As my readers know, I love books. LOVE them. I had a library built to house them in my house. I still have boxes of them in the attic, even after filling all the shelves in my library. I use them as decorations, as furniture, as friends, as escape...I cannot fully express my love for books. Like, my list of my greatest loves in my life would do like this: my kids, my husband, and then tied for third would be my mom, grandmother, sister, and my books. Okay, maybe books would be fourth, but it would be close. ;)
I like to own my books, because I like to loan the ones that move me to other people - to set them free, as it were. However, I have come to realize that not only is this expensive, but it is not exactly green. There are many things about the publishing industry - paper, printing, distribution - that give me pause. I started trying to buy books used, but that's still expensive. Now, I try to take them out of the library, and then only buy them if I really feel that they are a necessary addition to my personal collection. Luckily, the reference librarians in town here are just lovely, and don't seem to mind tracking down obscure titles from libraries three states away. So far.
Anyway....I just came across a website for a company called Better World Books, and I am in love with them! They sell new and used books (with no shipping charge) and donate a portion of their proceeds to high-impact education and literacy organizations around the world, such as Books for Africa, Invisible Children, Room to Read and Worldfund. They sponsor book drives and collect used books, saving them from landfills and turning them into money for literacy projects. I love it!