Monday, July 1, 2013

Old Books and Contributor Copies

So, here's my pressing question for all of you who have been paid in contributor copies.  How long do you keep them?

I've been keeping 1 copy of each, or at least that was my plan.  But now I wonder if I should keep them at all.

You might say, "Why keep them?  Aren't they online?"  Well, no, not all of them.  Do any of them have historic value?  I doubt it, although many of the journals have ceased publication.  They might be mildly interesting to future scholars, but I doubt it.

No, my larger issue is why to keep them at all.  Once, it gave me pleasure to see them sitting on the shelf.  But now I'm moving to a smaller house, and I have less room.  I'm casting a critical eye on everything, and much of it will not be coming to the new house.

Once, before I had many publications, I thought I would go back periodically to look at my work published in journals.  I do not do that.  Once a year or two, I double-check a date on the list that I keep of every poem published.

Once, before I had many publications, I wondered if I would need to present the publications as proof.  I thought about jobs I might have that might want to see my publications.  I thought about job applications.  So far, no one has ever asked me to bring in the physical journals.

I will probably load them all into a box, label the box, and stash it--where?  My office at school makes the most sense--at least until June 2014, when we are moving to new offices.

Now, onto the next question:  what to do with antique-esque books?  They're not old enough to be truly valuable.  They don't all have sentimental value.  It's mildly interesting to see my grandfather's anthology of
British Literature that he used when he was an undergrad--but should I keep it for another few decades?  And then what will happen to it?

And then, there are the antique-esque books that I've just picked up along the way.  I can't remember where they're from, but I can't quite bring myself to throw them away.

I wrote to my friend who does interesting book-art kind of things with old books.  If she'll take them, I'll mail them.

Yes, I was once appalled at the idea of destroying old books for an art project.  Now, it seems a better fate than the landfill.  Many of the books I have aren't even valuable as books anymore--the information is outdated and often wrong.  Maybe they can have a second life, a more long-lasting life, as part of an art project.

No comments: