Conversations | A Guide to Unhauling Your Bookshelves

Hello, everyone! Last Saturday, Katie and I announced that we would be doing a series of conversations posts leading up to BookExpo and BookCon at the end of the month. Last week we looked more generally at how to make the most of author events outside of conventions. This week, we want to help prepare your shelves for the many, many books you will be receiving at one, or both, of these conventions.

Unhauling your shelves, or getting rid of the books you no longer need, want, or will never get to, is a really great idea before you go. But it will also be beneficial after you get home from the conventions as well. You get so many books at BookExpo and BookCon. Some you plan to get, but sometimes you’re either handed a book, win it at a booth, or grab it because there’s a line and you have the time to wait in it. The bottom line is, you most likely won’t read all the books you get. So in this post, we will be looking at unhauling physical copies and unhauling ARCs, as the process will be a bit different. Let’s get started!

Unhauling Physical Copies

This process is relatively easy, as physical copies don’t have a ton of restrictions on how 2015-01-10 11.45.13 894966258607415846_1563014183to get rid of them. The biggest challenge will be deciding which books you are willing to part with. Here are some factors to think about when deciding if you should keep a book or unhaul it:

  • How long has it been sitting on your shelf? If it’s been a year or so, you might want to consider letting it go. Unless your collecting a series and don’t want to read it before you have the whole series, then consider how long it has been there and your reasoning for why it shouldn’t just clear up some room on your shelf.
  • Do you have plans to read it soon? You really have to answer this questions honestly. It’s typical to buy a book with every intention of reading, but over time it just slips farther down your TBR list. Is it really going to get read? If not, get rid of it.
  • Why did you buy it? I, personally, love a good sale. So anytime BookOutlet has their Boxing Day Sale, I go a bit crazy. It’s my goal to buy as many books as I possibly can. Although I do read the synopsis and only get what I think will interest me, it doesn’t mean I ever plan to read it. So consider why you purchased the book. Was it just to reach that next shopping cart goal to get a bigger discount?
  • Can you pick it up later if you change your mind? This is something that might sound a little weird, like why would you spend money on something just to buy it again later? But hear me out. So many books that you buy for full price just hit bargain shelves or clearance racks a year or two later. So consider, if you unhaul the book now and think you may, possibly, perhaps change your mind later, would it kill you to buy it again? Chances are, you could find an older book for cheap, or even an ebook version if you decide down the road you actually want to read it.

Awesome! So now you have a stack, big or small, of books you have decided are okay to let go. Now’s the fun part. There are a number of things you can do with these books, some will give you a bit of money back, while others will give you the satisfaction of giving someone a new book.

  • So you want to make some money? There are several bookstores that will give you money to buy your used books. But you probably won’t see as much as you paid for the books originally. Half Price Books and Books-A-Million both buy used books. But due to the low prices they sell those books for, the cash they can give you for them can be insulting if you don’t go in prepared. I would use these options if you don’t really care about making much money and just want them off your hands. Another option is having a rummage sale and selling the books. Or selling them online. Again, you don’t get much out of used books.
  • How about using those books to buy more books? Katie and I tend to hit up Empire Books and News, our local indie store. They do offer a cash offer for books, but again it’s low. Instead, we opt for store credit, which is usually at least double the cash. Then we use that to buy books we actually will read. You can make calls to local indie and used bookstores to see if they have this option.2015-06-24 16.28.23 1014666580006625729_1563014183
  • How about just donating? Donating is a great way to get books off your hands and into the hands of other readers. It’s okay to want money for your books, you paid for them and it’s understandable. But sometimes you just want them to go to a good home. One way to do this is to donate to your library. I have never personally done this, but have heard other people do it. We also have little free libraries, which are tiny house-shaped boxes by parks or neighborhoods where you can leave a book or take a book. A quick Google search of your area can get you locations that will take book donations.

Unhauling ARCs

As I’m hoping you’re aware, buying and selling ARCs (advanced reader copies) is a big no-no. It’s disrespectful to the author, who pays for these copies to go to readers, as well as the readers who are dying to read these books and don’t want to spend money because an idiot decided to sell them on eBay. Just don’t do it.

With that being said, the process of deciding which ARCs you want to keep and which ones you should get rid of is similar to that of the physical copies. How long have you had it? Are you going to read it?

You can, however, consider a couple other factors. For instance, is it already released? Or do you plan to collect the ARCs? Some people only want to read an ARC because they are excited to read the book and want to get to it ASAP. Some people fall in love with a book or series and choose to collect every edition of the ARCs and physical copies. It’s entirely up to you.2015-06-13 09.28.41 1006482805984682925_1563014183

Getting rid of those ARCs will be a tad different though, as you can’t take them somewhere to sell them. So here are some ways to get them off your hands.

  • Donate them. Once again, you can donate these to your library or little free library. Some schools might be open to taking these donations as well. Just avoid anywhere where donating would result in them being sold.
  • Trade them. Honestly, this is really the best, and only other option. If you aren’t aware, on Twitter there are the hashtags booksfortrade and arcsfortrade. These hashtags are where people will trade their books and ARCs for other books and ARCs. Check out this tag if you like, but our post next week will be a guide to properly and successfully using those hashtags, in case you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all.

Well, friends, that is our guide on how to unhaul your shelves and clear some space for those new and exciting books that BookExpo and BookCon (or just your next shopping trip) will bestow upon you. We really hoped you found it helpful!


What tips or tricks do you have to unhauling your shelves? If you enjoy these guides, let us know in the comments what guides you’d like us to do next!

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