30+ Ways To Responsibly Dispose Of Old Books (Sell, Donate, & Recycle)
Thrift stores receive a lot of donations, often of things they can’t sell, so local thrift shops can be good homes for a lot of things, but they aren’t always our best first option.
What To Do With Old Books
I’ve compiled a list of alternative places to sell or donate used books you no longer want or need to help reduce waste and limit what languishes in landfills, so fewer of our old books end up in the trash.
Where To Sell Used Books
Consider selling some of your old books when you’re ready to part with them; there are several outlets where you can sell used books. Selling used books can help reduce waste and keep perfectly good books out of the trash.
Sell Used Books to Local Independent Bookshops + Half Price Books Stores
Many secondhand bookstores will accept current books in good condition that are popular for resale in exchange for cash or store credit; some stores will give you a better exchange rate if you accept store credit instead of cash, while others will accept walk-in consultations during which they will review the books.
Sell Used Books on Facebook Marketplace
You could also sell books on Facebook Marketplace; most people will be less interested in picking up a single book or two; someone is much more likely to pay for and pick up a set of 15 or 20 Magic Tree House books than to make such a trip for one or two books.
Sell Used Books Online Using BookScouter.com
BookScouter.com is an online platform that compares pricing for various online book buyers. Simply type in the ISBN for your book and you’ll see a table of pricing offers from a variety of online book buyers.
Sell Used Books on Amazon & eBay
You can scan a book’s ISBN number to determine the general selling price on Amazon. You’ll have to work directly with buyers and manage shipping, but it’s a great option if you can coordinate shipping.
Where To Donate Books
There are many options for donating used books if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of resale. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of resale, consider donating books to a larger organization that supplies books to underserved communities.
Gift Books To Family and Friends
If you’re looking for a new home for your old books, don’t be afraid to donate them; if they don’t need or want them, friends and family can help you find a new home for them.
Giveaway Books In A Buy Nothing Group or Via FreeCycle
Always post items to your Buy Nothing Group before throwing them in the trash; you never know what a neighbor will appreciate. If you don’t have one in your area, check your local FreeCycle group for freecycle listings.measure.org/buying-nothing
Donate Books To A Little Free Library
Little Free Libraries are small free-standing book cabinets that help people rehome books in their communities. You can take a book or donate a book to the Little Free Library at no cost, and it’s a fun way to foster a sense of community.
Host a Neighborhood Book Swap
Neighborhood book swaps are a great way to get to know your neighbors better, and Book Riot has some great ideas for how to host one. Check out their suggestions for a successful neighborhood book swap.
Donate Books To A Local Library
Many libraries accept book donations, though some are more picky about the types of books they accept. If your local library is picky, know that it’s for a good reason. Offer to donate books that meet their needs and find new homes for items your library can’t use.
Donate Books To A Local Prison
Books Through Bars distributes books to incarcerated people in prisons across the region; you can also check out this list of Books To Prisoners programs for more information, or ask your local library, which may already have a relationship with the prison.
Donate Books To Local Literacy Programs
Many local literacy programs accept donations; laundromats frequently accept donated books for children to take home or read while visiting; in Chicago, I regularly donated books to a secondhand bookshop; and there are many other literacy programs that are funded by or rely on book donations.
Donate Books To Local Schools and Daycare Centers
Donate books to local schools and daycare centers. Some schools accept a wide variety of books, while others are more particular about the titles that fill gaps in their book collections. Be mindful of the needs of your local school or daycare center, just as you would with donations to your local library.
Donate Books To Retirement Homes
Make sure they’re in good shape and up to date so residents will find them interesting and useful, and call ahead to inquire about the needs of local retirement homes.
Donate Books To Your Local Thrift Shops + Charity Shops
You can donate books to Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, and other charity shops; thrift stores are a great option for donating books if your book is in good condition and likely to be resold.
Donate Books To Soldiers
After signing up for their programs, you search their respective databases for homes for the books you have and addresses of soldiers requesting books, which reduces shipping time, cost, and carbon emissions associated with delivery.
Donate Books To National and International Literacy Programs
Many underprivileged children do not own a single book, so well-funded local libraries (both formal and informal) are critical for exposing children to the joys of reading. Reader to Reader, African Library Project, and Books For Africa are just a few of the organizations working to get books to underserved and marginalized communities.
What can I do with unwanted books?
Here are some ideas for how to organize your books when you move:
- Use We Buy Books to sell your books for cash.
- Give them to family and friends.
- Donate Your Books to Charity.
- Contact a Recycling Center if You Can’t Keep Books Circulating.
Should I throw away old books?
Books with moldy pages cannot be recycled and must be thrown away to prevent the mold from spreading to other books; however, if a book cannot be reused or given new life in another way, it is perfectly acceptable to recycle it.
What is the best way to dispose of books?
If you want to recycle old books, make sure the pages haven’t turned tan or brown; if they have, toss them in the general waste bin. The same goes for books that have been splashed with liquids; toss them in with your household trash instead.
How do I dispose of old hardcover books?
Hardcover Books in the Garbage Bin While you can throw your hardcover books in the trash, we recommend donating them to a local thrift or used book store so that others can enjoy them! You can also remove the cover and binding to recycle the hardcover book’s inside pages.
Are old books worth anything?
A beaten-up old book that is falling apart will have little value. Book collectors seek out first editions, and a first edition is usually more valuable than a later printing. A first edition signed by the author will have even more value.
Do people throw books away?
Books, on the other hand, are a different story. This may sound sacrilege coming from a writer and librarian, but it is acceptable to discard books. Some people suggest that the books be donated to less developed countries, but libraries have tried this and failed miserably.
How do I get rid of unwanted items?
5 creative ways to get rid of unneeded “stuff”
- Donate It. Dropping off your unwanted items at a local charity shop or second-hand reseller is the simplest way to get rid of them.
- Sell It on Online Classifieds.
- Sell It on Online Marketplaces.
- Sell It on Mobile Marketplaces.
- Hold a Garage/Yard Sale.
What do you do with things you don’t want?
When I considered all of my options, I began to wonder why I had not gotten rid of this stuff sooner.
- Donate gently used, good condition items to Goodwill.
- Donate gently used, good condition items to the Salvation Army.
- Donate to Homeless shelters.
- Sell on Craigslist.
Who will take second hand books?
Several locations in your city accept book donations, including:
- The Salvation Army is one of the largest social aid organizations in the world.
- Local Libraries.
- Vietnam Veterans of America.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStores.
- Other Local Charities.
- Local Theaters.
- Retirement Homes.
Can I donate books to my local library?
1. Libraries. Libraries typically accept donations and sell those books as part of a Friends of the Library fundraiser. Local libraries provide us with so many books for freeu2013let’s return the favor!
How do you get rid of thousands of a book?
Here’s How To Get Rid Of Some Of Your Books (And Make Room For New Books)
- Begin with your TBR pile. Giphy.
- And set time limits. Giphy.
- Host a book swap. Giphy.
- Make gift packages. Giphy.
- Give yourself permission to keep your favorites. Giphy.
- Sell those fancy textbooks. Giphy.
- And use the money for ebooks.
Can you put hardcover books in the recycle bin?
Hardcover books cannot be recycled unless the binding is removed and only the pages are recycled.
How do you dispose of old encyclopedias?
If you’re looking for a more purposeful use for your old encyclopedias, consider donating them to a local used bookstore or donating them to local schools and libraries.
Can I put magazines in the recycle bin?
Catalogs and magazines: If the catalog or magazine came in a plastic wrapper, remove the wrapper first and then recycle the entire item; these items are frequently removed during the recycling process at a paper mill or a recycling facility.