14 Great Places to Donate New & Used Books

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Do you more hours a week curled up with your Kindle and zero time at all glued to an actual book? You might only need books to store important documents or want to keep your favorite hardcovers or paperbacks

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Here’s how you can part with new and used books in your collection. Chances are, someone else will get to enjoy them just as much — or more — than you did.

Where to Donate Used and New Fiction and Nonfiction Books

Looking to get rid of stuff and have a variety of books? If so, consider these options for donating or selling your new and used fiction and nonfiction.

1. Used bookstores

It’s always possible to donate books at a used bookstore in your area. Many used bookstores can give you store credit or cash for books they’re confident they can resell. Since these stores also see quite a few books they cannot resell, they may have resources for you about other local organizations that appreciate book donations. 

Don’t be disheartened if a used bookstore cannot take your whole donation. Consider our many other options as well. Find a used bookstore near you through most search engines.

2. Online book exchanges

You might want to opt for an online book exchange to reduce the number of books you own. List your books on Bookmooch, or another online exchange, and people can offer you points for them. Send those books to other people and use the points you’ve earned to request books from others.

No money ever changes hands. This can be a nice option for books that have quite a bit of appeal to a wide variety of people.

3. Thrift stores

Many communities these days don’t have a dedicated used bookstore, but still have a community thrift store like the Salvation Army or Goodwill. 

Thrift stores sometimes operate as nonprofits and other times as for-profit businesses. A thrift store donation will give those books the opportunity to find new life in the hands of someone else, usually for an affordable price. Unlike used bookstores, thrift stores tend to be far less particular about which books they take on.

4. Online marketplaces like Better World Books

There are a variety of online marketplaces that allow you to list books. They also may take book donations from you to list on their online used book marketplaces. 

Better World Books, for example, has specific kinds of books it prefers. It will send you a free shipping label if you have three or more books to donate. Better World Books uses the proceeds from your donation to support world literacy charity work. 

Other online marketplaces, often focused on textbook resale, gives you other options for donating or selling the books. For example, eBay simply allows you to list and ship books on your own time when someone is interested in them.

5. Overseas distribution charities

A variety of charity organizations exist to distribute books from the United States to other areas, like the Books for Soldiers program that offers the armed forces plenty of interesting reading material.

Other organizations, like Books for Africa, focus on getting plenty of educational reading material to schools and other organizations in various locations around the African continent. 

These organizations may have their own requirements. Since the organizations pay the shipping to get the books overseas, it’s a good idea to pick specific well-suited books to donate to these organizations, rather than sending a large unsorted shipment to them.

6. Local history museums or historical societies

Do you have any old or rare books? If so, call your local history museum or historical society and see if they’d be interested in a possible donation. 

Be prepared for them to reject your books. There are thousands of unremarkable older books out there. Speak with a representative from the organization so you can get new ideas for individual collectors in your area who might have an interest in your books.

7. Retirement homes and senior living facilities

Do you have any exciting mysteries or other fun-to-read fiction books? They might be appreciated as part of an onsite library at a retirement home or senior living facility. Your book could become the new talk of a senior living community room!

» MORE: Honor your loved one's memory by taking the right next steps. Here is your free post-loss checklist.


Where to Donate Used and New Children’s Books

Are your children or grandchildren no longer using their old books? Consider these options for places to donate your gently used and new books for kids.

8. Local schools

Schools tend to have a budget for their local libraries, but the more underfunded a school is, the more need they may have for books. Many local elementary schools also like to give students books to take home over the summer to practice reading. 

Focus on picture books, non-fiction, and early chapter books. Your local school can help you narrow it down the list even more. Call up a nearby school to find out what they’d prefer for a donation.

9. Organizations for foster families

Families who provide a temporary or permanent home to children may be in need of age-appropriate reading material. Check in with local foster family support groups or with your local area’s children’s services department to see if they can store books for any foster children in need.

10. Women’s and family shelters

Many women and children experience transitions or homelessness and lose many of their belongings either temporarily or long-term.

Begin by checking listings and ask if these donations would be helpful to their work. You might not be able to donate directly to the shelter because it could give away the shelter’s exact location. 

11. Youth clubs in your area

Many youth clubs, like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, provide a variety of opportunities for children after school. A well-stocked on-site library helps those kids make progress in their reading.

To donate, call your local youth club branch and ask if they have any specific requests and how or when might be the best time to drop off a donation.

12. Your local library

Local libraries may already have enough copies of the children’s books you’re interested in donating, but if you have a particularly rare find, like books in very good condition or a complete series, you might ask your local librarian if he or she thinks the library could use a donation.

Your library may also have a “Friends of the Library” sale where donated books and older library books are sold to the public to raise money to supplement library funding.

13. Little free libraries

Little Free Libraries are independently-run small book boxes that are set up around communities all over the world. They allow people to take, keep, or return a book whenever they like, with a “steward” who oversees them and keeps them clean and filled. 

You can make someone’s day by adding a few children’s books to one of these libraries that has room for them. Don’t bring a huge bundle of books, since these boxes tend to have limited space.

14. Friends and family

It never hurts to poll your friends about your remaining books that you wish to donate. Maybe you have a friend who likes making art projects and could incorporate some beautiful hardcovers into a design.

Maybe your niece has just learned to read and dipped through all of her own picture books already. Know what your friends and family actually want — donations can make thoughtful gifts.

Find a New Bookworm for Your Book

Books are portable, valuable ways to share knowledge. Maybe you’ve inherited a whole house full of stuff or you are helping to clean out an elderly parents’ house. You probably have more books than you can personally use. Make it your New Year’s resolution idea to declutter and donate.

Use your local network and your own passion to determine where your particular book collection could do the most good. You never know just how much your collection could benefit others along the way!

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