12 Great Things You Can Do with Your Old Books


Reading books is among the most common thing that most people do when chilling or home alone.

Many individuals usually buy tons of books for many various reasons; some do it for the fun of it while others do it out of necessity.

After some time, you find yourself with a ton of books and keep wondering what you'll do with them. Should you throw them away? Donate? Give away? Burn? Re-use?

Deciding on the best thing to do with old books isn’t usually an easy decision.

This article will help you discover various amazing things you can do with your old books, plus more essential ideas on the same topic.

What to do with your old books?

If you don't use your old books anymore, it is the best idea to sell them. Also, you can donate them, or turn them into original art.

If you keep wondering what to do with all those piles of old books on your shelves and boxes, you're in the right place. Read on to learn 12 great things you can do with your old books.

12 great things you can do with your old books

Statistically, most people throw away books annually. From Laura Hickey's and Kristy Jone's report sponsored by National Wildlife Federation in 2012, about 640 000 tons of old books are usually sent to the landfill yearly.

So, what are things you can do to make sure your old books don't end up rotting in landfills? Here are 12 ideas you can utilize to recycle old books;

1. Turn them into art

Sometimes, you can have a book that’s too ravaged and tattered and see no need to give it away, or maybe you love it too much to lose it. Instead of living it on your shelf doing nothing, you can turn it into something creative and fun to make.

You can make those fancy envelopes you love so much or paper logs for your fireplace. Other art ideas you can create using old books include;

Origami- this is a Japanese form of art that involves folding various artistic shapes using paper. Besides being artful, origami is an excellent meditation option; it's enjoyable and exciting.

Instead of purchasing a unique paper for origami, you can save yourself some dollars and use an old book.

Make a secret safe. Hard covered books are the best for this task. Take an old hard-covered book, glue all its paper leaves together, then make a hollow in it using a knife. You can now stash your cash, jewelry, or other valuables in it. Just like that, you'll have made a trinket box for yourself.

● Make an exclusive bouquet to decorate your house or an event.

● Creating mini gift bags

Decoupaging can be a great way to repurpose old books, especially those with appealing images and sketches. This idea is ideal when sprucing up nicked-up tables, cabinets, and other surfaces.

● Create compostable planters for your seeds, succulents, and veggies.

● Make a lamp cage cover.

● If you’re a butterfly lover, cutting your old books into butterflies isn't a bad idea.

● Making a lovely wreath, and more.

2. Rent them

Renting books has become popular today. It offers a cheap option for others to access and read your book without losing it.

If a book is so important to you to dice it into art, you can decide to rent it instead of going through the predicament of selling it.

3. Recycle them

Book recycling is another great way to give your old books a new purpose but in a different form. There are various local recycling programs where you can take your books recycled and make other useful products such as paper towels, coffee filters, and egg cartons.

In 2011, the US recycled 66.8% of all its consumed paper. Every one ton of recycled books saves about 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space. Also, about 76% of paper mills utilized recycled paper in the same year.

Recycling paper doesn’t only save resources and energy but trees too. According to the EPA, If you recycle a ton of paper, you’d have saved 7000 water gallons, 17 trees, and 463 oil gallons. Therefore, taking your old books for recycling helps to improve the environment for a better world.

4. Lend them

Have you ever asked yourself whether your friend or neighbor can be interested in reading your old books before taking them for recycling or turning them into art?

One of the great things you can do with your old books is lending them to others interested in reading them.

5. Trade them

You can also opt to swap the old books you've read to bookstores, coffee shops, or community centers that allow book trading.

Doing this will enable you to get new charming books for yourself as others get an opportunity to read yours, which is a win-win for both parties.

Another option is finding other students willing to swap books from your area, workplace, or school and discuss which books you want to share and read.

6. Ship them

Have you ever considered that people from other states can be interested in reading your books?

If you don't have many ideas about what to do with them, shipping them abroad to needy people or inmates isn't very far-fetched.

7. Develop a box for free books

Some people don't own books; they lack the cash or time to get one. You can be someone’s hero and develop a free book box for people to get books they can read and enjoy for free.

It's best to locate such boxes on places where most people pass or wait, for example, bus stops, train stations, waiting rooms, and eating areas in schools or workplaces.

8. Dorm or garage sales

If you’re in college and don’t know what to do with the many old books you have, you can leverage a dorm or garage sales.

Here, you make an advert of all the books you want to dispose of and sell them at pocket-friendly prices from your garage, dorm, or forum (if it's an online college).

9. Donate them

Books donation is a common way to do away with unwanted/unused books. Whether it's in good condition or tatters, your book will always find someone who will need it and find it helpful. There are numerous places you can donate your old books.

Examples include; local libraries, charity homes, prisons, Better World Books, Pickup please, Salvation army, Books for Africa, Goodwill, and more.

10. Gift them to others

Another practical way to repurpose a book is by gifting them to people who find it interesting, even if they're strangers.

Or you can decide to leave it in open places with a note indicating it's for free and anyone can take it. You can write on it, 'to whoever finds it,' and someone will eventually pick it up.

11. Take them to a flea market

Taking the books to a flea market or hobby center to help you sell them is another effective and hassle-free way to dispose of your old books. You'll only pay then a considerate commission fee.

12. Sell them

If your books have a monetary value, selling them can make you money to restock other new ones or do other stuff. There are many places and sites offering this service; all you need to do is find one.

How to effectively sell old books?

As mentioned earlier, they're several methods to sell old books, some of them include;

1. Taking them to local bookstores

This option is a very convenient way to sell books, but it usually a least pay-out. After you take the books to a bookstore, the owner will scan for their price online and purchase them at a lower fee to make a profit.

2. Selling them on online platforms.

Online platforms such as Amazon, Abebooks, and eBay can help you sell your old books at a fee. These sites usually take a certain percentage of the selling price after someone purchases your book; for example, amazon usually charges a fee of $0.99.

To sell your book on Amazon, you'll have to sign up with Amazon as an individual seller, list the book in the 'New and Used' category in the books section, and type your book’s ISBN. The product will then come up, and then you should click the 'Sell yours' option.

You'll be asked to provide your book’s condition, lowest available price, weight, and expected cost for shipping it. And that's it. You'll get a notification when someone purchases it so that you ship it.

3. Yard sales

Yard sales are another way to sell those books you couldn't sell on bookstores and online sites. If they remain after a yard sale, you can donate them for others to enjoy too.

Four essential tips for people selling a book for their first-time

1. Don't lie about the book's condition.

2. Package them well

3. Don't agree to pay for shipping; it should be the buyer's responsibility.

4. Read the T & C's of online book buyers well and always ensure to fill out the sales procedure as required.

Should I throw away some old books?

No, you'll only contribute more to the landfill space statistics and suffer or guilt of not helping someone when you had the chance.

Instead, you can repurpose them to beautiful artistic works, make decor, donate to the needy, sell, recycle, borrow, or gift your loved ones, friends, neighbors, workmates, or anyone needing it.

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