What to do with books that don’t spark joy?

In the wake of moving on from @ValhallaVC, I brought home a bunch of books.

Which brought to the fore how many books I had in my home study.

So I pulled the trigger on Marie Kondo’s “Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.

Well, I didn’t follow her Rx 100%.  She wants you to take all the books in your house, put them in one pile, and go through them.  I wasn’t even about to pile all the books in my study into one pile.

But I _did_ do what she said next, which is pick up the books, one at a time, and ask “does this item spark joy in me”?  If not, out it goes.

Well, an astonishing 150 or so books didn’t spark any joy in me, so out they want.

Life-changing magic in my study.  Lots of empty space now on the bookshelves and lots of new books to imagine there.

But, meanwhile, what to do with the non-joy-sparking losers?

I looked on the InterTubes, and found the advice to go to Powells (the Portland, OR treasure) online and sell the books.

Cool.  All I had to was paste a list of the ISBN numbers into a text box at powells.com, and they would tell me which ones they wanted to buy (for PayPal or store credit).

So I got a nice ISBN-scanning Android app (XScanPet).  I got the paid version on Google Play for $1.49 because it had some features I liked and because, well, I wrote software for a living for 20 years and think people who pump code should get paid.

And I went through the stacks of books, batch by batch, and pasted the ISBNs into powells.com.  Powells has wanted maybe 15 of the 80 or 90 I’ve processed so far, so the hourly rate on this label is abominable, but so what, it’s the principle of the thing!  Those books were valuable once so they should be valuable now.

In any case, almost done.  Next joy target in the study is junk in my desk drawers.

One thought on “What to do with books that don’t spark joy?”

  1. Downsizing my print library was a series of traumatic decisions. Since my undergrad years, purchasing books has always been a reward. Aced an exam? Finished a paper? Graduated, graduated, graduated? Birthed a baby? Got an interview? New job? Off the the bookstore – buy your heart out time–The Acoustics and Psycho Acoustics of Sound, Birth of a Nation, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and then came the collection of Art books. So I pruned the collection over 4 years. Academic books to Stanford Library, everything else to Palo Alto or Menlo Park libraries for their book sales…they actually came to my house and collected them…and the Art volumes to an art history major, my very last collection to go. Now my purchases are digital with a few exceptions, graphical books, cookbooks, and other illustrated ones that arrive on paper. My secret is to allocate a certain amount of linear space for physical books…some remain, others go.

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