What can I do with unwanted books?

Customers of Book Driver know that we help with a free book donation pickup in Denver metro and frequent textbook buy backs, for more valuable books.

I was talking with Dave Carlson, who publishes a guide to repurposing stuff, about what he was doing with some of the books we were donating to his hobby book art business. Dave takes older vintage hardcovers and turns them into, well a lot of different things, including secret compartments books and just visual art.

Besides being a way to unwind, he also likes the practical result, keeping materials out of the landfill, while putting them to imaginative use.    

Carlson has always been a passionate repurposer, taking old furniture and breathing new life into it. A trained woodworker, Dave I guess has transformed into a “book worker”!


Make a Secret Compartment Book

“Little things that can clutter up a desk or shelf can be kept in an old book with a secret compartment cut out.”  said the Preserved Gardens.  This idea sounds pretty cool actually!  Here is another link to making secret compartment books.

secret safe compartment book

Freecycle – Make books into a currency for trading for stuff! Freecycle is a service that connects you with people in your town or neighborhood who need or are giving free stuff.  Mainly a forum, it requires signing up then joining some groups in your town and close by 

NextDoor has grown in popularity this year so it made the cut for 2016 as a great place to offer up free books. This social network is centered by neighborhood and they have a process of confirming that you live in the neighborhood associated with your NextDoor profile. 

Donate books to a charity

Donate books to people all over the world. Book Driver was somewhat dubious about the environmental benefit of jetting books all over the world. Surely sending a rudimentary printing station or even a 3D printer in urban areas, or giving Kindle Unlimited subscriptions, these all seem like zero carbon solutions that need to be explored. We also wanted to make sure that the books being given were wanted and not an Operation Presto.

You can make a big difference in the lives of people who are desperate for the books they need to pass exams qualify for university as well as build literacy. Your old encylopedias though will do neither. 

The  International Book Donations Program web site  acts as a clearinghouse that lists institutions, organizations, and town and village programs that have no other way of acquiring reading and educational materials. And if you know a good program like this,let us know. 

Trade books online

I have used Book Mooch, mentioned below and it’s just so fun. When you send free books to others you build points, and sometimes even get a cash tip. It’s probabaly not the best place for a have to have right now type of book, because the books you request aren’t always timely, since it’s basically people trading with each other. In other words, don’t expect the normal type of customer service, think of it more of a club you are a part of and you’ll be happier just enjoying the wonderful blow of books being upcycled. Lifehacker opines,

PaperBackSwap.com lets you trade books you no longer want for books you do want.  Similar to BookMooch, PBS works on a point system: Every time you mail out a book, you earn a credit. Every time you receive a book, a credit is deducted. In other words, you have to send books to get books.


Home Decorating, Step Aerobics and 80 other Ideas

Online Colleges has an article about 80 things to do with unwanted books, including

  • Step aerobics. Don’t buy expensive equipment to do step aerobics at home. Use old books instead. Tape or cover them in fabric to keep them in place.
  • Word plates. Use old plates and text cut out of old books to decorate in an unusual way.
  • Toilet paper. It may not be as soft as what you buy in the store, but this toilet paper alternative sure won’t cost much.

As you can see unwanted books can do a lot more than sit in your garage.

Ideas from you?