If Books Are Trash, Is Nothing Sacred?

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CoriSCapnSkip

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2015
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Not posting this on Facebook, but thought it might prove of interest elsewhere. Today while passing behind the local thrift store I saw its industrial-sized dumpster overflowing mostly with books. Those on top appeared to be mostly trashy paperbacks--if I'd seen any I wanted I would have grabbed them. I didn't have my phone at the time to take a picture, so ran some errands and came back with my phone. To my shock the dumpster was completely empty! A lady parked nearby saw me looking and asked what the issue was. I told her I was planning to take a picture of the dumpster full of books to post as an example of the decline and fall of culture. (I wasn't going to mention the store's or town's name but of course on Facebook everyone from this town would know where the picture was taken.) She said that would have hurt the store which has enough trouble as it is.

I asked if the trash collectors got the books, and if this was their usual pickup time. She said yes they got them and no this wasn't their usual time--they made a special trip and the store had to pay for it! I said that seemed a shame considering the recycling bins take books for free. She said she had no one to take them there if so and would have been glad to recruit me. Of course it would have taken hours to haul that volume of books, and they definitely wouldn't have all fit in the recycling bin nearest the store which was stuffed nearly full, and I doubt would have fit in both bins if taken there separately. (The town has only two such bins that I know of.) She said the books had been there six months and were taking up valuable space which could be occupied by items the store could sell for profit. What say all here?
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
61,289
239,271
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Not posting this on Facebook, but thought it might prove of interest elsewhere. Today while passing behind the local thrift store I saw its industrial-sized dumpster overflowing mostly with books. Those on top appeared to be mostly trashy paperbacks--if I'd seen any I wanted I would have grabbed them. I didn't have my phone at the time to take a picture, so ran some errands and came back with my phone. To my shock the dumpster was completely empty! A lady parked nearby saw me looking and asked what the issue was. I told her I was planning to take a picture of the dumpster full of books to post as an example of the decline and fall of culture. (I wasn't going to mention the store's or town's name but of course on Facebook everyone from this town would know where the picture was taken.) She said that would have hurt the store which has enough trouble as it is.

I asked if the trash collectors got the books, and if this was their usual pickup time. She said yes they got them and no this wasn't their usual time--they made a special trip and the store had to pay for it! I said that seemed a shame considering the recycling bins take books for free. She said she had no one to take them there if so and would have been glad to recruit me. Of course it would have taken hours to haul that volume of books, and they definitely wouldn't have all fit in the recycling bin nearest the store which was stuffed nearly full, and I doubt would have fit in both bins if taken there separately. (The town has only two such bins that I know of.) She said the books had been there six months and were taking up valuable space which could be occupied by items the store could sell for profit. What say all here?
I guess it depends on the condition of the books

If the books were actually in a dumpster for six months they would most likely be worthless due to rain etc. Books can get pretty moldy and disgusting if not protected properly

If the books were in the store for six months they might be worth recycling at least - paper and cardboard could be reused.

Perhaps you should ask the store owners where the books ended up? (rather than what a lady parked nearby had to say?)
 

HollyGolightly

Well-Known Member
Sep 6, 2013
9,660
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Heart of the South
I wonder if they were "strips". I worked in a book store and when the mass market paperbacks had reached their shelf life - we had to strip them and throw them away - in taped up boxes so no one could take them - to prevent resale. If someone had given the thrift store a bunch of strips, they are legally bound to throw them away.
 

Debbie913

Well-Known Member
May 27, 2011
6,563
18,409
Colorado
Books are not trash to me. I have a really hard time getting rid of books...any books. To throw them away is painful!! They could have put a table out front with a sign...Free Books!...if they couldn't sell them. I'm sure if they had taken the time to look, they most likely could have found a place to donate them.
 

skimom2

Just moseyin' through...
Oct 9, 2013
15,683
92,168
USA
I wonder if they were "strips". I worked in a book store and when the mass market paperbacks had reached their shelf life - we had to strip them and throw them away - in taped up boxes so no one could take them - to prevent resale. If someone had given the thrift store a bunch of strips, they are legally bound to throw them away.
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Exactly, Ms. Holly! Except we didn't box them to throw them out, we just tossed them in the garbage. Seemed like a horrible waste, but there you are. If they publisher gets the cover back, they can take the whole book as a loss (in the assumption that the book has been destroyed). Donations are a whole other accounting/tax issue. That's what it comes down to.
 

