Wednesday 15 April 2015

Where do all the unwanted books go? Plundering pages without the guilt.

Hello hello.

My name is Julie ... and I cut up old books. And - better still - I don't feel guilty about it ...
I know some people do, and that's fine, that's what me and my shop is here for. [After all my tag line is 'I cut up the books ... so you don't have to'!!]

There's a few reasons I don't feel bad about it:
  1. I don't take a knife to precious, valuable editions :: I'm thrifty and crafty... not devoid of common sense!
  2. I rescue books from the ignominy of being left on the shelf [or worse still ... the damp cardboard box] and give them a new lease of life in my own art/craft and that of my customers :: just think of me as a fairy Godmother sending the dowdy and dusty Cinderellas of the book world to the ball!
  3. The majority of the time I'm donating to a charity while collecting interesting supplies.
Yesterday, on my 'With Julie Kirk' Facebook page I shared a story from The Guardian all about the world of selling second hand books because this quote had leapt out at me:

"Colin Stephens, founder and director of Sunrise Books in England, was thumbing through a charity shop’s bookshelf when the manager told him how much she’d come to hate used books. Every few days, she complained, she would have to load the trunk of her car with the shop’s excess donations and shuttle them to the landfill, in her own spare time and at her own expense."

I have no idea if this is standard practice and yet I'm equally unaware about what else could happen to all those unwanted books that are sent to charity shops which then remain unwanted!

I do know that Healthy Planet do their part by rescuing books destined for landfill and giving them away for free [if you're in the UK you can check their map to see if there's a Books for Free shop near you].

And surely if you got your hands on a rescued, free, book ... you wouldn't feel bad about using it in whatever creative way you fancied? Would you?

I stand by my argument that I'm doing the books [and the environment] a favour by reusing, re-purposing and re-loving these unwanted items.

Just think for a minute:

If you were an old book wouldn't you rather end up on a collage, a greeting card, a work of art ... rather than ending your days in the big papier-mâché pile underground?

I know I would.

Julie :-)

*Greeting card: hand made by me - using an original vintage advertising image.


  1. Great post! Lovely card! I definitely prefer seeing them on beautiful works of art! [The information in The Guardian article is incredible! Such huge numbers! And what a brave guy, with such a vision!]

  2. Yep, I am with you on this one - don't they call it 'upcycling' these days? Seems such a shame since we cut down all those trees to start with ... I love your plundered pages tagline :). That vintage-y chocolate and caramel card is a visual feast. (And can you tell I am hungry?).

  3. I so agree with you! When I cut up a book I just think about the fact that I've rescued it from lying unread forever. Books For Free looks great - wish I was closer to one! Great post <3

    Sophie | Dreams and Colour Schemes

  4. I totally agree and if you care to give me your address I have some very old - and according to the bookseller from Hay on Wye - worthless school books from the 1930s to the 1950s. Even If I was craftin for 8 hours a day 7 days a week I could never use them all in my lifetime, so just let me know and I will parcel them up

  5. Julie, your card is beautiful and like you, I have no problem in rescuing books and using them for art for myself and others to enjoy. Great post!

  6. Ooh, I've got some catalogues in my stash. Love the way you used them here.

  7. Well, you could, perhaps, lead people to believe that you're merely making photocopies of the pages that you're tearing into. In some way that isn't really lying:)

  8. As books move more and more to electronic, I have to believe that those remaining will become collectibles. I don't care what people do with them as long as they don't wind up in the landfill. Such a shame and downright disrespectful. I think finding a new way to repurpose those pages is the ultimate message that they matter!


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