It has recently been thrust in my face how easily an extensively library of books can be collected. Between college textbooks, technical references, best sellers and classics one can easily amass an unwieldy collection. Unwieldy is a relative term as books bring joy to many people and books are thought of as collectibles.
I do not view many books as collectibles. I have a few that are signed by the author and a few more that will be read again or loaned out. The balance is a product of the pack rat in me. As a design engineer I utilized 2 textbooks out of a collection of 20 in 6 years of practice. Of the MBA books I have kept, I have only referenced 1 in the past year.
The question becomes how difficult is it to acquire the content housed in a collection of books. Encyclopedias have quickly become a thing of the past. If a given text is required down the road, it can often be purchased quite easily on Amazon.com new or used. Even novels are easily repurchased or acquired at the library.
What is one to do with all of these books? I am sure I have spent several thousand dollars on books in my lifetime. College books alone could run $300/semester and I have attended 8 + 1 + 4 + 4 + 4 = 21 semesters of college. I could safely say that I purchase at least 3-4 books annually for casual reading as well. I am certainly not going to get back what I paid for. I could donate them to the library or attempt to sell them online.
I have had limited success selling books online, but that doesn’t mean that I will stop. I have sold about a half dozen textbooks and reference books on line and feel like I have gotten a fair price. I am happy knowing someone else will be using these books. I am even happier knowing that I will not have to store/move them in the future. Of course the money doesn’t hurt either.