Free the caged books

By | November 29, 2015

It intrigues me, the pride infected picture of influential literate people before a wall of caged books. The literary ego wall so proudly displayed in the study or the living room. The proudly pose before the books they live by. They are their trophies they have earned. They must be displayed to erase any doubt people may have. There are books after books. They may have read all. The books that have a lot more life and potential to give reach their resting place – the collection cage. Its here they slowly grow old. Deprived of maintenance the edges first turn brown. Followed by the dark spots on the pages and the yellowing of the pages. Poor book slowly start turning old.

Doctors, Lawyers and many other professional are in the perpetual learning mode. New theories processes and learning’s get shared. They do need books to refer. Keeping such books that are referred is absolutely right. But, what about scores of books that feel neglected, Books where no one ever flipped any page and no one is expected to open them ever again. These books are caged in the impressive graveyard. Need to be liberated.


Why cage them when you can share them. Give them to people who may or may not be able to afford them. Why not share the books that you no longer need.

It is tough to find books from class Xth – XIIth or even Graduations. It is equally tough to find entrance exam guides that have served their purpose. Why are they not part of the knowledge vault in display? I know you do not have any further need of them and most likely they have been shared with friends or relatives who needed them.

Why not use the same filter other books. If you did, you will find it easy to give life to few of caged books. Do not resell, that is against the contractual pact you unknowingly entered with the author whenever you buy a book.

Share it. Let the person who wants it pick it up or pay for the delivery.

Write a personalise message to the new owners. Ask them to part of the chain. Request them to move books they no longer need. Ask him to un-cage the books from the burial ground in their house.

Now that you have created haunting empty space in your literacy ego wall, go ahead and order the new set of books you want to read. Or go ahead and ask friends if they would want to un-cage a book. Maybe you will inspire them.

I have been doing it for the last three year. In the first year it was emotionally draining. I had books that moved with me Delhi to Mumbai in 2004.  Mostly I did it with the ‘Give India Week’ or Diwali cleaning. But truly it can be done at any time.

Part of collection that I shared in October 2015

In the first two year I shared more than 180 books. I just took the books I planned to un-cage to office. I allowed colleagues to pick what they wanted. It included Stephen King collection, Desmond Bagley set and Ayan Rand. Prized processions. The act gave me a different kind of satisfaction. This year I posted picture of the 40 books I had to release on Facebook and in flat one hour they were claimed. Someone picking them office library, some requested me to send a specific book. I sent best volumes of National Geography to a resort in Himalayas where I expect them to be referred more.

Even Chetan Bhagat found readers who wanted the set

It is logical that books you refer or treasure should be kept with you. The books that you can share and are worth reading should be given out. Sharing even Chetan Bhagat’s novels is ok, someone somewhere really may appreciate it in his world.

Come to think of it, you could be triggering a chain reaction and suddenly we may have more people reading books. There is no better teacher than the books you read.

Move on, share the books, un-cage them from their graveyard.


This article was first published in Marketing Buzzar.