What do you do with a book after you've read it? Here's what I do with mine. One thing about me is that I like step-by-step flow-charts ― this is no exception :)
Follow me on my train of thought, don't get lost!
Q1. Will I Be Rereading This Book?
I have a friend who mocks me for rereading, saying that I only do that because I don't have enough books to read! But I disagree — it's much like returning to the same eatery and ordering the same dish again. I reread books because they're worthy of double, or triple, the time and attention I give it each time. Sadly, my increasingly hectic schedule means that only my favourite ones make the cut.
YES --> Scroll To PT A
NO --> Continue Reading
Q2. Does This Particular Copy Hold A Strong Sentimental Value To Me?
Sometimes I treasure a book, not because I enjoy its plot nor its linguistic style. In those instances, that copy gets to keeps its envied position on my small bookshelf because of what sets it apart from other copies under the same title. Most of the time, this involves how I obtained the book. For example, I keep my collection of short stories by Enid Blyton because they were a birthday gift to me from my parents when I was much younger :) On occasion, however, this prompts me to give it to a close friend or relative! Knowing how much it meant to me, they might love it just as much as I did.
YES --> Scroll To PT A
NO --> Continue Reading
Q3. Is There Someone I Know Who Will Appreciate This Book?
Everyone has their own favourite genre, author, trope and book type (hardcover/paperback). Try asking people what their book preferences are! If nothing else, it would be an interesting social experiment, or a catalyst for eye-opening conversations. As for myself, science fiction and action are among my top genres, and I love them in paperback.
YES --> Scroll To PT B
NO --> Continue Reading
Q4. Is It In A Reasonable Condition?
I wish it weren't so, but physical books are bound to be faced with its own share of aging issues, just as we are. Unless we leave it on display (in which case it would be such a waste), its pages will eventually turn yellow, be torn, folded or all the above. However, as long as its still readable — however you deem it but at the very least without missing texts, pages nor pieces flaking away at a touch — you can still give it away in good conscience!
YES --> Continue Reading
NO --> Scroll To PT F
Q5. Do I Value Education, The Economy Or Enterprises More?
I've found that avenues to transfer ownership of the book in question are largely between the 3 E's: Education, Economy, Enterprise. Education refers to free, public education. Economy in this context is petty cash on hand. Enterprise, for lack of a better word starting with E, is an organisation that actively supports an issue or cause. Usually, books I would donate to support education are non-fiction, while miscellaneous yet valuable copies like textbooks are sold. Everything else goes to "enterprises"!
I most value...
EDUCATION --> Scroll To PT C
ECONOMY --> Scroll To PT D
ENTERPRISE--> Scroll To PT E
PT A. Keep It On An Open Bookshelf, And Write A Review For It
Some people prefer covered bookshelves, ones that are like display cases, to keep their books from getting dusty. I prefer open ones; making my books easily accessible and in sight reminds me to read it, not leave it. And because sharing is caring, write a review so others will be on the lookout for this title too :) Then, once you're done, jump back to Question 1!
“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde.
PT B. Gift This Book To Someone Who Will Enjoy It
We are warned against buying pets for others who do not have the capacity to care for them; the same should be said for books. Yet, the converse is true! You're reading this because you know someone who will value the tome you've finished just as you did. Presents aren't reserved for birthdays or Christmas mornings — why not take this opportunity to meet this close one of yours again?
“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it's much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!” ― Neil Gaiman
PT C. Donate To A Public Or School Library
Schools, the hub of education. Libraries, the icon of free information. Donations to these locations are the best way to extend the lifespan of books, while ensuring the material used to produce it is well spent! I would urge you to donate your book to the nearest public library, but we must acknowledge that children and teenagers are more likely to visit and borrow books from their own school libraries. If it's a book for teenagers we're talking about, maybe it's time for a trip to your alma mater :)
“To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.” — Carlos María Domínguez
PT D. Sell It At A Discounted Price
No shame in wanting to grow your wealth dollar by dollar where you can. Sometimes, when I'm in need of petty cash, I sell my unwanted books online through apps like carousell. I mostly do this for unused textbooks; here's why. Firstly, textbook donations are often turned down by libraries and organisational bodies. Secondly, as I sell them secondhand but in good condition, my selling price is an average of 30-40% its cost price. This helps ease the financial burden on my juniors who buy from me, while helping me clear some space at home! Lastly, the thrill of conducting business is just exciting, wouldn't you agree?
PT E. Donate To Organisations That Support A Cause You Do Too
You might be surprised to know that quite a few companies organise book sales or donation drives, even for secondhand books. Most of the time, profits are for their own gain. But if you know where to look, fundraising sales are held for all sorts of beneficiaries, too. Sounds familiar? It should, because this is what we at A Million Books do! Our profits go to tree planting efforts in Singapore — if giving back (a small token) of what we have taken from Mother Earth is something that resonates with you, feel free to contact us directly via our Instagram account for book donations anytime.
PT F. Repurpose It
My heart bleeds whenever I turn to this option, but it is definitely preferable to throwing a book out. There are so many ways for you to upcycle your beloved novels, though most involve hands-on art and craft. Get a pre-schooler or primary schooler to do this with, it will double the fun! Some ideas include bundling a few books and using them as a knife block, sawing a hole through it to turn it into a planter, and using the pages as wallpaper.
Which of the actions above do you turn to most often? Have you tried repurposing a book before? Give this flowchart a try when you finish your current read! You'll find that it's much easier than it seems :)