Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Have You Donated Any Books Lately?
Throughout the year I make various donations to different charities. I often donate books to the library, clothes to Salvation Army, household items to a woman’s shelter, and furniture to an organization that helps the underprivileged. But without exception I conclude every year with a big carload of stuff to a charity.
I went to Goodwill on the next-to-last-day of the year. Toys, clothes, books, and two old big-butt TVs went from my car to the local charity. It was booming there. In the ten minutes I spent unloading stuff, at least a half-dozen people came in to donate. We all try to do the right thing, but a tax-deduction doesn’t hurt either.
It’s amazing how much stuff gets recycled through charities or secondary markets. How will this happen with ebooks?
If you read an ebook it doesn’t go anywhere afterwards. With print books, you can share them with friends, family, schools or libraries. Or donate them. I enjoy handing over books to Goodwill, knowing that others will learn and get pleasure from them as I did. Ebooks seem temporary or individualized, not able to live beyond the device you downloaded them to.
As more things become more digital – books, games, entertainment – how will we share them with others less fortunate? You used to take your board game and donate it. Or your VHS tape or DVD or CD. You still can – but many things only exist in the clouds. I guess you can donate a device, but they have a short shelf life, soon to become outdated if not unusable. Plus the devices cost money to run – data packages or subscription fees.
In an era where we give gift cards but not actual gifts, and one in which we talk by texting, and one in which we dine side by side with a device, it’s not surprising that we have less and less to hand down or give to others. Our lives exist in a box – literally.
Maybe the best gift is to give of your time to help another, or to give money so the recipient can best apply it to what’s needed. Since everything is cheap and available digitally 24/7, the next generation won’t really need to donate its information or entertainment. But I wish that there will always be a way for us to donate not just things but the very objects that stimulate our thoughts and inspire us. My books are everything to me and for those who only read digitally, how will you be able to give the books back to the community?
In any event, always help charities in any capacity possible.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015