Before, I shared 5 reasons to spend time on Goodreads, but is Goodreads the only site for book lovers? Au contraire, it is not! It may be the most well-known, but there are alternatives.
In the "olden" days, you had to go with what was available in the library or on the shelves of your bookstore. Harder still was finding like-minded people who shared your reading passion. You either had to start a book club or find a local one. Nowadays, it's exponentially easier to find both new titles and book clubs. There are now a myriad of websites available to book lovers where they can find titles and share their thoughts about the books they've read, or get insights and read reviews about the books they want to read.
One of such sites is Goodreads. Established in 2007, Goodreads is a social media site where passionate book lovers go to find new books to pursue. You can also find new releases and join “organically occurring” online book clubs for every topic under the sun. But Goodreads is just one of the many sites that targets bibliophiles. There are others that operate on a social network capacity, mainly to provide a community for book lovers. This makes it easier for people with similar tastes in books to find one another and forge a connection.
Here are a few of them:
LibraryThing boasts over 2,000,000 members and is an old faithful when it comes to cataloging and title management. Similar to Goodreads, LibraryThing helps you manage your book lists. It also connects you to people who have similar book interests. You may choose to keep your lists private or display your libraries. Either way, this site helps keep you organized. It not only helps you curate your books, but also catalogs your movies and music as well.
If you find that you can’t commit to a title just yet, LibraryThing will give you information about the book you're are eyeing. Each time you add a book to your library, LibraryThing will display an image of the cover, the publication date, the ISBN, and the list of other editions - for starters. LibraryThing can also tell you where you can buy copies of that book online.
It lets you check out the recommendations from other users and peek into their libraries. Here’s how LibraryThing builds their book lovers community. When someone shares the same interests in books as you do, you can personally request a book recommendation or a review from them. Get all the information you need about what your next book conquest will be with related book suggestions and user reviews.
While LibraryThing is akin to a social media platform for curating books and sharing your thoughts, Booklikes functions as a blog platform for book lovers. Similar to Goodreads and LibraryThing, Booklikes also lets you discover new titles by leading you to “book blogs”. You can also create shelves and organize your books into titles or reading status. Similarly, you can read and share reviews, post quotes, and post photos of your favorite authors.
One feature of Booklikes that none of the other sites mentioned have is the ability to create your own timeline. You can see when you've finished a book, add your favorite quote, and mark it as a milestone. This is especially useful to see what you have been reading at a particular time in your life.
Just like the first two, ReadGeek is also a social network for book lovers. ReadGeek is focused mainly on finding the next book for you. Algorithms are at work here, so you have to first rate the books you've read in order for ReadGeek to get to know your preferences. ReadGeek gives you recommendations based on your book tastes and lets you see what other members liked. It also lets you create a wishlist of books you’ve been dying to read and shows you where you can get them online.
One neat feature of ReadGeek is the rating flexibility. ReadGeek has a 10-star rating system that gives you more range in rating books than most book rating systems, which are usually just 5 stars.
What Should I Read Next
What Should I Read Next is a site that generates recommendations based on your favorite titles or authors. It's pretty straightforward. You type in the title or author of a book you've read and What Should I Read Next will generate a list of titles for you to explore. It’s fun to discover what other titles are available under your favorite genre.
There are a lot of sites devoted to book lovers and there are millions of members on these sites. Explore them! And don't let anybody tell you that nobody reads books anymore or that books are dead.
I previously mentioned some ways to thin out your book collection. When you have too many books and too little space, you might consider parting with them by either donating, selling, or sharing. For book lovers who want to go the donation route, there are charities that take used books and distribute them to beneficiaries that will appreciate your donation. Among these charities are Books for Soldiers, Books Through Bars, and Books To Prisoners. The booklist on their websites lists the most requested books so that you get an idea of what to donate, and you can make sure that the book you once loved will continue to help someone else.
If you just want to share your books with the local community, I have previously suggested setting up a Little Free Library where you and a few other book lovers can pool together your pre-loved books, house them in an accessible mini library, and share them with your local community.
I have also mentioned using online markets for selling your old books. The old faithfuls like eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon are the most popular bets for selling old books, as college students frequently scour these sites for reference material. Here are a few more suggestions on where to sell your old books.
