My "library" of books.
I used to have lots and lots of books back when I was in Graduate school in California (it was for fine arts in case you were wondering.) Books from all my undergraduate classes (I used to choose a class based on it's reading list), lots of Art books, biographies and novels. I loved seeing them on my shelves and they made my sterile apartment very homey. But when my then boyfriend / now husband asked me to take a month long camping trip as a way of getting back to Minnesota we decided to ship all my stuff home instead of renting a moving van. Since we were shipping everything UPS and shipping costs are based on weight it quickly became apparent that many of the books had to go. I gave them to friends and sold the rest at my local used book store as it was 1996 and email was in it's baby stages let alone online selling.
When I finally arrived home I moved in with my mother until Dan and I could find a place of our own to live. So, I left the majority of my things in their shipping boxes waiting. It took longer than we anticipated for us to find a house; about 1 1/2 years. When we finally moved and I started unpacking those boxes from over a year ago I realized I didn't miss much of it, and in fact I decided to get rid of about half of all I owned. See, even though we had this lovely house, we didn't have much furniture to put things on or in. I was off to Half Priced Books this time to sell more of my book collection.
Of course we eventually got shelves and furniture and stuff and books crept back into our home. Fast forward to current time and our new goal of downsizing and all those books, that seemed to grow to the space given them, had to go. I started with selling on Amazon as I was getting very little at our local Half Priced Book Store (they usually give you something like 10% of the half off the original price. So for example your $12.00 book they would sell for $6.00 and give you 60 cents. Not much.) I would look up my book title on Amazon and see what the lowest price was for a used copy. If that price was over $10.00 I would go ahead and list it and If it was under $10.00 I found it simply wasn't worth the time and effort to ship with Amazons fees. I did save money by using used padded mailers which my husband got for free off of Craig's List, but it still seemed like a hassle for a couple of dollars. The books I listed sold pretty fast (within 2 weeks), but you do have to wait about three weeks for the money to be deposited into your bank account. Then I took that bunch of books that were below the $10 mark on Amazon and listed them on Craig's List. And the ones that didn't sell after a few months on CL then went to Half Priced Books. Then the books rejected by Half Priced Books got dropped off at the Goodwill on my way home.
Now, I still love to read, but I use my library for reading material instead of stores. Once in a while the library won't carry what I want so I will bend and buy a used copy of that book, but when I'm done reading it out of the house it goes. My personal "library" now consists of a sock knitting book, Pride and Prejudice (given to me by my husband), Gift from the Sea (given to me by my father), Watership Down (given to me by my brother), 4 cookbooks and a few books on Unschooling. Digital books would probably be another solution, but I have yet to embrace this medium and like the feel of a good old book in my hands.