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Elderly parents

Loads of books

79 replies

AInightingale · 25/09/2023 18:38

I couldn't think of anywhere else to post this, so apologies, it is not health or wellbeing related. My mum is downsizing and can only take a small bookcase of books with her. We have selected her favourites and those that mean a lot to her, but I really don't know what to do with the rest. I can't take more than a few. They are mostly quite old and I don't think charity shops would be interested in more than a few bundles of thrillers, etc. A lot of cookery books, encyclopaedias (70s vintage), old hardbacks from the 40s/50s, biographies of historical figures, a full set of those purple kings and queens books she bought from one of those book clubs years ago. The thought of binning books or throwing them on a skip is too harrowing. Any thoughts? I am in NI so the 'We Buy Books' website does not cover us.

OP posts:
Andante57 · 25/09/2023 18:41

I would also like advice on books as dh and I have decided to have a clear out. We’ve got so many including thrillers we won’t read again and various biographies we’ve got no interest in keeping.

YouHoooo · 25/09/2023 18:43

Freecycle in batches, and if you’re on a busy-ish road put them by the gate on dry days for anyone to take.

But realistically….recycle. Sorry. We had to recycle a lot of DGF’s books which was heartbreaking, but realistically no one wants 70s encyclopaedias.

MindfullyAmazedHorse · 25/09/2023 18:47

Do you have any charity shops locally that specialise in books? They’d take some of them off your hands.

You could also donate to Oxfam as I think they sell some books online.

it might be worth seeing if any of the hardbacks are being sold on eBay - some can be worth a surprising amount.

MadeinBelfast · 25/09/2023 18:47

You could contact Belfast Books on York Road. They sell second-hand books and might be interested in some of them.

MrsDanversGlidesAgain · 25/09/2023 18:52

Some local stations near me (outer London) want books for their waiting rooms. I have dropped a lot of books there and have a few more bags to go. It seems literally anything will find a reader

Sorry, just re-read post and seen you're in NI. Probably doesn't apply.

UsingChangeofName · 25/09/2023 18:57

YouHoooo · 25/09/2023 18:43

Freecycle in batches, and if you’re on a busy-ish road put them by the gate on dry days for anyone to take.

But realistically….recycle. Sorry. We had to recycle a lot of DGF’s books which was heartbreaking, but realistically no one wants 70s encyclopaedias.


Ragwort · 25/09/2023 18:58

I manage a charity shop and sadly a lot of the sort of books you describe are just not saleable ... we get loads of books donated and the typical 'Reader's Digest', old encyclopaedias, hard back fiction etc are just not popular. Cookery, gardening, home decor books etc go out of fashion very quickly. We get loads of donations from elderly folk who are down sizing and it's sad to think that most of the books end up being pulped. I know it's hard ... had to clear out my own DP's book collection recently.
Of course there's the odd chance that there's a vintage gem hidden in there somewhere... but it doesn't happen very often. It's a real skill knowing what sells and what doesn't .. my charity shop does do very well at selling books but you really have to know what to put out for sale & what to ditch.

Ragwort · 25/09/2023 19:01

Andante sadly biographies seem to be some of the hardest titles to sell ... I refuse to do a biography section in my charity book shop .. I can sell them occasionally if they are they are very up to date or topical but they are not at all poplular.

afaloren · 25/09/2023 19:02

When DM and I went through hers (retired English teacher so she had a house full) we did a combination of charity bookshops and advertising free bundles on the local Facebook page. Some did have to be chucked though, it was a shame but she was drowning in them.

123ZYX · 25/09/2023 19:03

Have you tried scanning them on things like Zapper and We Buy Books? You'll only get pennies at most, but they pay the postage

MrsApplepants · 25/09/2023 19:07

What are the books that sell well in charity shops out of interest?

Danikm151 · 25/09/2023 19:08

We donated some to a rehab place and the carehome my nan moved into. Also to a nearby community kitchen/foodbank
ask around. Sometimes they’ll bite your hand off for them

Ragwort · 25/09/2023 19:12

MrsApplepants - can only speak for my charity shop but contemporary fiction, crime & thrillers, classic literature and poetry, local interest & history (especially military history) all sell well.

CyberCritical · 25/09/2023 19:18

Secondhand book stores/market stores will take them off your hands. Probably won't pay much if anything for them but more likely to be happy about receiving lots of them than a charity shop would.

Nervarda · 25/09/2023 19:20

Do you have any before the tip style facebook groups in your area? Books tend to go well on those.

BaruFisher · 25/09/2023 19:23

Maybe contact local hospices/ old people’s homes/ school libraries?

mathanxiety · 25/09/2023 19:34

The cookbooks would be of interest.

Encyclopedias and book club books would probably not.

There are people who make decor and other stuff from old books, and stage/movie/TV prop rental businesses might be interested in the 1950s hardback books. I'd try selling those items.

AInightingale · 25/09/2023 20:06

Some good suggestions here.

There is also - and I am really sorry if this causes offence - a copy of Mein Kampf in booklet form, which was published in English in 1939, I think, with proceeds going to the Red Cross. Seemingly a lot of people in the UK bought them - this was pre war - and my grandparents had a set. I mean, not because they had dodgy sympathies or anything, but I think many people were curious, and I suppose they kept it because it was historic. Yes, it really DOES belong in a skip, but funnily enough appears to be collectable. I'd just be concerned about who would buy it, and why. What would you do with it?

OP posts:
helpfulperson · 25/09/2023 20:17

Unfortunately as many elderly are downsizing books that 10 years ago were worth serious money are now easily available and worth nothing. We had to dispose of many of my dad's technical books - we tried giving them to people but they all had their own copies!

I know it's a bit smoke and mirrors we used a house clearance firm and I didn’t ask too many questions.

PermanentTemporary · 25/09/2023 20:32

Im afraid I'm not sure you can even recycle them in your kerbside collection - check your local recycling guidelines.

I ended up putting a lot of my mum's books into the tip paper bank, which explicitly does take books. Paperbacks weren't meant to last forever.

Ragwort · 25/09/2023 20:33

The charity I work for has strict guidelines on what we can and cannot sell and no way would be allowed to accept Mein Kampf.

PermanentTemporary · 25/09/2023 20:36

Meon Kampf? I'd just chuck it. I'm not very keen on people collecting WWII memorabilia. Wouldn't lift a finger to stop them but I don't have to help them do it.

fiddlesticksandotherwords · 25/09/2023 20:38

We've just donated MIL's old books to a charity shop. I contacted them in advance and explained that some of them were vintage, going back to the 20's & 30's, and they said that they have people who research old titles and then put them on ebay. A lot of them were reference books, and they can be highly collectable if they are long out of print. Early editions of old novels can be worth a fair bit too, if they are in good condition.

Vermin · 25/09/2023 20:39

Mien kampf might be of use to a university history library. If not- burn the fucker

plumtreebroke · 25/09/2023 20:40

Look them up on ebay, some old books are worth money. Some old cook books are particularly sought after. Check them all before assuming they are worthless and dumping them. Even some old cookery advertising pamphlets/recipes are worth a few pounds.

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