That Was the Sound of Mooching

Actually, that was the sound of me putting a lovely book I recently finished (J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country,) in an envelope and sending it to someone in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Some of you might recall that, a month ago, I tried to unload a plethora of stationery items on you. I managed to get Q to take some, because he is a kind man, and I still have a stack of file folders to send to the wonderful Dr. Gonzo. But beyond that, the reaction to this offer was a collective cry of, don’t you dare send me any more blank journals!

But someone has been thinking about this problem of what to do with our acquisitions. And they came up with Book Mooch. ( I found out about it from Diana at Diaphanous.) It’s very easy to use. The basic idea is that you enter the books you want to give away in a database. You get an email when someone wants one. You mail it to them. You get to mooch a book for every one you give away. The wonderful thing though is that you don’t ever have to get any books back if you don’t want to. I see the stack of books I want to find homes for literally disappearing before my eyes. I hope it works. I hope you go over there and look at my list. It’s very small right now, but I plan to add a few every few days.

One answer to the amount of stuff we acquire is not to acquire it. And I do that by visiting the library. But books seem to come to me despite the fact that I have cards to the libraries in two different counties. I love the idea that I can send the books I don’t need to keep to people who have decided they really want them. Jimmy Carter’s autobiography is a great example of this. I liked having it, and looking it over. But it’s big and takes up a lot of space and someone might need to read the entire thing. Maybe they will then be inspired to go and monitor elections somewhere (like Ohio). That’s the way things should work.

It took me moments to set up an account a few days ago. It is obviously free. (I am all over free things.) And then, I plucked ten books off one of the stacks on the floor in my office, entered their ISBNS (you can find the ISBN on the back of the book or on the page that has the copyright information). Beautiful little snapshots of my books appeared on my page of the site. Some of them are books I’ve read and really liked (Henning Mankell’s The Fifth Woman is there). Some of them are very specific books I doubt anyone will ever want to read. (In Other Words: The Science and Psychology of Second-Language Acquisition? Hey, it’s in perfect shape and it is a very interesting look at the many different ways people learn languages.)

I’m running out the door to go on a quick hike and mail A Month in the Country to Grand Rapids. I cannot think of two better things to be doing today.

Anemones, Free Anemones

No, this is not a post about a movement to free the oppressed Anemones; it’s an ode to Dover Books, the source of these anemones. And about a lagniappe of sorts.

To your right is a nice William Morris anemone pattern. It comes from Dover Books. It was free.

I like a lot of things about Dover Books. That they sell things that are reasonably priced and fun and low tech. And that their embrace of the internet has just led them to do more reasonable and fun things.

I’ve bought things from Dover Books before. The other day I was thinking about how nice it would be to have some clipart that might be used by children who would like to advertise (a) the world’s largest yardsale; (b) the best lemonade stand Ever; (c) a low cost dog walking service. (The BlogLily boys are as entrepreneurial as they are weapons crazy.)

And that’s when I discovered that, in addition to a huge catalog of interesting things, Dover will email you every week — for free – a selection of images you can use for projects such as the ones I’ve outlined above. That’s a pretty nice internet lagniappe. When I came across it I thought about how it’s not creepy or bad to offer something free like that: it’s a a terrific way to thank people for being customers and potential customers. The Bloglily boys are going to have to think about yardsale, and lemonade stand and dog walking lagniappes. They’re something that makes doing business with people a tiny bit nicer.

Oh, and one other thing. Dover Books has a huge series of paper doll books. Do you remember paper dolls? I loved them. I doubt there are many children who play with them anymore. But Dover keeps carrying them: a lot of them. Brides around the world, Fairies from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Napoleon and Josephine! Someday, a resurgence of interest in paper dolls will sweep the world and Dover will be there ready, with those paper dolls, for a reasonable price for a new generation of paper doll appreciators.