These promotions are all run by indie authors via BookFunnel. They’re by far one of the best ways to get out the word about my books without breaking my tiny marketing bank.
However, to participate in these group promos, I have to maintain a good BookFunnel reputation…and you can help with that.
Every time you come back to this post and explore what’s on offer in these bundles, you help boost my reputation. It costs you nothing to browse the bundles below, but provides a big boost that allows me to continue to promote my work in a beneficial and affordable way.
Work at a funeral home can be mundane. Until you start accidentally bringing the dead back to life.
If you like contemporary fantasy with snarky humor, unforgettable characters, piles of pastries, and a little paranormal mystery, you’ll find it hard to pry yourself away from the Cassie Black Trilogy…a fish-out-of-water tale that takes you from the streets of Portland to the Tower of London.
Release date: 23 February 2021
A Couple Early Delights for The Undead Mr. Tenpenny…
Selected as one of Apple’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021
Winner of the Novel Excerpt Prize from the League of American PEN Women
Finalist in the Yeah You Write! Novel Contest
Cassie Black works at a funeral home. She’s used to all manner of dead bodies. What she’s not used to is them waking up. Which they seem to be doing on a disturbingly regular basis lately.
Just when Cassie believes she has the problem under control, the recently-deceased Busby Tenpenny insists he’s been murdered and claims Cassie might be responsible thanks to a wicked brand of magic she’sbeen exposed to. The only way for Cassie to get her life back to normal is to tame her magic and uncover Mr. Tenpenny’s true killer.
Simple right? Of course not. Because while Cassie works on getting her newly-acquired magic sorted, she’s blowing up kitchens, angering an entire magical community, and discovering her past is more closely tied to Busby Tenpenny than she could have ever imagined.
Happy Braille Literacy Month, everyone! We almost missed out on the celebrations, but The Book Owl discovered this important holiday just in time. In this episode discover what workshop accidents and Napoleon have to do with the history of one of the most intriguing forms of reading and writing.
Hey everyone, this is Tammie Painter and you’re listening to the Book Owl Podcast, the podcast where I entertain your inner book nerd with tales of quirky books and literary lore.
So this time around we’re looking at a special type of reading. Or rather, we’re not going to look at it, we’re going to get a feel for it. Because this type of reading isn’t done with the eyes. It’s not done with the ears. It’s done with the fingertips. And in some ways, we have Napoleon to thank for it.
Cheesy Sales Pitch
But before we jump into that I just have one quick reminder. If you’re listening to this episode on the day of its release, that would be 28 January 2021, or soon after, you have just a couple days left to grab the first box set of my historical fantasy series The Osteria Chronicles for a mere 99c.
This set includes The Trials of Hercules, The Voyage of Heroes, and The Maze of Minos and the sale ends on the 31st, so don’t dilly dally if you want to nab this deal. And of course, the links you need will be in the show notes.
Alright, onto the episode.
Intro, Part Two
So Happy Braille Literacy Month, everyone! That’s right, January is all about bringing awareness to this fascinating form of reading and writing. Why January? Well, because the creator of braille, Louis Braille (which I’m just going to say braille from now on so you don’t have to endure my horrible French) was born on 4 January 1809.
Oh, and if you really want to get your braille celebrations going, you should have also celebrated World Braille Day which took place earlier in the month on Louis’s birthday. What? You missed it? Well, just be sure to mark it on your calendar for next year because I think once you hear how braille came to be, and the struggle it took to get it adopted, you might have a little more appreciation for it.
Now before we get too far into this episode, I’m going to say I’m not really great on my politically correct terms for things, so I will be using the word “blind” when referring to people who can’t see well or can’t see at all. So forewarning if that sort of thing offends you.
Okay, let’s get into this dotty madness.
A Quick Bit About Braille
I’m sure most listeners have come across braille writing some time in their lives. Of course I’m a big old word nerd, so I’ve always been fascinated by it and can’t resist running my fingers over it when ever I find a plaque, or a directory, or some museum signage that has a braille option. I simply can’t fathom how a person’s fingers interpret those dots into words, and when I can’t figure something out, it intrigues me even more.
