The Best Places To Donate Used Books

It is easy to find legitimate organizations that will accept your old books if you embark on a decluttering campaign. Others operate remotely and may take shipments by mail, while others have physical stores or warehouses where books can be dropped off or picked up.

Books are the most difficult items for some people to declutter. The most frequently asked question is, “How can I donate books?” Considering this paradox is quite fascinating. Old books hold a special place in our hearts, yet many still struggle with what to do with them. As soon as we decide it is time to let them go, we want to ensure they are going to a good home where they can continue enriching and improving people’s lives.

You can also reduce your carbon footprint and slow the growth of landfills on the planet by donating old books. Swapping your physical volumes for digital ones could be one of the most environmentally beneficial things you do this year.

Where to Donate Books

We scoured the Internet to find the most current and up-to-date places for people to donate books to provide a thoughtful and thorough answer. Please see the list below for local book donations.

The Salvation Army

As an important provider of social care, the Salvation Army is among the largest organizations in the world. Their stores generate funds to support Adult Rehabilitation Centers, where those battling addiction can find help, hope, and a second chance at life. You can find a facility near you. The Salvation Army accepts donations of all types. It is an organization focused on serving the community. It operates a comprehensive network of thrift stores open to the public. The Salvation Army offers the same tax deduction as Goodwill if you itemize your deductions.

Goodwill

Goodwill provides job training, job placement services, and other community-based programs that assist individuals who face barriers to getting a job. You’re likely to find a Goodwill store within driving distance if you live in or near a decent-sized city. 

You can find drop-off locations near you on their website, so they are often conveniently located. The donation policy at Goodwill is expansive and lenient – at least when it comes to books. You may get a tax deduction if you itemize your contributions to Goodwill.

Local Libraries

As with most places on this list, it is good to call in advance to inquire about current requirements. It is often impossible for local libraries to sort through large collections of books due to lack of space or time. You can check if they require current titles or if they will be holding a community book sale soon.

There are some libraries and library systems that accept used books for donation. Visit the library’s website and look for information about its donation policy to determine if it accepts donations.

It would be best if you didn’t assume your library accepts used books – some major libraries, like the Chicago Public Library, won’t accept unsolicited donations. It may be limited to annual or seasonal book drives if yours does. Check with your local school library if your public library doesn’t accept donations.

Vietnam Veterans Of America

VVA serves veterans who are in need through its non-profit organization. The organization does not receive any government contributions. You can check their website to see whether the Vietnam Veterans of America provides pickup services in your area.

Other Local Charities

The non-profit organization Donation Town links donors to charities all over the country with free donation pickups. The site can help you find local charities that will take your gently used books.

Retirement Homes

If you would like to donate to retirement homes, please call to inquire about current needs to ensure that the donation is not a burden. You can choose a retirement home where you can donate books here.

Kids Need To Read

Children Need to Read provides inspiring books to underfunded schools, libraries, and literacy programs throughout the United States, including those serving disadvantaged children. They accept children’s books in like-new condition and not scribbled on or damaged. To learn more, see their website.

Reader To Reader, Inc.

Reader to Reader, Inc. was founded in 1965. This organization focuses on expanding literacy and education opportunities for America’s most vulnerable communities, such as inner-city schools, Native American reservations, and poor rural towns. 

African Library Project

ALP is dedicated to building African libraries through the organization of book drives in the United States. It is possible to find a nearby book drive or even organize your own.

Books For Africa

The mission of Books for Africa is to end the book famine in Africa by collecting, sorting, transporting, and distributing books to African students of all ages. A non-profit organization, Books for Africa, collects gently used books published within the last 15 years and textbooks published since 1998 and ships them to Africa.

You can visit their website for more information about what they accept and don’t accept as donations and how you can donate to them. You can drop off book donations at either the office in Atlanta, GA, or the warehouse in St. Paul, MN. Unless you live nearby, you will have to pay for shipping for the books to their offices.

Books Through Bars

The Books Through Bars program provides quality reading material to prisoners in Pennsylvania and the surrounding states. It collects and distributes books to inmates by collecting donated books and distributing them to inmates. 

Prison Book Programs

Prison Book Program is an organization that sends books to prisoners free of charge. As part of their work, this organization also keeps a list of local organizations (in your area) doing the same thing.

Books for Soldiers

Founded in 2011, Books for Soldiers collects gently used books and delivers them to American troops abroad and veterans and military families here in the United States.

Better World Books

The mission of Better World Books is to donate books and fund literacy initiatives worldwide by collecting and selling books online. Better World Books has also formed partnerships with groups that receive donations of books and sell them to raise money for those groups, such as United for Libraries.

