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All about books

Books. There is something about them that touches your senses. The look, feel, and smell of the perfect used book is something any book lover will tell you about. Sometimes it can even be the hunt to find that out-of-print book in the series you’ve been looking for. No matter what a used book means to you, there are tons of ways to reuse the books that you no longer want.


  • The key to donating books is knowing the what, when, and where. Check with the organization you are donating to what they accept, where to donate books, and when they accept donations. Smaller or seasonal sales may only accept book donations at a certain time of the year.
  • Be sure that the books you are donating are free of mold or mildew (odor free), all pages are intact and the binding is still solid. No one wants a stinky book or a book that is missing pages.
  • Books like encyclopedias, textbooks, book sets, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, are often a little more difficult to donate, so be sure to check what they will accept before donating.
  • If donating to an international charitable organization or an organization that is providing books to another country, be sure to ask what types of books they are looking for so you know they can use it. It costs any organization or business money to recycle or dispose of unwanted books.

Buying and selling

  • Used book sales—Community organizations and non-profits will often hold occasional book sales and these can be held every few months or annually. Be sure to check local Facebook sites and community newspapers for these sales. Many times they’ll accept donations of books you no longer need as well.
  • Used book stores—These types of stores are often locally owned and operated. They will take your used books a variety of ways, giving you cash, store credit or offering trade in exchange for your books. These types of stores are a great way to find out of print, collectible, vintage, and current books for a lot cheaper than new books from an online retailer, chain bookstore or discount retailer.
  • Library sales—The Hennepin County Library system’s “Friends of the Library” groups have used book sales periodically. Volunteers help each library by selling books pulled out of circulation from the library, as well as donations from the public. These sales profits directly go to each library the sales are held at to help with all sorts of expenses.
  • Trading and swapping—The fun thing with trading and swapping is you can do it with friends, neighbors, co-workers, just about anyone, anywhere. You can set up a swap table at work or your local coffee shop may have a bookshelf to let patron’s trade books with one another. You’ll be surprised who is trading books.
  • Online used books—Everything seems to be available at the touch of a button these days. If you aren’t able to find that ‘must have’ book at the places mentioned above, there is likely a place to find it online. Did you know many independently owned book stores have a web presence as well? So you can still shop with the small stores, even online! Just check out their web sites and browse away.

The Choose to Reuse web site has listings of book sale events, businesses and organizations that are interested in your books, so please be sure to search for your area when you are in need of a new-to-you book or are ready to part with your last read.