Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Library Liquidating

I've always been surrounded by books. Growing up, my house was filled with them, most rooms had at least one bookcase, many were stacked two deep. You might be wondering why I'm bringing this up. Well... a couple years ago, in what I can now claim was a stunning amount of planning for the future, I decided to get rid of most of the books that I'd spent much of my life (to that point) collecting. I'd reached a point where I no longer saw the need to have hard copies of books that I could much more easily store digitally. So... I started giving away and selling my books, in an effort to downsize (eeeh, see the connection now?).

The Foreign Service will pay to store any household goods, up to 18,000 lbs, that I won't need during each assignment, but it seems silly to have them pay to store books that I'll likely never use again. To that end, I'm going through wave two of book clearing. Last time I gave a bunch to my old roommate and charity (my local library, and sending them to our deployed troops), but my wife also had the brilliant idea of selling our used textbooks on Amazon. She took the initiative of checking the Amazon market price for each textbook and listing our copy for sale if it was going for more than $5 (our minimum to be willing to drive to the post office). It has been slow going, and we've had to adjust prices from time to time, but I can happily say we've received over $800 after expenses, in about two years. Of course we undoubtedly spent more on those books when we bought them in college, but I'll take what I can get, since otherwise they'd be rotting on the shelf.

I haven't and don't plan to ditch all of my books; I've kept a loaner copy of a handful of books that I regularly recommend to people (e.g. World War Z and Ready Player One). The only downside to all this is the apparent relationship to number of books and the educational success of children. I'd always thought it was just some silly cultural idea that the more books you owned, the more educated you were. Though, I'm not convinced that that relationship still applies 25 years later, after the rise of the internet.

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