What to Do with Those Finished Books

If you remember a post from a few days ago, I talked about the stacks and shelves and bags of books I have sitting around our home. Among my shelves are books I call “keepers” — ones I’ll read again and maybe again.  

But what to do with those books I’ve finished and know I will never pick up again?

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

I mean look at those shelves — they need to be unburdened!
They beg for mercy! Can you imagine holding such a load?

There are many places to donate books, which in turn gives someone else a chance to enjoy the book at a deeply discounted price or for free. Let’s look at just a few of the ones found in almost every community:

  • Goodwill Stores;
  • Salvation Army Stores;
  • Deseret Industries Thrift Stores;
  • St. Vincent de Paul;
  • Public libraries for book sales or in some instances, books in good condition will be catalogued and shelved;
  • Retirement communities, assisted living centers and nursing homes; and
  • You likely know of other donation places in your area.

But what about programs that reach beyond the local community? Here’s one:

BooksforSoldiers.com is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit) organization dedicated to U.S. military serving overseas. To learn more about how you can volunteer, take part by donating books, or organizing in your local area, visit BooksforSoldiers.info, which explains the first steps to becoming involved. Then take a look at BooksforSoldiers.com to learn what is going on to support our military.

Also, there are ways to spread the book love right in your own neighborhood:

A Little Free Library via LittleFreeLibrary.org

A Little Free Library via LittleFreeLibrary.org

Little Free Library boxes are popping up everywhere, and you can start your own. Little Free Library, Ltd. began in 2009 as a program of the non-profit, tax-exempt organization Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility, which has incubated several nonprofits projects and organizations. Incorporated in Wisconsin, Little Free Library has a board of directors and a clearly defined non-profit mission. This is a generous and incredible way to interact with your local neighborhood by placing your “leftovers” in the Little Free Library box. To read more, visit the Little Free Library site.

Next on my list of suggestions are ideas shared by two clever bloggers in our own book blogging community:

Jen's Giveaway Stack

Jen’s Giveaway Stack

Jen at The Relentless Reader recently held a giveaway, not of a new book, but of a stack of books she has read and no longer wants. Check out the easiest book giveaway ever to be designed. Clever, Jen, very clever indeed!

Photo Credit: Chronicle via HuffPost

Photo Credit: Chronicle via HuffPost

Rebecca at Love at First Book shared an article a friend had passed along. Think outside the box here. And think of repurposing those finished books. Yes, repurposing them into art. What, you ask, am I saying? Well, just hop on over to Rebecca’s blog to see images contained in the article. And don’t miss reading the comments. A little controversy arose, just a little.

* * *

All books are treasures. Even those we don’t care for were a part of the writer who spent months and maybe years to write the book.

* * *

So, what will you do with the next batch of books you no longer want?


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10 thoughts on “What to Do with Those Finished Books

  1. Nico Lehmann (@nicolehmann_en) September 8, 2013 at 11:14 pm Reply

    I gave my last set of books to a (really) small book store. It was owned by an old man who spend his day between shelves and shelves of books, and he had read every single one of them, so he really helped me out when I was looking for something specific. That’s something I wanted to support – I wish there were more book stores like this.

    Nico @ Leaf ♦ Pub


    • Sherrey Meyer September 9, 2013 at 8:30 am Reply

      Nico, welcome! I love your gifting those books to a small book store. In a way, you were supporting someone who supports you when you need help looking for a specific book. Nice, very nice. Hope to see you here again.


  2. RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book September 5, 2013 at 6:24 am Reply

    I definitely think that a combination of those things are good. When I’m done with books, I like to let other people read them, like by giving them to friends and relatives. I also will donate books to Goodwill or other organizations. I buy books from library sales, which isn’t what I do with old books, but it’s a way to save old ones. And then maybe if books are falling apart, I’ll try to make some art/DIY things out of them! 🙂


    • Sherrey Meyer September 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm Reply

      Rebecca, thanks for stopping in today! I like your idea of buying at library sales “to save old ones.” Some books are actually worth being saved, aren’t they?


  3. marianbeaman September 5, 2013 at 6:09 am Reply

    I often check out books from the library, so “What-to-do” is simple, just return them! However, I am a marker of phrases and special passages (purple pen for underlines or marginal notes), so the books I buy and really love I circulate among my friends.

    I must say, though, I also have a boxful of books I plan to donate to charity. Close by is “Angel Aid,” specially dedicated to helping women and children. They’re my first choice for donation!


    • Sherrey Meyer September 5, 2013 at 12:17 pm Reply

      Oh, Marian, Bob calls the library the “free bookstore.” We love supporting our local library, but I too am a marker of phrases and special passages, so those I either keep or share with family and friends. I love the name of the charity you mention, “Angel Aid.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today.


  4. tpolen September 5, 2013 at 5:31 am Reply

    Our local library has a sale twice per year and I’ve usually got a full box to donate. I’ve read articles about the Little Free Library boxes and think they’re an excellent idea.


    • Sherrey Meyer September 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm Reply

      Love filling a box to tote to the library for the annual book sale! Unfortunately, then we go shop at the sale and bring home more than we should. 🙂


  5. Jade Reyner September 5, 2013 at 3:58 am Reply

    It’s really useful to consider what you do with them after you have finished with them. Usually I take them to the local charity shop but if I have some which I know will be of interest, then I take them to the library and they are always very grateful. That way you know that someone else will also be getting pleasure out of them. Thank you for a thought provoking post. 🙂


    • Sherrey Meyer September 5, 2013 at 12:08 pm Reply

      Jade, I always consider myself “gifting” my books when I pass them along, no matter my method. Of course, there are those which can never leave my library, but are carefully lent to others to read. Thanks for stopping by today and sharing your thoughts.


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