If you're anything like me, you accidentally find yourself hoarding ARCs. It hasn't been as bad for me lately because I haven't attended any conventions this year, but it's still a bad habit of mine. My gut instinct is to put a book on my shelf after reading it, then I accidentally forget that the books are there. If I love a book, I always buy the finished copy. But, by doing this, I have a lot of books that end up on my shelves as doubles, ones that were satisfactory but not wow-worthy, or ones I didn't like at all.
So, over the past 4.5 years of blogging, I've donated over 500 books to various places, and I thought I'd create a post about where to give ARCs when you're literally buried under the TBR pile.
1. Books for Trade
I recently turned to this hashtag and it was way overwhelming. I don't really plan on doing it again. I will say, though, that if you want to get something in return for your books, this is the way to go. Someone gets the ARC you no longer want, and in return you get something you do want! And it'll only cost $3. I traded more for the rarer ARCs I had in my collection and am so happy they all found great homes!
2. Sell for Shipping
I also did this when I turned to the hashtag for a great majority of my books. I calculated shipping costs and asked for an extra few cents to buy the bubble mailer and sent out books. I made no profit, but the point is I shipped out 80+ books and didn't lose any money either. ARCs I no longer wanted went to people who did want them, and I got the out of my home like I wanted to make room for other books. Win/Win. Just need a Paypal account!
3. Local High School/Middle School
I turned to Books for Trade because I used to donate all of my old books to my high school. Our budget was slashed so my English teacher took it upon herself to create a library for students to use as they please. I singlehandedly stocked this library over the course of four years, and when our sister school's budget was slashed, I helped stock that one too. Now, they're so stocked that they turn me away with a smile when I give them the yearly email of "I HAVE BOOKS, PLEASE TAKE THEM!" because they can't anymore. It's a great feeling to know you're helping out, and it helps them get some amazing stories like ARCs of THE RAVEN BOYS or SIX OF CROWS into their hands without worrying about budget.
4. Local Public Library
In my case, my library refuses to accept ARCs. I tend to go there with bags of finished copies whenever I clean out my shelves. The librarians divvy them up and put them out. I will say, though, that some libraries have budgets slashed so much they will accept ARCs, and it's so nice to share with libraries because the books can be loved by many. For example, the library two towns over does display ARCs with a warning that it's not the finished story because it helps stock their shelves.
5. Homeless Shelters
This is one that a lot of people don't realize they can donate to. Homeless shelters, women's shelters and family shelters specifically, can use books for their residents. They're free and typically something they can put to good use as budgets aren't necessarily putting huge focuses on books in such places. There have been studies that literary rates aren't as high in homeless communities, and you can take a small part in changing that.
6. Children's Hospitals
In all of the places I have donated, this has been my favorite place to donate. Thankfully, I haven't spent much time in children's hospitals, but when I was in the 3rd grade, my sister spent some time in one. They had a lot of movies to rent out, but that was about it. So whenever I get the chance, I call up my local children's hospital and ask if they're willing to accept some books. I have never been turned down. Typically they accept them on the condition that they're smoke free and pet hair free to avoid any outside stressors or allergic reactions in their kids, but it is so useful to them! Children aged 0 to 18 in children's hospitals are typically there because they're battling their hearts out, and sometimes all they need is a good book to escape reality for a little while. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND LOOKING INTO THIS ONE! This was the most rewarding for me.
7. The Big Ole Recycling Bin
I rarely do this. In 4.5 years I have maybe recycled 10 ARCs? Most of them have been damaged in one way or another, so I didn't feel comfortable giving them to anyone else. However, ARCs are worthless. They can't be sold. They can be shared or collected, and if that doesn't work, the recycling bin is an option. Helps the environment and whatnot.
8. Little Free Libraries
Little Free Libraries are popping up more and more everywhere. The point of one is that you put a book into it and then grab a book from it in turn. When finished, you can put the book back and grab another, etc. Instead of going to grab books, you can show up with a few ARCs you need to get rid of and put them in there so that other people can enjoy them!
9. Drop Them In Parks Or Other Public Spaces
I have never done this, but I know many people have. On a sunny day, go to the park and just leave some books laying around. Someone is bound to pick it up. Would I go out of my way to pick up a book left on the stairs to the slide? Probably not. But someone will. And if someone doesn't, then you won't know the wiser.
Always fun, always a way to gain a follower or two, always reliable to get books off your shelves. Just gotta shell out a couple bucks if you're in a place where you're financially able to do so.
I do not think any of these options are better than others. It just depends on your situation, what is easiest for you, and whether you're looking to get something from. What do you do with your ARCs when they begin to overwhelm your shelves? Did this post help you with any ideas? Do you have other ideas that I should add to the post? Comment below with your thoughts!