Halp! I Have A Dead Tree Problem

Some people collect tiny ceramic statues, and then there are the obligatory spoons, bells and thimbles that are sprinkled throughout homes all over this great country. What began early as a pulp and ink friendship with one Ramona Quimby, grew past The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High, and has now turned into a certifiable book collection problem. Not only do I have double stacked rows of books on each of my shelves, I also have several plastic tubs intended for storing an entire season’s wardrobe dedicated to the massive missive collection that even if I could bear to part with, I wouldn’t know what to do with. Thus, I have a big dead tree problem and it just keeps getting worse…

The collection that is about to consume my home contains stacks of everything, from the shame of Miss Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight, to a library of baby raising manuals recently acquired when I found out another human being is living the belly pooch formerly dedicated to beer festivals and pizza binges. By the way, whoever said kids don’t come with manuals has not seen the stack of books that has taken over my kitchen table.  How can those books not be considered just that: operating manuals on everything from sleep to names to the grotesqueness that is pregnancy. And every time something big happens the library grows.

I wouldn’t say I am a book hoarder and there isn’t a reason to get me in touch with a self-help television host – well at least in regards to my book problem. I just don’t know what to do with all of them.

For about a month I tried nipping the book buying problem in the bud. I went and got myself a bona-fide, laminated library card and tried borrowing instead of buying books. In theory it was an excellent plan; I would be saving money and saving space, right? Wrong… Well, sorta. The library didn’t carry 99.9% of the books I wanted to read, and if they did there was no way I would get them finished in time for the due date! Two weeks is not enough time to make your way through War and Peace, or even White Noise for that matter, and really understand and process what you are reading.  Library fail.

I tried giving my books away, you know to people who actually were interested in reading those books I didn’t feel were good enough to keep. That right there explains the problem with that scenario… if the books aren’t good enough to keep then why would sister Suzy want to read them? Well, she didn’t. And when I saw them sitting exactly where I had left them for the taking, I got all tossed-off (for no really good, rational reason mind you). Book giveaway fail.

Someone once tried to drunkenly argue the merits of the Kindle. I am not sure if it was by benefit of the person’s excessive Jameson consumption or if it is more closely related to the nasty little book snob that hates trees living deep inside of me, but either way I see the Kindle as the meal’s equivalent of a diet shake. Dinner just isn’t the same unless you have chewed and swallowed it; reading just isn’t the same if you can’t smell the ink and paper while turning the pages. I think the Kindle might just be one of those technologies that will have to be forced upon me if it takes off, kind of like old people and iPods. Uber Nerd Note: I also become irrationally torked when someone dog ears a page, and when someone pops the spine on a first-edition…

Where does that leave me? Swimming in a sea of characters and plots that are doing nothing more than collecting dust. Jumping across piles of books that tell me how to build a birdhouse underwater. And wadding through a dense collection of bubblegum reads and blazing vampire hotties (yum!). Halp! What should I do with all these books? What do you do with yours?

9 thoughts on “Halp! I Have A Dead Tree Problem

  1. I buy more shelves, which is part of the reason for my road trip to the Chicago Ikea this weekend.
    I can’t bear to part with my books. They are a part of me.

  2. I too am a hoarder of books. I recently did a culling, however, and managed to part with some books that I promptly took and donated to the Jefferson County Library. I scooted out of there as fast as I could so I wouldn’t change my mind.

  3. I also have donated to my local library. Since they are expanding in my area, they are grateful for the donations.

    I am book collector as well. I just put a new bookshelf in my bedroom.

  4. You can absolutely donate to a library! As we’ve seen with the Philadelphia library closings, public insitutions can use all the help they can get!!!

    Also, try going to a used book store and seeing what you can get. Not exactly as PC as donating, but you can certainly try to get a little ROI.

  5. oh my that sounds exactly like me! oddly enough all my ramona, babysitter’s club and sweet valley high books are in my basement in rubbermaid tubs. they reside there just in case my children (who are not even thought of yet) will like to read them. and then i worked for a book distributor and we were constantly having FREE grab days of publishers’ samples. i have an entire closet in my house dedicated to books i need to get rid of – yet somehow still can’t seem to cut the cord …

  6. I love the idea of donating to the library. I am a hoarder of books too and frequently have several scattered about the house in various phases of consumption. In my mind, they are friends and I would never abandon a friend at Goodwill to be trampled and fondled by children with sticky hands! Since my house is a whopping 800 square feet and currently books inhabit at least 1/3 of it, I should probably make re-homing my friends a priority. But what will I pile up on the floor next to my bed, on the nightstand and on the dresser?

  7. I donate books to my local library too. They use them in a book fair they host every summer (which is where I feed my own personal book problem) I also belong to Swaptree. It is a website designed for you to trade things you don’t want with people who do. You post what you want to get rid of and its condition and then you create a wish list for things you want including books, dvds and video games. The website will even initiate 3 way trades so everyone is happy. It has worked pretty well for me so far. You can exchange your book collection for a dvd collection. Here’s the link:


  8. Easiest way to get rid of books is to donate to the Greater St. Louis Book Fair: http://www.stlouisbookfair.org/index.php/donations. They take donations year-round of just about anything.

    Another easy way is by posting on the free section of Craigslist or on Freecycle. I frequently see people say things like “box of 50 books, I won’t tell you what they are but you must take all!” and shit is gone in 20 seconds. It’s amazing.

    More time-consuming but potentially profitable is selling on Amazon. I’ve sold books on there in the past, and if you make them cheap enough, SOMEONE will buy pretty much anything. Of course then you have to deal with packing/shipping them though.

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