Today has been an interesting day already, and I’ve only been awake for two hours. As some of you already know, I’ve made the decision to sell some of my books. Money is hard to come by, and I have all these things that are still in boxes after I moved months ago, and that I probably won’t touch for a long time.
So last night I brought up the boxes of books I have from the basement into my dining room so I could put on that executioner’s hood and pull the guillotine. It was difficult. It really was.
I don’t think I’ve ever made a more difficult decision in my life. Even choosing where to go to college was easier to do than this. Some of these books have been with my for over a decade (and they all look to be in perfect condition, mind you). They’re more than just books to me. They’ve been a comfort blanket when I needed them. They were a cruise liner anywhere when I needed adventure. They were an escape from the dreary small town life I had throughout my childhood. They were like my friends.
I’ve sold CDs, and DVDs, and games before. That felt like nothing. Granted, there are a few of each that I will hold onto, but the ones I didn’t want to hold onto I didn’t feel bad about getting rid of. Books feel different to me. They always have.
Recently I torrented a book. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to afford the physical novel, but I still wanted the story so I illegally downloaded the eBook that had been released. I felt so incredibly dirty after doing that. It was a book after all. We weren’t supposed to be able to do that. It wasn’t right. I felt so horrible that I moved around money and purchased the physical book immediately after downloading it. Books still feel sacred to me. Its an interesting feeling that other forms of media don’t seem to have.
So I got up this morning and hauled my friends off to a local Half Price Books. My heart fluttered a little bit. I was honestly nervous. When I got there, I carried them to the counter that flaunted a big “Sell Your Books Here” sign. It was almost as if it actually read “Sell Your Books Here Because We Know You Need the Money More than You Need Them” and I just about turned around and left then. I was scared.
They smiled and opened the boxes, telling me that they would call me over the intercom in about 20 minutes when they were ready. I decided I’d go around and look at the store. I wanted to see all of the friends that other people had brought in.
The shelves were lined with books full of various wear and tear, and I could tell how often some had been read. Others had very subtle damage and I could tell how carefully they’d been read. Many were loved, and even more appeared to be treasured. Every one of these had a story beneath the binding, one greater than that which the author intended. They were all special to someone at one time, and they ended up here.
I started looking for the books that I’d turned in. I wanted to see if they had any copies of them on the shelf. If they did, maybe I could guess what they would buy it off me for. If they didn’t, maybe that would up the price. Of course, being the good little Nerdfigther that I am, I looked for any of John Green books on the shelves. I wasn’t selling my copies, I was just curious if others might have. As it would turn out, there were none and that concept pleased me.
Soon, my name was called. I started walking down the aisles, taking one last look at the books on the shelves. Every single one of these books were irreplaceable and worth more than I could fathom putting a price on. Part of me secretly hoped that the person would approach me and say, “Ted, we’re sorry but it is obvious how much you love these books by the way you’ve treated them. We can’t put a price on them and think that you should keep them.”
Instead, what I heard was, “We’d like to make you an offer of twenty dollars.”
To say I felt disappointed is an understatement. I felt devastated. I couldn’t imagine putting a price on these books. These friends of mine. However, it was the nice lady’s job to do so, and that is what she deemed appropriate.
I smiled and took my cash and receipt before making the trek home again. This $20 could make all the difference this month. And I like to think that my friends would be proud to help provide that for me.
All I can do now is hope they find a wonderful new home in the hands of someone who will love them too.