13 Places to Donate Your Books to This Holiday Season

Friday, December 19, 2014

I've been breathing Christmas as soon as finals ended. I jumped into making holiday cards (screw Buzzfeed, mid-December is perfectly fine time to make and mail Christmas cards.) The post office line was not kind but I did manage to save some time by buying holiday Forever stamps a couple of visits back.

Despite the fact that my family isn't into the whole Christmas thing and the fact that I am a bit too into the Christmas consumerist culture of tacky bright lights, ugly sweaters, trees and hot chocolate, I somehow manage to survive Christmas with my family.


But as the years go on and the books pile up from the months earlier, I've worried about the burgeoning state of my bookshelves (and my room) so this year, I've compiled a list of places you can donate your books to. I've tried my best to include local and national so I hope you can find somewhere that suits your interest!

As usual, if you know of a charity that I've missed, be sure to tell me. If you're considering of mailing books in, please be sure to check the charity's exact policy of what they do and don't accept (some don't accept ARC's). Also, to save money on postage, you can use the USPS media mail option to mail books.


Local library- Many will accept donations and usually donation guidelines vary from branch to branch/library system to library system. 

Bernie's Book Bank - Greater Chicago area 
Bernie's Book Bank personally donates gently used/new children's books to at-risk children. They have various drop-off locations in the greater Chicago area. 

Prisoners Literature Program- San Francisco, CA 
They're a mainly volunteer organization that donates books to prisons. As with most prison book donating organizations, they have guidelines on what they can send to prisoners so please check before donating. Drop-offs are welcomed and mail-in donations are accepted, provided that you contact them first. 

They're an organization that donates books to LGBT-identified prisoners across the U.S. They accept books pertaining to LGBT as well as some other genres and categories. 

Local/National (accepts mail-in donations)

Books for America- Washington, D.C/ National
Books for America donates used and new books and educational media to disadvantaged schools and programs in the mid-Atlantic region. They accept drop-in donations, pick-ups (immediate D.C metro area and occasionally greater D.C region) and mail-ins.

Books for Africa- St. Paul, MN/National
Books for Africa donates books to rural school libaries, orphanages, adult literacy programs and community resource centers in Africa. Book donations are accepted via mail or at their headquarters in St. Paul.

Books for Asia- Hayward, CA/ National
Books for Asia donates books to places of higher education in China and Southeast Asia.

Books for Kids- NYC/National
Books for Kids donates new hardcover children's books (0-6) to be used to build home libraries for disadvantaged children. For donations/mail-ins, please contact info@booksforkids.org first or call them.

BookEnds- Los Angeles + Various California locations/National
BookEnds donates used/new children's (ages 0-18) to local southern California schools and non-profit organizations that have a commitment to literacy. Books can be donated to their L.A location or other locations in the southern California. Books can also be mailed in.

Books for Soldiers- National
You have to make an account to ship books to troops (you can use Media Mail for this!) and from what I understand, they match you with a soldier and you mail them your books (or other care package items).

Operation Paperback- National
You have to make an account but once you do, you can input the genres that you can ship and you'll be matched with troops, veterans, and military families who have those needs.

Prison Book Program-Quincy, MA/National
Prison Book Program donates books to people in prison. Since prison restrictions and prisoner requests limit what types of books can be donated (ie. no hardcover books), so please check what they accept first before donating.

Shops That Portion of Proceeds to Literacy- The shops below donate a book for every purchase made. 

Out of Print- Out of Print sells various literary covered items such as pouches, bags, tees, sweatshirts and more. 
Litographs - Litograph sells unique literary posters that are made up of the book text. 

Social Media

Penguin Random House is doing a book drive with the hashtag, #GiveaBook on Twitter and Facebook until December 24th. Each time the hashtag is used, a book will be donated to Save the Children, up to 25,000 times. 

What are some of your favorite charities to donate to? What are some of your Christmas traditions?

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