Since I moved overseas for work and I knew it wasn’t going to be permanent. I also knew I wouldn’t stop reading and after my Nook stopped letting me download books (due to international copyright laws) I ended up buying physical copies. So what do I do with them?
Most of my books have gone to my first school. The school I went to had a lovely little library with an amazing librarian. I asked her, since the English section was quite small if she’d mind if I gave her the books I read when I finished them. The idea being they’d be for high level students, teachers who wanted to practice their English, the couple of native English speaking students we randomly had, other English teachers and the future people who came to take my spot. She agreed.
First I read the books I buy and determine if I’d find it appropriate for what is essentially an elementary school library. I know you’re not suppose to censor books and what not, but I know that the librarian’s English isn’t the best and I don’t want her ending up with a parent complaining over a book she hasn’t a clue about. So a lot of the books I first started buying were children’s books or easier books that I had never read before but was interested in that I felt my high level students could enjoy. Now I try to think of future English teachers and one of my old coworkers and think whether they would like it or not.
Now, if you’re living in Korea you might not have a school to give your books to when you’re done. Or if you do have a school they may not want them. My current school doesn’t have an interest in my books, even though the students are a higher level and could enjoy more of them. So, if I think the book is absolutely garbage or upsetting and would require a bit of a trigger warning that I don’t understand how to pull off, I give it to a friend that lives in Bundang. In Bundang on the second floor of a New Orleans restaurant is a leave one take one book shelf. The idea is that if you want a new book you can go look around and keep what you find or drop off any unwanted books. I’ve only done this with a few but there’s just some books I don’t feel comfortable with leaving at my old elementary school.
Another option is you can sell your books to an English speaking bookstore. There’s one in Itaewon that sometimes buys books or gives you credit in exchange, and the chain Aladdin does this too. But I haven’t done this. You can also check with expat swaps (clothing swaps usually) or book clubs if they do bookswaps. I’d suggest looking on facebook.