But just in case you don’t have clue what braille is, it’s a block of raised dots that represent letters or groups of letters or sometimes entire words that are commonly used such as the, and, but, and that sort of thing.
The reader reads left to right, typically by running both index fingers over the dots. And each of these blocks consists of six dots that are arranged in two columns with three dots in each column, so imagine how the number six looks on dice. The letter or letter grouping then depends on which dots in that block are raised and which aren’t.
And braille isn’t its own language, its more of a translation. Which means it basically takes the letters and words of say English or French or German and transcribes them into these blocks of dots that can be read with your English, French, or German fingertips
And just because I was curious, I looked up the reading speed of braille reading versus eyeball reading and the average eyeball reader reads about 200 words a minute. Braille readers average about 125 words a minute, but some can reach speeds of 200 words a minute. Which again, blows my mind that your fingers can read that quickly.
But while all that’s interesting, the story of how braille came about is far more interesting. And it’s also where we come back to Napoleon.
Getting Dotty with Napoleon
So back in the early 1800s this little Corsican guy named Napoleon had made himself ruler of France. France is a pretty darn big country, but he wanted to expand his empire so he was going around starting fights with his neighbors. You know the type, right?
Well, Napoleon wanted to maintain the element of surprise, so he wanted his soldiers to be able to communicate at night so they could plan their maneuvers and be kept alert of any trouble from the enemy.
Trouble was, the enemies were no idiots. They were keeping an eye on Napoleon’s men. When a French soldier received a note, he’d light a lamp to see what it said and then, blam! The enemy sharpshooters would see the light, shoot in that direction, and well let’s just say it’s hard to follow orders or plan an attack when you die trying to read those orders or attack plans.
And here I picture Napoleon having a bit of a temper tantrum, kind of like the Napoleon character in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure when he’s bowling and he’s like Merde! Merde! Merde!. Luckily, unlike the Bill & Ted Napoleon, the real life Napoleon had Charles Babier working for him.
Babier came up with a system of what he called night writing. This consisted of a 12-dot block with raised dots to correspond to each letter or phonetic sound. And I think the 12 dots were in two columns, I can’t recall.
It kind of worked, but it was slow going because people’s fingertips just couldn’t feel all the dots at once. Imagine as you’re reading, scanning a word, then having to go back over each letter one by one to understand what that word is and you’ll start to understand why Babier’s system worked, but was a painfully slow way to read more than just a quick missive.
But let’s pop over to another area of France.
You’ll Put Your Eye Out, Kid
Louis Braille was born in Coupvray, France, on 4 January 1809. And a little warning for anyone who is squeamish, you might want to fast forward about 30 seconds.
Louis’s dad was a leatherworker and little Louis liked to hang out with papa in his workshop, and he even likes to try his own hand at working the leather.
One day when Louis is about three or four, papa isn’t paying attention as Louis is trying to use an awl to poke a hole in a scrap of leather. And Louis is getting into it, he’s down close and really scrutinizing his efforts. Well, the awl slips and pierces Louis in the eye. Yeah, I know. Cringe!!
A doctor is called, the wound is bound, but infection sets in and ends up spreading to his good eye, so he ends up blind in both eyes. And I bet Louis’s mom had a thing or two to say to Louis’s dad about child minding.
So back then it would have been easy to write Louis off as being an invalid who won’t amount to anything, But hoorah for mom because she treats Louis as if he’s no different than her other kids. And Louis thrives in the environment she creates for him. He becomes known for being a good pupil and for being exceptionally bright, so he ends up winning a scholarship to the Royal Institute for Blind Youth. And I think this is when he was about 9 or 10 years old.
An Understanding Teacher
At the Royal Institute was an instructor named Valentin Hauy, who also founded the school. Hauy wasn’t blind, but he did understand the need to get his students reading. He came up with a system where he basically kept your same 26 Latin letters and raised them on the page using heavy paper that was embossed with the letters. The kids could read the books, but it was a slow way to read.
Also, to create just one of these books was really time-consuming and expensive and the books themselves were fragile and pretty damn huge just to fit all the test in. As such, the school only had three of them, but Louis read these books over and over. And another problem with hay’s system was, to make the books required these specialized copper dohickies to emboss the letters onto the paper, so it wasn’t convenient to get the students writing.
The Hauy system was flawed, but is did prove that touch could be used to read long passages of text, not just quick notes. He referred to it as “talking to the fingers with the language of the eye.”
Hauy, although his system wasn’t the greatest, was really a superstar for his students, especially gifted ones like Louis. Hauy even cut out leather templates of the letters of the alphabet. Louis would then take these and trace around them to write letters home every week. Which, wow, that’s some dedication to writing to your mom and I bet she really appreciated it.
A Fortuitous Visit
And it’s at the Royal Institute where Louis and Charles Babier’s stories come together. See, in 1821 or possibly 1820 — my sources were a bit unclear on exactly which because one said Louis was 11, which would be 1820, others say Babier showed up in 1821. Either way, Babier shows up at the Royal Institute to show off his night writing thingamajig, thinking it might be handy for the students, even though it was a clumsy system to use.
Louis, who had already been tinkering with his own system of writing for the blind, immediately recognizes the possibilities of Babier’s system and pinpointed the problems such as it being too complex for the human finger and that each block should represent a letter or group of letters, not a phonetic sound.
Louis sets about to working on how to perfect the dotty writing and in only a few years has cobbled out a functional way of writing and reading for the blind. And it really did work, as is evidenced by its still being used today. And just to show off, Louis also worked out a musical notation system for the blind. You know, in his spare time.
And I have to include this quote form Louis because it really does show off The Book Owl’s own belief in the important of reading and writing.
“Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge, and that is vitally important for us if we [the blind] are not to go on being despised or patronized by condescending sighted people. We do not need pity, nor do we need to be reminded we are vulnerable. We must be treated as equals – and communication is the way this can be brought about.”
By 1833, Louis has moved on from being a student at the Royal Institute to being a teacher there, instructing students in geometry, algebra, and history, while also playing the cello and the organ in churches across France. And you would think his system of writing and reading would have been snatched up and adopted by the Royal Institute without question.
See, Hauy died in 1822 and his successor seemed to have the stereotypically French stubbornness against any type of change. He refused to alter any aspect of how the school operated, its course material, and most definitely not how its students would read and write. In fact, this guy was so stubborn, he actually fired another teacher, not Louis, for having a history book translated into braille. Sheesh!
But even though the school refused to adopt it, braille was spreading across France and by the 1880s would be embraced by much of the world.
Unfortunately, although brilliant and talented, Louis wasn’t terribly healthy. When he was 40, he’d already been suffering an illness, possibly tuberculosis, for over a decade, and he had to retire. And in 1852, when he was only 43, he died.
And still by this point, his system wasn’t being used at the Royal Institute. Finally, the students revolted and demanded Louis’s system be incorporated into the curriculum and voila!
And before we jump into some stats about braille today, Louis’s childhood home in Coupvray is now an official historic building that houses the Braille Museum. I’ll have a link in the show notes that has some information about it, if you want to check it out.
There’s also a large monument in his home town honoring him, and in 1953 on the 100th anniversary of his death Louis’s body was given the honor of being moved to the Pantheon in Paris. But, and I don’t know if this is touching or creepy, as a symbolic gesture, they left his hands buried in Coupvray. Yeah, make of that what you will.
So What About Braille Today
Well, I won’t go into all the details, but there has been a long progression of braille typewriters, with the first one being invented in 1892. But the style that really stuck around was developed in 1951 by David Abraham who was a woodworking teacher at the Perkins School for the Blind. It became known as the Perkins Brailler and it was so well-designed that the only real changes to this style of braille writing machine was to make it quieter and more portable.
Because of these writers, braille is more accessible than ever and you’d think it would be widely taught and used and all that. Well, unfortunately, funding for schools means braille is being taught less and less and braille literacy is plummeting, which is really sad because it is such a cool form of writing, and who knows, with as bad as my eyes are, I may need it one day.
