7 Ways to Recycle, Sell or Donate Books

May 7th 2016

Used Book Stores

Check your local listings to find a used bookstore in town. Depending on how many copies the store has of a particular title, you may get up to one-eighth of the cover price in cash or one-fourth of the cover price in store credit.

Online Classifieds

If you feel you have a real find, research the year, edition and printing of your book to ascertain its value. Place online ads through several websites that specialize in user-created want ads, post your book to social media or find specialty websites such as Bowker.com that may have classified listings. You can always create an online storefront to sell entire collections of books to aficionados.

Recycling Centers

Recycling centers receive old books because they have a lot of paper between the covers. The difficulty rests with removing the covers of old books because recycling centers cannot accept hard binding or the glue that holds the pages to the spine. Cut away the binding and the glue before sending your books to the recycling center.

Donations to Charities

Several charities accept book donations. Talk to your local public library, public school system, Goodwill or Salvation Army to discuss donating books. Your donation becomes tax deductible if you itemize your income tax deductions, and you must assign a value to the goods you donate while getting a receipt.

Yard Sales

Put your books in your annual yard sale. Consider $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks, or go for one-eighth of the cover price. Offer extreme discounts as your yard sale winds down, and sell them for $1 for a bag of books.

Paper Crafts

Use the paper in books for various crafts. For instance, make a quotable saying out of words and letters you cut out of a book. Paste the words onto a wooden or cloth backing, and add a frame. Make paper fans by folding the pages with alternating creases. Cut out paper dolls with your children, and hang the dolls on the wall, or cut out stylized snowflakes or flowers depending on the season. Cut pages to make holiday ornaments, necklaces and even cake toppers.

Book Crafts

Keep your books mostly intact to make several stylish items. Glue a hard, flat surface to the cover of the book to make a large coaster. Cut out a cylinder through the center of the book to serve as a base for an ordinary lamp. Leave the front cover unimpaired, and carve out a rectangle in the center of each page to create a hidden piggy bank to store small items. You can even sell these crafts through an online storefront.


Despite the rise of e-book readers made by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, traditional print publishing of books remains a strong, stable industry. Traditional paper publishing declined slightly from 2012 to 2013 with a 2 percent decrease. Meanwhile, e-book publishing declined 46 percent over that same span. When you finish that latest bestseller and have no more use for it, consider any of these seven methods to donate, sell or recycle your used hardback or paperback.

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