Many people hesitate to throw away books. Instead, we’ll show you how you can give, donate, sell, or upcycle them.

Dozens of novels, cookbooks, and dictionaries may be gathering dust on your bookshelf, most of which you’ll probably never pick up again. There’s no room left for new releases, and you prefer reading books on your e-reader anyway?

There are many reasons to dissolve a book collection. However, throwing books in the trash can be painful for many people, as they contain knowledge and are an expression of our culture. If the books are in good condition, you can try donating, giving them away, or selling them.

Disposing of Books: Trading, Giving, Donating

You can confidently pass on books you’ve enjoyed to friends or acquaintances. Alternatively, you can donate your books to strangers. Here are some options:

  • Public Libraries: Public libraries sometimes welcome book donations, especially if they are current or classics. Feel free to inquire about this.
  • Social Thrift Stores: Organizations like Oxfam often gladly accept book donations.
  • Public Book Exchange Points: Some cities have public book exchange points, such as former telephone booths or “book trees.” You can drop off your books here and perhaps even find new exciting reads.
  • Giving Away Books Boxes: Depending on where you live, you can place boxes of books outside your door with a “Free to Take” sign attached. Passersby will appreciate it!
  • Bookcrossing: You can circulate individual books using Bookcrossing: register the book in a virtual library on the Bookcrossing website, attach a label and brief instructions for Bookcrossing, then leave it, for example, on the train or on a park bench. You can track online who will read the book next.

Disposing of Books: Selling

With a bit of luck, you might be able to make some money by dissolving your library. It depends primarily on how current, how “in demand,” and how well-maintained your books are.

  • Ebay: You can sell current books on eBay after reading them. However, you should act quickly, as the market value often drops rapidly once the books have been on the market for a while.
  • Momox or Rebuy: You can sell slightly older books in bulk, for example, at Momox or Rebuy. The price will also depend on the demand for the books. With the ISBN number, you can find out what each book is worth (not every book is accepted); depending on the provider, you’ll receive a free shipping label above a certain value.
  • Flea Market: You can also sell your boxes of books at a flea market.

Disposing of Books: Upcycling

In recent years, there has been a trend toward upcycling in the production of books: on the Internet, you’ll find instructions on how to turn books into lamps, tablet stands, or picture frames. Pages can be used as gift wrap, and hard covers can be turned into jewelry or sewing boxes.

Throwing Books in the Trash

And if nobody wants the books, either because they’re not interesting, old, or damaged? Then they go in the trash. Components that are obviously not paper, such as plastic covers or included CDs, should be removed and disposed of separately. If you have large quantities of books, you can also take them to the recycling center, where they’ll be accepted for free.