So here’s the stats about all this. In 1960 about half of legally blind kids could read braille. And these numbers are for the US. In 2015, that number fell to only 9 percent. And some of this, as I mentioned has to do with schools no longer teaching braille, or teaching it far less. But there’s also the advent of screen readers and text-to-speech technology.
But some of it also has to do with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which pretty much shut down schools for the blind and said the blind students should be educated in public schools, again, without providing extra resources or funding for that move or giving the students the specialized reading skills they might find handy.
The problem with braille illiteracy is, just like any illiteracy, we see a direct correlation between braille literacy and employment rates among blind people. Even though blind people can read paper or screen text with text-to-speech software, people who only read this way have a high rate of unemployment compared to those who read braille as well. Basically, if you’re blind and you’re braille illiterate, you’re statistically far more likely to be unemployed than a blind person who can read braille.
And of course, as with people who aren’t blind, this unemployment then trickles down to overall health and well-being, and is just no good for anyone. And for those of you who get the book owl podcast newsletter, I’ll toss the actual numbers in your bonus content this time around.
So with that go celebrate these last few days of Braille Literacy Month full of the knowledge that reading is super important but so is teaching people to read in the way that’s going to give them the best jump on life.
And speaking of reading, it’s time for updates. I know, weird transition. The Undead Mr Tenpenny is now in the hands of a fair number of early reviewers. And let me just say I am nervous! I’m literally having nightmares about this. Which is really crazy because if you asked me six months ago about this book I would have gone on and on about how much I loved it, how fun I thought it was, how much I thought it was going to be one of my best sellers.
Now, after the last couple of my own read throughs, doubts finally nabbed hold. And they are not letting go! I feel like the writing is just rambling and makes no sense. I feel like all the effort I put in to setting a few things up in this first book, which don’t get explained until the second book, are going to leave readers confused and annoyed, and I’m just a basket case over the whole story, my writing style, and arghhh! And now I have to sit back and wait for the book to get torn apart by these early reviewers…I need wine. Lots of wine.
Okay my book loving friends, that’s it for this dotty episode. If you enjoyed the show, I’d love it if you shared it with just one other person. Have a great couple weeks, and I will hoot at you next time.
The book owl podcast is a production of daisy dog media, copyright 2021, all rights reserved. The theme music was composed by Kevin Macleod. Audio processing by Auphonic.com
Do you love a quiz? Do you love books? Well, then today is your lucky day!
This week over on The Book Club Mom’s blog, Book Club mom herself shared a quiz that tests just how well-read a book nerd you really are. It was a fun time waster and I encourage you to take it if you’re in the mood for some bookish procrastination.
Of course, this is only one person’s interpretation of what it means to be well-read. After all, some books of the books in the quiz aren’t exactly high-quality literature (50 Shades of Grey? Twilight? Really?).
I also found strikingly few examples of non-fiction and genre fiction…after all, being well-read doesn’t have to mean reading gobs of classic lit and literary fiction.
And as someone who reads across all genres (except westerns and romance) and who reads at least a book a week, I was surprised to only score 22%.
Hey everyone, this is Tammie Painter and you’re listening to the Book Owl Podcast, the podcast where I entertain your inner book nerd with tales of quirky books and literary lore.
Introduction, Part One
It’s a Sunday night in early October. The skies are dark, but also dry. In the past four months it’s only rained half the normal amount, and this drought has been going on for the past year.
A fireman rests, barely able to move from exhaustion. There’d been a raging fire the night before that took eighteen hours to put out. In the past week alone, twenty-four other fires have been dealt with. The fireman, his crew, and the horses who pull the steam-powered water engines are out of energy.
And then an alarm sounds. Another fire has ignited. But there’s no information coming of which direction to head. The delay would seal the fate of Chicago.
Introduction, Part Two
Well, that’s quit an ominous start to the podcast, isn’t it. And you’re probably wondering what in the world does the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 have to do with books. Especially since it happened in October. Where’s the books, where’s some sort of January event?
