6 Places to Donate Books

Jon Fesmire |

If you love reading you probably have a big collection of books filling the shelves in your home— perhaps so many that you need to keep some of them in a storage unit.

If you’re moving or decluttering, you may want to go through your books and decide which ones to keep at home, which ones to store, and which to give away. Here is a list of great places to donate your books. Most will take both paperbacks and hardcovers that are in gently used or like new condition.

Used Book Stores

Used book stores are great for customers because they can get good, hard-to-find books for cheap. When you take books to donate, most will offer you either cash or store credit. You might bring in a box of books you don’t need, then find a few books in the store that you could really use, or walk away with your wallet a little thicker. Remember, though, if you get money or store credit, you can’t write those books off on your taxes.

Thrift Stores

You probably have some chain thrift stores, like the Salvation Army or Goodwill, and some local thrift stores near you. These are all good places to donate to. The Salvation Army sells some donated books in their stores and others go to their homeless shelters, giving the residents reading material. Goodwill sells books in its stores and uses the money to fund job training for people with disabilities. Local thrift stores may also use proceeds for charitable work.


Donating to your local library is a fantastic way to support literacy in your community. Visit a branch and ask how to donate. They may take them at the branch, or they may have a Friends of the Library society that takes new or gently used books. They will put them on the library shelves or sell them to raise money for the library system. Either way, the books are getting into the hands of interested readers.

Books for Africa

Illiteracy is still a big problem in much of Africa, and improving that is one step to helping societies improve. Books for Africa recognizes that a lack of books is one major aspect of this problem. Since 1988, the organization has sent millions of books every year to African countries. With assistance on their website, you can donate books or funds to help them ship the books overseas. If you donate books, they request that you donate $0.50 per book to cover its shipping to Africa. It can cost several dollars just to send a single book via media mail within the U.S., so $0.50 per book to Africa is an incredible price.

Operation Paperback

Deployed soldiers often have a tough time getting new books to read, which is unfortunate because books can be an important escape for people living in a high stress situations.

Operation Paperback provides books to soldiers serving abroad and veterans in the U.S. Sign up for a free account on their site, and you can even send books directly to specific soldiers in need of reading material.

Books Through Bars

This charity provides books for prisoners on the U.S. The aim is to help improve literacy, teach skills, and provide entertainment. Books Through Bars asks for donations of paperback books, as many prisons don’t allow hardcovers. Visit the site to see where you can donate. If this organization doesn’t serve your area, check out this list of other prison book programs.

Now, you have plenty of options for where to donate books. You’ll not only save space in storage or at home, you’ll help spread literacy and knowledge by getting books into the hands of people who most need them.