There are a lot of things in life that are hard to get rid of – emotional baggage, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends who won’t take no for an answer, boomerangs, etc. – but now, in Greensboro, another thing that can be added to that list is books.

For years, Beth David Synagogue in Greensboro has been accepting books for its used book sales. However, that popular book donation drop-off point – like so many donation points in this area – has vanished.

A large bin in the parking lot meant for book donations at the synagogue has been removed and a smaller bin has been closed shut with a sign saying not to leave books.

Likewise, a sign at the entrance of the synagogue instructs people not to leave books at the entrance and states that any left there will be “disposed of.”

In the past, the synagogue has actively requested donations, and several area churches and organizations have taken donations of used books as well.

But more and more, used books are unwanted. It doesn’t matter how nice the books are or what subjects they cover, or whether they’re fiction or non-fiction.  It’s been getting harder and harder to give the books away and now this popular donation option is gone.

Those places that do take old books have become a lot pickier – in some cases its by appointment only –  and they’ll only take select books off your hands.

Recently, one Greensboro man with a full set of leather-bound Encyclopedia Britannica in prime condition – which cost $1,500 in 1982 – posted the set on Craigslist for $125.  He gradually reduced the price each week until the set was being offered for $25.  When no one wanted the set at that point, he called the Guilford County jail and the Interactive Resource Center in Greensboro to see if they could use the set.  They could not.

The Goodwill Industries store on Lawndale Drive also did not want the set.

The man finally put the set the books out on the street in front of his house with a sign and the books did get picked up by a man who needed them for a14-year-old he was helping raise.

Goodwill Industries does take individual books and so does the Interactive Resources Center. (Jails generally have specific lists of titles they would like to receive.)

The Greensboro Public Library is one remaining option for those who want to donate books –  and some area churches that ceased holding used book sales during the pandemic may do so in the future once again.