Don’t worry, if I weave this tale just right, it’ll all come around to books and to January. Or at least I hope so.
Before we jump into the episode, another big dose of gratitude goes to Jonny Pongratz for sharing several episodes of the podcast over on the Jaunts & Haunts blog. He’s also been plowing through my historical fantasy series Domna and posting some very favorable reviews for it on his blog. If you want to check out the blog and learn about Jonny’s fiction writing, I’ve dropped the link to his site in the show notes.
And just one quick reminder that this show is supported by you. So, please do check out the very inexpensive ways you can keep the episodes coming by heading to that Support the Owl link in the show notes.
Okay, cue the Billy Joel music, because it’s time to start a fire. No wait, Billy Joel said we didn’t start the fire. Well, that’s why this isn’t The Music Owl Podcast.
Come on, Baby, Light My Fire
So the fire that would become known as the Great Chicago Fire started on the 8th of October, 1871. It was a Sunday night about 8:00, and like I said, fires had been popping up all over the place for the past week in Chicago. But this particular fire got the upper hand.
Part of that was because the fire crews were completely done in. And this is saying a lot because at the time, with over 180 firemen, Chicago had one of the best fire departments in the US. But the firemen weren’t entirely to blame, it was mainly how the fire alarm system worked.
See, there were these fire call boxes scattered around the city. But your average Chicago Joe wasn’t allowed to access them. Instead only “upstanding” men of business or politics or society were given keys to the boxes. And the upstanding citizen in charge of the box nearest ground zero for the fire didn’t think he needed to send up the alarm.
Rather than pull the alarm, he got into a big old Karen-esque bickering session with the people telling him to sound the alarm. See, people don’t change.
Another part of the city’s fire defense system were watchtowers. I don’t know if the watchman was reading a book, dreaming about a special someone, or just taking a nap, but by the time the fires were spotted they had already gotten out of control, which was why they didn’t know what direction to tell the fires crews to head.
And, just as legend tells us, the fire did start at or near the O’Leary barn. The cow was blamed, but really sentiment toward the Irish was so disparaging in Chicago at the time that it became too easy to blame Irish immigrants for the destruction and so Kate O’Leary pretty much ended up living her life in disgrace after the fire.
And as a little side note, no one is really sure how the fire started in that barn, but in 1997, the Chicago City Council officially pardoned Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. Better late than never, I guess.
A Rough Couple Days
Anyway, Chicago isn’t known as the Windy City for nothing. And the wind was blowing that night. Combine that with a city made mostly of wood plus a year-long drought and anything a wind-whipped ember touched was bound to go up in flames.
People began trying to flee the city and many took refuge by bodies of water, but even there, the ground became too hot to bear, so rather than by the water, people headed into the water. The fire was so bad, it was described as moving in sheets of flame that reached 1000 feet wide and 100 feet tall. I mean, you couldn’t even roast marshmallows with fire that bad.
Then, as if things aren’t bad enough, the fire reaches the gasworks building. Boom! More fire and the power went out. Then at three in the morning, the damn fire is so bad it ignites the waterworks station. The waterworks building, people. That’s some serious fire. This wiped out the pumps and cut off the water supply.
Rainy Relief Arrives
Things are not looking good for Chicago. Just like in forest wildfires, attempts were made to create firebreaks, but not by cutting down trees. They did it by blowing up buildings.
Nice try, but it didn’t work. The fire just kept on coming.
Finally, in the very early hours of Tuesday, rain started pouring. It finally put out the fires but by then an area 4 miles by 1 mile had been burned. 300 people died, over 17000 buildings were destroyed, and 70 miles of streets were left in ruins.
Worse yet for book lovers the Cobb’s Library lost 5000 books in the fire, and the Chicago Library Association lost a whopping 2 to 3 million books. Tragedy. Pure tragedy. I’ll give you a moment to grieve over that.
Okay, moving on…and no, that wasn’t the only book part of the episode.
