Books seem to be one of those items you can mindlessly collect.
Suddenly, you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of paperbacks and hard covers 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 in to your local library to find out if they have any restrictions.
2. Local thrift stores.
Both The Salvation Army and The 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.
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.
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.
8. Your local school library.
Get in touch with your local elementary, middle school, 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 resell stores use proceeds from book sales helps local families build an affordable home.
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.
12. Your local retirement home.
Drop off books to your local assisted living or retirement home for residents to enjoy.
13. Check with family doctors, chiropractors, or pediatric dentists.
Books are great additions to waiting rooms, especially children’s books.
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.
What To Do With Old Books (8 Additional Options)
Book lovers have an emotional connection to their books and throwing them in the trash is just not an option.
If you still need to organize and declutter the mass of books in your home, you can try one of these options in addition to donations.
1. Have a Book Swap.
Get together with a group of friends, neighbors, or even your co-workers and host a book swap.
Send a simple text or e-vite letting everyone know the guidelines.
By the end of the night everyone will be happy with a new book and some new book-loving friends.
This is probably the best option for any books that are damaged or unreadable,
Paperback books are usually accepted by curbside recycling programs.
Check with your local recycling program to see if they have any restrictions.
3. Craft Projects.
If you’re feeling crafty, you can find a range of super easy to complicated craft projects online.
Pinterest offers a gallery of images to inspire you, like DIY animal ornaments or door wreaths made with strips of book pages and Modmodge.
4. Second Hand Book Stores.
Looking to make a little extra cash? Bring books to your local store, who will typically offer cash or store credit for gently used novels.
One of the hallmarks of the trending farmhouse decor craze is decorating with old books.
Tie pieces of lace around some old books for a beautiful addition to your coffee table.
You can also add a few books to your mantle to add some dimension.
6. Sell them or give them away.
Use Facebook Marketplace to easily sell books online.
There is also Freecycle, a community for people looking to give stuff away for free in their communities.
7. Start a Little Free Library.
Little Free Library offers a Free Insider’s Guide; as well as, free plans and blueprints for building your own Little Free Library.
8. Gift to friends and family.
Have a favorite book?
Give it as a gift to a friend or family member with a short note of why that book makes you think of them.
Or post a recently read book to social media and ask if anyone is interested in reading.
This is a great way to make sure your shelves don’t get re-cluttered.
Books are a timeless item. 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!