October 28, 2009

“If you read a lot of books you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of TV, you’re not considered well viewed.” Lily Tomlin

I tried to find a witty quote that said something about having too many books. I couldn’t find one. It MUST be a “no no” to disparage the collecting of books.

I spent most of my working “formative” years in the technology business which initially said that with the advent of computers we will no longer need printed pages. Although in some cases that may be true, I’m not sure I will ever get there. I personally love reading the printed page and always have 2 – 3 books on the go. Fiction books I donate once read. I keep re-reading my self help books so they rarely get donated unless they have to do with dieting.

In a recent project a group of us were getting ready to stage a home and the client had many, many books.  As we had all worked on many similar projects around Ontario we came up with a list of conclusions about whether books are to be kept or not.

  1. Smelly books do not sell.
  2. Just because a book is old, does not mean it is valuable.
  3. Current popular authors’ books do not a “good used market” make. Too many copies in print. That is why they are popular.
  4. Even though you paid 3 – 4 times as much for the hardcopy version than the pocket book, it is not more valuable. A second hand book store owner advises that he has regular $1. sales to get rid of hardcover books.
  5. Second hand book stores are VERY selective about what they buy (see point 3).  Most may provide 10 % of the list price in cash or 25% as a credit for other purchases.
  6. National Geographic magazines widely cherished, though not a book, are not the treasure people expect them to be. Charities shudder when these arrive.

Do yourself a favour and donate your books to charity, a seniors home or unless someone in the know  tells you they are worth something, sell them for a quarter at the next street sale. You don’t want to move them.

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