Reselling and Donating: Managing Your Book Collection

Wooden bookshelves filled with an array of books in a cozy room with soft lighting.

Here at Once Upon a Book Club, we are avid readers, and nothing brings us more joy than reading that latest novel or rereading some of our old favorites. One of our biggest challenges is stopping our well-stocked shelves from growing into sprawling libraries that are on the verge of taking over our homes. 

While we love being surrounded by books, there comes a time in every book lover’s life when it’s time to start decluttering. We don’t like to think of it as getting rid of books, but rather as an opportunity to share the wonderful world of books with others and if we make a bit of extra cash at the same time, it’s a win-win.

Reselling and donating your books is one of the most effective ways to manage your treasured collection. We know it’s tough, so grab a glass of wine, sit back, and breathe; it will be a lot easier than you think.

Close-up of a stack of various colorful books with a blurred bookshelf in the background.

Assessing Your Book Collection

The first step in the decluttering process is to assess your collection. Actually, this part is a lot of fun, and if you’re like us, you may need to take the weekend to do this step. 

We love looking through our books—we tend to find this part quite nostalgic as we rediscover old favorites and even books we had forgotten about. The trick here is not to start rereading them! Yes, we know it's very tempting, but we’re on a mission to create space for a whole lot of new adventures and experiences. It’s time to decide which books truly matter to you. There are a few questions we ask ourselves to help us on the way:

  • Have I read this book?
  • Will I read it or re-read this book?
  • Does this book bring me joy?
  • Does this book have any sentimental value?
  • Is this book a collector's item, or does it have monetary value?

We find that any books that don’t make the cut based on the above questions are prime candidates for reselling or donating.

Outdoor book sale with rows of books on a table and a large wooden 'SALE' sign in front, under a canopy of trees.

Reselling Your Books in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1: Identifying How Much Your Books Are Worth

Before you start reselling, you need to understand the value of your books and research the current market value. Books like first editions, signed copies, and books that are out of print can fetch higher prices. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources that can help you on your quest.

Amazon (Seller Central)

  • Amazon's marketplace allows you to easily sell used books directly to a large audience, and a big advantage is that you can list them under their existing Amazon listings.


  • eBay is a great platform where you can auction or sell books at a fixed price. We have found eBay is particularly good for rare or collectible books.


  • AbeBooks specializes in rare books, collectibles, and textbooks. They connect you with collectors and booklovers from around the world.


  • BookScouter is a fabulous option as you can compare buyback prices across dozens of companies allowing you to see where you can get the most money for your used books.

Powell's Books

  • Powell's Books offers an online buyback program where you can sell your books directly to them and they'll cover the shipping costs.

Half Price Books

  • Half Price Books will buy your used books and pay you on the spot. You just need to take your books to a local store to be appraised.


  • And then, of course, last but not least is Pangobooks. It was created to simplify and enhance the experience of buying and selling books for avid readers and sellers seeking an enjoyable platform.

    Step 2: Choosing the Right Platform

    Each platform will have its own set of rules and fees, so we encourage you to carefully review these before deciding where to sell your much-loved books. 

    Another aspect to consider is that different platforms cater to different audiences—eBay will be better for rare or valuable books, Amazon is great for targeting a wider audience, and local online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace are perfect for quick, local sales. 

    And lastly, each platform will have its pros and cons, so make sure to choose the one best suited for your needs based on your book's value and how quickly you want to sell.

    Step 3: Marketing Your Books

    The better condition your books are in, the easier they will be to sell. So dust them, wipe down the covers, and get ready to take the perfect picture to accompany your post.

    Don’t underestimate the power of your photo. Remember, you may be competing with other sellers of the same book, and the only thing potential buyers have to go by is the price and the image of your book.

    A woman smiling, holding two boxes labeled "DONATION" full of books, with a bookshelf in the background.

    Donating Your Books

    If reselling your books seems like far too much effort, then donating books is the option for you. We love donating books, knowing we are going to be spreading literary joy to those who may be less fortunate than us. 

    When it comes to donating books, many organizations stand out for their commitment to literacy, education, and community support. Before donating, we recommend visiting their websites or even contacting them directly so that you can understand their current needs and if they have any specific guidelines for accepting donations. We always want to ensure that our donations have the greatest impact.

    Goodwill Industries International

    Goodwill accepts most book donations, which they then resell in their retail stores. We think it's fabulous that the proceeds will fund employment training and job placement services.

    Books for Africa

    Books for Africa is the largest shipper of donated text and library books to Africa. They accept new and used books to help their mission to end the book famine in Africa.

    Better World Books

    Better World Books sells donated books online to fund literacy initiatives worldwide, as well as donating books directly to non-profit organizations.

    The Book Thing of Baltimore

    The Book Thing of Baltimore gives away books for free with the mission of putting unwanted books into the hands of those who need them.

    Books to Prisoners

    Books to Prisoners is another great initiative. Here, they provide books to inmates in the United States to help support rehabilitation and education efforts.

    Reader to Reader

    Reader to Reader donates books to under-resourced schools and libraries, fostering literacy and a love of reading.

    Local Libraries

    Make sure to check with your local library as many of them are looking for donations for their collections or for those wonderful library book sales. Look at your library's website to see if they have a donation drive coming up.

    Schools and Educational Programs

    Many schools, daycare centers, and educational programs are only too pleased to receive book donations to help expand their resources, and we have found that they especially appreciate books for younger readers.

    Operation Paperback

    This wonderful volunteer organization collects gently used books and sends them to American troops overseas as well as veterans and military families in the United States.

    Tips for Successful Decluttering

    Set Realistic Goals 

    We highly recommend not trying to declutter your entire collection in one go. You may want to think about starting small with one shelf or even a specific category.

    Organize as You Go

    Organizing as you go definitely makes life easier. We like to create separate piles for books to keep, sell, and donate. 

    Stay Informed 

    Make sure you keep up with the guidelines and needs of places where you plan to donate your books—some of them may have restrictions on what they can accept.

    Be Patient

    Be patient as selling books can take time. If your main goal is to declutter, you may want to think about setting a specific time period and then donate any books that haven’t sold within that period.

    Spread the Word

    Let friends and family know you're decluttering. They might be interested in taking some books off your hands, and that definitely sounds like a party might just be in order!

    A cozy reading nook with white bookshelves filled with assorted books and a large, leafy green plant by the window.


    Managing your book collection is a lot easier when you make the decision to resell and donate. It is a wonderful way to contribute to the circulation of knowledge and stories. After all, books are meant to be read and cherished, not simply gather dust on a shelf. It’s time to give your old books a new life and spread literary joy to book lovers everywhere!

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