I love books. I read far above the average 12 books a year for the American male. The trouble is that over the years I have amassed a variety of volumes that sit on the shelf and gather dust. Most titles haven’t been re-read since first finding a home on the bookshelf and I will likely enter that eternal rest before reading any of them again.
To simply sell the books or give them away seems an obvious solution, but I can’t seem to let go. There is something nostalgic and familiar about books that moves me to hold on. Now, before you go calling me a hoarder, check our own shelf for books you’ve only read once or have yet to crack the cover of for the first time.
Welcome to Book Lovers Anonymous. My name is KC and I love books.
Anyway, I like having books around and often claim “I’ll read them again someday” as an excuse to continue the paperback pile up. However, with a growing family space is limited and I don’t know how many more titles our bookshelf can support.
And so, I’d like to propose a solution. A win-win scenario if you will.
PROBLEM: I have too many books, but don’t want to get rid of them.
Wait! Put down that hardback copy of War & Peace. Hear me out.
I am not demonizing paper volumes. I like both digital and physical books. In fact I prefer to own both if the title is really good. I keep the digital copy and highlight to my heart’s content while staying free to share the hard copy with friends. There something special and relationship building about handing someone a book, isn’t there?
Let me elaborate on the solution by first reminding you of the problem: I have too many books. Some of them need to go because I will never re-read them.
What if there was a way to keep all of the awesome content from a book without having to keep the actual book for dust bunnies to devour?
Paper books for discounted eBooks.
I propose a publisher eBook exchange program.
Let’s use Thomas Nelson as an example. I have a few Donald Miller books, but they are getting dark with dust. I might be more inclined to re-read (and write about) them if I had eBooks instead (it’s easy to carry around a library on a Kindle or iPad). However, since I already own the books I’m not willing to pay full price for digital copies on Amazon or iTunes.
What if Thomas Nelson let me mail in the Donald Miller titles and exchange the hard copies for 50-75% off the eBook version? I get the benefit of a condensed digital library and Thomas Nelson can recycle or resell the book while gaining small profit from my purchase of the discounted eBooks.
And we all know the margin on eBooks is huge. Especially when the content is already established. Alternatively, a publisher can donate exchanged paper books to a library or church as a tax write off.
I don’t know what the market is for this type of service, but it’s a program that I’d take advantage of in a heartbeat.