His father did it

Tyler and Will speculate on the best way to dispose of unwanted books, with Tyler proposing that rather then leaving the book in a public place where the person who chooses to pick it up might only place a very small value on it (because they don't have to give up anything to get it) it would be better to leave it in a bookstore, where the person who picks it up will value it very highly (highly enough to have paid for it). See his post for a little more of the theory behind this.

Will suggests that it makes more sense (in terms of increasing net social value) to leave it at a used bookstore. I also thought that it was rather strange that Tyler didn't mention the existence of used bookstores, but maybe with all of the traveling he's doing he doesn't have a chance to search out used bookstores in each of the cities he's in. I want to step back from this rather high theoretical level, and give a very specific tip about how to discard of unwanted books (I actually keep almost all of my books, but I have discarded a few): If you're fortunate enough to live in New York, go to Housing Works Used Books Cafe. All of their profits go towards helping homeless New Yorkers with AIDS or HIV, and they'll give you a receipt which you can use to deduct the value of your books from your taxes. It's also a really great looking physical plant, with an excellent selection of books. I happened to have just been there today, and I got the following four books for $18.00 and some odd cents:

Against the Gods by Peter L. Bernstein

Black Dahlia Avenger by Steve Hodel

Equality and Preferential Treatment Cohen, Nagel, and Scanlon eds.

There Are Two Errors in the the Title Of This Book by Robert M. Martin

On this last one, I was wondering if any philosophers (possibly philosophers named Matt Weiner) (this eventually worked last time I tried it) had heard of Martin or knew if the book was any good. The last book I bought which could have been described as "pop philosophy" was quite underwhelming, and I'm not sure if this will be any better, but it was really cheap, and it had a nifty cover, which I preceded to judge it by. The first chapter has been underwhelming. I guessed correctly what the second "trick" error was despite not noticing the first, obvious error.

On the main topic of this post, if for some reason you don't live in New York, try to find a Housing Works equivalent, or just don't get rid of any books until you can travel here.