In today’s post, I’m going to tell you where to donate used books online and near you.
I have a lot of books at home. And most of them I’ve read. So they pretty much just sit there gathering dust.
Sure it’s nice to keep your favorites on the shelves for a re-read.
But most books we never read again. So what can you do with old books?
Well, besides selling your used books for cash, donating them is a great option.
Sadly, around 320 million books end up in landfills each year. Don’t throw yours out. Donate them instead.
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You can donate textbooks, old and new books to charities, websites and lots of other places both online and near you.
Here are 23 places to donate used books.
Donate Books Online
Here are the best places where you can give away your old books online so other people in need can enjoy reading them.
Books for Soldiers is an awesome charity and website where any deployed member of the US military can request a book, DVD or video game.
Just browse the site’s forum to view books requests from soldiers. You can send paperbacks, hardbacks and comic books.
“What should I do with old textbooks?”
If you are a current or former student and have unused textbooks, this is a great place to donate your textbooks to.
Books for Africa collects, sorts, ships, and distributes books (fiction, nonfiction and textbooks) to students of all ages in Africa. Its goal is to end the book famine in Africa. So by donating to this cause, you’ll be helping students in Africa.
In addition to donating your books, you can also make a financial donation to cover the cost of shipping the books you donate.
Books to Prisoners is an organization that’s dedicated to sending books to prisoners. There are lots of Books to Prisoners groups in the US. Canada and England. One of the organization’s groups, Prison Book Program has a list of states the organization services, so you may be able to find one near you.
Depending on the program, you may be able to mail the books or donate to a place near you.
According to Kids Need to Read, 45% of the country’s children live in neighborhoods that lack libraries and stores that sell books or in homes where books are an unaffordable or unfamiliar luxury. And many can’t afford to buy books at retail prices.
So 32.4 million American children go without books, despite the fact that studies show literacy is critical to success in school.
You can help the charity by donating your unwanted books. It accepts new and “like new” children’s books that don’t have any scribbles on them or any visible damage.
By the way, if you can afford it, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a great organization to donate money to. The Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is an awesome book gifting program that mails free books to children from all over the country.
BookMooch is a website where you can trade your books with other people.
Here’s how it works:
- Just enter the name of the books you want to give away.
- Receive requests from others for your books
- Mail your books and receive points
- Then ask for books from others with your points.
It’s super simple and if you’re looking to get some new books while clearing out your own collection, BookMooch is a good option for you.
Where to Donate Books Near Me
With the above places, you ship your books most of the time. But what if you want to donate books near you?
Donating your used books locally saves you the shipping costs of mailing your books. Plus you get to help charities and those in need in your area.
You can donate books to lots of places in your local community:
With Better World Books, you can find a drop box location near you and donate your books today. Books need to be in good condition. Just enter your current location, like your city, address or zip code and you can find your nearest location.
If you have a large collection of books, Better World Books will take those too!
The site sells donated books online to help raise funds for non-profit literacy organizations.
The Salvation Army accepts donations of used items, including hardback and paperback books. You can visit The Salvation Army website to find a drop-off location near you.
Goodwill accepts book donations for its resale stores. You can donate to your local Goodwill by visiting the site and finding your nearest location. Just ask the store if they accept book donations.
9. Local Libraries
Ever wondered, “Can I donate books to my local library?“.
The answer is, yes!
Many libraries have a Friends of the Library Society that holds book sales and other fundraisers to benefit libraries. These groups often take donated books to stock library shelves or they resell them at fundraising events. This means that many libraries accept like-new and gently used book donations.
So call your local library and ask if they would accept your book donation.
LetGo is a website where people can buy and sell stuff locally. But it also has a section just for free stuff. In this section, people can give away and get items for free. So you could list your books for free on the site.
11. Local Thrift Stores
Many local thrift stores accept book donations. So you could donate books to a thrift store near you. Of course, not all thrift stores will accept books. So do call to ask before you show up to donate.
Pickup Please is a donation pickup service that will collect your used books right from your home to help The Vietnam Veterans of America. The Veterans of America sells your donated books to private companies by annual bid that generates funding to support the programs of the Vietnam Veterans of America.
Habitat for Humanity ReStores accept new and gently used items. Generally, it accepts things like new and gently used appliances, furniture, building materials, and household goods. But some stores do accept book donations as well. For example, the Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven accepts book donations.
The money raised by Habitat ReStores helps families to build affordable housing and supports Habitat’s work in your community and around the world.
OfferUp is a website where people can get buy and sell stuff locally, and ship items too. But the website also has a section for free stuff, so consider listing your used books there.
15. Local theaters and museums
Local theaters and museums sometimes use books, particularly historical ones, as props during performances or in exhibits. So you may want to get in touch with local theaters and museums to see if they’d like any book donations.
16. Local retirement homes
Some retirement homes accept used book donations. Just give them a call to see if they’d be willing to accept your used books.
17. Reader to Reader
Reader to Reader’s book donation program has donated millions of books to schools and public libraries, including those in low-income areas. You can find a donation program near you and hold a book drive.
5miles is a website where you can buy and sell things in your area. It has a section just for free stuff where you can give items away. So if you’re looking to donate books near you, then give the site a try.
The African Library Project helps to create libraries in Africa. All that’s needed to create a single library is 1,000 gently used children’s books and $500 towards shipping. You can find a local book drive or organize your own.
Freecycle is a non-profit organization that helps people to give and get stuff for free in their own towns. You could have a browse of the site to see if there’s anyone local on there who’s looking for used books.
Craigslist is another place where you can give stuff away to people nearby. I’ve seen lots of posts on there of people giving away books for free. So just create a listing on there for your unwanted books.
22. Other local charities
I’ve mentioned a few charitable organizations above, like The Salvation Army and the Vietnam Veterans of America. But you can find even more local charities to donate your used books to with DonationTown.Org.
This website allows you to find charities near you with free donation pick up.
Just enter your zip code, and you’ll get a list of charities in your area that pick up donations. Then you can schedule your donation pick up for free! The Donation Town donation pick up service directory is a great way to find places near you to donate used books.
It’s been featured by lots of major news outlets, like The Washington Post and Forbes.
Little Free Library is a contactless neighborhood book exchange, and it’s one of my personal favorites! Maybe you’ve seen them around your town. Basically, someone will build a “little library” in their yard – it typically looks like a large bird house on a post. Take a book or 2, leave some books, whatever. I drop off 5-10 books per month in an LFL that’s about 2 miles from my home. Find the closest Little Free Library to you on this map.
Bonus #24. Ask your friends and family
Sometimes your friends and family members may be happy to take some of your used books off your hands. I’ve given away some of my used books to family members before. So if you have a family member or friend who loves to read, why not ask them if there’s anything they’re interested in reading before you donate them elsewhere.
There are so many places where you can donate used books, from charities like Goodwill to websites like 5miles.
Whether you want to donate books during COVID 19 or any other time, give the places above a try.