4 Ways to “Recycle” Old Books

Posted April 21, 2015 by Emily in Other / 7 Comments

4 Ways to Recycle Old Books

Earth Day is tomorrow so I figured I would do an Earth Day related post. Earth Day was created for people to show their support of environmental protection and raise awareness for it. As book lovers, we also happen to love paper, which come from trees, which have an increasingly need to be planted. But happens when you run out of shelf space? What do you do with books you don’t want anymore? Throw them away? That’s a big no, no. Here are four ways you can get rid of books you don’t want anymore without throwing them in the trash.


I have somehow became the owner of a lot of books I haven’t read and probably won’t ever read. What should I do with these books? Leave them sitting on my shelves like trophies (which face it, they are)? Unread books that you aren’t going to read (or have multiple copies of) are the perfect gift for a fellow book lover. It’s also a lazy gift, which makes it even better. Pick a book you are willing to part with, add some tissue paper, stuff it in a gift bag, and bang, you are done. Keep in mind the price range of the book (I use the retail price) and whether you have read it or not. While we may like old, read, books just as much as brand spanking new ones, the person you are gifting may not.

Make Crafts

For someone who loves books, I have very little book decor in my room. And because I love DIY and crafts, I looked up “bookish crafts” and ended up on Pinterest (are you surprised?). I found a lot of beautiful crafts. The only problem was that the majority of them involved tearing the pages out or harming the book in some other way. To me books contain stories and are also trophies you can buy. Tearing them apart tears my heart apart. So sad. 🙁 But hey, as long as the book doesn’t go to waste…


On a happier note, you could always try to make some cash off the books you no longer want (or have room for on your shelves). And who doesn’t like extra money? Especially if you can use it to buy more books (it’s a vicious cycle). Instead of throwing those books away, you can sell them to others so they can enjoy them too. TIP: Don’t try to sell your old, read, books at retail price. That’s what Barnes & Noble is for.


And finally, the last way on my list to “recycle” old books is also my favorite – donating them. I volunteered at my library for a couple of summers and one of the highlights was telling the kids that they could pick a book as a prize for participating in the summer reading program. Just seeing their faces light up made my day. And all those books were donated to the library by some really generous people. Reading and books are gifts we can share. It’s also one of my favorite ways to give back. Plus, donating is a great way to get rid of the ARCs you don’t want since you’re not supposed to sell them. Whether you are donating to your local library or a charity, you, and the book(s) you donate have the power to brighten someone’s gloomy day.

What are some other ways you recycle old books?
What do you do with books you don’t want anymore?



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7 responses to “4 Ways to “Recycle” Old Books

  1. I usually gift them to a friend or donate them to a library or charity. I love bookish crafts but I don’t think I could bring myself to tear a book apart!

  2. I have a stack of books sitting next to my nightstand that I need to part with – they’ve been there for the past four months, since I have absolutely NO IDEA what to do with them. 😛 (Most are used, so that eliminates gifting, unfortunately.) I love this list, though – thank you so much for the suggestions! 😀 *scuttles off to Pinterest for bookish craft ideas*

  3. I gift a lot of books. I do that with the books I have duplicates of anyway. LOL. As much as I love the bookish crafts. I just can’t imagine doing that to one of my books. It makes me cringe to think about ripping out pages of books I’ve purchased.

  4. I tend to gift them, send them to friends, trade them, or just donate them. I hate parting with books though. I really need to get better about this. I have too many to keep, but I have that “what if I want to read it again someday?” thing and also many books from my childhood have sentimental value. Gotta get out of that mentality…

  5. Well,I donate my old books a lot.I find some pleasure in the fact that a lot of people will benefit from my books.
    I also trade my books.I take photos of my old books and post them in twitter,asking whether someone wants it,and trade it for some book that might interest me.In that way,I can also get rid of unwanted books and get new ones.