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Academic common room

What do we do with hundreds of academic books?

23 replies

Whattodowithallthebooks · 18/08/2022 14:13

Hi, I'm not an academic so I hope you don't mind me invading your common room. My Dad was a (semi retired) professor and as you can imagine had a rather large collection of academic books and journals. What on earth do we do with them all? Oh wise academic nest of vipers? They're not the kind of thing you can take to a charity shop and there are about 10 books cases full of them. Is there anywhere I can sell them or donate them?

OP posts:
LuftBalloons · 18/08/2022 17:25

Sadly, I think the journals should probably go into the recycling.

Academic books though - you may find your local Oxfam will take them, especially if you father lived in a university town. Or there are specialist sellers. You might find something via AbeBooks.

Creepymanonagoatfarm · 18/08/2022 17:26

Garage /drive sale?

Timeforabiscuit · 18/08/2022 17:28

So the charity shop near me actually sends them on to world of books on Amazon, dh had a whole collection of obscure poetry books and I'm happy they found a home!

I just checked with the shop beforehand about the amount of books and the best day to drop off.

EnigmaMachine · 18/08/2022 17:28

What subject area are they?

mdh2020 · 18/08/2022 18:05

Are you near a university? One has just taken all my BiLs books.

LuftBalloons · 18/08/2022 18:23

Just a word of caution - not all university libraries will take books even as donations, as they cost (staff resource time mainly) to catalogue etc. They may take rare or out-of-print books, but do enquire carefully & don't be offended if they won't take your offer.

Whattodowithallthebooks · 18/08/2022 18:44

EnigmaMachine · 18/08/2022 17:28

What subject area are they?

Education. Primary and secondary.

OP posts:
DelurkingAJ · 18/08/2022 18:47

My DDad sent an email to his faculty colleagues when he retired and they descended and took away shelves and shelves of law journals and textbooks. One legendarily arrived with his wife and two wheelbarrows! Could you try that?

Whattodowithallthebooks · 18/08/2022 18:49

Thanks everyone. I think some might be out of print. I agree journals can probably be thrown away but would prefer to donate or sell the books.

OP posts:
Angelofthenortheast · 18/08/2022 18:49

At my uni we use a donation service called Book Harvest whenever we have a professor retiring who isn't taking their books with them.

Book Harvest come and collect from our office once a year, they might collect directly from you?

Yeah, don't bother taking them to a uni library directly. They take too long to catalogue so most unis try and put donations off by having you fill in all the details yourself for every book

canellini · 18/08/2022 18:56

Try his own old uni otherwise try to find a bookseller who will take the lot.

Puffalicious · 18/08/2022 19:06

We just loaded boxes and boxes of old textbooks into the school minibus and Oxfam took them all. We do have a specialist Oxfam bookshop in our city, though.

dribblewibble · 18/08/2022 19:16

Ask his old uni.

I'm sorry for your loss.

Melstarrynight · 18/08/2022 19:20

Oxfam would probably take them as they have specialist book shops.

XYZnn · 19/08/2022 10:52

Advertise them in eBay. My son has purchased old academic books for £25 instead of paying £400 for new ones on the same subject, so long as the subject is still valid you are OK. We have also purchased a lot in 2nd hand book shops.

aridapricot · 19/08/2022 10:57

I am always so sad when someone approaches us to donate the books of a deceased relative - even with what are excellent collections, the library won't take them because everything is all about the digital and "study spaces" now and they want to get rid of books rather than get more (no offence meant here to librarians, I know the pressures come from above).
Someone in my field died recently and the family circulated an excel list of all the books they owned - you only have to ask which ones you want but they ask that you pay for postage, which is entirely fair. This could be a way of making sure the books go to people who actually want them, although it is quite time consuming.
There are a couple of apps that let you sell your used books such as Ziffit. You can download the app and simply scan the barcode. With most books they won't take them or they will pay literally pennies, but sometimes it's a bit more so it could be worth it.

Augend23 · 19/08/2022 11:03

I wonder about somewhere like Heffers or Blackwells. The Heffers in Cambridge sells second hand books to students - there might be an equivalent in your university town? Or somewhere like world of books as suggested above might.take them as a bulk shipment?

LuftBalloons · 19/08/2022 11:41

Agree with @aridapricot 's advice. My department is often having t tactfully reject offers of deceased staff/alumni libraries ... We don't have the space (we're sharing offices already) nor the staff resource to look after collections.

I don't know any university which does, actually.

I'd be giving them to charity - Oxfam trains its volunteers in recognising valuable/antiquarian books so if there are some rare or valuable books, they won't be sold off too cheaply. The journals could be pulped for compost?

ghislaine · 20/08/2022 22:49

I don’t know about education but in my discipline there are a couple of organisations that take books to send to overseas universities. Even out of date textbooks are in demand, along with certain journals.

You could also try CARA - the Council for Refugee Academics. They are organising support for universities in Ukraine and it may be that a university whose library has been damaged may be interested.

Good luck, I always feel a pang when thinking about where my books might end up.

Whattodowithallthebooks · 21/08/2022 02:39

ghislaine · 20/08/2022 22:49

I don’t know about education but in my discipline there are a couple of organisations that take books to send to overseas universities. Even out of date textbooks are in demand, along with certain journals.

You could also try CARA - the Council for Refugee Academics. They are organising support for universities in Ukraine and it may be that a university whose library has been damaged may be interested.

Good luck, I always feel a pang when thinking about where my books might end up.

Thanks, I've emailed Cara, Dad was also passionate about supporting refugees so he would love that.

OP posts:
alexdgr8 · 21/08/2022 02:49

there must be a way of donating to a developing country where resources are scarce.

sashh · 21/08/2022 04:34

alexdgr8 · 21/08/2022 02:49

there must be a way of donating to a developing country where resources are scarce.

Be careful with this, you don't want to dump books where they are not needed and pass the disposal problem on.

This has happened with medical 'donations' eg a developing country where a US company 'donated' medical equipment that was actually breast implants.

For books the country needs to be English speaking and the information needs to be up to date.

acfree123 · 21/08/2022 08:40

For books the country needs to be English speaking and the information needs to be up to date.

These are university level textbooks. In many countries libraries will include English language textbooks even at undergraduate level, where no translation to the local language exists. Graduate level (research) material is almost entirely in English and publication of research in international journals requires it to be written in English.

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