“What should I do with old textbooks?” Ah, old textbooks. Something many people have lying around. But what should you do with them? Of course, you could hold on to them to remember that ill-fated semester when you took paleo-anthropology despite being a biology major or that time you took a seminar on human memory and then, ironically, promptly forgot everything you learned from it. You can use the textbooks from classes that you majored in as references, pulling them out at parties to prove that you’re right. You could use them as doorstops or to raise your computer monitor a couple of extra inches. Or you could get rid of them. Here’s how to get rid of old textbooks by donating, selling, or recycling them.

In This Article

When you donate your textbooks, you’re making sure they don’t end up in landfills and instead go to people in need.Textbook donation can be a gratifying, quick way to give to others. Here’s a list of some of the many places that are very glad to accept donated textbooks.

1. Better World Books

  • Who runs the program: Better World Books is a non-profit that accepts your donations of used textbooks.
  • Who the donation helps: With your donation, you’ll help raise money for programs which promote literacy, teaching kids, supporting families, building schools, and filling libraries. If the book cannot be sold, it is either donated directly to an affiliated non-profit or recycled.
  • How to donate books: Find a donation center near you. You can also mail your books to

Attention: Donations
Better World Books
55740 Currant Road
Mishawaka, IN 46545

  • Compensation: None

2. Books for Africa

  • Who runs the program: Books for Africa is a U.S-based non-profit organization that sends crates of books to African students.
  • Who the donation helps: Your donation helps provide learning materials to students in Africa who do not have the ability to access these books normally.
  • How to donate books: You can mail your donations to

Books For Africa Warehouse-Atlanta
3655 Atlanta Industrial Drive, Bldg. 250
Atlanta, GA 30331

  • Compensation: None.

3. Books to Prisoners

  • Who runs the program: Books to Prisoners is a non-profit that mails books to incarcerated individuals throughout the U.S.
  • Who the donation helps: Your donation goes directly to prisoners who have requested the books.
  • How to donate books: Contact bookstoprisoners@live.com to arrange a donation. As of the writing of this article, Books to Prisoners is at capacity for most books, with the exception of dictionaries, thesauruses, Spanish-English dictionaries, and a few other things. Be sure to look at the organization’s wish list to see if you may be able to donate a book they need.
  • Compensation: None.

4. DonateTextbooks.org

  • Who runs the program: DonateTextbooks.org takes all used textbooks and either donates them to other programs which can use them or recycles them.
  • Who the donation helps: With your donation, you’ll help provide books to several different groups that promote literacy, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, World Literacy, and Reading Tree.
  • How to donate books: You can ship your donations to

DonateTextbooks.org
1871 East Wild Willow Lane
Sandy, Utah 84093

  • Compensation: None

5. Goodwill

  • Who runs the program: Goodwill is a national organization which accepts your donated, lightly used books, clothes, and household goods. There are 165 Goodwill stores across the U.S.
  • Who the donation helps: When people shop at Goodwill, they have the opportunity to purchase your donated textbooks at reduced prices. The money made from selling your donated books will help create jobs and provide training especially for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or are unemployed.
  • How to donate books: Use the Donation Center locator to find your nearest donation center.
  • Compensation: You can get a tax break for any textbooks or other goods you donate.

6. Pickup Please

  • Who runs the program: Pickup Please accepts donations, including used textbooks, in thirteen states in the U.S.
  • Who the donation helps: Your donation helps provide social, economic, health, and psychological services to U.S. veterans, especially those who are homeless or have disabilities.
  • How to Donate Books:  Schedule a pickup online and, if you live in one of their operating areas, Pickup Please will come directly to your place within 24 hours.
  • Compensation: You can get a tax break for any textbooks or other goods you donate.

