What to do with used books?

books stacked on desk

Kaitlin asks via Twitter:

Any ideas on what to do with books I no longer need? I've got piles, of various genres/kinds, with no home!
I could just thrift store them but those always seem inundated w/books.

We're guessing there are a lot of people like Kaitlin, looking for new homes for old books.

So, got a suggestion? Please share!


The friends of the Colonie (William Sanford) town library have a book sale at the Crossings every Saturday morning while the farmers market is going on. Unfortunately that's only until September 13 (sigh), but they happily accept book donations and sell them to benefit the library.

You can donate gently used books to Albany Public Library through Better World Books at two branches. Look for the bright green collection boxes in the parking lots of the Main Library (off Elk St.) and the Delaware Branch (331 Delaware Ave.) A portion of the proceeds from the sale of donated books helps fund Albany's neighborhood libraries.

If you happen to have old yearbooks from current/former schools in the city of Albany, we're collecting those too! You can drop them off at the Main Library. The yearbooks will become part of our Albany History Collection.

Try selling them on half.com

Find your local Little Free Library and donate them there!


The family courts accept donations of childrens books.

The East Greenbush Community Library accepts all kinds of used books for their annual sale, which is a major source of fundraising for them.

When we felt like we were inundating the library, we would also check in with a local new/used bookstore on Route 20 in East Greenbush, Good Buy Books, and they would often take them off our hands.

The chilly season is right around the corner. Use the books to inspire your creative side:


Depends on what you want to do with the books - sell or donate?

Selling - as some else mentioned, half.com. I've had good luck selling textbooks.

Donating - in addition to the above suggestions the AIDs Council of Northeastern New York does multiple used book sales throughout the year.


Tried and true:

Place in cardboard box. Write FREE on all sides of cardboard box. Place on downtown residential area sidewalk by the curb. Buh-by Books.

Also I notice some downtown Albany laundromats are serving as informal libraries - which is brilliant!

Reading this post and comments reminded me of a site I once tried. Bookcrossing.com lets you put a bookplate into books with info on the web site. You then "release" the book into the world - like leaving it at a laundromat. You register the book at the web site. If someone finds it and registers for the site they can note when and where they found it.

Not a fast way to get rid of old books, but adds an element of fun. Nust admit that the thrill wore off fast for me.

Post them on paperbackswap.com. You'd be surprised what books people are looking for.

If you are interested in selling, try the Book Barn in Latham.

Donate them to the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York, which will use them in their book sales.

I just had a blast dropping of a heavy box of books to the East Greenbush library. There's a little cart near the check out desk and you just pop them on the cart, no questions asked.

Just spotted a Little Free Library on Manning Blvd -- first one I've seen in Albany. It's near the Western Ave. end of Manning, on the western side, in front of the second house from the end of Manning.

If you're in or near Saratoga you can donate them to the Book Bag at the library. Just put in a box and give to the clerk (or leave on the bench outside the door with a note, if they're not open) and in a few days your books will appear on the shelves for sale.

One benefit of this is that it's all indoors, so the books are not going to get damaged in a humid box while waiting to be retrieved.

Dove & Hudson Used Books on the corner of Dove & Hudson Sts. in Albany's Center Square will purchase used books from you. I suggest heading down there next week because they're closed the first week of every month but you could turn a huge stack of used books into cash - or more likely, browsing through D&H's amazing selection, more books!

@Greenguy -- in my experience Dove & Hudson can be very picky about what they buy. They have limited space and understandably the owner curates his wares. Which is not to say one should not bring used books to them, but don't expect to unload a ton of books unless they are really choice.

Another place to leave books (and cds and DVDs): the Honest Weight has a give & take shelf in the café.

+Donate them to a local WYCA or WMCA-some have residents living there (YWCA Troy)
+Donate them to homeless shelters
+Donate them to Unity House
+Donate them to local churches which have food banks
+Donate them to local soup kitchens
+Donate them to Meals on Wheels
+Donate them to local hospitals

+There's a little Free Library in front of DeFazio's in Troy

+I love the idea of leaving them in Laundromats.
+When all else fails, the idea of putting them in a box with FREE written on it always works
+Or, put the box of books outside the Salvation Army bins located in Walmart Plazas (Latham). People are always looking through the stuff left outside the collection bins.

I second Grrrr!

Homeless shelters and women's shelters will often take books and magazines.

As a public school English teacher, I looooove donations! Books are expensive, and there is little to no budget money to get new books for my students. Especially if any of your books are YA or popular best-sellers, there may be a local teacher who would love to add them to her library...

I go through paperbacks like a wolf through raw meat, and here's what I do with mine when I'm done:

* The Honest Weight Food Co-op has a small give & take shelf in their cafeteria area.
* @chrisck is right about Dove & Hudson books downtown; the owner is extremely selective about what he takes in and sticks mostly to classics.
* There is a new Little Free Library on Ferndale Avenue in Albany.
* Mater Christi Church & School in Albany has a terrific used book sale in early June - they would appreciate the donation come springtime!
* paperbackswap.com is great for exchanging used books. Log on for info.
* Red Robin restaurant in Latham has a collection box and they send used books in good condition to US troops overseas, No hardcovers, please.
* The AIDS Council of NENY sells used books several times a year at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, and the Empire State Plaza.

Please note: sort through what you have and PLEASE be selective when dropping off used books. No one wants musty, dog-eared paperbacks from the 70s or college textbooks that are three editions out of date. Also, small give & take shelves in co-ops and coffee houses most likely would not appreciate big boxes dropped off that they would have to sort through.

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