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The Bibliophile's Nightmare

I’ve been putting off considering this for a long, long time, because just the thought makes me sick to my stomach. But…

My walls are closing in on me. I think I need to get rid of some books.

The horror.

I love my books. I’ve gotten rid of books in the past and I’ve always regretted it–even my little kid books, some of which I wish I could read to my niece. Getting rid of books is basically taboo in my mind, by now.

There’s also the question of what to do with the books I decide to let go of. Charity, of course, but I hate the idea of my books sitting sad and alone on some dusty Goodwill shelf, never to be bought and read again. Selling them online has the issue I’m currently facing of where to store them in the meantime (not to mention the pain in the neck of shipping them). I don’t have many local friends who might want anything I’m willing to part with.

But, none of that changes that I don’t have enough room for them.

Ebooks makes this a little bit less difficult for me, as some of the books I no longer read regularly, but might want to pick up again, I can just buy for my Kindle. I’ll probably do this with some of the books I’ve saved from my teen years.

But, overall, I don’t like the “Just get the Kindle version!” philosophy.

Books are knowledge and knowledge is sacred. I don’t like not having hard copies of things. Digital versions are easily altered, or could be deleted altogether, without my approval (remember, your ebooks don’t actually belong to you–they are distributed through Amazon [Kindle] or Barnes and Noble [Nook] or kept in some other cloud service). A friend of a friend had raised this concern when the e-reader was first introduced and, while plausible, I didn’t consider it much more than paranoia.

But, with the current state of affairs, this has become a real concern for me. Books that go against what the government would want you to believe are always the first to be banned. Books promoting free expression, free thinking, embracing of sexuality, religious doctrine… So, there are some hard copy books you’ll only get from me when you pry them from my cold, lifeless hands.

Also, some of these books hold sentimental value in their pages. Gifts from loved ones, mostly. I have a few that were my own purchases which simply changed my life (at least, they did so at the time of purchase).

I have a copy of “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley that ticks both of the above boxes; it’s been banned previously in Ireland and Australia, and was a gift from a dear friend. Good luck getting that one away from me.

So, no, I do not part with books very well. But, alas, I do believe it may be time.

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