Not too long ago, Angry Robot came out with an omnibus edition of my Knights of Breton Court trilogy. (And this thing is beast! I can stop muggers with this brick of a book. In fact, I’m thinking about writing them off my taxes somehow as a security expense). They shipped my batch of complimentary copies and after using them like Legos for a while (if you’ve never played in a book fort…You. Haven’t. Lived!), I realized I had a quandary.
I had accumulated about 50-100 copies or so of the individual editions of my trilogy. Copies I’d purchased or received for book signings and such, suddenly were orphaned (because I wasn’t going to tow them around in addition to the omnibus). Remaindered books are just a part of the writer’s life. Eventually you reach the end of your shelf life and then somewhere there is a garage full of books on your hands. So here’s what I ended up doing with them: donated them.
I have a friend who’s in prison who I’ve been corresponding with for over two decades now. When my books first came out, I sent him copies of them. He loved them and passed them around the cell block, which also proved to be a big hit. That gave me the inspiration to donate the rest of my books to those who are incarcerated. I chose the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project.
One, I love their mission: The Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project is an all-volunteer effort that strives to encourage self-education among prisoners in the United States. By providing free reading materials upon request, we hope to promote rehabilitation and reintegration rather than punishment, and to stimulate critical thinking behind bars. Two, this can be seen as self-serving marketing: it’s not like a prisoner gets all three books, so if they like it, they’d have to order the omnibus to get the rest of the story!
In the thank you letter, they pointed this out: “Many of the facilities we send mail to restrict the kinds of books their inmates can receive. One of the more frequent mailing restrictions is “no hardcovers” followed closely by “no used books” – this second one is particularly troublesome as all of our books are donated to us. It was a special help, then, to get such a large number of books which were not only paperback, not only new, but also in the urban fantasy genre, which is one for which we have been receiving more and more requests.”
Seriously, it’s something for my fellow spec fic writers to consider as an option for your remaindered or extra books. RIP King Maker, King’s Justice, and King’s War. May you find good homes.