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Disposing old books

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wifehad5 posted 6/16/2013 22:07 PM

My Dad was a voracious reader. Like one book a day. He belonged to several book of the month clubs after he retired, and his house is full of books. That's not what I'm asking about though.

One of the outbuildings is filled with boxes of books. We're talking fairly new paperback and hardcover mysteries. The problem is they've been ruined by moisture and animals. I can take them to the dump (there are no recycling facilities up there) at $50 a pickup load, or I can haul them down here, or???????

We do have a fire pit which is tempting. Any other ideas?

Nature_Girl posted 6/16/2013 23:07 PM


Heartless Bytchh posted 6/16/2013 23:17 PM

As much of a reader as I am, it hurts me to see stuff like this when it comes to books.

Maybe a yard sale and sell 'em dirt cheap?

Jrazz posted 6/17/2013 01:17 AM

Maybe your local recycling facility? Places take paper, right?

Burning would be convenient... I would just get the heebiejeebs from like, you know... burning books.

woundedby2 posted 6/17/2013 02:31 AM

If they've been wet, then they have mold and mildew. It's best that they are disposed of or recycled.

You could try to sell the books that were stored indoors at a yard sale or donate them to your local library or Goodwill.

aesir posted 6/17/2013 04:43 AM

It's a shame they were stored outdoors. I remember an old English magazine that advocated placing bookcases along exterior walls based on the insulating value of R 1.5 per inch.

Best solution for the ones that can't be saved is to recycle them. A wood stove would also be a great solution, but I agree with Razzie about the whole book burning thing.

jrc1963 posted 6/17/2013 07:12 AM

If they are full of mold and mildew than burning is probably the best solution... but I'd be careful to keep yourself and the kids away from the smoke because it could carry mold spores and make you sick.

wifehad5 posted 6/17/2013 08:06 AM

Yeah, the ones stored inside the house aren't an issue, it's just the ones in the outbuilding. These aren't worth saving unfortunately, and we're talking several pickup loads

Thanks everyone

simplydevastated posted 6/17/2013 08:09 AM

Because of possible mold and mildew you can't donate them. Burning them seems to be the only solution and since you're not burning them for censorship, I think it'll be all right.

If you do burn them I would make sure you wear a face mask to you don't breath in any spores and if it's in an outside fireplace/pit could you cover it with a screen to help minimize any spores getting into the air?

Another option would be to check with your town and see if they host a town wide drop off of some sort. My town is currently having a free paper shredding day for the community. They may also know of some other drop-off place that will properly dispose of them because they are damaged and unable to be donated.

Good Luck.

atsenaotie posted 6/17/2013 11:17 AM

Everytime you go shopping, a bag goes with you. Drop a few in the cans at Target, a few more at WalMart, Home Depot gets some....

sisoon posted 6/17/2013 13:41 PM


I have no idea about the reliability of the site I'm stealing the following from, but it seems hopeful. Of course, if it means removing the covers from several pickup loads of moldy paperbacks, the fire sounds more and more attractive....

Except for colored and glossy paper, which might contain some toxic heavy metals, newsprint and other paper is safe to use as mulch or in compost. In fact, one study revealed that paper had less toxic material than straw or grass!


BrokenRoad posted 7/7/2013 07:51 AM

just as a follow up, turns out about 21 boxes of them weren't ruined....2.5 years worth of reading in my book.

So... I asked to keep them and then donate as I (we?) read them.

Back porch and upstairs bedroom is now full of boxes of books.

Incidently, they're heavy!!

---BrokenRoad/Happy Avid Reader

hurtbs posted 7/7/2013 17:35 PM

Try posting them on freecycle or craigslist. I posted 3 boxes of books - random paper and hardbooks, fiction. I had about 50 takers in 20 minutes!

lieshurt posted 7/8/2013 07:44 AM

Senior living or assisted living facilities always need books for their libraries.

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