Short Answer: Free newspapers for packing are sometimes available at recycling centers, libraries, or local newspaper offices. Stores also regularly offer free community newspapers or weekly ads and may be willing to collect daily papers they don’t sell for you. If you’re looking for newspapers to read rather than to use for packing, you also have several options, including libraries and online newspaper archives. Below, we have the list of where to find newspapers for free.
In This Article
- Free Bulk Newspapers for Packing
- Free, Current Newspapers for Packing or Reading
- Digital Newspaper Collections
Free Bulk Newspapers for Packing
When using newspapers for packing, look for places offering free newspapers in bulk to assure that you will have as much newspaper as you need. You can also use old newspapers in bulk for tasks like gardening.
Packing paper costs around $10 to $15 for 200 sheets at places like The Home Depot and U-Haul, so finding newspapers in bulk may be worth the effort to save money on your move. (Additionally, if you’re looking for free cardboard boxes, see our article on the list of places where you can get free cardboard.)
The following places may offer free, old newspapers in bulk:
- Because many libraries subscribe to several national and local daily newspapers, they likely build up a large collection of old newspapers for recycling. Contact your local library to see what it does with the out-of-date newspapers and if it may be willing to give you some.
- Find your local public library
Local Newspaper Offices
- Newspaper offices typically recycle misprints and extra copies. Contact your local newspaper office and ask if you can pick up old or unwanted newspapers.
Local Recycling Centers
- Recycling centers typically have bins of old newspapers that have been dropped off. Ask if you can go through their collection to get what you need.
- Find a nearby recycling center
Neighbors and Friends
- If any of your neighbors, friends, colleagues, or relatives have a newspaper subscription or receive unwanted advertising mailers, ask them to hold on to the papers for you rather than recycling them after reading.
- If no one you know has newspapers to offer, try posting on a community board like Craigslist, Facebook, or Freecycle and asking for old newspapers.
- Book shops, coffee shops, convenience stores, gas stations, and grocery stores often sell newspapers and may offer free papers like the store’s weekly ad, local weekly newspapers, real estate listing booklets, and classified ad booklets. Some may also be willing to hold their old newspapers for you if you call the store and ask.
- Availability will vary by location, but some stores that commonly offer free newspapers or weekly advertisements near the entrances, or may hold old newspapers for you include:
- Rite Aid
- The above list is only a small selection of the stores that sell newspapers and provide other free print materials. If you need a large number of newspapers, be sure to also check nearby gas stations and smaller, local grocery or convenience stores/chains.
- In some cases, unsold newspapers must be sent back to the distributor, so not all stores can offer old newspapers for free. For any of the stores listed above, you’ll want to call your nearest store to double-check its policy and ask whether it can save newspapers for you.
Free, Current Newspapers for Packing or Reading
While the age of the newspaper doesn’t matter when using it for packing, there are several places where you can find current newspapers for either packing or reading. If there is not a bulk provider of old newspapers in your area, you can collect current newspapers from several different locations until you have as much as you need for your project.
Start by searching for locations that get dozens of newspaper issues delivered every day. Often, unsold newsprint is thrown out or recycled at the end of the day, and you may find locations willing to give you unsold copies for free. Here are a few places to start your search:
- Whether you are looking for local or national newspapers, your local library should be your first stop to find free, daily newspapers to read onsite. As mentioned above, the library may also be willing to give you old editions to take home.
- Hotels typically offer customers free copies of daily newspapers in the lobby and/or delivered to their rooms. Ask the front desk what the hotel does with extra newspaper issues or lobby copies at the end of the day; the hotel may be happy to set them aside for you.
Local Coffee Shops
- Free, current newspapers may be available at your local coffee shop. Sometimes, customers leave a copy of the paper as a courtesy to others. Coffee shops also often sell newspapers, and they may be willing to set aside unsold copies for you at the end of the day.
- Many local schools receive newspaper subscriptions for student use. Newspaper copies are often recycled at the end of the day. Ask a teacher or school administrator if the papers can be set aside for you.
Note: Are you looking for a copy of the Sunday paper on Monday? See our article for the places to check.
