Now that we’re all in the habit of recycling our paper goods, we barely have to think about it. As soon as we’re finished with the newspaper, it goes straight to the blue box. Magazines usually stick around a little longer, but they, too, will eventually meet their curbside fate; minus a couple clipped must-try recipes and a picture of so-and-so’s new hairstyle, of course.
We seem to have a little more attachment when it comes to our books, though. Once we’ve read them, they get safely tucked onto a shelf; perhaps to be re-read later or loaned to a friend. If you’re anything like me, you have a little trouble parting with your books. I wouldn’t dream of reading the last few lines of Bridget Jones’ Diary, closing the cover and then calmly tossing the book into the nearest bin. It would be like breaking up with Mark Darcy himself! But, that said, imagine what would happen if you kept every book that you ever read? As an avid reader, I think sometimes that without the occasional purge, I would be living on Paperback Mountain. How, then, can we keep up with our reading, but not end up buried in books?
1) Pass it on – the simplest way to recycle a book that you have enjoyed is to give it to a friend. To make it even more special, include a unique bookmark, like the one pictured above from the Hollywood Hillbilly shop. Holly makes each one by hand with an assortment of paper, beads, vintage findings and, in this case, a naturally-shed porcupine quill.
2) Donate – there are dozens of charities that accept used books; either for re-sale or, as in the case of hospitals and shelters, re-use. It’s best to donate books that are in good-condition, but even damaged books can often find good homes. Check with local arts/crafts groups to see if they can make use of your rejects. Caitlin of Rebound Designs creates these OOAK purses from books found at thrift stores, library sales and, in her words, “the occasional dumpster”. Caitlin has a seemingly-endless supply of books ready to become handbags, or you can contact her to see about getting one from your own library converted to a piece of functional art.
3) Monetize – one of the best ways to contribute to your book budget is to sell your used reading materials. Books can be sold through consignment shops, at garage and yard sales, or online in just a few clicks. Once all of that money starts rolling in, you’ll need somewhere to stash it and what better than one of these wallets, also by Rebound Designs? Each is made from a discarded paperback book and durable clear vinyl.
4) Go digital – I’m not entirely sold on the idea of e-books, but everyone who I know who has tried them, loves them. You may not get the tactile pleasure of turning actual pages, but from an environmental perspective, the benefits are huge. And, while every book may not be available in digital format (yet), there are literally millions of fiction and non-fiction titles available for download. If you have already taken the leap to the personal e-readers, then you will definitely want to protect your investment with a funky cover like the Techee Sleeve pictured above by Rogue Theory. Custom orders are also available – just contact Kim and Christina for more details!
I have to say, making the switch to e-books is pretty tempting, but I don’t think I’m ready to give up my trade paperbacks just yet. It’s a good thing that we traditionalists can pimp our reads, too. These sturdy book covers by Gail at Quilt Sew Cover are a pretty and practical way to protect your books (and your privacy!), while the built-in bookmark holds your place.
On a personal note, I am currently churning through an especially forgettable piece of chick-lit and would love some suggestions for additions to my nightstand library. – please leave a comment below with your recommendations.
I think it is good that books still exist, but they do make me sleepy. – Frank Zappa