What To Do With Old Books? Best Full Guide [ecis2023]


Many bibliophiles can identify as book hoarders. There are shelves at home that are piled high with books that have been unopened for many years and which no one plans to read again. What to do with old books? Continue reading to learn more about how to use your old books best.

You are reading: What To Do With Old Books? Best Full Guide [ecis2023]

Table of Contents

  • 1 What To Do With Old Books?
    • 1.1 Make a change with Textbooks for Change
    • 1.2 Thrift shop
    • 1.3 Transform into gift tags or envelopes
    • 1.4 Let your books travel the world
    • 1.5 Secret storage book
    • 1.6 Book headboard
    • 1.7 Potted books
    • 1.8 Build a free mailbox library
    • 1.9 White elephant book exchange
    • 1.10 Phone charging station or book?
  • 2 Where to Donate Books?
    • 2.1 The Salvation Army
    • 2.2 Goodwill
    • 2.3 Local Libraries
    • 2.4 Vietnam Veterans of America
    • 2.5 Habitat for Humanity ReStores
    • 2.6 Other Local Charities
    • 2.7 Local Theaters
    • 2.8 Retirement Homes
    • 2.9 Kids Need to Read
    • 2.10 Reader to Reader
    • 2.11 African Library Project
    • 2.12 Books for Africa
    • 2.13 Books Through Bars
    • 2.14 Prison Book Programs
    • 2.15 Books for Soldiers
    • 2.16 Better World Books
    • 2.17 Bookmooch
    • 2.18 Re-book It (Los Angeles)
    • 2.19 Freecycle
    • 2.20 Ask Your Friends and Family
  • 3 Where Can I Sell Used Books?
    • 3.3 AMAZON
    • 3.4 POWELL’S BOOKS
  • 4 FAQs

What To Do With Old Books?

Here are some ideas to help you transform your books into new items or pass them along to someone else if you decide to renew your library.

old book

Make a change with Textbooks for Change

Textbooks for Change allows you to send your old textbooks in to be donated to other students locally or around the globe. They will recycle them if they are too old! It’s a win/win situation. You can find a drop box near you by visiting their website.

Thrift shop

Donate your books to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Your documents will find a new home when another avid reader reads them.

Transform into gift tags or envelopes

Consider hosting a craft night to help you repurpose your books to make gift tags and envelopes. It will be fun to make the best gift possible and you’ll also have a lot of fun. These are some resources to help you make gift tags or envelopes.

Let your books travel the world

BookCrossing allows you to share your books with others. You can set up your book online to give it away to anyone or another BookCrossing member. The unique BookCrossing ID assigned to each book allows you to track the progress of your book. You can track who has read your book and where it is at the moment.

Secret storage book

You can transform an old book into a secret storage container if you want somewhere to keep your snacks safe from your family. Follow the video tutorial to learn how to make your storage container. If only we could find a way to make a bookshelf that opens when you remove a book from it.

Book headboard

Why not add books to your home decoration? These are the steps to make a headboard from old ones. Finding pages with a personal meaning for you is the best part of creating a headboard from old ones and displaying them.

Potted books

Your old books can be turned into pots for your plants. Although it may sound odd, you can make a pot from anything. You can make a stunning display at home by following the Cut Out and Keep instructions.

Build a free mailbox library

A free mailbox library is a great project for weekend fun. A small mailbox with physical documents can be placed in your front yard for your neighbors or others to use as a way to get a free book. You can also exchange one of your books. These simple steps could make you the coolest neighbor in town.

White elephant book exchange

You can add a twist to your next gathering by asking everyone to bring a book. White Elephant book parties give guests the chance to exchange books. These are just a few ideas to help you organize the event.

Phone charging station or book?

Why not make your charging station for your phone in this modern age of shiny new chargers? It is very easy to make and will look elegant on any bedside table. For instructions on how it can be made yourself, visit this DIY blog.

Where to Donate Books?

Where to Donate Books

The Salvation Army

One of the largest social assistance providers in the world is The Salvation Army. The proceeds from their stores support Adult Rehabilitation Centers that provide help for those suffering from addiction. Locate a facility near you.

Read more: Does Salvation Army Take Books?


Goodwill is an organization that offers job training and employment placement services to people with barriers to obtaining jobs. You can easily find one near you.

Local Libraries

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It is good to call ahead for information about current needs, as with many places on the list. Many libraries don’t have the time or space to sort through large volumes of paper documents. You can check to see if the library is looking for current titles or organizing a book sale.

Vietnam Veterans of America

VVA is an organization that serves veterans. It does not receive any government funding. For availability in your local area, check out the Pickup service.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores

ReStores’ proceeds are used to build strength, stability, and self-reliance in local communities and around the globe. For locations near you, visit their website.

