Take My Books, Please!

Monday, August 20, 2007

What to do with books you won’t re-read? Alina Tugend, regular contributor and writer of the Short Cuts column for The New York Times wrote an essay (Times Select) with some suggestions. She’s joined first by Tom Wayne, co-owner of Prospero's Bookstore in Kansas City, and Fred Bass, president and co-owner of The Strand Bookstore, then by photographer Marc Joseph whose book New and Used (Steidl Publishers, 2006) explores the aesthetic of used bookstores.

New and Used is available for purchase at Click here to see some of the images from the book.


Fred Bass, Marc Joseph, Alina Tugend and Tom Wayne

Comments [28]

Linda from West Caldwell, NH

The US Probation--District of NJ is trying to put books into the hands of youngersters with
whom they come in contact. Their flyer quotes the following "a recent study shows:
the ratio of books per child in middle class neighborhoods is 13 to 1. The ratio in
low-income neighborhoods is 1 book for every 300 children. Donate a book and help us
make a difference in the communities we serve." Their goal is to collect 10,000
books for children from kindergarten to 12th grade.

Erika Arnone is a US Probation Officer from Paterson. Her phone
number (cell) 201-966-3753. Her office phone is 973-357-4183. If you have unwanted
books around, please consider giving her a call.

Aug. 20 2007 07:54 PM
William Smith / Hang Fire Books from Brooklyn

A few ideas.

1) Take them to a used bookstore and trade them in for credit (NOTE: The Strand doesn't do this). You will get more than you would in cash and you can select new books which eases the pain of loss.

2) Freecycle: It's a yahoo newsgroup for giving away unwanted things. There's one for Brooklyn and Manhattan. You can usually get someone to pick up your items and there are fewer crazies than Craigslist

3) Salvation Army will no longer pick up books by themselves, however if you have a piece of furniture to donate they will come for that and you can include the books with it. (NOTE: I haven't tried this myself but I've heard it works)

4) If you have a high quality, special interest, or academic library, you can sell them to me

Aug. 20 2007 06:21 PM
Jeffrey S. from East Elmhurst

Dear Mr. Kretschmer:
The purpose of language is to communicate. I don't see why anyone should have to double or triple their efforts in trying to understand what someone else has written because that writer was too frigging lazy to learn how to spell a word or to use a spell-checker.

Aug. 20 2007 01:22 PM
Tom from new york city

Housing Works accepts donations of books to benifit AIDS.
126 Crosby Street
212 334 3324

Aug. 20 2007 12:11 PM
Rose from Astoria

I would like to mention again...cause it's just so wonderful. i great way to get books, save money and get rid of paperbacks clogging up your bookshelves!!!!

Aug. 20 2007 12:04 PM
john kretschmer from upper west side

dear Derek,

One of the problems is that to many people are getting used to spell check or have edditors.

In my case Deric ...I have never been a good speller, I was just to curious about the world to write about it and prefered reading.

By the way I'm not sure there is a corillation between spelling and intellegence. Some of the most brilliant scientists didn't worry asbout spelling. I have students who can spell, but don't know how t think critically. Want more!

Aug. 20 2007 11:49 AM
Erin from Brooklyn

i make things out of old books with interesting covers
recycling into art

Aug. 20 2007 11:48 AM
Margaret from Brooklyn, NY

I f I had my best wish fulfilled, I would buy books and books and books the ones I judge worth reading.
When used boks are for sale or distribution, I often spot a great one. BUT - the main deterrent is the source of the books - I am sow ary of books that come from strangers - will the books be germ carriers? what animals have crawled over them? to what kind of squalor have they been exposed?
So I do not buy them, nor would I take them if offered frre?

Aug. 20 2007 11:48 AM
Matthew from Brooklyn

Has your guest ever had a sense of a kind of unconscious Noah's-ark-building tendency among book collectors? I've sensed in myself and others a need to preserve important information in physical form -- as a kind of DNA, almost -- in a dangerous and unpredictable (flood-prone?) world.

Aug. 20 2007 11:43 AM
Sunphat Yau from X-nyc-LA 4a bit

Great idea Tobi Jo!

"Why not donate it to one of our troops deployed overseas? Whether you agree with the war or not, our folks over there are a long way from home - and I’ve heard that anything from home makes things more ‘normal’ for these kids."

