Found! [What to do with old books]

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grandmacassie
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Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by grandmacassie » Mon Jan 16, 2017 1:43 pm

Hi, Boglefriends,
Today I was cleaning our one of my overstuffed bookcases to remove some clutter for our local library's book sale. (Do you think it is safe to give away my college copy of The Canterbury Tales?) Imagine my surprise when I came across a copy of "Common Sense on Mutual Funds" autographed by Mr. Bogle himself. I received it at an event sponsored by a local financial institution back in 2000. Mr. Bogle was the featured speaker and gracious enough to meet with us all at the reception following. I don't think this one will be going in the donation bin.....
Just thought I'd share with folks who would appreciate this find.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:16 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (old books).

To keep this actionable, you're asking what to do about The Canterbury Tales. I retitled the thread.

Nice find.
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nisiprius
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by nisiprius » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:28 pm

For things like old college books... if they give me a pleasant tug of nostalgia to look at them, but I haven't read them in forty years and think it's unlikely that I ever will... I take a few digital pictures of the spine, the front cover, the title page, the copyright page (just in case I ever actually want to get it through interlibrary loan or a second-hand bookstore), and a few representative pages to remember the typography, layout, etc. And that allows me to give myself permission to dispose of it.

For "The Canterbury Tales," it would all depend on whether it's a wonderful translation, far better than anything you can get from the library, and how often you read it. I personally ditched my own copy about twenty or thirty years ago, and haven't missed it. ("The Miller's Tale" doesn't give me the same jollies it once did!)

I feel much more attached to paperbacks of books I've loved, and re-read occasionally, that were not big successes and aren't still in print.

eBook devices have changed my attitude, too. It's not quite a flat rule, but now that I can read no-cost Project Gutenberg etexts comfortably on my eBook device, if it's available through Project Gutenberg, then there has to be some unusual reason to keep it on my bookshelf. (For example, children's classics need to stay so that the grandkids have a chance to stumble upon them when they are visiting us.)
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celia
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by celia » Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:06 pm

We are over-stuffed with books, too. Some stuff is just trash and no-one will ever buy it (like 40yo cookbooks I was going through yesterday and are a dime a dozen when you do find them at a book sale). For the truly worthless books and magazines, we throw them in the recycling bin. But just because something is old, it doesn't mean it has no value. It depends on the topic, author, and how many copies were printed. We buy things from antiquarian booksellers and it is not hard to figure out what has value and what doesn't.

For common donation places, we use church rummage sales, thrift shops (many pick up monthly from your porch in our area), used bookstores which can give you credit towards a "new" purchase from them, and Little Free Library, which is a public sharing of books:
https://LittleFreeLibrary.org

Caduceus
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by Caduceus » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:20 am

For those in good condition, donate to library or schools. For those in bad condition, recycle.

When I went through my decluttering stage, I disposed of 95% of my books. :D

I limited myself to one "sentimental" book per person (e.g. a book with an inscription given by a college professor I was close to), rare books that I couldn't acquire from places like Amazon easily, and textbooks like Security Analysis that I just didn't want to read on an e-reader.

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lthenderson
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by lthenderson » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:42 am

I'm saving mine for my presidential library. If that falls through, I'll just keep building bookshelves and let my kids deal with the problem. Until then, I feel like the wealthiest person alive siting in my library surrounded by all the books I've read or waiting to be read.

Canterbury Tales = Classic. Keep it!

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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by adamthesmythe » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:30 am

First editions are worth something, but only if with the flyleaf. Signed first editions are worth more. Look on abebooks. com.

Sometimes out of print technical books have significant value.

Reading copies? Usually worth little. Sometimes the local library will take them as donations, try to sell them, and then give them away free if not sold. Not the worst fate.

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TimeRunner
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by TimeRunner » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:06 am

Speaking from recent personal experience, do your kids a favor and downsize your collection. We took over one thousand paperbacks to a local thrift store and hundreds of moldy and/or water-damaged hardback books to the dump transfer station. We had to use a utility trailer to transport them. They were on the 2nd floor of a two-story house. Many feet of shelving had to be taken down to patch the walls and repaint, and other free-standing bookshelves had to be moved and taken to the thrift store or given away to others. It's a burden.
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CAsage
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by CAsage » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:21 am

Mass market paperbacks in "used" condition should probably be tossed in the recycling bin. I'm not sure you can recycle hardbacks, but the market for them, even at garage sales, is zero. Our Scouts hold an annual rummage sale, we get boxes of donated books and can't even give them away. Most of my friends and I are converting to Kindle or library for fiction (no dust, no mold, no storage issues), and I keep only the classics or good reference books on the shelf anymore. The culture is changing for books, like music and movies. Our local library will sell them on the dollar table, but they are flooded and really only want recent items.
Edit: Google on recycling options in your area for textbooks and hardbacks - I just found one in SoCal "bookfrog" that will pickup if at least 100 items - and they take CDs, DVDs, etc etc.
Last edited by CAsage on Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jack FFR1846
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:31 am