skimom2

Just moseyin' through...
Oct 9, 2013
15,683
92,168
USA
View attachment 17647
Exactly, Ms. Holly! Except we didn't box them to throw them out, we just tossed them in the garbage. Seemed like a horrible waste, but there you are. If they publisher gets the cover back, they can take the whole book as a loss (in the assumption that the book has been destroyed). Donations are a whole other accounting/tax issue. That's what it comes down to.
Darn thing wouldn't let me edit (lol)
These don't sound like strips, though, just overstock. As much has I love books and hate to see them mistreated, I do get the business mindset: they need the space to sell stuff to pay their bills. Books are ink on paper--they only have as much value as we ascribe to them, which often isn't much in our paper-rich society (I often think of Roland when thinking about stuff like this).

Since it bothers you, you could call your local recycler, CoriSCapnSkip , and see what value they ascribe to the books. Perhaps they will arrange to pick up the excess books next time.
 

mjs9153

Peripherally known member..
Nov 21, 2014
3,494
22,165
Like it or not,books will be eventually be gone someday,all will be on ereaders,computers,etc..it will take some time,but eventually..when is the last time you saw a corded phone hanging on a wall,or even a payphone,for that matter?Technology will be doing away with a lot of the stuff we used to take for granted..
 

carrie's younger brother

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2012
5,428
25,651
NJ
The woman is running a business. If she exhausted all other means to get rid of the books and this was her last resort, so be it. It is so easy for us to judge something like this from the outside looking in, but as a former business owner and someone who has worked in the retail field, this was more than likely a bottom-line decision that unfortunately had to be made.

Edit: Hopefully the books were taken to be recycled and while not serving their original purpose, will wind up with a "new life."
 

arista

First time caller long time listener
Jul 10, 2006
12,360
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Indiana, USA
Could she have donated the books to local thrift store or organization that needs books? I do know that some businesses have a clause with publishers that the books can not be donated, but must be destroyed.
 

TheRedQueen

And Crazy Housewife
Dec 3, 2014
1,346
8,164
32
Fernley, NV.
Like it or not,books will be eventually be gone someday,all will be on ereaders,computers,etc..it will take some time,but eventually..when is the last time you saw a corded phone hanging on a wall,or even a payphone,for that matter?Technology will be doing away with a lot of the stuff we used to take for granted..


I hate that this is true. I love books, real books, and an e reader just doesn't cut it. There is nothing more satisfying to me than looking at my bookshelves and seeing them full of books. Hard bound, paperback, old books, new books; I love them all.

And imagine historians thousands of years from now, after our society has crumbled once again and everything goes back a few steps. They won't have a damned thing to record about us from about 2000 on...we'll be a dead space, just like the Dark Ages. It'll be as though these generations never existed, if technology takes over.

How comforting.
 

CoriSCapnSkip

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2015
1,735
7,765
57
Wow, lots of responses and opinions! I will attempt to address all questions and concerns in one post.

--The place is a thrift store (charity shop).

--The lady was the manager, not some random person parked nearby. She was polite, but extremely defensive. I suppose they refuse some things, but people dump boxes of items (and worse) behind the store during off hours despite signs saying not to. There is a good reason for the signs: a certain local character living near the store is known to raid donations and sell them at his own yard sales. He has a cover story claiming the stuff comes from a thrift store owned by a relative out of state, who lets him have items which haven't sold after a certain amount of time, but those in the know, know better. I heard things. The other reason not to leave things during off hours is people dump the most horrible broken furniture and the store has to pay a special dump fee for anything that won't fit in the dumpster.

--The books were on shelves (at least) six months, not in a dumpster! The city, county, or whoever does these things, contracted with a great trash collection service, and nothing in one of their bins sits more than a week. That is why I was very surprised the book dump was a special pickup, as Monday is in fact the regular pickup day, at least in my neighborhood. The thrift store has an oversized bin as opposed to household-sized, and it was overflowing full.

