Where to Donate Used Books – 10 Options to Consider

Do you love buying books? Are you the type to stop at every bookstore in your path? Do you always buy at least one new book whenever you’re in a bookstore?

It’s no secret to your family and friends that you’re a book fanatic. In fact, they enable your collecting habit by buying you books for Christmas, birthdays, and other holidays.

With all of this book buying and gift receiving, your collection is huge now! But you’ve been hoarding your books and it’s a problem. You’ve come to the realization that you’ll never read the majority of them. And the clutter is taking up too much space.

What should you do? We’ll unless you’re trying to recoup some of your investment, which isn’t easy to do, you’ll benefit by donating them to charities worthy of your donation.

When donating, your charitable contributions are tax deductible, which is an added bonus. After all, this is a blog about money and retirement, so you know I had an angle here somewhere, right?

But even better, your valuable collection won’t go to waste any longer. It’s going to help people less fortunate than you educate themselves through reading.

Our Favorite Local Organizations Accepting Book Donations


Instead of spending money to ship your unwanted books, it’s easier and less expensive to just donate them to a local organization with an office in your neighborhood or somewhere close to the vicinity of your home.

These community minded organizations are everywhere and you already know most of them by name. Our top recommendations include:

  1. Your Community’s Public Library

One of the easiest ways to rid yourself of unwanted books is to bring them to your local library. Some libraries host special events throughout the year to accept new donations. In other cases, the library will take them any day they are open, as long as they are set up for it.

Let’s not forget about the Friends of the Library Society. They collect used books to sell at special events to benefit the library. So they will gladly take gently used or brand new books to help stock their shelves for their next big sale.

  1. Goodwill

Do you have a Goodwill retail store near your home? If you don’t know, search for the closest locations online. If you do have one nearby you’re in luck because they typically take all book donations. The proceeds of the sale of your books will go toward job training and placement programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages.

  1. Reading Tree

Reading Tree is also a great option because they have donation centers prominently placed throughout the United States. This charity takes book donations and instead of selling them, they use them to help schools and libraries replenish their supplies when they are grossly underfunded. If you cannot find a Reading Tree donation center in your area, they may be willing to put a crate in your neighborhood if you put in a request.

  1. The Salvation Army

You can donate your used books at a local Salvation Army drop off location. Visit their website to find one in your community. They accept paperbacks, hardbacks, and other goods in sellable condition. Some of your books will go to local homeless shelters, while others will be sold for a profit and the proceeds will be used to keep the Salvation Army up and running.

  1. Local Thrift Shops

Many communities have secondhand thrift stores within them. They are also excellent places to donate used books. Each store will have their own specific policies about accepting donations, so please inquire with them. Also remember that by donating to these stores, you are making it possible for less fortunate residents to gain access to very affordable books within the community, so this is a great service.

  1. Got Books?

The organization “Got Books?” allows community members to host fundraisers to collect used books. Get together with your friends and collect all of your unwanted books. The organization will then buy the used books from you, and either pay you, or donate the money to a charitable organization that you would like to support.

Our Favorite Organizations Accepting Shipped Used Book Donations

Even though you have to pay for shipping, you are supporting wonderful charities so that’s always a bonus. They include:

  1. Books for Africa

While they accept fiction and nonfiction, they typically prefer receiving reference books and relatively newly published textbooks. Ship them your used books and they will send them to students in need in Africa.

  1. Better World Books

This organization accepts shipped book donations. The proceeds go toward a charitable organization known as the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations. This association wins its support to public libraries all across the US.

  1. Books for Soldiers

This organization is great because you can sign up to volunteer on their website and then create a care package which you will send to soldiers deployed overseas. Once you’ve signed up on the site, you can see the specific requests soldiers have made for DVDs, CDs, and certain books and make sure to put them in your care package.

  1. Books through Bars

This organization, and another called Books to Prisoners will accept shipped donations of used books. These books are then sent to various prisons for inmates all around the country. The books are used as additional reading material to improve higher education or for entertainment purposes. Particularly, these organizations look for books about spirituality, alcohol and drug recovery, history books, study guides, textbooks, Spanish books, and dictionaries. Most prisons do not allow hardcover books so remember to donate paperbacks.

Final Thoughts

Prior to donating your books, you should check with each charitable organization to learn about their policies. Some might not accept certain books of yours, so you may need to donate them to multiple organizations to give all of them away.

After making a donation, remember to get a receipt and remember to keep track of the donated books you’ve given away. You’ll need this for tax purposes. Even though you don’t have to submit them to the IRS, you should keep them all the same just in case you ever end up experiencing a tax audit.

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Tim Schmidt


Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who has covered retirement investing since 2012. He started this website to share his expertise in using his Self-Directed IRA for alternative investments. His views on retirement investing have been highlighted in USA Today, Business Insider, Tech Times, and more. He invested with Goldco.