Top 10 Reasons Expats Should Ditch Their Books

by Bella

How much does moving books, albums and DVD collections really cost? Why should you consider leaving your books behind? Have you ever calculated how much moving your 300 pound collection of books has cost you over the course of several moves (not including the carbon footprint all that jet fuel leaves on our environment)?

Unless your company pays for your move, books can be one of the most expensive household items to move (and even then, somebody IS paying to move them). And how many times did you actually read all those books once you moved them? These days, thanks to technology, there are more viable options you might want to consider. They're all great options for expats and people who travel a lot.

For example, you can now download many books as ebooks. Some are even free. Most, even though they must be paid for, cost a fraction of what a printed book costs.

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You can also consider audio books. These can be downloaded, also for much less than what heavy printed books cost, onto an iPod or MP3 player. Of course you must invest in the iPod or MP3 player first - but in the long run, this expense will likely pay for itself. Try

You can also download audio books through iTunes Store Audiobooks.

Get language learning tools, phrasebooks and travel guides on your iPod. For example, from World Nomad you can Learn Spanish on your iPod or get a Spanish iPod phrasebook.

One great option is the Amazon Kindle. This handheld digital reading device enables you to order and immediately receive magazines, newspapers, books, and articles onto your reader via internet. Again, the initial investment in the Kindle will likely pay for itself shortly. Newspaper and magazine subscriptions are truly inexpensive and Amazon currently has over 100,000 books, magazines, newspapers, articles and even blogs! to choose from. Because you actually hold the Kindle while reading it, it feels almost like holding a book. You can also download wonderful guidebooks and language learning software.

Currently the Kindle is the #1 selling product on and there are nearly 18,000 customer reviews you can browse through. Check it out, it's sort of amazing.

Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology

All of these are great options. What we like best about this is that electronic books, magazines and newspapers are a wonderful way to reduce our negative impact on the environment.

Two exceptions you may not want to leave behind: your children's books and your family albums and scrapbooks. Kids learn to read better with physical, tactile books (and probably find them more engaging as well).

As to family albums and scrapbooks, well, you can create a blog, online photo sharing album, or make and send actual photo books using online photo storage sites. For example, try this free Free Smugmug Trial or Create and preserve a Smilebox scrapbook in minutes! Just drag photos, videos, music, and words into amazing scrapbook designs.

If you don't feel like you're "techy" enough to do that yourself, you can gather and send all your memories (photos, DVDs, even VHS) and they'll take all your photos and home movies and digitalize everything for you. So you can leave the originals somewhere safe, and travel just with a few light DVDs. View more at

Or you can even build your own website, but nothing feels better than occasionally paging slowly through the photos of the people you miss.

(However, be sure to back up your photos online, on your computer or in a document vault as risking losing these along with your luggage can be heartbreaking). The actual album pages and covers can be replaced but your photos cannot.

By the way, same goes for that collection of 536 DVDs you've been carting around: these days you easily download individual TV programs you miss and entire movies from sites like Amazon's Video on Demand
service. Movie rentals are now available on iTunes and check iTunes store TV shows for a fraction of the cost and watch them on your iPod, MP3 or computer.

We're not suggesting you leave everything behind. Just explore a little and you'll find many free or inexpensive resources available. Simply lighten the load a bit: on yourself, on your finances and on the environment.

Select a few of your favorite 'real books' for hammock-by-the-sea days and just a few favorite DVDs for movies-and-junk-food family nights, and order the rest online. Besides saving money on moving, you'll be helping keep our Earth clutter-free and our environment protected by reducing the negative effects of your transportation on our environment.

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