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Odd Box of Books for Storage
Image by j/k_lolz via Flickr

As part of my lifestyle changes I’ve been trying to declutter.  Way back when I was living alone I acquired a lot of stuff for one simple reason: shopping made me happy.

Something I  have a ton of is books.  It’s ridiculous how many books I have.  When I invested in the Kindle a couple of months ago, I decided that I would be replacing most of my library with ebook versions. Ebooks are not all that heavy, and take up no space in the garage.

Ideally I was going to sell all of my books and make a killing, but only after I took the choice books out and listed them on half.com.  Unfortunately, the books I had weren’t really worth that much anymore.  It’s sad when you paid $22 for a book ten years ago that people are selling on half.com for $.75.  No one ever talks about book depreciation!

I had a lot of books.  Tons.  And honestly, even after all this I still do.  I’m taking it in stages.

Here is what I recommend to make sure you get the most bang out of your book collection.  I should warn you that it can be time-consuming, but ultimately should be worth it.

1.  First, check Amazon.com.  Amazon is doing a trade-in thing now where, if your book is worth something, they will buy it from you in the form of giftcard cash.  Go to the website and and find your book, then check the listing.  To the right of the page you will see check out and purchase options, as well as a trade-in value if there is one.  It looks like this:


If you want to trade it in for that amount, just click the button.  It will add the book to your list and let you find more.  Once you are done, you print out a prepaid mailing label, box up your books and send them to Amazon postage paid.  In a week or so they will process them and deposit the money into your Amazon gift card account.  Please note that books must be in good to great condition, and you should probably look the book up by the ISBN (usually located near the UPC code on the back of the book).  I sent in the “wrong” book (right book, wrong version, whatever) and they mailed it back to me.

2.  Once you’ve determined what you’re willing to trade in, go to half.com and list anything that you think you might have been able to get more for than what Amazon was offering.  Usually if Amazon isn’t offering the trade you won’t get spit at half.com but it’s worth a try.  Just make sure that when you mail the books out you send them media mail (you’ll have to go to the counter to get this service) not parcel post.  I made this mistake once and a book that would have cost me $2.50 to ship cost me something like $8.80 to ship parcel post.  Stupid snail mail.

3.  Have a garage sale and sell what you can of what’s left over.  Honestly, garage sales suck, so maybe you just want to skip to step 4 and

4.  Donate or recycle the rest.  Here are some great resources for that:

Got Books?  (New England book donation center)

How to Donate Used Books to Charity (eHow)

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