How To Recycle Your Books

Image Credit: Emiliano Hernandez

Most of us have a number of books hanging around that we aren’t going to look at again; some of us have a lot!  There are lots of ways you can recycle your books which can benefit yourself or someone else and make a bit more space on your shelves for…….well more books probably!

The obvious place to donate your books is your local charity shop.  However if your local shop has a ‘no books please’ sign up you do have some other options.  Many hospitals appreciate donations of books for patients to read. Try contacting the League of Friends in the first place if your hospital has one.

Books that are in very good condition may be accepted by your local library, either to be included in the lending collection or added to the ex-stock items for sale - they will then raise money for the library to buy new items. It’s best to check first whether they accept donations however before you turn up with a carload of books. By the way, some libraries are interested in old magazines too.

Read a great book and want to share it? Bookcrossing entered the OED in 2004 defined as; n. the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.  Register it with the Bookcrossing website and you are given a unique ID number.  Then just label the book and release it for someone else to read - give it to a friend, leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, or simply "forget" it in a coffee shop. You can track its progress and see how many people get to share it.

Looking for something a little less altruistic? You can sell your books free of charge on or – you just pay a small commission if the book sells.  A sum for postage is automatically added to the price and you must post it yourself.  My experience is that more unusual books are more likely to sell, as if you advertise a bestseller you will be in competition with hundreds of people advertising the book for 1p.

Another place that you can advertise your books in the UK is Green Metropolis – again you can advertise for free, books cost a flat rate of £3.75 and you get £3.00 for each book that you sell.  You can then choose to donate 50p or £1 to a choice of UK charities including The Woodland Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support or Age UK.

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