The company uses the Better World Books website and several other websites to reach the widest audience possible. To help spread literacy worldwide, they donate a book with every book purchase to a partner organization, such as Books for Africa. If you register a donation on their website, they even pay to ship your books to them.

Bookmooch

Bookmooch, a community for exchanging used books, is a great place to receive books in exchange for your donation.

Re-book It

The Last Bookstore offers a free community pickup service called Re-Book It to avoid unwanted books ending up in landfills.

Freecycle

The Freecycle bulletin board is a local, free service dedicated to reusing items. If you’re interested in donating books, sign up for a local book club and describe the books you have. There is a loose network called Freecycle dedicated to reusing and exchanging things. The Freecycle network members are perpetually interested in books because they are cheap and plentiful. 

You should not have difficulty finding people willing to take your old books if you live in an area where Freecycle is active. Do not expect to be able to offload large quantities of books here or to claim a tax deduction if you donate.

Little Free Library

Drop them off at a neighborhood Little Free Library (or several) if you have a modest number of books to sell. Regular people erect small drop boxes across the country where others can donate or grab old books.

If you are looking for a new book while recycling your old one, this is an excellent way to do so. Don’t forget to select books for the Little Free Library that appeal to mass readers. Reference books, college textbooks, and old manuals are inappropriate for these boxes. They can be traded in at used bookstores for cash.

Find Little Free Libraries near you by using its map feature, but bear in mind that most cannot accommodate dozens of new books at once. If there isn’t a Little Free Library in your neighborhood and you’re interested in starting one, check out the guide to starting one. It is advantageous to start your own library because you can get as many old books as it can hold.

Book Drives Or Fundraisers

Community organizations and school groups organize book drives and fundraisers to raise funds or collect books for deserving recipients. Your donations will likely have the greatest impact if you are already involved with school-based organizations that can use books (or raise funds with books).

Otherwise, you should contact non-profit organizations to collect and distribute books in your neighborhood. Children’s Book Bank, an organization in Portland, Oregon, that organizes the distribution of books to lower-income families, is an example. Depending on the organization, you might need to wait for their seasonal campaigns to solicit donations.

Local Faith-Based Organizations

Search for local congregations advertising book donations if you can’t find outposts of qualified national charities in your area, or you prefer to reward smaller faith-based organizations doing good work in your community. If you wish to donate books, you should wait for annual or seasonal drives sponsored by your school. If you intend to claim your donation as a tax deduction, make sure the recipient is a tax-exempt organization.

Public Literacy Programs

There are hundreds of organizations and programs that provide public literacy services to vulnerable children and adults throughout the country and abroad. It is nice to be able to make a difference in your corner of the world if you are participating in one of the many domestic literacy organizations. Among these organizations is Children’s Literacy Foundation, which mainly serves northern New England.

DonationTown.org

Various charities can pick up books through DonationTown.org. You will see a list of charities that DonationTown.org has partnered with when you enter your zip code to arrange a pickup time. Choosing a charity to donate to is as easy as selecting from the list. There is no charge for pickup.

The majority of these places are very picky about what types of books they accept, but this one has a very liberal policy regarding accepting various books.

Thrift Stores

The United States has hundreds of independent thrift shops and dozens of thrift store chains. The chances are, even if you aren’t a seasoned thrift store shopper, you know of the more well-known spots in your city – and if not, a simple search can point you in the right direction.

It’s also possible that your local government maintains a list of thrift stores that will accept donations. The Choose to Reuse map of your home county can be useful for planning your book-giving endeavor. When you run out of ideas, try Savers – it’s one of the major thrift store chains in the US, and it accepts paper media and books.

Children’s Book Project

A non-profit organization in San Francisco dedicated to collecting and disseminating children’s books for all ages, the Children’s Book Project collects gently used books for children of all ages. Its mission is to promote literacy among children and a love of reading. If you live in the San Francisco area, you can donate in person, or you can ship them your books.

Children’s Hospitals

Check if your regional or local children’s hospital needs any children’s books. Ensure your books have pictures, are clean, and do not have any water damage if you donate them.

School Libraries & Daycare Centers

You may be able to donate books for children to your local schools and daycare centers. If you decide to donate to a children’s hospital, make sure the hospital wants and will appreciate your contribution before bringing a big box to their doorstep. Additionally, make sure that any donated materials are in good shape.

Ask Your Friends and Family

If your friends and family are interested in reading something, why not ask them before donating? Once they are done with your books, they can donate them based on the above list.

Final Word

It is a win-win situation for both donors and recipients to donate used books. By donating old books, donors get the satisfaction of decluttering and the knowledge the recipient organizations will appreciate. It depends on the mission and purpose of the organization whether old books are a source of revenue or knowledge.

Are you interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation? Check out the rest of Gov Relations’ blog section today!