Transfering your Book Collection to Digital

bookmoundsReading is one of my biggest hobbies and we have a collection of over 1,000 books! After lugging book boxes from Oklahoma to Missouri and Missouri to Oklahoma, I knew we needed to rethink this before the Big Move.

In about 3-4 years, the plan is to sell our current house of about 2700 sq. foot home (4 bed, 2.5 bath) to a much smaller home of less then 800 sq. ft. I will not have room for rows and rows of bookshelves (which we own 8 now) in the new house. And if we decide to travel, the collection can come with us anywhere.

If you are big reader, you owe it to yourself to start doing this too – it’s far too expensive to move over a physical collection into digital in one swoop. If you take your time, you can use sales, gift cards, and discounts to help you build back your collection.

Yes, it is irritating that you are buying full price for a book you already own. Yes, it is irritating that you have to re-invest this money. However, the reality is that as Egon said in Ghostbusters, “Print is dead.” Technology is moving forward to digital formats.

FIRST STEP: The first thing to do is assess your collections – books fall into some general groupings:

  • books I am reading now – they are in a hold area;
  • books I love and often re-read – I will keep these until they are replaced;
  • books I love/like that I re-read but not as often – depending on how often, I may just mark them on my list and go ahead and donate them away;
  • books that I read once and won’t read again – immediate donation pile;
  • books that are damaged or need to be replaced anyway – trash after putting them on my list;
  • books that are not available as an e-book – depending on how “favorite” they are I keep or donate;
  • and reference/coffee books that I will be keeping in hardback form as they serve their purpose best in that format

Go through your collection and determine what to keep and what to toss/sell/donate. I donated my books to the public library which is a tax break you can use during taxtime. Another option would be to turn them into a paperback trader but what are you going to do with all that credit? Buy more paperbacks? That is not moving to digital 🙂

Another option is to sell on Craigslist, at a Garage Sale, or if the books are valuable due to age or a niche market, on ebay. It just depends on how valuable your collection is and how much trouble you want to put into recouping some of your investment.

SECOND STEP: Hence at this stage, the best thing you can do is go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and start a wish list. My Wish List was titled “Old Fiction” which was to group it separate from New Fiction I was interested in buying but hadn’t read. Whatever you name your list know that it as your “replacement” list.

Not all books are available in a digital format. I have many that were published over 10 years ago that no one (publisher or author) has transferred to a digital format. With these books you will have to decide if you will keep and treasure or release.

THIRD STEP: We own a lot of books, and when we moved back to Oklahoma from Missouri, we started to transfer all the Agatha Christie mysteries onto an e-reader. You would think that these books wouldn’t cost much – after all Christie has been dead for decades – but they still sell for about $7+ on Kindle!

However, if you pay attention they often go on sale, so using my wish list of books to move onto Kindle – upon each paycheck, I allotted $20-$50 to buy whatever is on sale that is on the list. It took me about five months but at this time all the Agatha Christie mysteries that we once had in paperback (we had more than we decided to buy – sticking to our favorites) were bought on sales.

Amazon Prime members sometimes get special discounts or free books. In my experience, these are usually new authors, not older books.

Also, Amazon finally has put together an option to share accounts so if you are a couple, you can both (legally and easily) have access to each others books.

All you have to do is try out a tablet or e-reader to get hooked on the convenience of being able to read anything, at any time, with a built in light system for those late, under the cover, readings! They are awesome for those who travel or have to wait a lot (in doctor offices, appointments, bank etc…). Husband was devout he would not get rid of physical books… that was before I bought him a tablet. Now that he has seen the convenience for himself, he is gung ho on moving over to digital.

So it’s time to say goodbye to space wasters and hello, convenience! The amount of space saved and the convenience will be massive! I think once you buy into digital you won’t look back.