I'm as sentimental as Mr. Spock. Those college text books that I should have sold back to the bookstore in the 80's have long since become fuel in my wood furnace. I would certainly have kept the Bogle book. Would have saved my son some money as he just bought this as a Christmas present for me. :D
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Gropes & Ray
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by Gropes & Ray » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:55 am

I always sold my college text books back, but never my law school books (foolish) thinking that they might be a good reference (they are not). I eventually gave them to charity when I was moving. Maybe they could get $0.10 each for them from someone who needed firewood.

In short, ditch the old books. Of course, a signed copy of a book is a collector's item, and should be retained.

S&L1940
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by S&L1940 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:16 pm

yeah, I have lots of books and running out of space to store them. Sometimes, I will spend precious time searching for a book that I am sure has a blue dust-cover - but it is really a white.
I have solved two problems with my books.
One was how to avoid starting a book and halfway through realizing I had read it some time ago?
Second, have many (many) greeting cards from family, loved ones (especially grandkids) that I can not bring myself to discard.
So, read a book, place a memory inside, two problems solved instantly

Living in a heavy retirement area, libraries do not readily accept the tons of books we older folk would like to donate
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MrNewEngland
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by MrNewEngland » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:35 pm

Three things to add:

1) Often when I give a book away I write a really goofy note on the inside cover and sign it with the authors name. It cracks me up and the idea of someone finding the book in a used bookstore 50 years from now really gives me a laugh.

2) I too saved most of my college textbooks because I thought they would be great references. I studies Civil Engineering so the courseworks hasn't changed much, making them very good references... but I really never go back to them. Maybe 5 times in the course of my career.

3a) When I was a kid I found a first edition (American print) of the book Heidi at a school book giveaway. I hadn't thought about that in decades until this thread. I remember finding it and thinking I basically found a hidden treasure. I bet it's still at my parents house on one of their bookshelves. I just looked it up to see if it's actually worth anything and the answer seems to be it's worth about $3 if I can find someone to buy it.
3b) Another thing this thread got me thinking about... I used to collect coins when I was a kid. I have a bunch of old Morgan Silver Dollars that I thought would be a great investment. Just looked those up too and it appears they're all worth about $20 now. I do remember buying some weird rare coin that was a lot for me as a kid. Now I am wondering what it was. I have all those in a box at my parent's house, next time I'm back home I'll have to see if I can find them and see what it was.




EDIT: I also have thousands of baseball cards that I have heard are pretty much worthless now.

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lthenderson
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by lthenderson » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:40 pm

I must be an anomaly because I kept all my college course books (mechanical engineering) and have used them many times over the course of my career. In fact, I wore the physics book covers clean off and ended up buying another used one off ebay to replace it. They are full of sticky notes and highlighting that I have done since college. Right after college they were still pristine looking!

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Jazztonight
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by Jazztonight » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:43 pm

I'm now looking at the books I did not give away to the library when I decluttered a few years ago.They take up a shelf on my bookcase, and include several books I've had since I was a young boy, including some "Golden Books." That shelf features a couple of college catalogs, one or two of my father's books that I rescued (Tarzan of the Apes - 1914), and several paperbacks that I still love.

There's another shelf filled with first-edition signed copies of novels written by a family member who is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

I also see a few books on music from classes I sweated over when I returned to college in my fifties, but frankly, I'll never look at them again. They do remind me of the work I put into those classes, but when will I ever need "The Study of Orchestration" again?

My undergraduate college textbooks? Gone, goodbye, adios. My graduate school/professional books? I left them in my office when I retired. Now they're someone else's problem.

If a book reminds you of a wonderful time in your life and brings back heartfelt moments, well just keep it. The problem is that most people can't bear to part with any of their books!

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SurferLife
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by SurferLife » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:49 pm

I am attempting to downsize and declutter, and this weekend I took 250 books to a local university, and it was a GREAT feeling getting rid of them. I ended up using a personal library app (Libib) to scan all of the ISBN codes so I have a database of them. If I want to go back and read them, one at a time, I have a record of what I had. Too many of them I hadn't read and the mental management of them was simply too much. Their disorganization was a reflection of how my mind was working - disorganized and cluttered. Can't wait to finish downsizing the rest of the house. Next to go, the beer brewing gear! :sharebeer

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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by mouses » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:18 pm

S&L1940 wrote: I have solved two problems with my books.
One was how to avoid starting a book and halfway through realizing I had read it some time ago?
Second, have many (many) greeting cards from family, loved ones (especially grandkids) that I can not bring myself to discard.
So, read a book, place a memory inside, two problems solved instantly
I have about 1000 kindle novels. This is the happy point where I can read a book over again because I have forgotten the plot details from the first time I read it.

