Where to Donate Books Before Your Move?

If you plan long-distance relocation, the most important thing is to organize all your tasks on time. Packing your belongings is a challenging process, especially if you plan to do that DIY. So, if your shelves are jammed with hardback and paperback editions, you might be wondering where to donate books, instead of packing them all.

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October 6, 2020 Posted in How-to

We are sure you love your hardcovers and softcovers and the idea of being separated from them might sound terrifying to you. Still, if you decide to donate used books, it sounds much better than just throwing them on a landfill. Your pile of editions can help other people who enjoy reading and want to improve their own lives.

In addition to making others happy, a book donation has a few more pros – you don’t need to think about some of the moving essentials, like the best-sized boxes for your editions, or how to pack books for relocation without breaking their covers. Also, you probably know that long-distance movers charge according to the weight of your packages. So, if you’re looking for the cheapest way to move out of state, this might be a useful tip to consider. Moving into an apartment from a house usually means less rooms and storage space than you used to.

When planning to organize your move properly, and you’re a bibliophile, there are some essential things to do before moving. So, let’s find the answers to the questions: How do I get rid of used books?, and Where is the best place to donate used books?

Where Can I Donate Books

If you belong to the group of people who find it hard to get rid of unwanted hardbacks, you’re probably asking yourself where to gift books besides the library. Keep in mind that packing your hardback covers could be as demanding as unpacking after a move, especially if you need to carry out the things on your new apartment shopping list. That being said, your numerous boxes full of books will be all over your place until you purchase new furniture. Yes, organizing a successful garage sale before you move might be one of the solutions, but there are also other efficient ways to purge your shelves, such as:

  • You can give them to your local library
  • Present to a local charity
  • Donate to Better World Books, which sells donated editions through several online marketplaces
  • You can send them to some organizations for readers across the sea
  • Some unusable examples can be recycled as well
  • Ask your friends and family if they would like to read something before you give them away.
Readers from all over the world will be happy to get any of your editions
Can you donate books to the library? Of course, but consider some other options as well

You Can Donate Books Near You or Send Them Overseas

It’s well-known that packages with books are usually among the heaviest, so make sure the chosen charity location is near you. This way, you will save on shipping and have a great impact on your local community.

If you need to ship your belongings to another state or country, in this case hardcovers and paperbacks, this can be done by mail. It’s recommended to use one of the USPS’ flat rate shipping packages due to books’ weight.

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Many Overseas Organizations Need Money as Well as the Books

If you’re in a position to put aside some money for the developing nations, such as those in Africa, you can always ship it with your textbooks, printed copies, and magazines. So, if you want to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to reducing illness or saving lives, the best decision is to gift books and cash abroad, because charitable organizations rely on both funds and financial gifts.

In addition to magazines and textbooks, you can send money too
Send your editions overseas and kill two birds with one stone - make others happy and save your money on moving costs

Consider Book Donation Drop Off to Soldiers and Veterans

Have you been thinking about donating books to soldiers and veterans of the US military? By doing this, you will provide them a chance to educate or entertain themselves. Before packing your editions, you should be familiar with some of the books-related requests:

  • Some organizations insist only on paperbacks because these boxes are lighter when it comes to shipping
  • The most popular genres are science-fiction, murder mysteries, bestsellers, fantasy, spy novels, action, military history, etc.
  • Romance novels and pornographic materials are not accepted
  • You can sign up to send your paperbacks directly to the specific person – a veteran or a soldier.

Salvation Army Books Donation

The Salvation Army accepts old editions, including hardbacks and paperbacks. This organization helps their local communities in many ways – from supporting homeless shelters, providing help to victims of domestic abuse, to food pantries and to veteran services. Your donations will go to stock the Salvation Army Store or to support these programs.

Books for Troops Make American Soldiers Overseas Happy

This organization has one mission – to provide educational and recreational materials to enrich soldiers’ lives free of charge. Once your shipment arrives, it is shipped directly to deployed soldiers, and thanks to USO (the United Through Reading Program), these deployed troops get a chance to read their children a bedtime book. They can be virtually beside them. Also, USO ships reading materials to US and International USO centers.

Vietnam Veterans of America

VVA is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the full range of issues related to Vietnam veterans. You can help veterans obtain various necessary services by making a monetary donation or by donating household goods, including your reading material.

There are plenty of military-related organizations that will accept your softcovers, hardbacks, pocket editions, magazines, and much more
Soldiers like to read and be entertained with quality educational material

Organizations for Readers in Other Countries

If you are not interested in donating books to the library only, you can give your reading material to countries overseas. Luckily, several organizations can help you with that due to their distributing services across the sea. These shipments are delivered to the foreign library or persons free of charge. Keep in mind that you can send only editions in good condition. The material must be appropriate for the prospective audience and it should be written in a language that people and kids in a foreign country can read and understand.

