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End-of-Life Planning for Readers and Book People

    Where are my fellow book people at? 

    Estate and end-of-Life (EOL) planning considerations are exactly the same for book people as for everyone else: Have a properly executed will, complete an advanced care directive, have a trusted friend who will clear your internet browsing history after you are gone. 

    But when considering your EOL and estate plans, people who love books and reading may want to consider a few extra things to make sure their love of the written word is part of their legacy.

    Favorite Passages 

    Do you have a favorite poem or passage that you want read at your funeral or other memorial event? 

    Is there a quote you want on your obituary or online memorial site?

    Include this information in the funeral plans section of your EOL plan. 

    Favorite Books 

    If you’re the kind of reader who loves recommending your favorites to others, make a list of your favorite books to include in your funeral or memorial program. 

    Suggest your friends and family read one of your favorites in your memory. 

    You can even make the list easily accessible by creating a custom bookshelf on Goodreads or making an Amazon Ideas list. 


    For many book people, the library is one of our favorite places.

    Consider leaving a special bequest to your local public library (or other library that was important to you in your life as a reader) in your estate plan.

    Stack of Books

    Book Collections

    If you have a book collection, be sure to include it in your estate plan’s inventory of assets. 

    Consider what you want to have happen to your collection after you are gone:

    • Is it important to you that your collection remain intact?
    • Who do you want to get your collection?

    Document these desires in your EOL plans. 

    If the collection will probably be sold

    If the person inheriting the collection will likely sell it, consider including the names and contact information for a few reputable dealers who can help sell the collection. 

    Chances are, you are in the best position to know the people who can help with the collection. Especially if the person who will inherit the collection isn’t well-versed in the area, don’t make them figure out who is reputable and who can help.

    Don’t leave them to pick a name at random out of the phone book. 

    And if you know of other collectors who might be interested in buying the collection, consider leaving their names and contact information as well. 

    If the collection will probably be kept intact

    Even if the contents of your collection will likely be kept intact by the person who inherits it, you may still want to consider including the names of some reputable dealers.  

    The new owner of the collection may still want to get the collection appraised for insurance purposes.

    Side Note On Digital Books 

    The digital book collection that you bought online? In most cases, you don’t own those books and can’t leave them to anyone. The user agreements for sites like Amazon’s Kindle Store make clear that when buying a digital book, you’re actually buying a non-transferable digital license. That means you can’t resell or donate the books to anyone. 

    Read the user agreement of the site where you purchased your books to find out more.