I had to get rid of about 2/3 of my books recently. I was moving here
to my new apartment and there wasn't enough space for them all. It had
to be done quickly, too, since I'd already given my notice to my old
landlord. But how do you choose between a lifetime of books? Most of
them were paperbacks but there were quite a few hardcovers, because
I've been a bookseller for 21 years now and that employee discount
made buying them less expensive.And some of them were paperbacks
dating back to the 1960's. I found myself changing my decisions
several times on the fates of particular books. Should I get rid
of all the fiction and just keep the nonfiction, or keep only
hardcovers over the paperbacks?
In the end, three things factored into whether a book stayed or
went: online availability, favorites, and memories.
Online availability came into play for the nonfiction books. Could the
information in them be accessed online. Most of these books were
history and mythology with some poetry books. While the actual
books might not be online, by and large the subjects they covered are,
so most of them went. Those I kept were favorites and have memories
attached to them. Goodbye to my old college texts! And I kept any
book that pertained to my family history.
Favorites are the authors and books I've followed for years, mainly
series in the genres: Robert Parker, Peter Tremayne and Michael Jecks
in mysteries, Jim Butcher, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, CJ Cherryh,
Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, Isaac Asimov and more. I kept the books
that I'd had autographed over the years by writers at signings in the store
or at conventions.
Finally there were the books that have memories attached to them. That
will be covered in the next post.
In the end, despite the difficulty of culling down the collection, I had the
easy part of the job. My sister and brother in law did the actual moving
of all the books, both those that stayed and those that were donated and
I thank them for all the work they did in the move.
I hope that the books that left are being enjoyed by their new owners!