With the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style now on your desk, what will you do with the old edition? Ok, maybe you’ll keep the previous CMOS because some clients aren’t ready to move their house style forward to the 17th. Perhaps your monitor needs to be raised by 1 CMOS (the editors’ unit of measure). Maybe you’ll keep all editions, in a little shrine along with a photo of Carol Saller. You readers can stop reading right here. Enjoy your collection and have a good day.
But if you are ready to give up the 15th edition or even the 16th, you want to see it go to a good home at least, right? Somewhere it will be valued, and used. For you, dear reader, we present options.
The local library or college library might appreciate your old CMOS; you could donate it there. A grad student might appreciate it too; as would the publishing program or writing center.
A used book store may find a market for the old CMOS. Even a thrift store is an option. Perhaps your neighborhood has a Little Free Library on someone’s lawn (book exchange).
You could even advertise the old copy on a trade/sell site like Kijiji or Craigslist where CMOS could find a happy home with a writer.
Your local editors might appreciate finding a CMOS in a book swap at a meeting, even if they will just give it a home rather than giving it daily use.
There are locales that appreciate donations of all reference works because they are too costly to buy new. Africa comes up frequently as having countries that appreciate getting English reference works. Mexico and countries where there are many English language learners also turn up as destinations seeking English reference books. Imagine trying to supply a class set of CMOS to budding writers. That’s why they love your donations.
If you don’t know someone travelling to one of these places and you aren’t inspired to take your donation there personally (surely that trip is a tax write-off—I wish), search online for organizations that gather and send books. Then you can decide which organization to support with your beloved and many-tabbed CMOS.
If you are sensitive about preserving books, you might want to stop reading now.
If, however, you are a crafty word-nerd, you might repurpose an old CMOS into a funky new accessory and become the envy of all your peers. How about a CMOS purse? You’ll need a craft knife, hot glue, and a closure of some kind (Velcro or snap, for example). You can even add a chain to sling it over your shoulder. There are lots of instructions online. Pop your CMOS subscribed cell phone in the purse and you won’t even go without the reference.
Or gut the book to make a secret hideaway for your chocolate stash. Handy for when the deadline and workload don’t align. Or perhaps a holder for your Kindle or box of tissues.
Use your favorite passages to make coasters. Just podge the sheets on dollar-store coasters. Or use that same podge to affix excerpts on a Christmas tree ball to make a nerdy ornament.
How about rolling pages into paper beads for CMOS earrings made from genuine CMOS? Or for the gentlemen, cut a sheaf of pages into bowtie shape and secure centrally with electrical tape; add a clip and they’re ready for the awards gala.