I realized awhile back that I’ve been at Rabid Reads for over four years now, and I’ll say it again, whoa holy, where does the time go?
And I know I’ve mentioned more than once the hedge maze of books my house has become.
Part of that is on me.
I buy too many books: I buy all the new releases of my favorite authors, I buy hard copies of the ARCs I’ve read and loved, I fall prey to hype and pretty, pretty book covers all too often, and don’t get me started on bookoutlet.com.
I see a newish release that I’ve been curious about being sold for $5.99, and it’s like I’m possessed by some crazy book-hoarding poltergeist.
I also get sent books. Unsolicited books. Unsolicited books from genres that aren’t in my wheelhouse. All the time.
And before you start shaking your fists at me for complaining about being sent free books, I am absolutely not complaining.
There’s a difference. *orbit gum smile*
But seriously, one imprint in particular is horrible about this. The publicist will shoot me an email pushing a book, asking if I’m interested in receiving a copy for review, I say, “no thank you,” a week later the book arrives, and a week before its release date, I get another email wanting to make sure I got the book, offering to send another one (*edvard munch face*) if I didn’t, and inquiring about my plans to review it.
Over the years, I’ve been sent entire trilogies. As in more than one. *bangs head against wall*
On average, I’d say that one in four of the books I’m sent are books I’ve requested, and of the other three, it’s a good batch if I’m interested in reading one of them.
And ARCs aren’t like normal books. You can’t sell them to your local used bookstore when you’re finished with them. B/c illegal. But even if it wasn’t illegal, I wouldn’t do it, b/c it’s totally sketch to sell a book you were given to review for profit. #dontbetacky
So what do I do with them?
Well . . . Until recently, I did nothing.
Occasionally, if it was a book one of my friends was desperate to get their hands on, I’d book-fairy it to them (which is totally legal, and even encouraged, FYI), but I have a weird aversion to the post office, so that doesn’t happen as often as we’d all like.
So they’ve been accumulating. FOR OVER FOUR YEARS.
I became almost unaware of them, shoved as they were, here and there, along with my more traditionally acquired books.
Then about a month ago, my husband asked me if I was trying to kill him, after he tripped over one of the multitude of waist-high stacks of books lining our upstairs hallway, and nearly fell down the stairs.
Time to stop ignoring them, wouldn’t you say? But again, not normal books, so . . .?
I had the easiest time deciding what to do with the YA books. My local YMCA has a youth literacy program, so it keeps a bin for donations in the lobby.
Unfortunately, YA books account for less than 20% of the ARCs I’m sent.
BUT. My solution for the books typically marketed towards women was almost as easy: battered women’s shelter. I’d volunteered at one in college, so I was kicking myself for not having thought of it sooner, and combined with YA, it took care of 70-75% of the books I was trying to find new homes for.
*moonwalks* *booty shakes*
As for the remaining 25-30%, I’m not gonna lie, I’m not the one who came up with that solution, and it’s the solution that I’m the happiest about—the county jail—that credit goes to DH (dear husband). #relationshipgoals
And people . . . I have to tell you, what initially felt like a hassle turned out to be an amazing experience. I don’t see myself selling my legitimately purchased books to used bookstores ever again, b/c seriously, you may get a few dollars, or maybe twice that if they offer trade credit, but it feels so much better to just give your old books to people who otherwise wouldn’t have them. #ibelieveinbookfairies
Leftover ARCs are a reviewer problem, but everyone eventually clears out the old to make way for the new. What do you do with books that don’t make the cut? If you donate them, what causes do you support?