Monday, April 5, 2010

Books and books and more!

I like to read. I love getting lost in a world not my own, and experiencing something new. Over the years, this love of reading, and being in college and university have only grown my book collection. While there are books that I do re-read, and some that are helpful, the vast majority are books that I will probably never read again, and have just been lugging from place to place (or, having my husband lug from place to place - I do carry a few of the boxes!)

Even though I love books, and being surrounded by books and the choices that provides, is amassing a collection to rival the Library of Congress (I kid) really the best use of my space, resources, and time. Probably not, especially when you consider that when I get on a reading-streak, I can clear a thousand pages in a day or two (depending on the subject).

In college, I often sold books back through amazon.com or half.com. I was often able to figure it so that the commission they charged was roughly equal to the shipping allowance, and then ship the books media mail, turning a profit over what the bookstore would give me. I was also selling back science and math books, not the novels I was enjoying for my major.

About a year ago, I culled a couple dozen books from my collection, and put them up on these sites to sell. This time, the commission sometimes was higher than the shipping allowance, but since these were novels, I couldn't raise the price too much. By the time the book sold, the commission was taken out, and I shipped it, I think I was lucky to have made 50 cents off a book. At that point, I may as well have donated them.

A lot of my books didn't sell, because I was pricing them to make at least some sort of a profit off of them. I haven't tried this since. I do still have many books that I do need to purge from my shelves, but am having a hard time getting past the "But I might need them, in the future!" Unfortunately, I am a bit of a pack-rat.

After graduate school, I was enjoying not having to read anything, but after about 6 months, my love of reading was rekindled, and I rediscovered the joys of the library (and librarians). I have memories of going to the library on a regular basis with my mom and sister when I was little. I remember roaming the children's section, and climbing on the carpeted step-seats, reading. I used the library a lot as an undergraduate and graduate student, for books, internet access, and films (and a place to view films!). But, somehow, in my post-grad life, I'd forgotten about it. Plus, I am always a little frightened that I won't finish a book before the due date.

I made friends who would lend me books, and I started reading library books again. Visiting the library can be like a shopping high plus Christmas... you walk out, arms loaded with all these new and exciting books, yet you didn't have to spend a dime (unless, of course, you had to pay a fine). And you can keep borrowing! (Just don't forget to return them).

In NC, I was fortunate enough to be friends with an Assistant Librarian, who helped me to navigate everything, like reserving a copy of a new book, or requesting a book that was currently out. That does necessitate you wanting a specific book. Part of the fun of a library is the browsing, I think. Getting lost in the dust jacket descriptions is amazing (sort of like sometimes, the previews are the best part of the movie).

Now, I am fortunate to be in a university (where, as staff, I can check out books for a looooong time), and have access to all books in the university catalog, although, I may have to wait for a book to be delivered to my local branch. I am also in a county with a superb library system. Score!

Are you a fan of your local library?

1 comment:

Cam said...

I LOVE the library. I'm lucky because I only live a block away:)

When I discovered that I could renew and reserve books online, I was beyond thrilled. Perhaps a little too giddy judging from the "well, duh" looks I got when I tried to share my new discovery.

But I also love collecting books. I do get rid of ones I don't like, but I don't see a reason to get rid of books just because. Also, I think the public library is a nice compliment to a home library.