Our family really enjoys reading; so much in fact, that instead of a game room, we have a library. While do we tend to hang onto all our books, occasionally there comes a point where some of them really need to go away. Over the years, we’ve discovered all sorts of resources for selling or donating old books that we no longer read or refer to:
If you have very old books in your collection ~ old as in pre-1900 ~ these may be of value. Old book dealers are happy to come to your home, examine the collection, and buy the more valuable ones for resale. Of course, most will only pay a fraction of their true worth; for the best price, try selling these collectibles on eBay.
University students already know the benefit of selling textbooks back to the university for credit. For those old college textbooks that they won’t accept, why not try selling them on Half.com? For ones that no one wants to buy, consider donating them to a rehab facility or homeless shelter.
Coffee Table, old pulp fiction and mid century Children Series
Series from the 1930s to 1960s have value to collectors and the baby boomer set. Pulp fiction, old detective novels, Perry Mason novels and practically every children series from this era sell well on eBay and Half.com. Coffee table and oversized books also can be sold in this venue.
Contemporary paper and hard backs
Newer paper and hard backs can be traded in to a local used book dealer. The standard formula is a credit of 1/4th of the original value which can be used to buy “new” used books at 1/2 the face value. If you are the type of person who always keeps a paperback in the car, this venue is a terrific resource.
So what about books that can’t be sold?
Books for children of all ages are gratefully accepted by Women & Children crisis centers, food pantries, and shelters. Many of these places enjoy having gently used books on hand to give to low income families.
Thrift stores will almost always take donations of books in nice condition. These are usually sold to fund special programs for the poor and homeless.
One of my favorite places to donate is to a community lending library in another part of the state. A lending library is run on the honor system; people donate old books, and everyone in the town is free to borrow them as they like. School teachers in rural districts usually know the locations of these lending libraries and can advise you what libraries may have the greater need.
Many local public libraries will also accept used book donations ~ the ones they can’t use for their own collection may get sold as part of a fund raising effort.
Schools may be another place to donate children’s and reference books; however, it’s been my experience that smaller districts are more inclined to accept these donations than a larger school district. Before just dumping them off, call the school librarian and ask first.
How to get rid of books no one wants?
If you find yourself with books that no one wants (Encyclopedias seem to be at the top of this list), the final solution is to throw the book in a mixed paper recycle bin. For hardcover books, you will have to remove the covers and dispose of the covers separately.
For many people, nothing beats curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Whether you sell your old books or donate them to charity, making them available for others to read is always the best way to dispose of an old book.