--The manager did have a special hardcover shelf marked as free prominently at the front of the store for a long time. I checked it regularly, but the only time I saw a volume I would have taken a guy had already picked it up. (It was a book I read on audiobook, but I like to have hard copies of everything I have read and everything I seriously intend to read. Books I have read are approaching the 1,300 mark, and of course I have 3-5 intended to read for every one I have read. This is beginning to pose an issue.)

--For a long time the local library had a free section in the front. I would pick up books there, take them home, clean and repair, take them to three different used bookstores in the next town over (two of which are miraculously still in business) and if all rejected them for trade value, then to a thrift store in that town (which, that is both the town and the store, are larger and more likely to move the books). Now, I barely have time to repair good books I picked up as gifts! Last Christmas I prepared (cleaned, repaired, wrapped, and delivered) 40 to Sunday School children, working up to 10:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, which I was able to do only by being near-immobilized with a broken leg, and still didn't get to everyone! So, if I can't deal with books I have here, in short I'm not taking on others, unless paid to do so.

--Some things the thrift store feels they can't sell they put straight in the dumpster and have already had complaints over this. Much of the stuff is technically usable, but needs work no one is willing to put in, so is just trashed. This is the first time I'd seen a lot of good-condition fiction books tossed, though, (NONE of the ones I saw were stripped!) so considered it worth a picture whereas I wouldn't have photographed the other stuff. Things sitting on the back step, presumably left after the trash collectors came, included an old printer, the manager offered me free, of course I wouldn't take it, having just given away two or three myself, for which I was lucky to find a taker!

--As for Recycling, even if I could do it, yes it would hurt me to put good usable books in a recycling bin! I did take one, one of those Reader's Digest condensed collections, as it had been left after the trash collectors left, the store can't sell them, I don't read them, so I took it to the bin to affirm the bin does indeed accept books, and once there went ahead and put it in--and THAT was hard enough for me! The only place nearby which takes and pays a small amount for bulk paper, you would have to drive 30 miles to reach--and I may have to do this yet, as I have so many magazines--but not taking books! In town, as I said, are only two bins, and when I went to the nearest one to put in the book, it was overflowing--that dumpster full would never have fit in! (Neither, for that matter, would all my magazines.) The dumpster goes straight to landfill--no reduce, reuse, recycle.
 

staropeace

Richard Bachman's love child
Nov 28, 2006
15,210
48,848
Alberta,Canada
I do not see this as a problem. It is not like they are valued first editions or anything. Tearing the front cover of a paperback is a common thing for most drugstores etc. There is so much paper....not like back in the Victorian age or something. The story is the important thing.
 

Arcadevere

Gentle Lady From Brady Hartsfield Defense Squad
Mar 3, 2016
793
3,689
Manila, Philippines
steamcommunity.com
I see this as a kind of immediate action if you are an owner of thrift store and some books are totally worn out that they need to be donated (but i hope she donated it, not throw it in garbage :( )

If my books were in worse condition, i will do immediate action. It's either
1. Fix them (this would do when i love the book so much it hurts me when i lost it)
2. Donate them in a paper warehoues where they could be recycled as new papers

I do not want to see someone throwing books. I have an attitude of throwing books. But i throw it across the room when the scene became so intense then it turned up "eh" but i never throw books to garbage bin.

But my books are my trash, but instead of negative trash, i treat them as my treasured and my beloved kind of trash :') just like my Description to myself in my facebook and to my game bio : "Your Ultimate Brady Hartsfield Trash :')"
 
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Arcadevere

Gentle Lady From Brady Hartsfield Defense Squad
Mar 3, 2016
793
3,689
Manila, Philippines
steamcommunity.com
Like it or not,books will be eventually be gone someday,all will be on ereaders,computers,etc..it will take some time,but eventually..when is the last time you saw a corded phone hanging on a wall,or even a payphone,for that matter?Technology will be doing away with a lot of the stuff we used to take for granted..
This is true, and it makes me so sad. But i trust books more than E-books when it comes to aesthetic purpose and viewing purpose (for me, who wears glasses) Take the book and e-book version of "Wonders of the Universe". I have an e-book to it but when i see the book at my school library. I feel like i want to have the book itself because of how beautiful the pages were when you open it