Maybe it's just me, but it really, really bothers me when a book sits around not being read.  I think it comes from a childhood dominated by libraries, in which the only appropriate reason to buy a book was that you kept placing it back on hold the moment you turned it in and no one else in the library got the opportunity to read it. (I used to reread the same books over and over and over. I can quote about five minutes straight of the first chapter of Jane of Lantern Hill.)  It's actually one reason that I have issues with e-books: every time I discover I can't lend one that I bought, I get upset because all those bits are lying there wasted when they should be working their way into new peoples' minds.

 

More recently, the combination of specialist interests (urban fantasy) and a terrible library system meant I bought a lot of used books. Shockingly, I didn't passionately love every book I got this way, nor did I have an obsessive desire to reread them all.  What to do with them?

 

The obvious answer is to donate them to my library.  But my library doesn't really believe in physical books, and it certainly doesn't believe in used paperbacks.

 

There's always the Goodwill, but I have this terrible picture in my head of these books--even the ones I positively disliked--bought for an ungrateful child who throws them, unopened, in the corner on top of his dirty laundry, or the books being ripped into shreds and used as papier-mache or something, or, perhaps most tragic of all, lying forlorn and unopened in a dusty corner of Goodwill. (Goodwill doesn't sort by author or genre, so it's unlikely anyone would actually pick up the book to read it.)

 

There's paperbackswap, but they make me pay for shipping each of them individually, and no way will I pony up more than the darned books cost me in the first place.

 

Usually, I solve the dilemma by shipping them off to reasonably like-minded friends; while I know only a quarter get read, but it allows me to comfort myself with the utterly false belief that my friends have passed on the ones they didn't read, and if I slip in a few of the books I actually do *love*, it's a quite successful way of indoctrinating others into my current addiction of choice. (I always "lend" the books, but it is a rule of nature that you never get lent books back. It's why I can't reread Devil You Know--it fell into the Abyss of Lending well over a year ago, but sadly, Carey didn't attract another fan.   Rivers of London and Jennifer Morgue, however, made far more successful journeys.)

 

But now I have a dilemma. I'm moving in about two weeks and I have a rather large collection of paperbacks that I have no plans on rereading, some of which I actively disliked. There is no way they will be moving with me. But I want to find them a home, somewhere that they will be read.  My usual book junkies are on Beowulf or scifi kicks and do not want to see any more urban wizards for a while, so no help there.

 

Can I leave my box of books on the steps of a used bookstore, claiming that it's analogous to the baby-left-at-a-firestation law? Come to think of it, do used bookstores even exist any more?

 

What does one do with used books in these days of e-everything? How do you find your discarded paperbacks a loving--or at least somewhat attentive--home?