Critical Mass

What to Do With All Those Review Copies? Donate!

By Nicolle Elizabeth

This fall I had the peculiar predicament of moving homes. During the move, for a period of time, the majority of my effects were housed in storage. With me I carried the three books I am never without and a stack of reads for the fall. I found myself running back and forth to various small town libraries in New England asking for books sent from larger libraries and thinking about rare books and galleys and the like. During this time, it occurred to me that as a young, new critic, I rely entirely too heavily on referencing from previous works. While I maintain there is merit to that in the criticism process, I found myself thinking that my library should be larger in my own memory and lesser in my own possession. Upon unpacking, I decided it was time to begin the process of donating books more than usual. A part of what we do as critics is to share in the dialogue with writers and readers about literature. Why not do that in physical practice, too? While I agree with David Abrams' recent post on the NBCC blog about .pdf galleys having greater inclusion in the review process, it is safe to say this year books in hard copy format will also still be sent out from publishers to reviewers. This then got me thinking, we are nonprofit minded individuals who often donate many a galley a year. If every NBCC member were to continue in the process and donate two books this year, that would put 1200 plus books in the hands of readers. I wrote Jane about the thought and she directed me toward examples of non-profit bookstores which accept donations in the New York area. I’ve expanded a very short list below of some nonprofit bookstores across the country which I’m sure are near and dear to hearts already, not only for donations but for patronage and readings and various events.

In New England:

In New York:

In Baltimore:

In South Carolina:

In Ann Arbor:

In St. Louis:

In Portland:

In Seattle:

In Ohio:

In Oklahoma:

In Austin:

In Los Angeles:

In San Francisco:

In Anchorage:

In Honolulu:

Any other suggestions?

Nicolle Elizabeth contributes to Words Without Borders, The Brooklyn Rail, Fictionaut and other publications.