Thursday, May 17, 2007

Places To Get Free (or almost free) Books

This is a great list of 'free' places to get books. Some truly are without cost, but others require you to pay postage either to send books to others or receive a book. Either way, its a lot cheaper than buying everything yourself. The more I read, the more books I accumulate. If you're like me, you don't have enough room to store all the books that you read. Nor would you want to. Not to mention the financial outlay required to buy a book. I can't afford to spend $10 - $20 or more for each thing I decide I'd like to read - especially when read between 4 and 10 books a month, as I have been lately.

I don't know about you, but I feel extremely guilty about throwing a perfectly good book away. Over the years, many titles found semi-permanent homes on my book shelves... not because they were particularly good. Not because I had any great sentimental attachment to them. Not even for reference value or the slim chance that they might get read again or by someone I know. They stayed there just getting dusty because of my guilt. As you might have imagined, the shelves were soon full. So the books started piling up in corners. Under the bed. On the desk, under the desk. Any small niche I could carve out, I put them.

Then, my husband moved in and my parents moved out. I thought this was great. Now I'd have more room for my stuff. Well, I was wrong. When 2 readers suddenly try to combine collections, there suddenly becomes less space. Many things got boxed up and put into storage. What is the sense of that? Who's ever going to bother with a book again if it is boxed up and put somewhere you can't get at it.

That's where the sites on this list come in handy. First, you can clear off your bookshelf and actually start to free up some room for your other possesions. Second, you get new books to amuse yourself with in exchange. Most of the sites require you to pay postage. This generally runs a few $ per book. That's a lot better than what the book store charges for a new book - even on the clearance racks.

I know - a lot of you are going to say "What about the library?" or "You could donate your books someplace." Well, that is true, but what do you think the probability is that I'm going to actually get to a library. Then, I have to worry about returning the books on time and not have to worry that 20 years from now I'm going to get an overdue notice for $10,000 for the book I borrowed in 1992. I've already given Blockbuster enough in fees over the years to put a downpayment on a car. Ok, it'd be a crappy car, but a car all the same. And as far as donating - well, I'm not ashamed to admit, I'm lazy and unorganized. I really don't feel like lugging 100lbs of books to the bad side of town to get a reciept for my tax write off that I'll lose by the end of the week. Never mind trying to find it next April.