Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D.

I study people, technology, and the worlds they make

Giving away books

I have a bunch of books– probably a couple hundred– from my professional/scholarly collection that I want to give away. Most are history (with an emphasis on European and British history), history of science (largely modern, but a respectable smattering of early modern), STS, and contemporary technology and business. Many are duplicates (how did I get three copies of Rheingold’s Virtual Communities and Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities); others are books I’ve carried around for years and realize I will never read again (holla, Renissance Self-Fashioning!); and various others no longer match my current or likely future interests (Bernal’s 3-volume history and Daniel Lindberg’s Rise of Western Science are both great, but I’m not likely to teach intro history of science again).

I would prefer they go to someone in the field– ideally a history or STS grad student or postdoc– rather than just be donated to my local library’s book sale; I don’t want to go through the trouble of putting them up on eBay. Is there an academic equivalent to Freecycle that I can use to connect with some worthy soul (who will agree to pay shipping)?

[To the tune of Johann Sebastian Bach, “Contrapunctus III (Fuga A 4 Voci),” from the album The Art of Fugue Vol. 1 (a 2-star song, imo).]


  1. I’m an interested graduate student. Do you have a list of the books you’re looking to get rid of? Feel free to contact me. Also, BookMooch is great for getting rid of books. You’re responsible for shipping though.

  2. Well,I’m a history grad student from Brazil, so it might get a little hard… But I am indeed interested, specially in benedict anderson’s “imaginated communities”, or any other book that might be related to nationalism and identities. Feel free to send me an e-mail, and I’m willing to pay for shipping…

  3. I’m a grad student in information science, with a strong interest in history of science and technology, so I’m interested to hear more.

  4. I am very interested in your generous giving away. I am a postdoc researcher at Imperial College London and doing STS area. If you are located in Oxford, it could be easy to get.

  5. There really should be a service that helps people who have had book-heavy pasts to lighten the bookshelves, I agree. I did go through a purge a few years ago but still wasn’t ready to completely accept that I will probably never read Karl Marx again in a serious manner, and could get rid of some of those volumes, at least. But there’s that nagging question of what constitutes the basics, the kind of intellectual insurance toward some other future where anything could happen.

  6. I've come to take two basic attitudes to books that I keep: there's a category of books that I enjoy or have sentimental value; and there are books that I use. Books that I used to use, but don't any longer, are going. So that eliminates:

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