recently mentioned BookMooch
, and I had some fun listing books and making my first symbolic mooch on Saturday. At first it was just the slightly-too-tatty-for-Oxfam books that I still think someone will love. And then I found myself looking at my books and wondering which ones I'm never going to read again.
I also reminded myself again of BookCrossing
which is rather more altruistic, informal and social than BookMooch. I think on the whole I prefer BookMooch - it's quicker, it's simpler, and the points system formalises the benefit-to-individuals that happens informally with BookCrossing. I find it interesting that the very simple reward scheme of BookMooch has prompted me to seriously look at my permanent book collection in the way that my use of charity shops and BookCrossing has not.
The funding model for BookMooch appears to be partly Amazon sales referrals, and partly a tipbox. I do wonder how sustainable this is.
[Note on Amazon: while the gay books teacup-storm has died down now, and apologies have been made, various people pointed out other reasons to avoid Amazon which matter to me, and of which I had not previously been aware. So I am hesitant to leap back into giving them money, even though they make it so very easy to do so. I also feel I have to check on any alternative that they aren't doing the same kind of things of which I disapprove, before I definitely spend money elsewhere. The whole thing just makes me freeze up on buying new books, which may be no bad thing! But then where does that leave using BookMooch, which appears to be financially dependent on at least some people spending money at Amazon?]
But back to the weekend of books: for some time now we have been meaning to make a slight adjustment to the bookcases in our bedroom. The bookshelves are deep enough to double-stack but to discourage this we had placed the books at the front of the shelves. The inevitable hideous build up of dust behind the books took place. In the meantime we had accumulated a great many books to insert into the alphabetically-sorted shelves. The trouble with a large book collection and alphabetic sorting is that insertion takes a lot of effort, so I like to save it up for months at a time.
I therefore spent a lot of Sunday afternoon and evening moving books around, vacuuming books and shelves, filtering in newly-read books, and putting aside books to give away. With the exception of the top shelf (because otherwise I can neither see nor reach the books there), all the books are now at the back of the shelves, which will make it easier to dust regularly. It also makes it easier to stack books ready to filter in.
My cull resulted in a small pile of books to give away immediately, and another pile approximately 3 times bigger to read one more time to decide whether to keep or give away. I had to find somewhere to put these two new piles, so I implemented a plan I've had for a while to swap my to-read pile in the living room with the anthologies in the study. This means when people look at those shelves in the living room, they see nice interesting books grouped sensibly together, rather than my haphazard never-shrinking to-read pile.
This involved more vacuuming, and the drafting of the dining table as swap space. I took the opportunity to roughly sort the to-read pile into:
* Mills & Boon
* "last chance saloon" fiction culled from my permanent collection
* all other fiction
I'm hoping this will make it easier for me to find the kind of book I'm after when I want something new to read, which in turn might make the to-read pile seem more like a source of entertainment and pleasure than a burden of guilt.
The immediate giveaway pile is slowly going onto BookMooch as I have time, and I'm already receiving and responding to requests. The main problem I foresee is resisting the urge to acquire even more books with the points I'm earning. Apart from that first mooch, I'm going to try to only mooch books when I'm ahead of my 1-item-per-day decluttering target. Let's see how long that lasts.