Ever since I received an ebook reader over the holidays, I’ve wanted to clear out as much of my physical library as I can to replace it with digital editions.
There are, of course, a ton of things I’ll miss about traditional books. But one thing I absolutely won’t miss is how much room they take up. Every time I move, I end up lugging around a dozen boxes filled with heavy books that I’m not likely to open up more than once a year.
Finding ebook versions of much of my library didn’t take long. In fact, many of my books had entered the public domain and were available for free from Project Gutenberg. What to do with all my physical books now that I no longer need them has been a much more difficult problem to solve.
Luckily, some great sites and tools helped me organize my library of 150 or so books in just a few hours, helped me sell the books I no longer needed, and even helped me find places to donate the books I couldn’t sell.
[Read: Digitize Your Analog Life]
What Stays and What Goes
It can be complicated to sort out what to do with each of your books. Almost no one really wants to get rid of all of them. I have signed copies and others that were given to me as gifts that I don’t want to part with for sentimental reasons. To add even more complication, you’re unlikely to get the best price for all your books if you sell them to only one bookseller. As a result, you have to keep track of which books stay and which go, and where they’re all going to.
You can't find a one-size-fits-all service that will let you easily get rid of everything. If you have more than a dozen or so books to sell, you will probably want to use some sort of organizational tool to sort out what you plan to do with each title. I had almost a hundred that I wanted to lose, so I used a Google Docs spreadsheet to keep track of what was going where manually.
If you’ve got a larger collection, you might consider an organizer like Delicious Library or MediaMan that lets you simply scan the barcode of each book to get its information onto your computer. Note: Manually entering book titles and editions into a spreadsheet or document can quickly get tedious.
Where to Sell Your Books Online
Ideally you’d like to make some cash from your little-used books, but dragging a large book collection around to local booksellers is a significant hassle.
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