Other Local Charities

Donation Town helps donors connect with charities across the country that offer free donation pickup services. You can use their website to find local charities that will take your book donation.

Local Theaters

Check with your local museum and theater if your books are of historical significance. Books can be used in performances as props or displayed as exhibits at local museums.

Retirement Homes

Like other places on the list, make sure you call to inquire about the need. This will ensure that your donation does not become a burden.

Kids Need to Read

Kids Need to Read aims to promote reading among children by providing books to libraries and schools in need of funding and literacy programs for children with disabilities. They will accept this field of knowledge for children that are like new but not damaged or scribbled on. Visit their website.

Reader to Reader

Reader to Reader, Inc., a non-profit organization, is dedicated to increasing literacy and learning opportunities in the nation’s most vulnerable and chronically underserved communities, such as inner-city schools and Native American reservations, as well rural areas. Find a local donation program.

African Library Project

ALP works to create African libraries through the organization of book drives in the United States. Find a local book drive, or organize your own.

Books for Africa

This is a non-profit organization that collects, sorts, and ships books to African students. Our goal is to end the book famine.

Books Through Bars

This provide quality reading material for Pennsylvania prisoners and other prison inmates.

Prison Book Programs

Prison Book Program is an organization that works with prisoners to provide books at no cost. They also maintain a list of other local organizations doing the same thing. You can find their current list here.

Books for Soldiers

Operation Paperback Books for Soldiers/ Operation Paperback gathers gently used books and ships them to troops overseas and veterans and military family members here at home. Sign up to begin the shipping process.

Better World Books

BWB sells and collects books online to fund literacy projects worldwide and donate books. Please find out more about their donation process.


Bookmooch is a community that allows you to exchange used books for books.

Re-book It (Los Angeles)

Re-Book is a community pickup service offered by The Last Bookstore. It helps ensure that books don’t end up in landfills and instead find new homes for readers.


Freecycle is an online community that promotes reuse and recycling. Register, create an account, and post a description of the books that you would like to donate.

Ask Your Friends and Family

Ask your family and friends if they are interested in reading books before you give them. Once they are done reading your books, they can donate to the following list.

See more: Where Can I Donate Books: Best Guide [2022]

Where Can I Sell Used Books?

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Where to Sell Used Books

BOOKSCOUTER is my favorite place to start. This claims they are only for textbook buyback. However, I have had good luck finding the prices of regular trade books. Book Scouter will let you know what websites are currently paying for the book you want to sell. This will help you decide if it is worth selling your book. These websites charge based on how much they believe they can sell books, so books in high demand will sell at a higher price.


This was my last stop. I found a banker’s box with hardcovers in excellent condition. I made $20, which was enough for the cost of some magazine boxes and bookends that I needed to organize my bookshelves.


You have a variety of options when it comes to selling books online via Amazon. Their trade-in program is the first. Your search for the book edition you are interested in and then find the ISBN (the 13-digit code usually found on the back of the book or copyright page).

Then, check to see if Amazon is willing to pay you money. After filling out a short questionnaire about the book’s condition, Amazon will issue you a shipping label. After they have received your book, they will issue you an Amazon credit.


Powell’s, like Half Price, will allow you to bring books into their shops for appraisal. However, if you aren’t near a physical location, you can sell to them online.


You can enter your ISBNs and answer some questions about your book quality. Then they will provide you with a price quote and a shipping label.


Also, check out local indies to find places where you can sell your used books. Many offer cash back or store credit, and many of them offer cash back. Make sure to call ahead to verify their requirements.

Read more Where To Sell Used Books?


Should I throw away old books?

Books with moldy pages can’t be recycled. They must be thrown out in the trash to prevent spreading their mold to other books. It is okay to recycle a book if it cannot be used again or given a new life in another way.

Are old books worth any money?

The condition of a book is very important. It will have a significant impact on its value. A book in poor condition and is in danger of falling apart will not be worth much. Book collectors love first editions. A first edition is often more valuable than a later edition. An autographed first edition will be even more valuable.

How do you know if an old book is valuable?

Checking the current market prices for similar books is a great way to find out how much your book is selling. This form will provide you with enough information to receive a list of similar copies. It is not necessary to include every word in the title or the author’s name.

How do you find out what a book is worth?

Check and to find out how much your books are worth. These sites and eBay allow you to sell your books. The retail price is usually one-third of what dealers pay.

Read more:

  • How To Sell Used Books On Amazon?
  • How To Trade In Books On Amazon?

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Category: Blog

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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