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(Via Ramblings on Romance, etc and with a nod to Katiebabs)

An Open Letter to Romance Readers:

If you are like me, you have a multitude of romance novels sitting on the bookshelf, doing little more than offering fond memories, looking pretty, and gathering dust. As I tried to make room for my newest purchases one day, I thought there had to be a better use for all these wonderful books.

After all, they are not merely love stories and are certainly not rescue fantasies. They are rich narratives of women overcoming conflict, discovering their own power, falling in love, and being rewarded with optimistic, emotionally satisfying endings. And shouldn’t all women enjoy the same treasure of words filled with inspiration and empowerment—or, if nothing else, a pleasant diversion from day to day life?

Of course they should.

Then it occurred to me: why not donate romance novels to women in crisis? Mass-market paperbacks are considered to be inexpensive but are still not in the budget for everyone who might enjoy them. How better to encourage literacy—an incredibly valuable skill that benefits not just women but the families they support—than by providing engaging reading material? Doesn’t everyone deserve the pleasure of a good story with a happy-ending?

With the help of Ann Bleakley, my friend and co-founder, Share The Love was born.

It’s simple: we will collect gently used romance novels and pass them onto non-profit organizations that provide assistance to women in transitional periods of their lives—homeless and domestic violence shelters, prisons and recovery half-way houses—and that help them establish independent lives.

We hope you will join us —one story at a time—in offering encouragement, inspiration, and enjoyment to women.

Thank you,

Maya Rodale
Ann Bleakley

Right now, there is only one organization receiving their donations, Women in Need (WIN, see below) but as they grow so will the list of recipients.

“Founded in 1983, today serves over 8,500 people including 5,000 children who are homeless and disadvantaged. We strive to restore dignity, promote independence and provide stable housing to vulnerable families who face major obstacles that threaten to destroy their lives. When families find themselves without options, we provide them with housing, skills, knowledge, understanding and support.”

So let’s go forth and clear some shelf space for a great cause!


  • Cool. And don’t forget about your local hospitals! Generally they are always in need of paperbacks and hardbacks for patients. From my experience there seems to be a deficit of general fiction and science fiction that appeal to men between 21-55 and any books for beginner readers. But you can always check with the hospital staff in charge of distributing reading donations to see what they’re most in need of.


  • I think that’s a great idea.


  • Here’s another site that accepts used books. I don’t remember where I heard about it, but I bookmarked it for future use (i.e. when I finally finish getting my books organized).

    Books for Soldiers: http://booksforsoldiers.com/aboutus.php


  • Claudia
    October 20
    8:34 pm

    Be sure to read donation guidelines, particularly for books donated to soldiers as some covers and content aren’t allowed under local customs or laws.

    I’ve also found some library booksale groups won’t accept romances because donors have been dumping older books that can’t even be given away.

    Some jails and prisons also don’t accept hardcovers because they be used as weapons.


  • […] 22, 2008 by shilohwalker Blatantly swiped from Karen’s… An Open Letter to Romance […]

  • […] under: Helping Out, Ponderings, Romance | Tags: Helping Out, romance readers Blatantly swiped from Karen’s… An Open Letter to Romance […]

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