Wednesday 2 September 2015

Re-homing books

I'm doing my best to de-clutter the house. It is not progressing very fast, but I comfort myself with the idea that every drawer sorted and every shelf of books re-organised is progress in the right direction. And of course de-cluttering means that stuff has to be moved - preferable out of the house. Bags of clothes and bric-a-brac for the charity shop - easy. Books? Hmm.

A great many authors have very strong views on the fate of books once they have been read. The writer only gets paid once, so any afterlife that the book has does nothing for the author and might prevent someone buying a brand new copy - or borrowing one from the library, which generates a payment for the author. Individually those payments are small, but they can produce some surprising totals for books/authors who are popular with library readers. I know that some authors believe that a book should be destroyed rather than finding it's way into the second hand market. but I don't think I could ever bring myself to do that. I mean it's a BOOK. A precious commodity that has taken months, maybe years, in the making ...

So that means the charity shop. I comfort myself that at least the book is doing some good to whatever cause the shop is supporting.

The other palliative I offer myself is that someone just might pick up a charity shop offering and actually buy others by the same author - you know, in a bookshop, or on an e-reader. I'm probably naive and my mythical 'customer' will simply scour the charity shelves for more. But I live in hope.

Which is the reason I sort any books very carefully before I part with them, given that I have to let them go, or the house will collapse.

I select the books that are to be passed on so that they are suitable for the venue and the audience I think they might get. Stereotyping, I know, but part of that thing about a happy reader maybe going out and buying others, and an attempt to give the author of the hand-me-down the best shop window that I can. A way of salving my conscience for giving them away in the first place. But am I getting it wrong? Who would most appreciate those racy paranormals?

Complicated stuff, this de-cluttering.

P.S. I've heard, via the Society of Authors' newsletter, that the Chairman of Bookbarn International is attempting to address this issue. If he can pioneer a scheme, there will be many appreciative authors.

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