7. Salvation Army

  • Who runs the program: The Salvation Army is a national organization that accepts your donations of books, clothes, household appliances, and even cars.
  • Who the donation helps: People who shop at Salvation Army stores have the opportunity to purchase your donated books at a very steep discount. The Salvation Army’s profits help more than 30 million people each year,  providing services including adult rehabilitation, combating human trafficking, meals for those in need, services to the elderly, and camps and recreational activities for children.
  • How to donate books: Go to the Salvation Army’s website to find your nearest donation center or schedule a free pick-up.
  • Compensation: You can get a tax break for any textbooks or other goods you donate.

If none of these organizations meet your needs but you’d still like to donate your old textbooks, check out the University of Buffalo’s International Donations Program, which provides a list of more than fifty international organizations that will accept your donations. If you have a particular area of the world that you’d like your books to go to, no problem. You can search and choose organizations based on where they’re located. Visit the website for more information on where and how to send your books.

Where to Sell Textbooks

When you donate your old textbooks, you will help people in need, but you probably won’t receive any money for the donation. If you want to get some money for your textbooks, selling them can be a good option.

1. Amazon

  • Who runs the program: Amazon Trade-In will buy back your used books, textbooks, phones, video games, and other electronics.
  • How to sell books: Go to the Amazon Trade-In page, search for your textbook by ISBN, title, or author, and see how much Amazon is willing to offer you. If you decide to accept the offer, Amazon will pay for your shipping. You’ll receive payment within 10 days of sending in your textbook.
  • Compensation: How much you get paid depends on the book you’re trading in. You will be paid in Amazon store credit applied directly to your account.

2. BookByte

  • Who runs the program: BookByte will buy your used textbooks.
  • How to sell books: Search for your book by ISBN and see how much BookByte is willing to pay you. If you decide to accept the offer, BookByte will pay for your shipping.
  • Compensation: How much you get paid depends on the book, how old it is, and what condition it is in. You will be paid via check or through PayPal.

3. Cash4Books

  • Who runs the program: Cash4Books, similar to both BookByte and eCAMPUS, is a company that will buy your used textbooks.
  • How to sell books: search for your book by ISBN and see how much Cash4Books is willing to pay you. If you decide to accept the offer, Cash4Books will also pay for your shipping
  • Compensation: How much you get paid depends on the book, how old it is, and what condition it is in. You will be paid via check or through PayPal.

4. eCampus

  • Who runs the program: eCampus will buy your used textbooks.
  • How to sell books: Just like with BookByte, when you want to sell a book to eCampus, you can search for your book by ISBN and see how much eCampus is willing to pay you. If you decide to accept the offer, eCampus will also pay for your shipping.
  • Compensation: How much you get paid depends on the book, how old it is, and what condition it is in. You will be paid via check or through PayPal

All of these websites promise free shipping when you sell back your books; however, the prices they give you may differ. If you’re looking to get the highest price for your used textbook, you may have to search around a bit. Don’t be afraid to take some time to compare and see which company is willing to pay you the most.

Where to Recycle Textbooks

If your textbooks are too old or damaged to donate or sell, you can recycle them. Keep in mind that many places will not accept hardcover textbooks because the glue in the binding makes them difficult, if not impossible, to recycle. Most paperback textbooks, however, are perfect recycling candidates.

1. Local Recycling Programs

  • Who runs the program: In some cities, you can put your old textbooks out with your normal recycling. In others, you’ll have to find a recycling center.
  • How to recycle books: Search “Textbook Recycling Regulations [Your City]” or look at your local government website to see if recycling old textbooks is an option where you live. In some places, you may need to remove the book covers first so be sure to see what rules your city follows.

Sometimes, you can just leave your textbooks to be picked up with the rest of your recycling. In other places, you may have to take your textbooks to a specific recycling. For example, in New York City and Chicago, you have to go to a recycling center. To locate a recycling center, search “Recycling Center Near [Your City]” or search the Earth 911 database to find a recycling program near you.

In Summary

If you don’t know what to do with your old textbooks, there are plenty of options aside from just letting them collect dust on the shelf. If you aren’t using them anymore, many people and nonprofits would make good use of them. By donating, selling, or recycling your textbooks, you are keeping them out of landfills and giving them a new purpose!