For those recycling, I think hardbacked books can't be recycled, unless you remove the covers.

Gropes & Ray
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by Gropes & Ray » Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:29 pm

lthenderson wrote:I must be an anomaly because I kept all my college course books (mechanical engineering) and have used them many times over the course of my career. In fact, I wore the physics book covers clean off and ended up buying another used one off ebay to replace it. They are full of sticky notes and highlighting that I have done since college. Right after college they were still pristine looking!
Are you saying that the laws of physics aren't updated every legislative session and recodified every six years? This is anarchy! :P

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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by sport » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:00 pm

Gropes & Ray wrote:Are you saying that the laws of physics aren't updated every legislative session and recodified every six years? This is anarchy! :P
Pending legislation is off-topic. :twisted:

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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by LadyGeek » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:16 pm

^^^ That's my line, you beat me to it. :wink:
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RudyS
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by RudyS » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:00 pm

About being able to recycle hard cover books: In my town, Goodwill accepts them, and I believe has their workers remove the covers for discard, and sends the pages to a recycler. Or, for a smaller number of books, I remove the covers and put the paper into the recycle bin myself.

MPAndy222
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by MPAndy222 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 5:59 am

On goodwill's website they list a tax deduction of $1-3 per hardcover and $0.75-2 for paperback. The tax deduction is probably better then I could get if I sold my old books in a yard sale or online (and is more convenient)

sport
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by sport » Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:20 am

I just checked the selling price on "abebooks" for two of my old physics books from the 1960's. One was being sold for about $25 and they were asking $60 for the other one. So, it seems that some of those old books can have substantial value. I would want to check that out before I gave them to Goodwill or trashed them.

Does anyone know if a printout of an "abebooks" listing would be sufficient documentation for IRS to approve a donation value? Abebooks is a division of Amazon and they show offerings from a large number of sellers of used books. It should be noted that they are located in Canada, and there can be a foreign transaction fee on credit card purchases. I believe them to be reliable. http://www.abebooks.com

mouses
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by mouses » Wed Jan 18, 2017 2:25 pm

sport wrote:
Does anyone know if a printout of an "abebooks" listing would be sufficient documentation for IRS to approve a donation value? Abebooks is a division of Amazon and they show offerings from a large number of sellers of used books.
Sounds good to me. It has been awhile, but I have saved away screen captures as documentation. Then again, the IRS has never looked at them.

Abebooks is owned by evil Amazon? Aghh.

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teacher
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by teacher » Thu Jan 19, 2017 12:00 pm

Too many memories having to memorize passages of Canterbury Tales to get rid of my copy, but I am an expert at providing homes for books. When I retired after 38 years of teaching, I placed dozens of books I thought other teachers may like in the teacher's room. Books in our own library went to used books stores. (I got credit to purchase from their inventory in future.) I put books I thought may be put in circulation in the night collection at the public library. Our library has sales of used books, so I figured if they don't want to put them on the self, they can get some cash for them. A set of encyclopedias printed in the '40s went to Good Will. It was difficult getting rid of the set due to memories reading them as a child, but no one wanted them, and none of the options I listed seemed appropriate. All of our son's children's books are going to grandchildren, and it is joy reading them to little ones once again. Also, I put novels and some children's books in a "Tiny Library" in our local park.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Free_Library

adamthesmythe
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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:34 pm

sport wrote:I just checked the selling price on "abebooks" for two of my old physics books from the 1960's. One was being sold for about $25 and they were asking $60 for the other one. So, it seems that some of those old books can have substantial value. I would want to check that out before I gave them to Goodwill or trashed them.
I discarded or gave away most of the books in my office and kept a few. The ones I kept were almost all the old ones; not the newer books with color figures and more "current" material.

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Re: Found! [What to do with old books]

Post by RudyS » Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:04 pm

sport wrote:I just checked the selling price on "abebooks" for two of my old physics books from the 1960's. One was being sold for about $25 and they were asking $60 for the other one. So, it seems that some of those old books can have substantial value. I would want to check that out before I gave them to Goodwill or trashed them.

Does anyone know if a printout of an "abebooks" listing would be sufficient documentation for IRS to approve a donation value? Abebooks is a division of Amazon and they show offerings from a large number of sellers of used books. It should be noted that they are located in Canada, and there can be a foreign transaction fee on credit card purchases. I believe them to be reliable. http://www.abebooks.com
I believe the prices on Abebooks are offering prices. A better estimate of actual realizable value would be the "sold" screen on eBay. But it only holds data for several weeks after listings expire. There are also numerous "offering" prices on eBay some of which are absurd. Of course the item in question has to be listed! I use this approach to evaluate things I'm thinking of selling.

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