How To Sell, Donate or Recycle Your Old Trading Books

I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.
-Groucho Marx

If you are like me, I’m sure you have amassed quite a sizable library over the years on topics of interest, especially trading. At a certain point though, I realized that there were a lot of books that I would never read again.

So as I was doing a little New Year’s cleaning, I did some research on how I could get these books to people who could make use of them.

Here is my list of things that you can do with old books that you do not want anymore. I was actually surprised at the number of options there are out there.

Sell Your Books

My first suggestion would be to see if you books have any resale value. At least you could get some money back to buy more books.

One way to do it is you can find out if a book reseller will be willing to buy your books. Obviously they will only pay a fraction of the retail value because they need to turn a profit. The benefit to you is that you at least get some money for your books and they usually pay for your shipping.

Most sites have an online database where you can just enter the ISBN of the book and it will tell you how much they are currently paying. Here are a few of the many sites out there:

If you want to cut out the middle man, then you may want to try reselling directly to a fellow reader. The benefit is that you will usually get more per book, on average. The downside is that it may take awhile to sell and it is time consuming to list, pack and ship every single book. This would be my least favorite choice, but it may work for you. Here are a few sites that you can sell them on:

Donate Your Books

So no one wants your copy of The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook for Dating? OK, maybe that’s not a good example. But, most of the books you have may not have any resale value. However, they may be good books, classics even. The next thing I did was to look at donating them.

I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is donating them to your local library. They may take it, but I have found that sometimes libraries are a little picky as to what they will accept.

Go figure.

They usually only have limited shelf space and have a list of books that they want to carry. In addition, they may not have the proper channels to distribute books that they do not need and they may go to waste.

I Googled around a little and here are some great options for donating:

  • I don’t know about you, but I am all for supporting developing countries. Still, there are people in MY country that could use some books so I would rather support them first. I found Reader-to-Reader and it looks like they support a lot of initiatives in the US, so I sent a couple of boxes of books to them, with more on the way. Donations may be tax deductible.
  • Another good option is You can either sell or donate books to them. They will pay for your shipping and profits go towards supporting global literacy programs.
  • Of course, I’m sure your local school, hospital or hospice would be happy to get some donations also!

Recycle Your Trading Books

If none of these ideas have appealed to you yet, then this section may be for you. Here are some ideas for going green! Keep those books out of the landfill and have some fun in the process.

Here are some other fun ideas for books that are beat up or out of date:

And if all else fails and that book need to be taken out to pasture, click here to see the last resort.


I hope this post helps you do some cleaning and find great re-uses for those old books. Trading books are great for keeping around for reference, but there are some books that you know you will never read again. Clear out the clutter and make room for new books or other valuable things in your life.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, where I get a commission if you purchase through those links. However, most of the links do not involve any purchases and are just meant to be helpful. A portion of the proceeds go to my charity partner.

Originally published at on January 8, 2010.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.