Try Abe, Barnes and Noble, eCampus, Powells, Valore Books or Textbooks.com. These sites will fetch you a good price for your used books but have a few rigid conditions that should be followed. All six can pay you through Paypal. Make sure you have a PayPal account setup if you want to take this route. Some will cut you a check and some will give you store credit. If you make sure that the books you send are in good condition, selling them on these sites won’t be a problem. Books that have rips, tears, highlighting, or taped pages will get rejected. It is worth noting that Abe sends rejected books back but Powell does not.
If you're feeling charitable, here are a few more suggestions on where you can donate your used, pre-loved books. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and the Reading Tree all accept used book donations. Check out their websites so that you can see where the local drop-off centers are located. This way, you won’t have to handle shipping or incur mailing costs, and you can benefit your local charity chapter.
Community centers and high school libraries are also some of the places that are in great need of books. If you have old classics, those could greatly benefit the high schools who need multiple copies of our favorite classic stories. Titles like Little Women, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Scarlet Letter, The Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, 1984, and Animal Farm are on every librarian's wishlist.
You might want to claim a tax deduction for charitable contributions so make sure that you get a receipt for your book donations. Make an itemized list of all the books you've donated and what condition they're in. This serves two purposes; you keep an inventory of your donations, and the list might come in handy during a tax audit.
Lastly, you can also do a fundraiser event where you and volunteers can set up a book drive to collect books and sell them at a book fair or a charity event. Be clear about what the proceeds will go towards. You'll find that a lot of people are willing to support a good cause.
Good luck with your library spring cleaning. Hopefully, you find one of these suggestions on what to do with your extra books helpful. Give your well loved books a new home and clear out some space for other items that will be new sources of joy in your life.
Do you like crossword puzzles? Using a free online tool, I created one for Just Friends (Johnson Family Book 3). So, how well do you remember the story? Give it a whirl.
1) Click the link and print the puzzle.
2) Fill in the answers.
3) The answer key is on the last page.
Once you're finished, come back and let me know how you did. Have fun!
Some of us have too much stuff. We think we want it, but in reality we don’t need so much. It starts out as an innocuous collection and like all things that start out harmlessly, stuff begins to pile up. Before you know it, it takes over your life.
Book lovers are notorious for having too many books. A big part of a book lover's life is spent collecting, or to an extreme sense, hoarding books and lugging them around as we move from house to house, city to city. If, like me, you're a book lover and have accumulated a huge number of books over the years, I have a few tips to spring clean your library and give your well-loved books a new home.
It will be very hard to part with your books. Believe me, I had to do it and it wasn't easy. I suggest you have a long hard think about which ones you want to give up. Start with the two copies of Harry Potter The Sorcerer’s Stone. Do you really need both the paperback and the hardbound edition? What you decide to part with is up to you, but think about these spring cleaning tips as a chance to share your favorite books with others who have the same passion for reading as you do.
Donate your books
Give the gift of education. A lot of libraries accept used book donations. Go to your favorite local library and ask about their book donation program. I donated a couple of boxes to Goodwill, so check them out, as well. Going local saves on shipping costs and benefits local families and charities. You would be doing your community a favor by sharing reading material. Kids would love your old Archie comic books and adults would love your Sidney Sheldon novels.
If you don’t mind the shipping cost of mailing your books, you can send them to extremely cool charities that share your reading advocacy. A good place to start is Books for Soldiers. Check out the soldiers' book request lists and see if you can find a match in your library. You can send not only books but also CDs and DVDs as a care package to troops overseas.
Other charities that you can send your old books to are Books for Africa, Books Through Bars, and Books To Prisoners. The Books Through Bars website lists the most requested reading material. Some inmates are very interested in higher education, and so it might be a great idea to donate your old textbooks to them. Other most requested books are Bibles and other spiritual guides, dictionaries, and Spanish books. If you're considering this option, make sure that your donations are paperback books, as hardbound books are not allowed inside prison facilities.
Sell your books
Speaking of textbooks, cull your overflowing book collection and make some extra money by selling your old textbooks on online markets such as eBay, Craigslist, or Amazon. College students looking to cut down on costs scour those sites for copies of reference materials and useful guides that they can buy for a fraction of the original price. I personally sold my books to Half Price Books and made a few extra dollars.
Share your books
Another way to share your old books is to set up a Little Free Library. The Little Free Library is a volunteer community-run library, usually housed in a small cabinet or structure that keeps the books safe from the elements. Neighbors and locals can pass by the Little Free Library, check out the titles on display, and get the books they want to read.
Do you have suggestions for other places where we can donate, sell, or share our extra books? Tell me in the comments below.
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A box set of the Johnson Family series (books 1-3)
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