Unhauling Books | My Criteria for Saying Goodbye


As I was cleaning my room and bookshelves, attempting to start packing to head back to school, I decided that it was time once more to get rid of some books. Last time I purged my shelves was probably about 2 years ago now, and I’ve since acquired a LOT more books. I really struggled this time around with choosing which to say goodbye to, since last time  I really buckled down and got rid of a lot.

I have a really hard time parting with many acquisitions:

  • ARCs & Finished Copies from a publisher — Whether I particularly enjoyed them or not, I feel lucky to have them! They’re like physical proof of my blogging success!
  • Signed books — Whether I met the author or not, it’s signed and special! Getting rid of a personalized one will probably never happen.
  • Series that I own all the books for — If I have a completed series, I feel like I’ve invested too much money into them. I’m really struggling right now with whether or not to keep the Divergent trilogy including my signed edition of Four… I’m not really a fan of these books anymore, and I can basically guarantee that I won’t ever read Four, but it’s a beautiful hardcover complete set!

Clearly, I have book attachment issues. But, I think I’ve got some solid criteria for unhauling books that won’t end up breaking my heart!

  • Only keep ARCs of books that I really enjoyed or think are special!
  • Keep the personalized signed books, but if there’s just a regular signed copy that I’m considering getting rid of, just say goodbye!
  • Get rid of random books from a series that I don’t own all of the books in physical format.

So, now that I’ve decided what books I’m getting rid of, should I sell them or donate?

  • ARCs & Finished Copies from a publisher— One would think that dealing with ARCs is self-explanatory, yet so many people sell them even with the printed on “NOT FOR SALE” on the covers. Please, please, please don’t sell ARCs ever, whether they’re 5 years old or not yet released! It’s illegal and wrong. I also feel morally obligated to treat any book sent to me from a publisher that’s a finished copy the same way. I didn’t buy it the first time, so I’ve no right to sell it and profit, in my opinion. Instead of selling, donate them to a school, shelter, charity, or Little Free Library*! Or if you’re a book influencer, like a blogger or bookstagramer, host a giveaway or trade them!

*I actually made a version of a Little Free Library for a final for one of my studios last year at school! I haven’t gotten it set up yet, but I hope to sometime in the future.

  • Everything else — Donating will always be a wonderful option, but if you’re looking for some extra cash, selling is great. I don’t have any used bookstores near me to sell to, so I’m not really sure how those work, but I have worked with Barnes & Noble. They have dedicated dates and times when you can bring your books in to sell, and they gave me a pretty fair amount for each book. They don’t normally give cash, so I got store credit to use on whatever I wanted!

Do you guys unhaul books? What are your criteria for letting them go? Do you have any other suggestions regarding what to do with them when you no longer want them? Let’s chat!

10 thoughts on “Unhauling Books | My Criteria for Saying Goodbye

  1. I like your method! I have the hardest time parting with books as well and am super lazy to do an unhaul… So usually I just stuff the ones I don’t want anymore in a corner or give them away to friends.
    Great tips! 🙂

  2. Before this year, I really struggled with unfailing books too. But with shelves overflowing, I finally decided I should do something about my collection. Like you, I’ve decided to only keep books I enjoyed among those I’ve already read, plus those I know I will reread, even though I didn’t love them.

    For ARCs, I also feel like they’re a tangible reflection of how far I’ve come as a blogger. Review copies aren’t easy to get hold off outside of the US, which make them even more special. I’m thinking of applying the same criteria to them as the rest f my books, though. What I didn’t enjoy, must go.

    Question is, how to I get rid of books? Selling rarely seems worth the effort. Lugging a stack of books to town just about covers transport, given how little used bookstores are willing to pay here 😦 I’d rather look for good places to donate to.

  3. Unhauling books can be hard, even if I no longer like a book or never liked it in the first place. I too have book attachment issues haha. I recently got rid of some books to make new space though. I can make someone else happy with them and fill up their old space with books I actually like 🙆🏻

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