One of the most popular items to give as a gift is a book. In spite of the proliferation of digital alternatives, physical books are still a part of our lives. Today on “Lighten Up,” let’s talk about what to do with books you no longer want.
Once you have decided which books to let go, consider what the next destination might be. Your books will probably fall into one of four categories:
Books to Sell
Honestly, the vast majority of books are not valuable. If you think you have a book that might have market value, you can check a site like Bookscouter, which connects book sellers and book buyers. They also have a mobile app.
Another site that connects sellers and buyers of used books is Alibris. Wondering what they sell? Their website answers this question:
“What types of products can I sell on Alibris?
“You can list any (non-digital) books, music, and movies you have. Virtually all conditions and formats are OK. You can sell new, used, hard-to-find, or collectible items. You can list hardcover, paperback and audio books, CDs, vinyl records, cassettes, VHS tapes, DVDs, laserdiscs, Blu-rays and more.”
If you have unique used, rare, and out-of-print books, another option is to sell through Biblio. You can watch this video to learn more.
Books to Donate
If your books are not worth selling, or if you don’t want to spend time and effort to sell them, donation is a great alternative. After all, books are the ultimate “reusable” item. Most charities and thrift shops accept books.
Your local school and/or library is another place to check. In Fairfield County, CT, drop off is easy at the Westport, CT library. Click here and scroll down the page for details.
In Darien, CT, we have a wonderful resource called Darien Book Aid, where books can be dropped into a vestibule 24/7. They describe themselves as:
“An ALL-VOLUNTEER group of caring individuals interested in improving the world through literacy and education. We donate hand-selected books to communities in need around the world. Every book we donate has the potential to teach critical literacy skills, improve reading fluency, build proficiency in the English language, increase knowledge and spark imaginations, curiosity, and a love of learning.”
Books to Recycle
If your books don’t meet the criteria to be donated, or if you lack the time to do so, you may choose to recycle them. For paperback books, you can recycle the book whole, including the binding. For hardcover books, you’ll need to remove the cover, as it may have non-paper components. Spiral bindings – whether metal or plastic – should also be separated from the paper pages.
Books to Trash
You may have some books that are not in good enough condition even for recycling. For instance, if your books or magazines have gotten wet or the paper has turned tan or brown, there is no recycling market for this material. Simply place these books in with your standard trash.
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Never feel guilty about culling your book collection. Circulating books out frees us to prioritize our reading time for those books we truly want to read.
Where do you donate unwanted books?