Inviting New Books into Your Life

The last post looked at how to find new homes for books you no longer needed to live with. This post focuses on the other end of the dynamic – how to invite new books into your life. And if you are parenting gifted kids, this is information you will want to have because they need new books like other kids need air. Maybe more. My ex-husband’s 2nd wife told me once that she didn’t think kids needed to actually own books of their own. I looked around my house filled with five people and about 2,000 books and thought, “Huh.”

Let’s say your shelves are empty, and you are longing to re-fill them. What to do, what to do?

It’s easy if your shelf is some kind of e-reader. You can just go to this site that lists the 20 Best Websites to Download Free Books. It’s as easy as 3.1415…

But what if you are a reading Luddite like myself and only read books made from the pulp of dead trees who sacrificed themselves so that I could read?

Here are some tips:

1) Ask. Simple, yet true. My mother says that a key is to send it out to the universe that you will welcome books, and the universe will respond. I think it’s more likely that it is your universe of friends responding, but the principle is the same. Share with people through your blog, Facebook, or just (gasp!) when you actually see people in person that you are looking for new books.

2) Swap. You can do this in person or online. I belong to PaperbackSwap, and I’ve received loads of great books (and unloaded loads of great books) through this site. Make sure to put down in  your account if you want books from a smoke-free household. I’ve been burned that way (no pun intended) once. The way it works is that you post books you have (there are CD and DVD sister sites as well), and you can “wish” for books you want. Other people post books and you “swap,” earning credits for books you send, and spending credits for books you want. The only cost involved is shipping the book, but it’s cheap to ship book rate (around $2). There are other similar sites, such as Bookmooch, ReadersUnited, and FrugalReader.

3) Find them. I mentioned this last post, but the site BookCrossing is just cool. Books are coded with a unique number and left somewhere. There are designated leaving spots, but they can also be left in random places. There’s a list that shows where books are being left. I just checked, and there are 13 books out to be found in my town. I’ll have to go find them and get back to you later. One of them is in my doctor’s office! How did I miss it? It’s fun to leave books and check obsessively until someone picks it up. Not that I’d do that…

4) Borrow them. The library. The library. The library. This site allows you to search the libraries of the world for the book you want. Ah, paradise. Now all I’d need is a plane ticket so I could go pick the book up from the library in London.

There are more sources (like the tail end of garage sales, the way Half-Price Books gives away books to teachers at some warehouse locations, and putting books on your Amazon wish list), but these should get your shelves sagging in no time!



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