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Press & Media » Green Options

Save The Books

Green Options (Website) - 5/30/2007 by Phillp Proefrock
Green Options : Save The Books A bookstore in Kansas City has a huge glut of books in its warehouse. There are books that have gone unsold for more than a decade. Copies of books that had huge print runs, but now no one wants. Books that are decades old. Books that are in foreign languages. And, unfortunately for the store's owner, books that are not selling.

The owner has decided that the best way of dealing with this problem is to burn the books. So he loaded up a cauldron in front of his store and burned a pile of books in what he saw as a protest against what he sees as, "society's diminishing support for the printed word." But this isn't necessary at all, there are a number of online services that facilitate the exchange of books (as well as a range of other things). One of these, Paperback Swap, has begun an online petition to save the books and is offering to collect all the books from the store's warehouse, and then distribute them to people for free on a road trip from Kansas City to the company's hometown of Atlanta. This seems to be a much greener way of dealing with the glut.

There are a number of services on the web that connect people who want to exchange books. In addition to Paperback Swap, there are also sites like BookMooch and BookCrossing. There are also services like LaLa and SwapaCD (a sister site to Paperback Swap) that allow for the exchange of CDs.

And, of course, there are local level exchanges for all manner of things, such as Freecycle (and other local variants) and Craigslist which help find new homes for furniture, computers, childrens' toys, and all kinds of other things. Rebecca wrote an earlier Tip-o'the-Day about local swap events.

Personally, I've been using LaLa and Bookmooch for several months, and I'm generally happy with both. I've also recently joined Paperback Swap and SwapaCD. I've been glad to find other people who have wanted to get things that I've had cluttering the house and even happier to get some things that I've wanted. I still have a copy of Hunt for Red October that may stay sitting on my shelf for some time. But I've been able to exchange over 100 books (sent and received) so far. And that's far better than burning them.
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