Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2016 Issue

A Clever Use for Some Unwanted Old Books

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There has to be a better way.

What do you do with those old books no one wants that are taking up space on your shelves or in your attic? Here is a use for a few of them, for which we are indebted to the Toronto Star. It won't help much if you have a lot of them, but still we need to recognize a clever use for a few.

 

The idea is to take a couple of old books and make them into bookends. My immediate reaction was that if books were steady enough to be bookends, why would you need bookends in the first place? What gives? Here is the trick. All it takes is a pair of simple metal bookends and a lot of glue. Make sure you have a glue that will adhere to metal. The Star recommends a glue gun.

 

First, apply some glue to the inside covers. Then seal them to the inside pages. You may want to add some more glue to various inside pages throughout so they are less likely to separate. Don't plan on reading this book again. If sealing the inside pages, make sure that the pages in the middle are still free to open as you will need to be able to open the book to the middle.

 

Next, open the book to the middle and insert the vertical part of the bookend. Apply glue to the vertical part of the bookend (both sides) and close the book. Finally, lay the book down flat and put a weight on it. Allow plenty of time for the glue to dry. That's it. Now you can keep your books standing upright without any visible bookends, because some old books have become bookends.

 

That still leaves the question of what to do with the rest of your old books. If they are of little or no value, find a library book sale, a pick up box for one of those large penny book sellers, or anyone else who takes book donations. They will find homes for those that still have some use and will dispose of the rest. If that doesn't work, recycle or discard them yourself. It may be psychologically hard to discard books, but like everything else, sometimes they effectively wear out, or at least, wear out their welcome. It is better to reduce the world's supply of unwanted books than to have books become a burden. Once they are more of a burden than a joy, it is time for them to move on.

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