My obsession with books started somewhere between the second and third grade. That's when books with pictures started giving way to chapter books. It's when I discovered our local library let me borrow books to read for free! Of course, I needed my mom to get there, and the book I wanted wasn't always available. You could only check out ten books at a time, not nearly enough … so you can imagine how difficult letting go of books has been for me, as I get ready to move.
As I got older, paperbacks were sold at school and in local bookstores for as little as a quarter, allowing me to build a small but personally-important library. College bookstores became havens for adding classics to my collection, and my library began to require multiple cartons when I moved.
Once I started earning a decent living, books were a big part of my purchases every month. Books weren't discretionary spending, but a non-negotiable part of my regular budget. And thanks to various warehouse stores and the discovery of used bookstores, hardcover books became my drug of choice.
Book Addicts Build Bookcases
Life happens and my dream house is gone. I've survived in a condo these last few years with less than half the book space I once had, by lining my garage with bookcases. But now that we've decided to move, I'm focusing more on how to satisfy my book addiction while downsizing … because it's really hard for a book-addict to even think about letting go of books.
Letting Go of Books by Using Technology
I know, I know. There's nothing like curling up in a special corner on a rainy day with a great book in hand. The magical scent of fresh glue as you crack the binding, the sound as you turn the pages, the weight of the book on your stomach. No kind of electronic jib-jab gizmo can take the place of … but wait, maybe we're wrong.
I too was a believer in all things paper. I swore never to sing the body electric and walk away from my hardback history. But … I've discovered some truly effective solutions that I'm happy to share with my fellow book-addicts, as we truly can collect new books while letting go of books that create clutter when we don't have space for them.
My geek sister encouraged me to try an iPad. They offer a lot more Amazon was selling them at a fairly reasonable price. That made it worth the purchase for traveling, movies and games even if I hated it for books. But I didn't. Instead… I loved it.
Letting Go of Books When Traveling
I bought an iPad mini. I swore it was just for traveling, and quickly realized just about everyone else on the plane is using some type of electronic device. My rule was to bring one never-read, used paperback for every day on the road. I'd leave the books at airports or hotel lobbies after I'd finished them, hoping they'd find a home with some other deserving book-addict. This was fine for weekend trips, but if I was leaving for a week or more, they too much space in my luggage. And finding used bookstores on my travels, while fun, wasn't always practical.
I can control the font type and size, a miracle for me. I'm no longer dependent on some book designer's decisions. Also, I didn't need to find the perfect book light. An iPad has its own just-right light running behind the words. So if you share space with someone who would rather not deal with your bedtime reading habits, you can be oh-so discrete, even reading under the covers without a flashlight.
AND… You can hold an entire library in your purse. How many books do you want to take with you? Go ahead. Not sure if you'll be in the mood for a mystery or a romance novel? No problem. Want to pick up a few new books, or a dozen magazines? Go ahead as you no longer have to worry about how many you can carry.
I could go on and on, but I won't, because I want to share the next amazing secret with you.
You can shop online and find good prices but why? Thanks to software like Overdrive, you can find plenty of eBooks at your library and borrow them at no cost. You can do this anywhere, and round-the-clock with Internet access. You'll have to register at your library and ask them what software they use, or simply go online. You'll be just as amazed as I was.
It may take a few months before you're ready to start letting go of your books. And there are some books they're going to have to pry out of my cold dead hands. But everyday novels I kept to read late at night when the bookstores were closed, they're leaving. The authors I love whose eBooks are on tap at the library, like Anne Perry (amazing mysteries) and Mercedes Lackey (best fantasy), I've let them all go … except my signed copy of Cardington Crescent. A girl's got to keep some book treats in her life.