Books, like many of our treasured belongings, often simply rot away on our shelves and become clutter because we no longer have a current need for them, but because we loved them, we don’t want to just throw them away. But, left unused for long periods of time,the fate of our beloved books is to collect dust, turn yellow, fall apart, and even smell bad. Objects that go unused for years create stagnant or stuck energy in our homes that affect our mood, drain our energy and may even make it harder to function and use your storage shelves easily.
Is this what you intended when you bought the books? I know parting with books is challenging. It helps if you can focus on the benefits and value of passing them on. Like sharing the insights or entertainment you got out of the book with others.
By donating or giving away books you no longer need, you get to contribute value to others while also making more room in your own home or office to function with ease. Think of how much shelf space you could reclaim.
Plus, if you donate your books (including books on tape or CD) to a charity and itemize deductions, you can deduct the value of the books on your income tax return. Web-based tools like It’s Deductible make it easy to figure out what the books are worth.
Where to Give Your Books Away
- Your Local Library – Unfortunately, many libraries don’t take book donations anymore. But some do, so it is worth finding out if there is a library near you that will take your books, even if your hometown does not. Note: Libraries often take Books on CD and Books on Tape, Videos, DVDs, and Music CDs and Tapes too.
- JustGIVE.org – This site provides a list of places to donate just about anything. Whether you want to donate Books, Furniture, Household Good and Clothing, Computers, Cars, Cell Phones, Pet Supplies, Eyeglasses, your Hair, or even your Organs, you can find a resource here.
- Friends of Libraries, USA – This group is currently accepting donations to rebuild libraries affected by hurricanes and more. You can ship books to them. Address: 1420 Walnut St, Suite 450 Philadelphia, PA 19102-4017 Call: 215-790-1674 or 1-800-9FOLUSA folusa.org
- Vietnam Veteran’s Association – Offers both pick up service and drop off service. There is a limit on the number of books you can donate at one time. Not all areas have pick up service, but some offer a monthly pick up.
- Freecyle.org – List ads for free and give books or anything else away. Be careful in screening who you allow to come to your home. For safety, arrange a public meeting place to deliver the books.
- BookCrossing.com – This website is a really fun way to share books. You register your book, leave it in a public place, someone else picks it up, notes it on the website, then does the same. You get to track your books travels after you give it way.
- Housing Works in NYC – 126 Crosby Street, NYC 10012 (212-334-3324) You can drop off or ship books to them. They work to end homelessness and AIDS in NYC.
- Craigslist.org – Free ad listing website lets you give books and anything else away. Be careful. Avoid giving your address to strangers. For safety, arrange a public meeting place to deliver the books.
- Bridge to Asia’s Textbook and Journal Donation Program – Got old textbooks and professional journals? This group wants college, graduate and professional level teaching and research materials. They accept books, journals and other forms of information both used and new. Visit bridge.org
- PaperbackSwap.com – Here you can mail your books in (usually costs $1.59 per book)and get credits. Then you can use your credits to get books you want.
- BooksThroughBars.org – What better way to rehabilitate someone than through education and reading? This program provides books to prisoners. Before sending books, make sure you check the rules on what types of reading material each prison allows.
Also consider FIRSTBOOK.org – They don’t take books, but you can donate to help kids in need get their “first books.”
BONUS Clutter Flow Tip: Set up a donation bin, just as you would a recycle or trash bin. Collect books and other items you no longer need. Once a week, on the same day as trash day, check if the bag or box is full and donate as needed. I keep a donation back on a hook in my closet for clothing I no longer need. Automate the process any way you can and set up a reminder in your calendar or phone. Once you get in the habit it will feel almost effortless.