Blog of Sara Jakša

The Psychology of De-owning Books

Books have a special place among our possessions. They present the knowledge, that we have or want to have. They show the others that we are informed creatures and not barbarians. The give us safety, as we still think they hold all the answers. While not being dependent on internet access and electricity.

The lovers of books, in which I count myself, like the smell of the new book, the sound of how they break when we open them and the touch of the pages under our fingers. It is magic.

They are untouchable.

But the piles of books become magic when we are moving houses. They are heavy, bulky and they take a lot of space.

Eventually, all the books have to be let go. It could be because of moving to a different city, because the books are not needed anymore or maybe because of the death of a loved one and inability to deal with their possessions.

It is one type of possession simply because of how our subconscious sees them. We can not just throw them out in a trash bin. Sometimes is stopping us. It is why the advertisements are sometimes that bulky. They are playing on our subconscious to make them equivalent with books, making it hard to throw away.

Since throwing them in the trash is out of the picture, the next step would be trying to sell them or simply give it to somebody. Sometimes it works and we even get a feeling of peace, when we get rid of it, but knowing that somebody else is going to put it to better use.

A lot of time can be spent on that, especially if the number of books is counted in hundreds or thousands. It is not that hard to reach numbers like that. I dare you to count your own. I can say that I used to own a number of books in the range of eight hundreds. Before counting them, I thought I had less.

Not to mention that people are changing their reading habits to the electronic readers. Less and less people are going to be interested in the physical copy.

But what else can be done? There is always donation, but even the libraries and shelters don't take every book. Or at least they don't around here, maybe in other places it is different.

There is also a project of book crossing, and letting it go, but doing it with a couple of books is fine. Doing it with hundreds... it is just as big of a nightmare.

I have so people just leaving a box of books, with a word FREE on it in a public place. But in that case, the important part is that it is crowded and it will not get wet in case of a rain.

On the end, each one of these methods is going to be met with some sort of natural resistance. But maybe one of the methods described up is going to help you pass it.