questionswhat do you do with books you don't plan on…


I have a local bookstore that will trade them for store credit. Or if he doesn't want them I donate them sometimes to the group that teaches adults to read and sometimes to the Salvation Army.

Or to my family depending ont he book :-)


I take mine to a nearby assisted living/nursing home. I find this to be a "feel good" moment. They are always so appreciative.


I can't seem to give mine up, so I built a library of sorts in my basement den. Your local library may want them - ours takes used books to sell at a fund raiser. Local prison / jail libraries may also appreciate a donation.


Our library has used book sales, so they go to that.


I keep mine on a shelf - only to keep track of what books I've read and what authors I like. I have signed up for a Goodreads account and haven't really made use of it.

I have absolutely no idea why I keep my books other than as a trophy case of my "accomplishments."


I use (they don't have to be paperbacks) You put your list of books on the site and people with "credits" can choose them. If someone chooses your book you print a wrapper for your book, wrap it up, pay ~$2 for a paperback in postage, and send it to them. Then you have a credit and can request a book from someone else. (I think you get a free one for posting 10 books)
I like it because it is a cheap way to get new books for the books I won't read anymore.


I have a very hard time giving up books, whether I think I'll read them again or not. For a brief and glorious period of time we had a weekly cleaning lady. She once commented that our house would be so much easier to clean if we would just get rid of the books.

So we got rid of the cleaning lady.


I place them on a bookshelf.


When I am going to visit the second hand bookstore, I pack up a bag of books to exchange for credit. When I am traveling there is often a place to lighten my load by leaving finished books for fellow travelers. I left a couple of books on the bookshelf of the home I rented in New Orleans and another in the free exchange library of the cruise ship I sailed on earlier this month. Otherwise I give them to friends or to homeless shelters and other charitable organizations.


In order of book's popularity/desirability:
2. community library donation
3. Goodwill
4. recycling


Just find a local used bookstore and bring 'em in for credit. If that doesn't work, thrift store--but try to find a non-chain one as some of the chain ones (especially Goodwill) just take the donated stuff and sell it online.


@starblind: They still use those funds in their non-profit work. What's important to look at is the percent of donations (cash and property) that are used for admin and how much gets used for the agency's work.


@starblind: What's wrong with that? Some of the clothing they get ends up being sold for rags or bought by wholesalers who ship it off for sale in under-developed countries. Either way, Goodwill derives some profit from your castoffs, so why worry about how your unwanted stuff ends up?


Most hospitals have a drop area for magazines and books. But I have to say, I rarely have this problem; even less so now that I use my kindle/tablet/phone.


@magic cave: Most people who donate a book at Goodwill do so with the assumption that it will be sold at the store to someone who can't easily afford books at full price. They don't think it will be sold to some collector on eBay for profit. And that profit doesn't necessarily go to help the needy, either. Goodwill executives make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year (the Wikipedia article gives an example of the president of one branch who made over $800,000 in 2004). Meanwhile, they pay disabled employees pennies per hour (much, MUCH less than minimum wage) to do, you know, the actual work. If that seems okay to you, then we must inhabit different moral universes, I suppose.


@starblind: "Most people" donate to a charity in part, at least, to provide money or income -- in one form or another -- to the charity. My own goal is not only to assist its bottom line but also to keep recyclable goods out of the trash truck.

It's much the same concept as putting items I no longer want or that need repairs I can't do out on the curb with a note telling people to help themselves. A neighbor once got upset over that practice, telling me huffily that some people undoubtedly "stole" my stuff and sold it at flea markets.

"That would be great!" I replied. "I get it out of my house, someone earns money with it, someone else gets more use from an object I don't want, and it doesn't end up in a landfill! Winner, all the way around!" She stomped off. You should consider following her.

As for moral universes, I'll keep my own, thank you, since yours seems to consist of little more than headline reading and self-righteous indignation.


@starblind: I know of at least one "non-chain" thrift store that sells some of its donated items online. It makes more money for the charity this way.

There are still plenty of great books to choose from.


I usually sell mine to Half Price Books. On the off chance that I make more money from selling books than I spend buying books that I find they're putting together my offer, the money goes towards financing my comic book habit. The fact that the comic book store is three doors down from HPBs with an ice cream place being one of the stores in between does not do good things for my wallet or waistline. But it can sure make for an enjoyable Saturday afternoon outing.


Good - Descent = Gift to friend
So-so - Bad = Fire starter


I will generally either give books to my friends that I think will enjoy them or I give them to my local public library. The local library is pretty small & doesn't always get a good selection of good newer books and are always accepting of donations.

I'll give them anything I have that I won't re-read and don't have a geographically close friend to give it to. They will either add it to their collection or throw it on their "for sale" rack. Either way it helps them out.


ditto for me. Friends or library. Ours has a monthly sale of donated books You can get a like new recent hardcopy for a buck or less sometimes. End up buying more then giving ;-)
Of course, I turn around and bring them back for sale again.


My library also has a used book sale. I either pass mine along to others (coughwootizenboccough) or gather up a bagfull and drop them off at the library.


Most books - good, bad, or indifferent - end up on the bookshelf.

Books make fantastic insulation when the bookshelf is on an outside wall.

Those that are really trash will go to our local charity. Unless it is a hardback. Those get turned into 'secret' books, which incidentally is a good thing for books nobody will ever pick up off your shelf.

I once hauled a load of expired law books away for free just to do that.

To do it, you really want a scroll saw. Instructions can be found at


@capitalggeek: Love the book safe idea! I see Christmas gifts !


If it is a classic I keep it. My kids will likely read it someday in their schooling. If it's something I want to get rid of I sell it to half price books. Not a lot of money but better than sitting on my shelf waiting for me to dust it.


@traumagrl: What is this "dust" thing you speak of doing?


I take a sticky note, write the book's Library of Congress number on it, and slap it on the first page of the book. Then I put it it on a shelf according to Library of Congress number.