There comes a time when even the home library needs some weeding. Sad though it may be, it’s good to look back through and realize that yes, I probably don’t need all of the books that are on my shelves. There are some I’ll never read again, some I’ll never read to begin with, and some that I can’t remember what kind of caffeine induced buying binge I must have been on to consider them an appropriate purchase in the first place.

Now, weeding doesn’t come often. Getting rid of books is a bit of an anathema to me. The major exception here being Regency romances. Those 150 page happily-ever-after stories are just lovely–once. After that I’m more than pleased to stuff them into little bags from various boutiques or padded envelopes and send them off to other readers. Recently I absolutely made a friend’s day. At her graduate recital in lieu of flowers I brought her a bag of romances. She was so excited–after months of hard work prepping for her recital and graduating with her masters, here was the perfect fluffy antidote.

But other books are…well…mine. They line the walls, they spill over my bedside table, they pile up under, on, around, and through the coffee table. Weeding is a challenge. I’m still convinced I’ll make it through the “Probably Not Very Good History” and the “Esoteric Materials No One Else Will Ever Read.” And really–those should not have equal shelf space and devotion as my well worn copies of all of Austen’s books, my signed copy of Number the Stars and all the Yarn Harlot Books.

So, at M’s direction and encouragement, I signed up for PaperbackSwap. After signing up you post books you’re willing to mail to other people. You get emails when they choose one of your books and you wrap it up/stuff it in a mailer, add postage and out the door–mostly at media mail prices. Paypal is used for postage/delivery confirmation as chosen by you. For each book you mail you get a credit and can request books from other people. Those books come to you “free” –as you’ve already spent money on the books you were sending. You can then choose to keep or repost the books you get and the cycle continues.

So far I’ve mailed and received about 8 books. All in all it’s not a bad system and it’s meant I’ve been able to round out my Lilian Jackson Braun collection a little but there’s one problem–at least for the sporadically aggressive weeder like me. I’ve had a box of books sitting in my living room for a couple of months now that I want to get rid of. I’ve weeded them mentally but because no one has requested them, they are still physically at my place–taking up space. So I’m thinking I may purge that group of books if I can figure out another half dozen or so that can move into the “temporary weeding” position. Because those books have had their day and apparently no one else wants them.

But if you do go through a lot of paperbacks, it is a nifty little site and I do recommend popping over to have a look at it. At least until I get a Half-Priced Books in my neighborhood, this and the Friends of the Library Book Sales may have to do.