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How Hard Can It Be ……. To Give Something Away!!!

We have spent almost the entire Bank Holiday weekend, sorting and packing books, about 80 large boxes, plus bags … a total of some 4,000-5,000 books!!!

They have finally been collected, late this afternoon, by a charity called Book Cycle, who came all the way up to Somerset, from Exeter in Devon.

You can’t believe how difficult it has been to find a charity or organisation who actually wanted this quantity of books, value approx £3,000, FOR FREE!

Plenty of charities and libraries showed an interest in them initially, but then decided that they only wanted certain types of books and only delivered to them in small quantities, when they were ready. These people actually proved so difficult to deal with, that I was on the point of giving up and had resigned myself to paying to have them dumped! I even tried bagging them up for the recycling company, but they let us down so often with their collection days, that I was forced to dump quite a few and I just didn’t have the heart to keep doing that.

I would have preferred to support a charity or organisation in the local area, but just couldn’t hold onto them any longer, it was either the books or me, according to my poor husband!!

The books are some of those amassed when I had my small on-line business, selling used books through Amazon. I stuck with it for more than three years, before deciding that economically it was no longer a viable proposition. I wasn’t out to rule the world or make a fortune, you understand, but breaking even and covering costs would have been good, as it was actually something that I enjoyed doing and was the next best thing to having a bookshop of my own.

The emergence of the mega ‘penny’ booksellers, with their cheap bulk rates of postage, more or less put paid to many of the small sellers, who after paying Amazon commission charges on both the book sale and the postage, were very lucky not to be running at a loss.

When Amazon then started their own ‘fulfilled by Amazon’ service, that was more or less the death knell for many more, who had until then been clinging on, as all FBA sellers are automatically pushed to the top of the list, when seen by the customer.

We are talking about books that were purchased from a variety of sources, both fiction and non-fiction, and were all of good saleable quality, as I refused to get sucked into the trap of buying in bulk from charities or book remainder companies, preferring to trawl the shops and select my own stock, picking only those of excellent quality and good saleable subject matter. Besides which, I really enjoyed searching out the good buys and if truth be known, I had amassed far more stock than I could realistically sell, we were on overload in our modest home!!

Parting with FICTION books, I hear you all shout!! Yes I’m afraid you heard right, I have had to part with about five hundred fiction books, with many recriminations, regrets and tears, I have to say. I kept putting them to one side and assuring my husband that I really could read them all, but when he pointed out just how quickly I would need to read them, to ever stand  a fighting chance of reducing the pile, I had to admit defeat.

To be honest, I didn’t have much of a leg to stand on, when it transpired that I have another 500-600 fiction books, still on my bookshelves, that were not part of the original count. So now that I have some floor space back in my office, we have decided to invest in a couple more floor to ceiling bookshelves, then my TBR pile can be sorted into some kind of order and I can start to catalogue exactly what gems of fiction reading, I do have.

I am on a definite book buying ban at the moment, but if family and friends offer me books that they have finished with, it would be churlish to refuse now, wouldn’t it????

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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12 comments
  • My daughter mentioned Book Cycle to me the other day (she lives in Exeter) but I can’t remember what it was in connection with. I don’t think she uses it as their opening hours are odd.

    Goodness… that’s a *huge* amount of books to dispose of. You deserve a medal, m’dear. Very brave.

    • Hello Cath,

      We both certainly have the bad backs to prove it!!! When all the boxes were stacked out in the garage waiting for Book Cycle to arrive, I must admit we couldn’t quite believe how we had managed to fit them all in the house and attic!! My office looks strangely empty, now that I can actually see the floor!!

      Book Cycle are in both Exeter and Brighton and if they do as they promise with the books, then I shall be pleased.
      They don’t actually put a price on any book, each visitor is invited to choose and take away no more than three books at a time and leave a donation as to their perceived worth. They say that whilst some people will take the books and just leave a few pence, others are very generous and give well over the odds.
      Some books go to overseas reading projects and on occasion the charity will promote themselves by posting a free book through random house letterboxes, in order to raise awareness.

