Burning books...

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by barbarake, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    Seriously - does anyone know if it's ok to burn books in a woodburning stove??

    (Theoretically) I sell books online. :rolleyes: I've been going through my inventory weeding out all the ones where the prices have dropped too low. Unfortunately, that's a lot of books (probably 1,000 or so by the time I'm through). Both hardcovers and paperbacks.

    Yes, I'll be giving quite a few to the library for their sales. (I've given them 10 boxes of books in the last three months.) But there are still lots left.

    So - can I burn them or would they produce too much creosite (sp??) and mess up the chimney pipe??
     
  2. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I strongly encourage donating or givin away any book not saleable, but if you do burn, there should be no problems. I burn lots of junk mail. Just get hot wood fire going and slowly add the books. Only hassle I have is the slick stuff is clay coated so burns slow and leaves lot ash.
     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Barbarake, I also sell books online and have been cleaning the stuff out over the past few months.

    But I haven't burned any --- yet. Although that's coming. I've been filling boxes and bags with them, and plan to do a burn outside with all the branches and woody stuff around here.

    Otherwise, books which are still *okay* but unsellable online, I've given to thrift stores --- I have to do a lot of driving around, so I cruise thrift shops to see if they even carry books and I sort the books so I don't end up giving them a mess of unsellable, useless stuff. They already have too much of that. :)
     
  4. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    Any bulk amounts of paper burns slowly and produces mucho ash. That implies also producing cool tarry smoke. None of this is necessarily bad, but you need to know what to expect.

    If you have a forced draught, fan-blown heater or stove it shouldn't be a problem at all, and you could disregard the rest of this post.

    If you could break the paper (newspaper, books, whatever) up it would burn better, but then you'd be faced with frequently feeding scoops of paper shreds into your stove. Again, not bad if you know what to expect. When I say break up, I'm thinking something like whizzing in a hammer-mill for a few seconds - not reducing to dust, but thoroughly chopping. Alternatively, if you've got a power guillotine, using that to cut it into 1½" strips. Once you've done that, you'd have another option - using it as mulch or composting it.
     
  5. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    hey before burning them why don't you post a list in the for sale forum. never know. :)
     
  6. Montana Mom

    Montana Mom Well-Known Member

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    I'd sure save them till you needed to burn for heat so they went to some use instead of just ash.
     
  7. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    I dispose of unsellable paperbacks by processing them through the worm beds. They make excellent bedding and produce a higher grade compost.
     
  8. tammy from wv

    tammy from wv Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, why don't you list them for sale on the Barter Board? At least that way you might get some of your money back out of them.I know I am always looking for cheap reading material.
     
  9. RAC

    RAC Guest

    If you have a Freecycle in your area that would save you some postage.

    Or, turn them into those little booksafes (where they hollow out the center). I'm sure there are directions on how to do that somewhere online.
     
  10. BeeFree

    BeeFree Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I do not know if your area has a recycle place or not, but in my area they bring a trailer in a couple times a month and you can put your plastic, aluminum, paper, and glass in it. They then take it and recycle it.

    Some people use books for crafts. Have you tried selling them in a grouping for that?

    If I was going to burn books, I would get a 50 gal metal barrel and slowly burn as time allowed. Of course, you may live in a city and may not be able to do that. If you have an outside furnace they burn books great, also.
     
  11. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

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    If you do a search online, you can find old rollers. They are used to roll old newspapers and magazines into tight rolls. Then you can burn them like logs. If you have the time, you can break down a book and roll it up. They will burn a lot longer that way.
     
  12. I would be real careful of what I put in a catalitic wood stove. Probably not there.

    Regular ol' barrel stove free draft, or forced draft, wood stoves it should work out just fine. You will want wood along in there as the solid books burn kinda odd almost insulating their middles from burning, and as others say it will make a lot of ash - but heat is heat, might as well use it & not waste it on an outdoor fire.

    --->Paul
     
  13. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    please, you know, a lot of people would still like some of them , place em on the barter board, i know i would find some cash for shipping, and wouldnt hesitate if there were titles i was interested in .....

    is there a used book store around you ? in my area, i have one that will give me 1/3 of cover value in cash for used books, or 1/2 cover in store credit ....

    buring is a waste,
    recycling for mulch is good ...
    do you have a paper shreddeer, shred and use in your compost pile, or dress around plants to keep weeds down
     
  14. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    I just hate the idea of burning books! :waa: I really think that if you would post them on the Barter board someone would be willing to buy them or trade for something that would be more beneficial to you than burning them. I might even make an offer myself, even if I was not particularly interested in them, just to see them not burned. Do you have any used bookstores in your area? I'm sure some of them would be willing to take them off your hands at a price that would be worth more than whatever small amount of heat that they would generate.
     
  15. If you do decide to burn them in your stove, rip them apart at the spine into several sections. I've tried burning paperbacks in my wood stove and it's really quite messy. They don't leave what you'd call a 'normal' ash, but a loose, shreddy, fluttery residue that easily floats out into the room when the door is opened.
     
  16. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    That answers my question,thanks Shrek
    BooBoo
     
  17. barbarake

    barbarake Well-Known Member

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    Hi all - Thanks for all the suggestions. I understand those people who are against the very idea of burning books - I used to be the same way.

    I love books. Have about 800-900 in my personal collection. But - with the advent of the internet and selling sites like Amazon and ebay - book prices have plunged dramatically. Many books are literally worth pennies (or a penny) - at least that's what sellers are selling them for.

    I give many to the library. And to thrift stores. Maybe I'll put some on the barter board. I already have a 'booksafe' :D And I do have one of those things that rolls newspapers into 'logs' (of course, I have no idea where it is exactly - it's in one of the storage boxes right now). I might try that...

    There's only one used bookstore left in the area and she's barely hanging on. Actually, she has a 'real' job - this is just a hobby for her - she'll freely admit that she doesn't make any money at it. I've given her lots of books too.

    The whole situation is really a shame.
     
  18. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Some of the older inks had/have toxic chemicals in them.
     
  19. kentuckyhippie

    kentuckyhippie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Please post some of the titles and give us a chance at them. You might also offer some of them to the nursing homes or hospitals in your area. They never have enough for their residents to read. Also, some jails will take paperbacks for use in encouraging the inmates to read and try to improve their education. Better reading skills for better jobs so they don't commit crimes and go back to jail.
     
  20. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Barbarake, if you go to the discussion groups at Amazon, you'll find lots of sellers talking about this --- there's also booksellers' lists, where *penny sellers* are a very hot topic! :)

    The trick seems to be to specialize --- that is, common books (best sellers, etc) are the ones selling for 99 cents and less. Online sellings with rare or less common books, or more specialized ones are doing pretty much okay. I don't have time to really pursue bookselling like I did a couple of years ago, but I do sell enough to cover costs of gas :rolleyes: --- I also turn over DVDs fast as lightning for a very good price.

    Brick and mortar stores everywhere, however, are doing badly.

    In any case, if you're wanting to pursue bookselling as a kind of ancillary income (which is what I do), it would certainly be worth your time to browse the Amazon forums and bookseller lists.