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What do people do with books besides read them?


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Showing 1-25 of 80 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Apr 2013, 12:48:27 BST
gille liath says:
Recently I've seen several second hand books on here described as 'good reading copies'. What other uses are people putting their books to, for which they apparently have to be in tip-top condition?

I take no responsibility for answers which are not in accordance with our beloved Amazon's rules and principles...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 13:56:33 BST
Last edited by the author on 26 Apr 2013, 13:57:00 BST
TomC says:
I believe that a "good reading copy" is one that is NOT in "tip-top" condition; it is suitable for reading, but not good enough to be given as a present.

But I think you've hit on a good idea for a book here: "101 Uses for a Read Book".

Loft insulation, building material, sculpture medium, toilet paper, fuel, cat litter, dog's toy, stab-proof vest, worm fodder, mushroom growth medium ....

I do have a good many books insulating my loft. The recycling people apparently don't want them and I fear that at some point I will need to send them to whatever place books get sent to when they are no longer of any earthly use or value to anyone.

Posted on 26 Apr 2013, 14:16:50 BST
Ethereal says:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Invisible-Book-Shelf/

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 15:19:29 BST
Sou'Wester says:
Surely the main role of a second-hand book is to prop up a table on a wonky floor? Non fiction's main use I would assume is for flower pressing. I am also trying to persuade the household authorities that the vast quantity of books completely obliterating the carpet in my study is to save wear and tear on the Hoover.

Posted on 26 Apr 2013, 16:08:35 BST
Last edited by the author on 26 Apr 2013, 16:11:32 BST
maggie says:
I sell some books on Ebay, some go to the charity shop and some get passed around friends and family. There are some books that are so good that I keep them to read again.

Posted on 26 Apr 2013, 18:40:22 BST
schwartz says:
I am currently moving house, and boxes of books are substituting for furniture. Generally I think there is no better decoration for a room that a well stocked book case!

Posted on 26 Apr 2013, 18:47:08 BST
I like to cut - or, better, tear - dictionaries and encyclopaedias into stamp-sized bits, box them up and give them as unique and individual jigsaws for birthday presents.

Posted on 26 Apr 2013, 19:21:57 BST
Anita says:
I think I remember a *very* detailed answer to this question on fantasy forum... :)

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 20:02:19 BST
Last edited by the author on 26 Apr 2013, 20:04:11 BST
gille liath says:
British Heart Foundation?

But who gives a 2nd hand book as a present? I mean, unless it's a First Folio, a copy of the Necronomicon or something like that. I just think it's one of those odd, mindless phrases, like 'pan-fried'.

ETA: actually, I'm quite happy to get 2nd hand books as presents. But then, I'm a cheapskate.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 20:02:39 BST
gille liath says:
Plus, it can double as a 'safe room'?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 20:03:11 BST
gille liath says:
Why doesn't that surprise me...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 20:09:39 BST
gille liath says:
I agree - and none more expressive of your personality, whether the books have actually been read or not.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 20:12:11 BST
Anita says:
Likewise I'm not surprised that there's no question mark at the end of your sentence... :)

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 20:24:37 BST
gille liath says:
An im knot sprised yore not spriesed...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 20:53:42 BST
Icarus says:
As has been famously said: "Books do furnish a room."

Posted on 26 Apr 2013, 20:58:12 BST
Icarus says:
I don't understand some of the responses here. I never get rid of books (except when I lend them to friends who forget to give them back), even bad books. My books are a record of where I've been intellectually, and even bad books can be discussed, and if you've no longer got it on your shelf, you can't refer to it. That must be why I'm constantly looking for new places to put up shelves.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 21:06:50 BST
Last edited by the author on 26 Apr 2013, 21:08:45 BST
gille liath says:
What - you don't understand that people might not want to keep every book they've ever bought? You must have a big house. ;)

The 'record of where you've been intellectually' is in your head, or it's nowhere. Old books are just stuff, and if they're not stuff you need they're clutter. I go through mine regularly, and get rid of any I think I'm done with. I've been wrong a few times, but on the whole I recommend it.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 21:29:31 BST
Icarus says:
You may have a more complete memory than I have; I sometimes don't remember everything about a book I read 50 years ago, but do remember that it was important at the time, so it's good to be able to go back to it. My house is not huge, but can contain 5000 books tightly packed on the shelves, and without too many piles on tables and the floor. There are of course many thousands of books I've read in libraries, and which therefore are not on hand as aides-mémoire, and I have to cope with that as best I can. Google books helps. Nothing that has been part of my life is 'just stuff'.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 21:38:14 BST
TomC says:
"British Heart Foundation?"

There is a limited demand for manuals on processors and programming languages which became obsolete 20 years ago.

"But who gives a 2nd hand book as a present? "

Someone who wishes to give a copy of a specific book which is no longer in print. I've done it, and I've passed on copies of some of my own books which I no longer needed; I do believe I was in full possession of my mind at the time. I will also avoid having a book on my own shelves which falls below that standard. I've seen some disgusting examples of books in second-hand shops.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 21:40:15 BST
gille liath says:
5000? Well, all I can say to that is...lucky you!

It's true that a book once done with can, for one reason or another, become relevant again. But it doesn't happen too often, and when it does it's usually not too difficult to get another copy.

I dunno...part of me would like, in an ideal world, to keep hold of everything. By nature I'm a hoarder, but it just hasn't been practical for me. In the event (as I say) I've found it a good thing. I realised that my life doesn't subsist in my possessions.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 21:42:27 BST
gille liath says:
Thanks for that first bit Tom, it made me laugh. All too true; and let's not forget the VHS tapes of Thomas the Tank Engine.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 21:51:37 BST
TomC says:
Ah yes ... VHS tapes ... I'm glad you mentioned those ...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 22:22:49 BST
Icarus says:
I'm not a hoarder, and my life doesn't subsist in my possessions. It's not really about possession. Books are just different from other many other objects. As a publisher I'm not only interested in the words in them but in their physical state too, their design, the typography and so on. But it is mainly the ideas and language, and that they are steps in what is often now called (a bit pretentiously perhaps) a journey.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 22:44:07 BST
Ethereal says:
Journeys also involve moving on and that's what I do with many books, making room for the new!
I have, however, thrown away one or two I've regretted and not been able to find again ... on the whole though, I go with my instinct.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Apr 2013, 22:54:30 BST
gille liath says:
Yeah, well said. Books are more personal than some other things, but they're not sacred.

And Icarus, I hate to break it to you: if you refuse to get rid of stuff, you're a hoarder, mate.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  24
Total posts:  80
Initial post:  26 Apr 2013
Latest post:  4 May 2013

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