      Check out their website, they don’t open until quite late in the morning, but conversely, are open until well into the evening, plus there are no paid staff, it is purely run on a voluntary basis, which is what swung it for me.

    • Hello Diane,

      It was a real wrench to have to part with so many books, especially all that unread fiction.

      I keep trying to console myself by looking at the 500+ that I still have, but at the moment I am still having trouble letting go and just hope that they all end up with good homes…

  • This reminds me of when I retired and had to face the fact that there was no way that all the books I had in my office were going to fit into my study at home. Something had to go. Fortunately, because so many of them were academic books and I live in a major University city our local Oxfam were willing to take them all. It didn’t make it any less of a wrench though. And, I hope you don’t find as I did that within months the one book you really need is one of the one’s you’ve given away. The humiliation of nipping into the bookshop to see if there’s a possibility of buying your book back again is great indeed.

    • Hi Annie,

      I had quite a few academic and study books amongst those that were taken away and to be honest, they were always good sellers. As many of these books will end up in Exeter, a University City, I am sure that many of them will go to good homes.

      I always had to flick through all the books I took into stock, before listing them and the snippets of information gleaned from them all, is quite amazing. Overall, the whole exercise of selling books, has been an enjoyable one and something that I shall miss, for some time to come.

  • I had the same problem with my sister’s books, after she died. She too had collected books, mainly children’s fiction, to sell but ended up just storing them. I kept a few, but had to get rid of the rest. The local Oxfam shop (in Taunton, I didn’t know about Book cycle!) didn’t want them, children’s fiction booksellers didn’t want them, so I ended up bringing them all home with me (several trips were involved) and bagging them up to distribute around my local charity shops – quite a long job, but I couldn’t bear to dump them, although I did have to dump some that weren’t in good condition). Since moving up to Northumberland, (which included several boxes of my sister’s books) I’ve continued taking them to charity shops but since finding Barter Books in Alnwick have managed to exchange some more of them. It’s not an easy task!

    • Hi Margaret,

      When no-one wanted the books for free, I did search around for a secondhand bookshop, who may have given a few pence each for them.

      Alas, there are none of those in our immediate area and the cost of hiring a van and lugging them somewhere miles away, for what would probably only amount to loose change, wasn’t appealing.

      It was hubbie that managed to track down Book Cycle and I am so glad that he did. The guys that collected them were a little ‘off-the-wall’, but very helpful and pleasant, and most importantly, very pleased to be given the books.

      The job of getting rid of all the remaining fiction, will unfortunately fall to relatives when we pass away, as, now we are to buy more bookshelves, I can’t honestly see the problem getting any smaller!!

        • Hi Margaret,

          Tactless, but true!!!

          We have this conversation all the time with my in-laws, as my mother-in-law reads as voraciously as me.

          Her attitude is “not my problem”, good answer, I thought!!

  • Oh Yvonne – poor you! That must have been a wrench
    Hopefully your books will all find good homes.
    How many books do you have now and how long will the book buying ban stay in place? I cannot imagine you avoiding the book shelves in charity shops.
    Chris

    • Hi Chris,

      I cried all the way to the van with them!!! Seriously, it did take a lot of soul searching to actually admit defeat with Amazon and actually stop buying books to list for sale.

      The guys from Book Cycle did seem like a pretty genuine bunch and I would rather give the books away, as see them dumped.

      I had hoped to get away with just disposing of the non-fiction, so I fished out all the fiction from the listed stock and put them to one side.

      Dave then insisted that all the unsorted stock in the attic, fiction included, should all go, without me touching the boxes. At this point I was horrified and began to push-back. He did point out that I could never possibly hope to read all the fiction books and I had to admit that he was right.

      He has promised me some more bookshelves to house the fiction that I insisted on keeping and a Kindle, if I felt that I needed it!!

      I haven’t told you yet, about the hundred or so non-fiction books, that he sneaked out of the boxes, as ‘research’ for his new venture!!! Pot, Kettle and all that!!

      Don’t worry though, I still have about 500-600 fiction books as a TBR pile, plus any that I manage to sneak into the house unseen and of course I can’t stop people passing books on to me, can I?

Written by Yvonne

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