Do you want to give away your used books? If you feel like you don’t need your books anymore and would like to give books to someone who can use them well, you might wonder, “Where can I donate books near me?”
Donating pre-loved books is a great way to declutter your space and reuse printed resources for the environment’s sake. By donating books, you also share knowledge, promote literacy and love of reading, and contribute to community welfare.
However, you may not have enough information about where to pass them on, so this article will list various places that solicit and accept book donations, as well as some basic tips on how to donate books responsibly.
How To Donate Books
Whether they are children’s books, law textbooks, encyclopedias, computer books, audiobooks, hardback and paperback books, fiction, or nonfiction, your donation will surely be much appreciated by its recipients.
You can drop donations at your chosen charity’s branches or collection offices. You can send your books via postage if the organization is not in your city.
You can also schedule a pickup since some groups provide donation pickups directly from your home.
20 Best Places Where to Donate Books Near Me
You can donate books however you want and to whomever you want. Libraries, schools, institutions like prisons and shelters, nonprofits, and local charities will always welcome book donations.
Different charitable groups distribute books to underprivileged children or students; some donate to prisoners, and others to on-duty soldiers. Your used books may also end up in some nonprofits’ thrift shops or secondhand bookstores, where they resell your donations to raise money for their programs and activities.
You can ask your friends and family to love reading. They can donate their books to them before donating. They can later donate it to the groups listed below. Some organizations collect books for multiple purposes.
Goodwill is a non-profit organization in North America with over 1,000 locations.
When people donate used books and other pre-loved items, such as clothes, to Goodwill, these are sold in their stores, and the proceeds are used for employment training and job placement for people in your community.
You can rely on Goodwill to bring your old books to great and impactful use. Check out their website to find a location with drop boxes near you.
2. The Salvation Army
Active in 133 countries, from the United Kingdom to Guinea, the Salvation Army is amongst the world’s largest providers of social aid. They sell donated goods to raise funds for various community social services, such as assistance to the elderly, food pantries, homeless shelters, disaster relief, support for the LGBTQ community, job training, and help for survivors of domestic abuse, among other assistance to communities.
Through their drop-off points, the Salvation Army accepts goods donations, including any type of books. Hardback and paperback book donations are sold at SA stores or shared as reading materials in its homeless shelters.
3. Books for Africa
On a mission to end “book famine” in Africa, Books for Africa aims to empower students and society. This nonprofit is trying to create a culture of literacy in communities eager to learn by providing books to children curious to learn throughout the continent.
They have received and shipped over 56 million books of all kinds to almost 55 countries all over Africa. Donors can give school and college textbooks, children’s books, dictionaries, and technical science books.
The donations can be sent through the mail, costing only around 50 cents for each book.
4. Books Through Bars
Books Through Bars sends free books to imprisoned people in some selected Atlantic states. It has been operating for over 30 years, supporting self-determination, self-education, and healing behind bars for imprisoned people.
They rely on book donations to fulfill their purposes and only accept soft-cover books in new or slightly used condition on a case-by-case basis and according to the demand for certain topics and genres.
You can donate in person at locations or through the mail.
5. Project Night Night
Project Night Night‘s goal is to provide children’s books, blankets, and stuffed animals to homeless children aged between 0-10 in shelters throughout the United States for free. They call them “Night Night Package” and distribute over 30,000 of these yearly.
They only accept new blankets and stuffed toys and take slightly used children’s books.
Send your donations only through drop-off at locations and mail.
6. Reader to Reader
Reader to Reader are dedicated to distributing your donations of old books to under-resourced public libraries and schools across the US. They have a far-reaching impact as their work benefits the nation’s poorest communities. The organization usually works with inner-city schools in rural towns.
They only accept books suitable for children studying between pre-kindergarten and high school.
You can directly ship your donations to participating schools through their website.
7. Local Schools
Another great way to use your old books is to look out for local schools that accept book donations. Local schools accept donations of books as long as they are appropriate for students.
Be sure to contact a local school in your town to see what kind of books are accepted.
8. Better World Books
Better World Books is a for-profit online retailer that collects and sells new and used books through its platform and matches each purchase with a book donation. They sell your donated books to other readers and collect funds from the sales to support education support initiatives in the US.
You can drop off the books at their drop boxes near you in the United States or send them through postage.
9. Books for Soldiers/Operation Paperback
Books for Soldiers/Operation Paperback is a national non-profit organization that provides on-duty soldiers with great books to read, an effort that serves as a great way to honor the soldiers serving the country.
After registering, log in to Book for Soldiers’ Volunteer’s Corner, where an automated system matches the genres you want to donate to the soldiers’ book requests. The system will then generate standard shipping letters and a customized list of addresses where you can ship your donations.
10. Re-Book It/The Last Bookstore
Re-Book It is a free community service of The Last Bookstore, California’s largest new and used book and record store. The service offers a free pick up of your book donations from your desired location within Los Angeles county and selected Southern California locations.
While mailing your donations is not an option listed on their website, you can check out their contact information here for more details.
This program ensures that no books end up in landfills, providing new life for your books by finding new homes for them in the hands of the readers. Through book donations, they provide low-priced books and raise funds for local hospitals, schools, and libraries.
BookMooch is a community of readers where you can exchange your old books. BookMooch lets you get rid of your old books for which you receive points. You can use these points to get books you want to read and even choose to keep them forever.
This free platform encourages people not to throw their books away but to get real value from them. You only have to bear the cost of shipping and mailing the books.