Aug. 20 2007 11:42 AM
Miss from Midtown

I prefer audiobooks if the titles have that option. That'd save me space and I don't need to worry how to get rid of them after.

Aug. 20 2007 11:42 AM
Ruth Klein from Rego Park, Queens

Two Comments:
The Queens Library system no longer has book sales, but now sells everything to a wholesaler:
I find this a profound disservice to the community, especially teachers and low-income people.

I once posted a cartoon addressing book hoarding as a problem of addiction at a conference addressing addictions: the cartoon quickly disappeared, removed by the bookstore set up for the conference!

Aug. 20 2007 11:42 AM
john from rumson

prisons seem like a good place to donate used books to

Aug. 20 2007 11:40 AM

If you are in New York City, consider donating your books to Housing Works.

Aug. 20 2007 11:40 AM
NYCMidtown from Miidtown

Release your books....

Aug. 20 2007 11:39 AM
john kretschmer from upper west side

The same people are still reading! More books are being published..people are working harder..reading was always championed by the liberl arts. Today and money occupy readers morethan literature. Quality of writing is diluted by to many books if anything and are young people are illeterate!

Aug. 20 2007 11:36 AM
Robert from NYC

My problem is I have loads of books on Romance Philology and specifically history of Italian language many of which are written in Italian. What to do with these, and I hate the idea of throwing them in the garbage.

Aug. 20 2007 11:29 AM
John Lobell from Manhattan

I love Strand and have shopped there for 40+ years, but I once brought a dozen cartons of books there. Some were useless paperbacks -- I thought they would do the judging and toss those aside -- but many were really good books. They threw me out -- my truck had left, so I was stuck on the sidewalk with a dozen boxes of books. Lots of fun.

Aug. 20 2007 11:27 AM
Cynthia from Sarasota, Florida

My problem is that I go to library bookstores ,garage sales, and regular bookstores and buy interesting books......but then I go to the library and have stacks of library books that I go through. I have no idea what prompts me to buy one book and read the other from the library. I live with stacks of books all over my bedroom.

Cynthia in Florida listening on the internet.

Aug. 20 2007 11:26 AM
Tobi Jo

Why not donate it to one of our troops deployed overseas? Whether you agree with the war or not, our folks over there are a long way from home - and I’ve heard that anything from home makes things more ‘normal’ for these kids.

You can hold a book drive, or just send your own books to individual soldiers.

Books for Soldiers.

Aug. 20 2007 11:26 AM
Paul from Manhattan

The Laundry Room Solution

When I was on the board of our 80-unit coop, I had bookcases installed in the laundry room, with the idea of its becoming a lending library. And that's just what it's become. People bring books they wish to relieve themselves of and others pick them up. It's worked very well.

Aug. 20 2007 11:24 AM
drew from syosset

Aug. 20 2007 11:23 AM
marianna mott newirth from midtown

One other comment -
It is important to acknowledge how books follow the life of an individual. I knew a Book Artist who compiled a list of all the books his mother had owned over her life time as a tribute to her. It was not only a tribute but it was a powerful display of her life path. To give your books away is to let go of something that has represented where you are in life at that time.

Aug. 20 2007 11:22 AM
zargos from Upper West Side

I've just tried to donate books to my two branch libraries: St Agnes and Riverside. Neither library is accepting books anymore.

Aug. 20 2007 11:19 AM
sarah from brooklyn is great and sounds just like bookmooch. Ive gotten rid of and received tons of books through it. Great!

Aug. 20 2007 11:13 AM
marianna mott newirth from midtown

On the heels of Bookmooch I also log all my books onto LT is a great way of keeping a record of what I have. There is also a social network component to it. I can start to give away the books I have while maintaining a record of what I've had. I also happen to have a huge overstuffed bookshelf for the ones I will never be able to give away. I hate letting go of my books. I still have stacks lined up around my rocking chair and night stand. They are part of my home.

Aug. 20 2007 11:11 AM

He burned his books? Why not just recycle them. Jeez...

Aug. 20 2007 11:08 AM
david from Brooklyn NY

If you have books to get rid of, check out Its an online site where you can post a list of books you want to give away and post of list of books you want to receive. Give away books you don't want, and receive books you do want -- all for the price of postage!

Aug. 20 2007 11:07 AM

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