11 Neat Ways to Donate, Sell Or Give Away Used Books

Books, like many of our treasured belongings, often simply rot away on our shelves and become clutter because we no longer have a current need for them, but because we loved them, we don’t want to just throw them away. But, left unused for long periods of time,the fate of our beloved books is to collect dust, turn yellow, fall apart, and even smell bad. Objects that go unused for years create stagnant or stuck energy in our homes that affect our mood, drain our energy and may even make it harder to function and use your storage shelves easily.

Is this what you intended when you bought the books? I know parting with books is challenging. It helps if you can focus on the benefits and value of passing them on. Like sharing the insights or entertainment you got out of the book with others.

By donating or giving away books you no longer need, you get to contribute value to others while also making more room in your own home or office to function with ease. Think of how much shelf space you could reclaim.

Plus, if you donate your books (including books on tape or CD) to a charity and itemize deductions, you can deduct the value of the books on your income tax return. Web-based tools like It’s Deductible make it easy to figure out what the books are worth.

Where to Give Your Books Away

  1. Your Local Library – Unfortunately, many libraries don’t take book donations anymore. But some do, so it is worth finding out if there is a library near you that will take your books, even if your hometown does not. Note: Libraries often take Books on CD and Books on Tape, Videos, DVDs, and Music CDs and Tapes too.
  2. JustGIVE.org – This site provides a list of places to donate just about anything. Whether you want to donate Books, Furniture, Household Good and Clothing, Computers, Cars, Cell Phones, Pet Supplies, Eyeglasses, your Hair, or even your Organs, you can find a resource here.
  3. Friends of Libraries, USA – This group is currently accepting donations to rebuild libraries affected by hurricanes and more. You can ship books to them. Address: 1420 Walnut St, Suite 450 Philadelphia, PA 19102-4017 Call: 215-790-1674 or 1-800-9FOLUSA folusa.org
  4. Vietnam Veteran’s Association – Offers both pick up service and drop off service. There is a limit on the number of books you can donate at one time. Not all areas have pick up service, but some offer a monthly pick up.
  5. Freecyle.org – List ads for free and give books or anything else away. Be careful in screening who you allow to come to your home. For safety, arrange a public meeting place to deliver the books.
  6. BookCrossing.com – This website is a really fun way to share books. You register your book, leave it in a public place, someone else picks it up, notes it on the website, then does the same. You get to track your books travels after you give it way.
  7. Housing Works in NYC – 126 Crosby Street, NYC 10012 (212-334-3324) You can drop off or ship books to them. They work to end homelessness and AIDS in NYC.
  8. Craigslist.org – Free ad listing website lets you give books and anything else away. Be careful. Avoid giving your address to strangers. For safety, arrange a public meeting place to deliver the books.
  9. Bridge to Asia’s Textbook and Journal Donation Program – Got old textbooks and professional journals? This group wants college, graduate and professional level teaching and research materials. They accept books, journals and other forms of information both used and new. Visit bridge.org
  10. PaperbackSwap.com – Here you can mail your books in (usually costs $1.59 per book)and get credits. Then you can use your credits to get books you want.
  11. BooksThroughBars.org – What better way to rehabilitate someone than through education and reading? This program provides books to prisoners. Before sending books, make sure you check the rules on what types of reading material each prison allows.

Also consider FIRSTBOOK.org – They don’t take books, but you can donate to help kids in need get their “first books.”

BONUS Clutter Flow Tip: Set up a donation bin, just as you would a recycle or trash bin. Collect books and other items you no longer need. Once a week, on the same day as trash day, check if the bag or box is full and donate as needed. I keep a donation back on a hook in my closet for clothing I no longer need. Automate the process any way you can and set up a reminder in your calendar or phone. Once you get in the habit it will feel almost effortless.

Friends of Library Trust System Perpetual Book Sale Programs Considered

Not long ago, I went to the local library to look over some used books at the book sale, and while I was there I listened to an author give a speech on a new book she had written about local history. While I was there, and prior to the book talk, the “friends of the library” gave their treasure’s report, and installed their latest board members. It was great to meet everyone, enjoy some refreshments, and learn a little bit of history. Now then, you must remember this is a very small library in a very small community.

You would think that the friends of the library wouldn’t make very much money on used book sales. But you’d be wrong about that, they have consistently made money every single month even in a very small space with not all that many books for sale. Best of all, the books they do sell, sell for a very low price which is of benefit to members of our community. Their system is quite simple. It is a perpetual book sale. It is not staffed by anyone, rather the citizens buying the books are entrusted to stick their money in a small box. That’s how they do it.

After thinking on this I thought to myself; “Why even a very small library can make $300 to $400 per month this way, even selling used paper backs for $.25 to $.50 and hard back books for one dollar, and kid’s or children’s books for $.10 each.”

There is no reason that even the smallest in tiniest libraries can’t sell used books and make enough money to make it all worthwhile, especially if those books are donated. As long as they have a good treasurer who doesn’t like to write checks, but likes to collect income, donations, and sponsors they should be all right. At least this is what I garnered from listening to the treasurer’s report and our local friends of the library group. They truly are a great part of our community and it is terrific to see all of the volunteers who care so much.

If your town or community is in a similar situation, you might consider what I said here today, and see what you can do about starting a perpetual book sale program to raise extra money for those things on your library’s wish list, so you can do even more for your youth, retired folks, and all those committed to a lifetime of learning. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

Save Big Bucks On Business Books

Time and money… most small business owners could do with more. So how can you read all those great publications, news stories, business books, magazines…without breaking the bank? Just as importantly, where do you find the time to search for all these books?

Many small business owners and prospective business owners have never considered utilizing their local library to save time and money. The great thing about technology is that it has made it easier than ever to obtain the business books you have been hearing about, but don’t want to spend money on until–or unless–you know they will be an ongoing resource.

Before you run out and buy dozens, or even one business book, consider checking it out from the library first. Often, you only need one or two of the ideas the book proposes. Other times, this may be a book that you turn to time and again as a source of ideas, inspiration and advice. You don’t know which it will be, however, until you have a chance to spend some time with the book. Therefore, save your money–order the book or check it out from the library first–buy it later if it is worth it to you.

Even better, with the advances in technology, in most areas you can access books through your local library’s network website, which saves you the time of browsing stacks in multiple locations. Basically, you are able to access books from multiple libraries throughout your metro area or state by simply having a local library card…and without having to go to those libraries to get the books (similar to ordering books through an online retailer, but you don’t have to pay for them).

Its usually very simple: log on to your local library website, search title, author, keyword….find the book you want, click “Place Hold” and select the library you would like to pick the book up at…and a few days later, your friendly librarian will call you to let you know the book is ready for pick up. In most cases, this is an entirely FREE service, and is available to anyone who holds a library card with a participating library.

So save your time…and money! Before you decide to run out and buy all those books, utilize the resources your tax dollars are already paying for.