What to do with Used or unwanted books

Do you have a shelf full of books you have not read in years, or perhaps a box of books in the attic or basement gathering dust?  You don’t want to throw them in the trash bin, but at some point, you have to decide what to do with them. There are four options for disposal of these used books; you can sell, donate, trade or recycle them.  It is always better to unload your books through one of these options so you get the satisfaction of their reuse and someone else gets the benefit of free books or books at a great low price. However, do not unload a book(s) until you have ascertained the true value.

Sell Your Books

If you don’t know what to do with those used books, then sell them, putting money in your pocket.  You also pass your book along to someone who needs it, saving them money and the book is reused.  Books can be sold on line at bookscouter.com, powells.com, Amazon.com, cash4books.net, barnesandnoble.com, thriftybooks.com and on e-bay to name just a few. Some of these sites even offer a pre-paid shipping label, saving you money; however, they may take a commission. Do a google search for more venders that buy books and textbooks. In the case of your textbooks, you may be able to sell them back to the same bookstore where they were bought. Of course, it may be for a fraction of their original cost or maybe a trade in credit toward your next purchase.  Posting your books for sale on campus bulletin boards is also an option; do this early before the class ends that is presently using the book. Books can be sold to local second-hand book dealers, too. In addition, garage sales are also popular events and can be advertised through signs, the paper (yes people still read these), Facebook and other social media outlets.

Donate Your Books

A second option is to donate used books to libraries, thrift stores, senior centers, hospitals, churches or charities such as the Salvation Army to use or sell. Most thrift stores have book departments, and they would be happy to take your old books, as long as they’re in good condition. Check out the local thrift stores to see if they can use your used books. Another place for possible reuse is Freecycle.org. It is a nonprofit movement dedicated to reuse and keeping good quality items out of landfills by cycling them within their own towns and neighborhoods. Merely sign up, then list items to give away in your local community; it is free. Recyclenow.com is also a good site.


Trade in Your Books

Third, you can trade in your books. There are several websites that welcome the trade of your used book(s). A few are bookmooch.com, paperbackswap.com and titletrader.com; just type in “trade in your books”. There are even some websites and bookstores that offer book trades for DVDs, CDs, and video games.  Some websites have book exchanges that reach as far as Africa and Asia. Another option is to trade your used books for other books or products in a book store, thrift store, or with family and friends. For instance, set up a book trade in your home where you invite friends and family to bring their used books to trade for different books.

Recycle Those Used Books

Lastly, if your book(s) is falling apart, broken binding, or missing pages to the point that no one could possibly benefit from its content then recycle it.  You do not want to throw your books away; recycling is the best and most environmentally-friendly option. Some city recycling programs allow you to put books into recycling bins and other cities have designated recycling points for books. However, due to the bonding material used in books make sure to check with your local waste disposal website to find out if your books can be recycled.

One thought on “What to do with Used or unwanted books

  1. Interesting ideas; I welcome anything which draws people’s attention to the value of books. There are so many options, there is no excuse for us to not make the best of what we have. I still love bookshops, but the net makes obtaining almost anything so easy and convenient. I particularly appreciate being able to obtain used books for pennies.

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