do. It's brilliant. :D

Karen Peterson said...

I'm so disappointed that Goodreads is ending their book swap feature. I've put that to great use. Guess I'll have to try another swapping site. Thanks for the tips!

Su said...

Yeah, I wrote the title, then saw the book swap was ending, but forgot to change the title before I posted. Oops! That makes me sad, too.