Books for Africa is the Best Organization to Send Textbooks and Other Education-Related Materials

Although the Books for Africa organization ships softcovers and hardcovers to students, it appreciates all book donations. It costs only 50 cents per book to ship each example to Africa, and if you decide to send a financial gift to cover the costs of shipping, your kindness will be recognized as a great act. And if you’re moving after college, you certainly have some interesting textbooks or educational materials you don’t need anymore.

African Library Project

This organization is oriented mainly towards libraries and schools in sub-Saharan Africa. They collect well-preserved materials and ship them to a designated place. African Library Project mobilizes volunteers in the US and Canada to organize book drives and help establish libraries in small African communities.

The Asia Foundation

It is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve lives across entire Asia. When you donate to Books for Asia, you’re empowering children with literacy in 19 countries – from Afghanistan to Vietnam. So, don’t hesitate and share your love for reading with the youngest and future leaders!

Child Aid

If you would like to improve the education of children in Guatemala, Child Aid is an organization that focuses on quality learning in the community and the whole world. It donates tons of educational materials to primary schools every year.

Give your textbooks and editions to children across the sea and do a good deed
Kids from other countries need softbacks and hardbacks the most

Schools and Kids-Related Organizations

If you’re moving with kids, you probably have tons of editions you don’t know what to do with. The best solution is to give them to schools and daycare centers in your community. School libraries will appreciate your generosity and help in packing shelves with current and classic titles. So, if you have copies that are gently used, you should donate them and get rid of additional packages for cross country moving. You’ll feel really great doing this, and you shouldn’t worry about how much do movers cost.

Reader to Reader

Reader to Reader is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing learning opportunities and literacy for inner-city schools and poor rural environments, so donating your copies to them might be a real welcome step. If you’re moving with a newborn, leaving behind you the piles of editions will provide plenty of space for picture books and children albums in your new home.

Kids Need to Read

If you have a teenager or grown-up children, you probably have somewhere in your attic tons of dusty boxes jammed with literature for kids. These editions may bring so much joy to other boys and girls in underfunded schools, and especially can be useful to literacy programs designed for disadvantaged children.

Literacy Dog Therapy Programs Are Popular Among the Youngest Readers

Yes, you can gift your books to dogs even though they are not the actual readers. Some shelters combine reading programs to help kids overcome learning disabilities. When they practice their reading skills on dogs, they become more relaxed and confident due to less judgment. So, if your moving across country checklist contains some interesting editions about kids and animals, try to connect with these shelters in your area. If you’re wondering when and how to organize a garage sale for similar tidbits, the shelter can free you from excess items and accept some of your editions for their program.

One More Place Where to Donate Used Books – Habitat for Humanity Will Reuse and Recycle Your Old Editions

If you have old but still well preserved paperbacks and hardcovers, they might be a great donation for Habitat ReStores. They will be sold at a discount to a community member who adores reading and wants to enrich his or her home collection. This way, the item is kept out of the landfill.

stack of books
Habitat for Humanity will accept your donation

Does Goodwill Takes Books

Another option where you can give old copies is Goodwill, which accepts donations for resale stores. Goodwill industries support job training and placement programs to help unemployed people and those with disabilities.

Explore a Drop-Off Location Near You on the Website

You can find your local organization with donation sites on the Goodwill website by entering your address or selecting the location. Also, it’s possible to donate items to drop off boxes. They are usually located around a community or a city. If you’re dealing with last-minute moving and have no time to visit some of Goodwill’s locations, this organization has a pickup service, but only for some areas. Contact a local center to find out more information, and if you’re lucky, the service will collect the books from your house. It’s worth trying, if for no other reason, at least this can ease your moving stress.

Visit the Goodwill website, and you can find all the necessary information about donations
Drop-off location near you might be a great way to get rid of unwanted editions

Tips on How to Donate Books to Library

Finally, we can give some useful tips if you’re planning to donate books to the library. We left this topic for the end on purpose because libraries are usually the first things that pop into people’s minds. This solution is often taken for granted due to prejudice that your local library will accept any donations. Yet, there are some handy tips you should be familiar with before the decision when to start packing and prevent unplanned packages and additional costs. Imagine how unpleasant this messy situation would be if you’re moving in winter.

So, Can I donate books to my local library?

If you’re wondering how to donate books to a library, here are some tips:

  • Donate your editions to Friends of the Library groups – they hold book sales to benefit the libraries and use donated items to stock library shelves. Just keep in mind that your editions need to be new or gently used to be accepted.
  • Find the right librarian to take your donation – the one at the circulation desk probably is not the right person, so try to reach someone with more knowledge and interest in your valuable gift, such as a librarian in charge of buying books
  • Choose editions with interesting and universal themes, such as fine wines or cheeses
  • Check the donation policy and learn more about your library’s donation rules.
Michael Vaughan

Moving through the Bay Area, Michael works as a freelance writer in the moving and transportation industry.



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