You can also use the points you stack to donate books to charity.
12. Cash4Books Fundraiser
Cash4Books Fundraiser ships your old books from you to their warehouse. In exchange for the books, they will give you a payment through PayPal or a check. The payment can be turned around, and you can donate it to the charity of your choice.
Through this interesting way, your old books won’t have to be thrown away, and you’ll also be able to contribute to a social cause.
You can join many book clubs in your local library, university, and online platforms. There are a lot of students who can use your old textbooks to aid in their studies.
You can also share your books in exchange for others through these book clubs.
13. Better World Books
At Better World Books, your book donations are sold and help fund non-profit literacy initiatives in the U.S., the UK, and worldwide. Books are also recycled or donated to a non-profit partner.
Since it was founded in 2003, Better World Books has donated 35,087,507 books and raised over $33 million for literacy and libraries.
14. Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop
Free Minds Book Club combines books and creative writing to empower incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youths and adults in transforming their lives.
Serving more than 1,000 individuals, Free Minds will ensure that your book donation inspires people “to see their potential and achieve new educational and career goals.”
15. Local Women’s Shelters
Many women and children leave home without carrying much of their possessions in emergency situations. Donating books can help these people improve their mental health, learn, and bring psychological change.
Here are a few organizations in North America that accept book donations:
- Women’s Place Book Riot
- Family Safety and Healing
- Women in Distress
Many people prefer to donate their old books to reputable charities in their cities. The charities usually sell these donated books and use their money for other good causes.
You can choose the charity for yourself to ensure that your donation has the maximum effect on positively helping others. You can drop by these donations in charity offices near you.
Mailing is also an option if your preferred charity is out of your city.
Oxfam, a global confederation of charitable organizations committed to alleviating poverty, operates Europe’s biggest second-hand bookshop chain and accepts book donations regardless of genre, topic, value, or age, especially those in good condition. They also accept audiobooks on CD and cassette.
These books are sold to fund Oxfam International’s poverty alleviation programs. After a time, unsold books are used for wood pulp and recycled.
You can donate by post or through the donation drop-off points listed on their website.
17. Kids Need to Read
Based in Mesa, Arizona, Kids Need to Read shares your book donations with children from the U.S.’ lowest-income neighborhoods and schools. Children’s books are welcome as long as they do not contain questionable content, are not scribbled upon, or are visibly damaged.
Donations can be sent by mail or dropped off by appointment.
18. International Book Project
Founded in 1966, the International Book Project aims to provide quality books to people from the developing world and in areas of need within the U.S., in the process, promoting education and literacy and in areas of need within the United States. Since then, it has shipped over 7 million books to 167 countries.
IBP requires all donated books to be in excellent condition, preferably children’s library books, university textbooks in English, grammar, science, and math, medical texts and journals, and vocational books.
Donations can be dropped off by appointment at their Kentucky office.
19. Little Free Diverse Libraries (Diverse Stories)
You can donate your pre-loved diverse children’s books written by and for people of color to the Little Free Diverse Libraries. This nonprofit organization aims to “amplify and empower diverse voices.”
All donation proceeds will buy books from Black-owned bookstores and bring “diverse stories written by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) authors to Little Free Libraries, classrooms, and organizations across the United States and beyond.”
Check out this list of Little Free Diverse Libraries in your area where you can drop off your donations.
Available across the U.S. and Canada, DonationTown enables you to donate books without paying for shipping costs. This excellent resource will direct you to people who need your book donations and provide free book pickup and delivery to nearby charities, schools, libraries, prisons, or nursing homes.
What Types of Books Should Never Be Donated?
It is important to consider the condition of the books you want to donate.
You should not donate a book if it is water damaged, moldy, and has a bad odor, as books in this state cannot be reused or repurposed. Severely damaged books and those written in or highlighted should be sorted and set aside for recycling, where they will be pulped and transformed back into paper.
These guidelines are to be respected. You should desire something for others that you would want for yourself: a book in good condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Donate Books Near Me
What Do You Do With Books You Don’t Need Anymore?
There are plenty of options that you can consider for your old books. You can trade them for new books or exchange them with other used books.
You can also donate them to local libraries, retirement homes, prisons, shelters, or charities such as The Salvation Army, International Book Project, and Oxfam.
Can You Donate Books to Your Local Library?
You should contact your nearest libraries which can provide you with donation guidelines.
Many public libraries in the United States accept gift books. They are free to choose whether they want to sell these gift books for fundraising for the library or completely discard them.
What To Do With Old Hardcover Books?
Hardcover books cannot be reused or recycled due to their binding material. For that reason, most charities and organizations refuse to accept donations of these books.
Can Old Books Be Worth Money?
It depends on the condition and demand of the books, deciding whether it’s worth keeping.
You can sell first-edition classics if they hold good value and are well preserved.
How Do You Prevent a Book From Being Damaged?
Keep food away from your books, and avoid eating or drinking while reading a book, as you might unintentionally damage it.
Put your books away from your pets as well, as they can also damage your books.
Conclusion – Donate Books Near Me
Your old books don’t need to end up in the garbage bin, along with the 320 million books dumped in landfills yearly. They can be sold, traded, recycled, or reused through donation.
Book donation is an excellent way to support your local nonprofit groups and to share the pleasure of reading with others. From the list above, you can choose from the numerous places near you that accept donations.
Clear your bookshelves now and start spreading the love of reading!
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Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
- Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
- Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
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Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.