The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Junk Boards as Mailing Protectors

If you have a sensitive constitution or are easily offended by violence against books please stop reading now.

I meant it.

Are you still here?

Okay. A while back I received a book packaged in the stripped-off boards of a junk title. I can't remember the inspired seller who sent it to me but it was a brilliant idea.

Booksellers end up with skads of hardcovers that are completely unsellable. If you donate them to a thrift shop you'll just have to look through them again. They burn gas to take them to the dump. And they have to be bundled separately from paper recyclables (if they can be recycled at all in your area).

However, as packing material they're a panacea. Book boards are denser and stronger than any piece of box cardboard. They come in a variety of sizes and by using them in this way you'll be fulfilling their destiny by protecting book contents that someone actually wants.

So after a recent cull I took a pile of beaten down books and skinned them like some necrobibliophilic Hannibal Lector (decorative endpapers, correctly yellowed blank pages, and bookplates/tickets should also be salvaged).

Now I use them to protect delicate pamphlets, magazines and vintage paperbacks. One caveat is that buyers may not realize their item is inside so you should mark the boards somehow. I'm going to make up an inkstamp to do this easily (and take advantage of another branding opp) but for now I just use a sharpie.

Horrified? Sickened? Appalled? You'll get over it fast. Just say a prayer to the great book spirit and kill them quick and clean.


John Klima said...

That's awesome! For my Shakespeare class in college, I bought the cheapest copy I could find in the bookstore and removed its guts. I then individually stapled all the plays together. That way, I only had to carry a slim stack of paper to class instead. My wife and one of her roommates also used the individual plays, so three students got use of one book.

And we all bought nice copies of the book for our shelves. :)

jgodsey said...

somehow i am less appalled at this reuse than i am at the 'art' created from them. i don't know why. i suppose it's the difference between skinning road kill and hunting for a wall trophy.

btw when i put all the salvaged pieces in my special cabinet, i call it a biblio-abattoir.