How to Dispose of Old Books?

While the books you own played a key role at some point in your life, there’s no need to keep a copy you have never touched and don’t plan to for years.

The question is, how do you dispose of these old books?

Read on to learn better and suitable ways of disposing of old books that are no longer relevant to you.

Selling the Books and Making Some Money

At some point, when going through your home library, you come across old books which have turned out to be of little or no value.

Naturally, what comes to mind is weeding out these old books to create space for new, valuable ones.

Well, tossing your old sources of knowledge in your trash or sending them to the landfill is not the best of ideas.

You need to take your time to think about how to best dispose of old books. It helps minimize pollution and wastage and instead directs these resourceful items towards helping others. 

Nowadays, selling old books is easy, thanks to technology. You can just put up an ad online to advertise that you’re selling them.

It’s not only free to do this but also quick and easy if you have a smartphone. 

In addition, selling online doesn’t limit you to one place or person, as you can advertise on various online marketplaces. These include:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Facebook marketplace

If you’re lucky enough to own several valuable books or an extensive collection of the same, chances are you’ll make some good money.

Keep in mind that if you’re selling online, it’s advisable to set fair prices for your books.

Additionally, be honest with your buyers so that no conflicts arise regarding payments and deliveries. Ensure you play your part and fulfill your part of the agreement on time.

Apart from selling online, other platforms you can use to sell your old books as a way of disposing of them include:

  • Local bookstores
  • Hobby centers
  • Flea markets and consignment traders
Also read: Is Burning Paper Bad for the Environment?

Donate the Books to Your Local Library

If you don’t want to sell your books simply because you see no need or don’t want to go through trading hassles, donating them to your local library is another great option.

Did you know most books in many local libraries come from donors?

Donating books to your local library provides you with an opportunity to make a difference in society.

It’s not just about getting rid of your old books, but sharing the joy of reading with thousands, if not hundreds, of people within your locality.

Regardless of the size of your donation, your local librarian will be willing to accept them. It helps them expand their collection without spending money.

So feel free to visit the place or call to arrange how your books will get to the library.

Trade Your Old Books For Other Valuable Items

Have you ever considered exchanging your old collection of books for something more valuable?

This is a great way of disposing of those old books which are of no more value to you. Besides, it’s fun trading books. 

Some collectors are looking for certain books, and if you happen to possess those they deem valuable, you can offer them in exchange for something else.

An avid reader can also get your books and offer something in return.

You can also access trading or book swap websites online to connect with other users and trade your unwanted books for other desirable items.

Send Them to Your Local School

Another great way of disposing of your old collection of books is sending them to your local school.

Similar to donating books to your local library, giving them to school impacts young readers positively.

As long as the books are valuable to the learners, feel free to approach the school with your offer.

Your collection might even include children’s books that you or your already grown children read when young. There’s no need to throw them away.

Remember, not all kids can afford such books, and providing them to a school touches a young life.

Note, it’s good to ensure that the books you donate to a school are in good condition. Also, examine them thoroughly to ensure the content fits young readers.

After confirming that your books are suitable, organize with the school librarian on when to bring them.

Set Up a Street Library

Disposing of old books also calls for creativity.

If you’re still an active reader, a street library presents you with the perfect opportunity to get new books while eliminating books that are no longer valuable to you. 

A street library is a small box or shelf that you set up at the front of your home or yard.

It’s accessible to other people in the community, making it an easy way for you to engage with other readers.

You might wonder how a street library benefits you?

Once you take a book from a street library, the general principle is that you should also give away one of your books.

That way, you dispose of your old books and get new ones. It’s a great way of swapping and sharing books within your community.

What if you’re not an active reader? You only need to indicate that you don’t want more books in your street library. That means people will only take the books without bringing you any.

Within no time, you’ll find the shelf empty. And if you have more books you want to dispose of, keep adding them on the shelf until you’re done disposing of all your old books.

It’s worth mentioning that keeping your street library clean and tidy is likely to attract more book-takers, accelerating your rate of disposal. 

Donate Books to Thrift and Charity Stores and Prisons

Charities always welcome book donations. When you donate your books to charity, you ensure someone else who is less fortunate has access to books.

Remember, the books you donate don’t necessarily go directly to the charity. The thrift or charity shop may sell the books to generate money to fund literacy initiatives.

You can find charity centers in your local area here.

Just visit your local thrift shop, and as long as your books are in good condition, they’ll be happy to receive them.

Other places and charity shops that accept second-hand books to help support their course include:

  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army
  • Better World Books
  • Habitat for Human ReStores
  • Local literacy programs

Also, if you have adult books, especially fiction, you can send them to your local prison. Even inmates read books, and most prisons have internal libraries for their prisoners. 

Instead of throwing away or burning that old book, just call and enquire from the prison whether they accept second-hand books.

Transform Your Books into Envelopes or Gift Tags

Not every book will be in the best condition to sell, donate, swap, or trade-off. But this doesn’t mean you cannot dispose of the book in a better manner than just throwing it away.

You have the option to transform your torn books or those that are not in the best of shape into envelopes or gift tags. This way, you have unique envelopes to put your cash or gift cards in.

Find your most likable template and use the book pages to make a beautiful envelope. Gift tags also look great when from book pages.

Just cut out your tags or punch them out with a dark marker and write your message on the tag.

Give Away Your Books

Another way you can dispose of your old books is by giving them away.

First, consider giving some to your friends and relatives.

Ask a family friend whether they’ve read a certain book. Regardless of how old the book is, it’s worth it, and you can give it to them as a gift.

You may also send it to a friend who lives far away, especially those who like reading and encourage them to read.

Another way of giving away old books is through freebie classifieds websites. This is not difficult, and whether your books have value or not, they accept them. Examples of such websites are:

  • Trash Nothing
  • Freecycle
  • Craigslist

Other Ways of Disposing of Books

Apart from the ways mentioned above, other simple ways of getting rid of your old books include:

  • Recycling 
  • Use your books as decorations. For example, you can use them to make a headboard for your bed.
  • Donating your books to soldiers or retirement homes 


There are many ways of disposing of books that are better than throwing them in the trash.

You can sell them, donate, recycle, or put the torn or unusable ones in better use through repurposing and recycling.

While these books may no longer be of any value to you, others may be thrilled to have them.

Books never have and never will belong to landfills, no matter how old they are.

If you’ve been wondering what to do with your old books, now you have several ideas. It’s up to you.

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