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We’ve been over this before: I have too much crap in my office.
So I was happy recently to donate three hefty boxes of books to a local nonprofit that sells them at events several times a year to raise money (an impressive $80,000 in 2009) for its considerably noble cause.
At the very least, this was a quicker way to declutter my office than giving away my cultural detritus one item at a time.
And it’s more or less how other book-reviewing operations get rid of their unreviewed books. Christopher Schoppa, the office manager for the Washington Post‘s Book World, writes:
The bulk of the books I actually donate—-the largest share goes to Goodwill’s International Book Program (a rotary club in the Annapolis area runs a branch of it)—-they will come by every other month or so and pick up books. I give them mostly new hardcover nonfiction, but have been adding a bit more fiction of late.
He also donates books to a handful of smaller nonprofits, as well as groups that stage hold book fairs aimed at children. Book World also gives books away to Post staff: Schoppa writes that the section “has a small book cart, on which we’ll place duplicate titles or overflow from donations — that is rolled out into the newsroom several times a month to great fanfare (and hordes).”
Ron Charles—-a Book World editor and reviewer who apparently isn’t too mad that the novelist Robert Girardi called him “that fucker” in our pages recently—-writes that when he worked at the Christian Science Monitor, “I tried several different schemes to give our unused books to various charities, but my efforts were always overwhelmed by the logistics—-the incredible volume and weight!”
Boston Globe arts writer Mark Feeney (disclosure: I took several of his courses at Brandeis) writes that during his tenure as the paper’s book editor…
… we put the books out for general pillaging by fellow staffers. Once a week, a staffer from a suburban public library would come by to take away the leavings. I don’t know whether they kept the books, sold them, or, most likely, some combination. They ended up with some really (really) strange books—-but they always seemed happy to get whatever they could.
Is there some better, more inventive way that I should give away review copies? Tell me, and you can come take my stuff! You know the rules: Whoever writes the best response in the comments or in an e-mail gets to come to my overstuffed office and take one (1) cultural item. Want that new Andy Bell record? Or the graphic-novelization of Neil Young‘s Greendale? This may be your moment!
As always, my computer is off-limits. Don’t be a jerk.