If you’re wondering where to donate books once you’re ready to dispose of them, it depends largely on what you’re going to donate.
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Textbooks are likely acceptable at schools, while old magazines may not be widely accepted in libraries.
With this list of places that accept donated books, you no longer have to hunt for them yourself.
35 Places Where to Donate Books
You don’t need to visit all these places, but only choose based on the magazines, textbooks, or other types of books you’re going to donate and your location in relation to these places.
Obvious Places Where to Donate Books
Before you explore other avenues to give away your used books, check with the following first:
1. Family and Friends
Maybe your niece or nephew has started their comic book phase and you’ve got boxes full of them ready for disposal. Maybe old textbooks can be used by a friend who just began taking up the same course as you.
You’ll exert the least effort donating books to family and friends since they can just pick up the books from your home or office.
This platform may be global, but the concept is very local. It connects you to people near your community who might be in search of the items (books included) that you’re giving away for free.
3. Local Libraries
Libraries usually accept book donations, especially if they do not currently have the book titles you’re going to donate. In some cases, libraries may not be too picky but accept everything as long as they’re still usable.
Note that used books should be moldy, burnt, water-damaged, or have a lot of missing pages may not be acceptable for libraries.
If you’re donating textbooks, the first place you should go to is your local schools. If the books are for college use, go to universities. If the books are for middle school or high school, you know it – go to the appropriate school.
5. Local Community Book Drives
Every now and then, your neighborhood, city, school, or other local communities host book drives. These events may not be available throughout the year, but be sure to watch out for them especially if you have a TON of used books for donations.
6. Food banks
Even food banks go beyond distributing food. Because these charities are linked to shelters that may need books and magazines, food banks may just accept your preloved books.
7. Thrift stores
Some thrift stores even buy old books from you, especially if the thrift store owner knows the value of your books. However, ordinary books may not be accepted as easily here.
8. Your Church and other Faith-based Organizations
Churches also host book drives occasionally. If they’re hosting a garage sale and are asking members of the church to bring items they want to donate for sale, books could be accepted as well.
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Some churches have their own library as well.
Non-Profit Organizations that Accept Used Books
Numerous organizations were built to support a particular market: kids, soldiers, prisoners, church members, and other underprivileged groups.
This Oregon-based non-profit organization regularly organizes book drives to give lower-income families in the community useful reading materials.
Little Free Library is similar to Freecycle. It’s a worldwide community but done on a local scale. You can even begin your own Little Free Library if there isn’t one in your neighborhood yet.
The only difference from Freecycle is that Little Free Library only deals with books.
11. Salvation Army
Salvation Army has thrift stores nationwide. Just enter your zip code to find the nearest dropoff location in your area, where you can drop off your preloved books.
Like the Salvation Army, Goodwill operates at over 1,000 locations in North America, so it’s easy to find a drop box near you.
This charity works to provide free books to under-resourced public libraries and public school libraries throughout the country. Everyone is encouraged to make a donation or hold a book drive.
The Vietnam Veterans of America has its own PickupPlease service, making it easy to schedule a donation pickup in various parts of the United States. The org even leaves a tax deduction receipt for you.
ReStores accept donations and sell a constantly changing inventory of furniture, appliance, building materials, home goods, and more, then use the proceeds to help Habitat for Humanity build, rehabilitate or repair the homes of local families.
16. Donation Town
Donation Town organizes the donation drives of many non-profit organizations on one website. You can request a pickup at your house, then Donation Town takes care of transporting the donated books and other items to your choice of charity.
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Kids Need to Read encourages disadvantaged children to read inspiring books. This organization accepts book donations and then sends them to help literacy programs of underfunded schools, libraries, and community agencies across the United States.
Better World Books is a for-profit global e-retailer that collects and sells new and used books online matching each purchase with a book donation, Book-for-Book™.
There isn’t a pickup request service, but you can ship it to 3 US addresses, and a UK location.
19. Re-Book It
This Los Angeles-based pickup service is brought to you by The Last Bookstore, which aims to help keep books from ending up in landfills.
Fill out the form here for a free donation pickup anywhere in LA. You can receive a tax receipt (upon request).
These donations could help schools, libraries, hospitals, and the Last Bookstore. Note that this org doesn’t accept books, magazines, textbooks, and other books that are 5 years and older.
For book lovers of all ages, this program is awesome because whenever you give books away, you can request for books yourself as well.
This non-profit org has been sending free books to incarcerated people in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania for over 30 years.
You can donate books or fund the charity with cash.
This is another non-profit program that organizes book drives and donates them to people in prison. Check the website – it has a good list of similar programs that may be more appropriate for you if there is no Prison Book Program near you.
Books for Soldiers is a program that sends books and care packages to US troops deployed overseas.
Any soldier could directly request a package once a month and the organization would send them shortly after.
Operation Paperback is similar to the last 2 organizations on this list. This national non-profit organization has been shipping books to soldiers overseas since 1999.
Register as a volunteer shipper and you can request addresses of troops or veterans from the org’s database. You then can directly send a package to those who request reading materials.
ALP encourages people to hold their own book drives and send them to the organization, which will then organize the shipment of these preloved books to African libraries.
26. Books for Africa
Here’s another org with the same program. They collect, sort, ship and distribute gently-used books to African students.
This local program connects people who would like to gift items to other people. No cash or trades are allowed, but it offers a good alternative to Freecycle.
Savers is a thrift store with community donation centers. The program encourages people to donate books instead of throwing them away which eventually leads to landfills.
29. Magazine Harvest
If you have magazines and comics up for donation, this organization sorts and distributes them to at-risk readers in food pantries, youth centers, domestic abuse shelters, foster care, and other similar situations.
This non-profit organization aims to improve literacy and encourage the love of reading by providing underserved children living in New Jersey a continuous source of books.
31. Discover Books
Discover Books is a large buyer and seller of good quality used books. The company also has thousands of book collection bins across the country, so you could dispose of books responsibly.
Unusual Places that Accept Donated Books
Many people don’t think of these places when planning to donate preloved books.
If the books you have are mostly children’s books, visit one of the daycare facilities near you and ask if they’d be willing to take them off your hands.
33. Hospitals and Retirement homes
Hospitals and retirement homes also have small libraries to keep patients busy. Magazines, comics, children’s books and other interesting books could be donated here.
34. Local Theaters
For books that are not moldy or damaged, but are over 5 years old, the local theater might happily receive them from you and use them in future productions as props.
35. Cultural sites and museums
Many museums and cultural sites are interested in vintage books and rare-to-find literature. If you have bibles, manuscripts, textbooks, and other books that you think are valuable, go to the nearest museum to have them checked.
Where to Donate Books in Exchange for Cash
Anyone would love to turn trash into cash, but this concept rarely includes used books. This doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find a place that pays people for books though.
Zubal Books is a good example that buys off valuable hard-to-find books from people. There’s a list of categories that Zubal is looking for, so check the site for an up-to-date title list.
If you’re the one looking for books, I have a guide on how to get free kids’ books by mail.
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