What This Has to Do with Books
So obviously we know that Chicago rebuilt, and they rebuilt the city, not on rock and roll, but by using innovative designs and building materials — namely fireproof materials. But you don’t care about that. You’re probably still wondering what in the fiery bowels of Hades this has to do with books.
Well, we need to head over to London for a minute. See, across the pond word came in about the destruction, and a man named A.H. Burgess wanted to help out because he not only was a nice guy, but he also happened to like the city of Chicago. With the support of a member of Parliament and author by the name of Thomas Hughes, Burgess began a project called the English Book Donation. Yes, this is the book part!
They ended up gathering over 8000 books from people including some pretty high-ranking folks such as Benjamin Disraeli, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Queen Victoria herself. When Burgess sent the books over he included a statement that went,
“I propose that England should present a Free Library to Chicago, to remain there as a mark of sympathy now, and a keepsake and a token of true brotherly kindness forever…”
Books with No Home
The problem with this brotherly kindness was Chicago had no actual library system.
Now I hear you saying, “But wait a minute, you just mentioned two libraries that lost millions of books.” You’re right, I did.
But those libraries were not free and open to the public. They were subscription, or members-only libraries and that really was the only type of library available in Chicago at the time.
But Burgess’s donation sparked a fire under the people of Chicago. Wait, there’s probably a better way to phrase that. It gave them the gumption to petition for a free library system that would be open to the public.
This petitioning eventually worked its way up the system to become the Illinois Library Act of 1872 that authorized tax-supported libraries throughout the state.
Unfortunately, this is government and it would take until 1873 for the first public library to actually open in Chicago.
A Library Opens!
And that library opened on the 1st of January 1873. I told you this episode had a January element to it. But the best part of this library was that it was started with about half the books donated because of the fire and was housed in an old water tank. And if you’re on the Book Owl Podcast mailing list, you’ll get a photo of that water tank library in the email that will go out with this episode. It really is a remarkable looking place.
But although clever and good looking, the tank wasn’t all that big and it wasn’t convenient for everyone in the growing city to get to. The trouble was, the city wasn’t building new libraries hadn’t over fist.
Instead, book depositories were created in existing businesses such as candy stores and drug stores, which I think is absolutely appropriate because books are definitely as addictive as candy and drugs. Anyway, how this worked was you’d put in a request to the main library and your stuff would be delivered by horse-drawn cart to the outpost nearest your home and then you’d go pick up your book. And people must have loved this system because over two-thirds of the Chicago Library’s circulation chem through these little outposts.
And just to wrap up, the city did eventually get a purpose-built library and let me just say, this was when they knew how to build a library. This thing had a domed ceiling, a grand staircase, and glass lamps designed by Tiffany’s. Swanky!
Books, Not Bells
So all this got me thinking about donations and what other libraries might have been started with donations. Of course, my own local library was started with the donations of both books and an entire house from Florence Ledding, but then I discovered the first public library in the US was started with book donations. And the story is kind of funny because that’s not what was asked for.
So this town in Pennsylvania named itself Franklin in a sort of, shall we say, butt kissing attempt to attract Ben Franklin’s attention. It did and he asked what he could do for the city. The city says, “Well we would just love a church bell to ding dong people into Sunday service.”
Ben Franklin, a possible atheist or at least agnostic, said, “Great, here’s a pile of books instead.” The town council decided not to complain and voted to lend the books to its citizens free of charge. And so, in 1790, what would become known as the Franklin Public Library opened.
And then, stupid me, I complete forgot about all the Carnegie libraries. Say what you will about him, but Andrew Carnegie loved books and he had a ton of money. The money he donated founded over 2500 libraries that were built between 1883 and 1929. And these things are everywhere. Most are in the US, but you’ll also find them in the UK, Ireland, Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, and more.
Got Extra Books??
And if your New Year’s Resolution is to clean up some of your bookshelves, there’s plenty of places you can donate them beside Goodwill. You may not have enough to found your own library, but if you want to check out a few places that would love your books and will put them to good use, you can find a link to a post on the blog about that very thing.
