Books seem to be one of those items you can mindlessly collect. Suddenly, you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of paperbacks and hardcovers you have cluttering up your bookshelves and nightstands.
With the availability of e-readers and other audio apps, like Audible, Libby, and Apple Books; and the growing minimalism trend you may be feeling ready to part ways with your old books.
But what are your options? What do you do with your old books and where can you donate them?
15 Places to Donate Books
Sometimes you just want to start fresh and get rid of all of your books quickly. Donating your books is the perfect way to re-purpose your sentimental novels and provide valuable resources to others. Here are several options for donating your old books:
1. Your local library.
Most libraries are supported by Friends of Libraries. This non-profit organization raises funds for local programs like summer reading programs, author book signings, staff training, and special events.
Any new or gently used books donated to the library either go to restocking the library shelves or get sold at fundraising events. Call or stop into your local library to find out if they have any restrictions.
2. Local thrift stores.
Both the Salvation Army and Goodwill accept used books to resell in their stores in an effort to fund community programs.
3. Cash4Books Fundraiser.
Cash4Books sends you a free FedEx or USPS label to ship your used books to their warehouse.
In exchange for the books, they will send you payment via check or PayPal, which you can turn around and give to your favorite local charity. A total win-win.
4. Local women’s shelter.
Typically, these women and children have left their homes with very little (if any) of their personal possessions. Your donated books could offer a familiar comfort or be a welcome distraction.
5. Operation Paperback.
Send books to soldiers overseas, veterans, and military families after filling out an online application.
You can also donate directly to this non-profit organization that distributes new and gently used books to soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, coast guardsmen, and their families free of charge.
(Shipments going to APO/FPO/DPO addresses do not require customs forms.)
6. Books for Africa.
Books for Africa has shipped over 45 million books to all 55 African countries since 1988. You can mail all of your book donations to:
BOOKS FOR AFRICA WAREHOUSE – ATLANTA, 3655 Atlanta Industrial Drive, Bldg. 250, Atlanta, GA 30331
7. Books Through Bars.
This non-profit sends donated books to prisoners who may not otherwise have access.
The organization requests that donors email or call with information about their donation before sending it.
8. Your local school library.
Get in touch with your local elementary, middle, or high school librarian and see if they are in need of new material for their shelves. Most will happily accept gently used, age-appropriate books.
9. Better World Books.
Better World Books has drop boxes all over the U.S. and accept all books. You can find a location near you by visiting their website: Better World Books
10. Habitat for Humanity ReStores.
These resale stores use proceeds from book sales to help local families build affordable homes. You can check here to see if there is a restore near you that accepts book donations.
You can join this online community and send your old books to people all over the world.
You just have to pay for the cost of shipping.
It’s a great way to get rid of your old books and make new friends.
12. Your local retirement home.
Drop off books to your local assisted living or retirement home for residents to enjoy.
You can also contact the activity director to see if they would be interested in starting a book club. Oftentimes, these organizations are always looking for new program ideas.
13. Check with family doctors, chiropractors, or pediatric dentists.
Books are a great addition to waiting rooms, especially children’s books.
If you have any gently used children’s books, this is a great way to put them to good use.
14. Vietnam Veterans of America.
You can help make healthcare more accessible to veterans by supporting the VVA.
Depending on where you live, most VVA’s will even pick up your donation.
15. Local churches.
Most churches have outreach programs that could use old books to encourage literacy in the community. You could also contact the church directly to see if they have a library that could use some new additions.
What to do with lots of old books?
If you’re looking for ways to recycle books, consider donating them to the places we listed above. These organizations often need donations of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, and other materials. They may be able to use these items in their programs or sell them at discounted prices.
Donating books is a great way to help others and reduce waste. Plus, many charities appreciate receiving used books because it helps them save money.
Why should I donate books?
Donating books to is a win-win situation because it helps everyone involved. The library receives free books, and you receive a tax deduction. Plus, you can feel good knowing that your donation was put to good use.
How do I give books to charity?
There are online sites where you can find out how to donate books to charity. Some websites allow you to search for specific charities based on location, type of organization, or cause. Others let you browse categories of causes and pick the ones you feel strongly about.
There are hundreds of different charities that collect books and distribute them to needy individuals and families. To find out more about these organizations, do a quick Google search in your area.
Does anyone accept old encyclopedias?
There are many organizations that need encyclopedias, including public schools, colleges, universities, and libraries.
Can I donate any types of books?
When donating books, keep in mind that some institutions may not accept certain types of books. For example, some schools prefer textbooks, while others prefer fiction. Some libraries prefer nonfiction, while others prefer fiction and poetry.
To find out whether your favorite organization accepts donated books, ask when you drop off your donation. Also, check the organization’s Web site. Many organizations post information about their preferred items.
How do I find a book donation drop box near me?
Finding a book donation drop box is easy. Simply search online for “book donations.” There are many options available, including libraries, schools, churches, and non-profits.
Books are timeless items. Even when they no longer serve you, you can be sure someone else will derive some satisfaction from it.
Re-purposing or donating your old books ensures your love of literature lives on.
What will you do with your old books? Share in the comments below!