Digital Newspaper Collections
Free, Old Digital Newspaper Collections
For those doing historical research, many historical societies have taken on the task of digitizing millions of old newspapers. Most notably, the Library of Congress has a substantial number of historical newspapers digitized and archived. Best yet, this collection is entirely free to the public. Here are some sources of old, digital newspaper collections:
Library of Congress: Chronicling America
- Papers available: Thousands of newspaper publications from across the country published between 1789 to 1963
- Search options: You can search the available newspapers by year, state, or newspaper name.
- Visit the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website
- Many public libraries have online access to services such as ProQuest or NewspaperARCHIVE, which have extensive collections of historical newspapers.
California Digital Newspaper Collection
- Papers available: A collection of California newspapers from 1846 to the present; includes more than 254,000 newspaper issues
- Search options: You can search by date, topic, county, or category.
- Visit the California Digital Newspaper Collection
Google News’ Newspaper Archive
- Papers available: A collection of more than 1,000 newspapers from across the country published between 1779 to 2012
- Search options: The collection is organized by newspaper name and can be searched by date of publication.
- Visit Google News’ newspaper archive page
Note: Google is no longer updating this project, but what has been archived will remain online.
Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections
- Papers available: A collection of Illinois newspapers published from 1831 to 2011; consists of nearly 140,000 newspaper issues
- Search options: You can search by date, publication, or topic. Digitized papers are available in PDF form.
- Visit the Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections’ website
Minnesota Historical Society: Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub
- Papers available: A collection of Minnesota newspapers from 1857 to the present; includes more than 150,000 newspaper issues
- Search options: You can search by date, publication, or category.
- Visit the Minnesota Historical Society’s Minnesota Digital Newspaper Hub
The State Historical Society of Missouri: Missouri Digital Newspaper Project
- Papers available: A collection of Missouri newspapers published between 1856 and 1994
- Search options: You can search by date, county, publication, or keyword.
- Visit The State Historical Society of Missouri’s Missouri Digital Newspaper Project
NYS Historic Newspapers
- Papers available: A collection of New York state newspapers from 1725 to 2016; includes more than 7 million digitized pages
- Search options: You can search by date, keyword, publication, city, or county.
- Visit the NYS Historic Newspapers website
Digital NC: North Carolina Newspapers
- Papers available: A collection of North Carolina newspapers from 1801 to 2017; consists of more than 115,000 newspaper issues
- Search options: You can search by date, publication, keywords, or type of newspaper.
- Visit the Digital NC North Carolina Newspapers page
University of Oregon: Historic Oregon Newspapers
- Papers available: A collection of Oregon newspapers from 1846 to 2017; contains more than 1 million digitized pages
- Search options: You can search by date, article title, publication, or article text.
- Visit the University of Oregon’s Historic Oregan Newspapers page
Library of Virginia: Virginia Chronicle
- Papers available: More than 124,000 Virginia newspapers published from 1787 to 2013
- Search options: You can search by date, publication, or topic. All digitized papers can be downloaded in PDF form.
- Visit the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Chronicle website
Free, Current Digital Newspaper Articles
Online newspapers often put their content behind a “paywall,” requiring users to subscribe in order to read the articles online. However, few newspapers have strict paywalls, meaning they will allow readers to view several articles online for free each month before they need to subscribe. If you are looking for a few specific newspaper articles, you should be able to read them from the nation’s largest newspapers for free. Listed below are some large, national newspapers, but your local newspaper may have a similar policy.
- Free article views per month: Five
- Visit the Chicago Tribune website
Los Angeles Times
- Free article views per month: Five
- Visit the Los Angeles Times’ website
The New York Times
- Free article views per month: Five
- Visit The New York Times’ website
The Wall Street Journal
- Free article views per month: Readers can access Wall Street Journal articles for free through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. If you know the article title or topic, use the site’s search function to find someone who has shared the article.
- Visit The Wall Street Journal’s website (or head to the WSJ Twitter or WSJ Facebook pages to find links to free articles)
- Free article views per month: Three
- Visit the Washington Post’s website
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