Parting with Books (Is Such Sweet Sorrow)

Repurpose Your Books!

You flip the final page of your latest conquest, only for your fingers to graze the glossy cover one last time before the book finds a permanent spot on your shelf. You give it the occasional glance and you think to yourself, “I should give that novel another read. Someday.”

Surely you have a book in mind. You know the kind I’m talking about. It’s not that you don’t like it, no, but it is not a cherished favorite; it doesn’t get pulled out and reread year after year. It just…is.

Do you keep it on your shelf, collecting dust and taking up room? Or do you sell it at a secondhand shop? Maybe hand it off to a friend?

Parting with a book is hard stuff. Nevermind that it isn’t your favorite book of all-time, it mostly just feels weird. For some books (namely those you aren’t too crazy about, like those books you want to stop reading) it’s easier than others; for some people it’s easier than for others. If you do decide to part with your book, here are some ways to consider doing so:

Donate it to a library.

Swap it with a friend. You can even set up a group amongst your friends to swap and share books.

Donate it to a teacher for their kids to read as part of their classroom library.

Repurpose it as decor.

Swap it with your #NovelTeaBookSwap partner and keep the book love going! Maybe someone else will enjoy your previous read.

Sell it at a local bookstore (don’t expect to get rich quick, however).

Make it into a paper flower for your friend’s wedding decor (preferably a book you don’t like).

Just please, whatever you do, don’t throw it away!

How do you part with your old books, if at all?

  • I have such a hard time getting rid of books! I can’t bring myself to do it. I always worry that it’ll get adopted by someone who won’t appreciate and take of it and it just makes me so sad! And throwing a book away would be ungodly. I have no idea how anyone could possibly do that and live with themselves afterward!

    • I feel the same way! Though usually once every few years I’m inexplicably overcome with wanting to give my less loved books new lives and decide to go on a donating/swapping spree.

      Just watching my kids throw away/mutilate their notes/notebooks at the end of the school year makes me cringe!

  • I used to have a really hard time parting with books (even the ones I didn’t like) but in the last few years I’ve gotten better at donating books to the library or selling them to the used bookstore.

    • It’s a tough thing to do, though, for me, getting rid of books I don’t like is no problem, haha.

  • goldgraeberin

    As an aspirirng minimalist I only have books that I want to read or re-read again. The library is my external living room and entertainment center so I don’t need to buy books all the time.

    • Nice! I don’t know if I could do what you do!

  • Kay

    I love making paper flowers with book pages. Though it does feel so strange to tear/cut out those first pages! I’ve made both my mother and grandmother paper roses for Mother’s Day in years past. I need to make some for myself!

    • How sweet! I always keep meaning to learn how to make them, but I never think of it. Some people. Are adamantly against it, like it’s total desecration, but books should live on, in my opinion.

  • I went through some books a few weeks ago and gave 6 books to the library, but I’ve also given books to friends if I think they’ll enjoy them. Using books as decor sounds like a fun idea!
    ~Sara

  • Oh, you’ve got some great ideas. My Aunt actually uses Paperbook Swap and she’s convincing me to get on there. Trade books you’ve already read for new books? Yes, please!

    • I’ve never heard of Paperbook Swap, but I’m going to have to check it out, ASAP. Trading books for new ones, can’t beat that! (and thank you!)