Four Ways to Offload Your (Already Read) Books

Books I’m a reader. Always have been, always will be. But my ever-growing
collection of books poses a problem for my small New York apartment—no space!
And like any book lover, I can’t just throw books away once I’m done with them.
(Who does that?) So I’ve become something of a pro at getting rid of my
old tomes, sometimes even for cash. Here, a few ideas:

Amazon Marketplace

How it works: Ever looked up a book on Amazon? Sure you have. Search
for a book you own (and don’t want anymore), and click on the link for “Have
one to sell? Sell yours here.”
Select the book’s condition, add comments, choose
a price, and voila—you’re off to the races.

Pros: You might make a little money if you have the right books to
sell. (A friend of mine sold her MBA textbooks for decent cash.) Amazon takes a
cut, but you get a credit toward the shipping price.

Cons: Some books are so popular that there are already tons of copies
available, perhaps in far better condition than yours, and listed so cheaply
that there’s no way to come out ahead.

How it works: Post ten paperbacks you’d be happy to part with, and
you’ll receive two free credits to request paperbacks from other members. If
another member requests a volume from your stash, you pay the shipping (use
Media Mail for the best rates) and get one credit. For each credit, you can
request a book from someone else, no charge.

Pros: You get the first two books for free, and all other books for
the cost of shipping one. Books that weigh less than a pound cost $2.38 using
Media Mail.

Cons: The books you want might not necessarily be available on the
site, and it’s not a given that other members will want the books you’re trying
to give away. Also, since you’re requesting additional titles, you’re replacing, not downsizing.

How it works: Sign up for the local Freecycle group in your area and
post your unwanted books to the list. Nearly everything I’ve posted—furniture, old electronics, household stuff—has found a

Pros: It’s free and easy. Someone may even pick your books up—a
plus if you’ve got a boxful.

Cons: There’s no guarantee that anyone will want your rejects,
although I got inquiries from organizations such as Teach for America when I
posted my old books.

Library or Local Charities

How it works: This one’s easy—just drop off your collection and walk away
(with a receipt if you choose a charity, for tax purposes).

Pros: You’re donating to an organization that will use them
to a) raise money or b) enhance its collection. Plus, you might even score a tax

Cons: You have to schlep your stuff there yourself.

What do you do with your once-read books?