Okay that is it for fires, for Ben Franklin, and for book donations. And that means it’s update time
Update – It’s Release Day!!!
The big update is that this past Tuesday, 12 January, was release day for the second box set of my historical fantasy series The Osteria Chronicles. This set includes books four through six plus a ton of bonus material to really bring you into this world where the myths of Ancient Greece come to life as you’ve never seen them before.
The series has just gotten all new covers that I think really show off the stories and the tone perfectly. And as a little promo push to lure you guys into the books, I’ve priced the first box set, that’s books one through three, to 99c for the month of January. The normal price is $5.99, so this is a pretty stellar deal if you want to give the series a try.
Plus, if you purchase that box set from my Payhip Bookstore, you’ll get a 15% discount on the second boxset. So go pop over to that link in the show notes and venture into a world where myths come to life as you’ve never seen them before. No, really, go to the link now. Show’s over. What are you waiting for?
Okay my book loving friends, that really is it for this episode. If you enjoyed the show, I’d love it if you shared it with just one other person. Have a great couple weeks, and I will hoot at you next time.
The book owl podcast is a production of daisy dog media, copyright 2021, all rights reserved. The theme music was composed by Kevin Macleod.
Ooh, I hope I didn’t scare you with that post title. Don’t worry, there aren’t monsters lurking behind your bookshelves waiting for you to fall asleep so they can steal your collection.
That would be scarier than 2020!
No, what the post refers to are places that would love to have your book donations. Since the next episode of The Book Owl Podcast (coming to you 14 January) has a book-donation theme going on, I thought a post about where you can donate your own books would be fitting.
Plus, who knows, maybe your New Year’s Resolutions includes tidying up a few bookshelves that may have gotten overpopulated. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has that problem. Am I? Um…anyway…
Where to Donate Books (Besides Goodwill)
Your Local Library – Most libraries appreciate getting book donations. Even if they don’t add your books to the stacks, they might included your books in a book sale that will help support your library…which is a great way to earn karma brownie points!
Note: During these ‘rona times, some libraries have limited their intake of used books, check with yours to see before you start lugging boxes of books around.
A Little Free Library – You’re book nerds. You probably know what these are. But just in case you don’t, LFLs are homemade book houses that people put up along their front yard. The idea is for passersby to take a book and then maybe drop off a different book later on.
I am very guilty of making heavy use of these glorious little things over the past year as I’ve tried to whittle down my own book stash. Of course, I usually end up bringing home just as many books as I drop off. Oops…
Better World Books – This secondhand bookstore has drop boxes in several locations, saving you the trouble of packing up and shipping your donations (as a few of the others above require). Your books are then sold and the money is used to help fund kids’ reading programs, put toward libraries, or to fund adult literacy groups. You can learn more at BetterWorldBooks.com (and you can do some shopping there while you’re at it!)
Books for Soldiers – With the motto, “Care packages for the mind,” this terrific idea pairs up your reading tastes with a service member. Soldiers put in requests for books or genres they like. You then look over the requests and send in whatever you have that fits the bill. You can learn more at BooksforSoldiers.com
Operation Paperback – Similar to Books for Soldiers, this allows you to search for service members who want books. You can learn more at OperationPaperback.org
Books for Africa – This group has sent over 2 million books to 21 countries in Africa to help alleviate the continent’s “book famine.” I just love the idea of hungry readers gobbling up my old books. Learn more at BooksforAfrica.org
Books Through Bars – No, not drinking bars…prison bars. This organization delivers something like 3000 books a month to prisons in several states. Reading builds better people, so this is a great way to help society as a whole. Learn more at BooksThroughBars.org
There’s gobs more places to donate books, but I hope this gives you an idea of just a few of the many organizations who would love to take your books off your hands…you know, if you’re ready and willing to give them up. That’s a big “if” for us book nerds!
If you have other places to suggest, be sure to drop them in the comment box below.
Hoot at ya later!
Looking for new books that won’t take up shelf space?
It’s a great time to stock up on new stories. From 99c deals to box set binging, you’re sure to find something (or several somethings) you can’t resist!