If you have, for whatever reason, found yourself getting rid of books you’re probably wondering what to do with them. Here’s my favourite places to donate used books so I know they’re going to be loved by somewhere else.
Whether you’ve found yourself decluttering books on your minimalism journey, want to pass on books your kids have outgrown, you just have too many books, and want to part with ones you won’t re-read so someone else can, there’s so many reasons why you might need somewhere to take your books.
If you love books like I do, you may not want to send them just anywhere. What if they end up in a landfill or as a craft project?
Of course, a worn out book may not be worth saving, but what about perfectly good books? What do you do with those?
Most thrift stores accept gently used books. This is probably one of the most hassle-free solutions when it comes to donating used books since they’re usually happy to take them off your hand the same day.
Some thrift shops will even give you a discount coupon, credit, or tax receipt for your donation. And if you’re doing a major declutter, there are even second hand stores that will come pick up all your items at no extra charge.
The downside to thrift stores is that some are for-profit entities, so you’re really just donating to help someone profit. Others may have charity or religious affiliation, so make sure it’s a cause you support before donating.
If you’re donating a large amount of books, call ahead to make sure they’ll be accepted.
Public Libraries or School Libraries
As a former librarian, I know that many public libraries appreciate book donations. Most of the time, libraries will not be placing donated books onto the shelf unless it’s something really worthwhile. But it does happen.
But that’s not the only reason to donate used books to a library! Most have ongoing book sales in their building, and those act as a fundraiser for library programs. Some may also do larger book sale events; I know one near me has a massive one annually that brings in thousands of dollars for the library.
School libraries may also be a great place to donate gently used children’s books, especially if your school division is under funded.
If the librarian won’t take them, consider asking the teachers (providing they fit with their grade level) if they’d like them for their classroom libraries instead.
Little Free Libraries
This is one of my favourite places to donate used books so my old books get picked up by someone who will appreciate them. If you have a little free library in your neighbourhood folks will be delighted to find some new goodies inside.
You can’t donate a huge amount of books this way (unless you go around to a bunch of different little free libraries) but if you just have a few to drop off it’s a great way to support reading in your community.
If you find yourself regularly wanting to donate books (maybe you thrift them and then re-donate after, for example) you might want to think about starting a little free library on your property!
Freecycle or Similar Groups
I love this option for when I just want things out of my house and don’t want to go through the trouble of bringing my books somewhere else. Although it’s not donating in a traditional sense, you’re still giving the books away for free to someone who will appreciate them.
Often I find organizations will jump in and ask for it as a donation to their cause when you post in these groups. For that reason, it’s also an easy way to find niche groups that you otherwise wouldn’t have donated to.
This is another one of my go-tos for when I want to declutter and donate old and used books, but still want to send them places that help out a local cause. This is most common in the spring, but it can be a year-round option too depending on the organizations in your area.
Often fundraising groups will collect community donations and host fundraiser garage sales. Keep an eye out, or reach out to ones who have hosted them in the past to see if they’re collection donations.
You declutter and they make money, win-win.