You know what they say: when in doubt, give books as gifts. Okay, maybe that’s not a saying. But the point is, books do make for great gifts.

For someone who likes reading, gifted books are great. Unlike flower bouquets that, although very pretty, perish over time, books stay with you forever.

Also, each time you open that book, you think of the person who gifted it to you. If the book has handwritten notes between the pages, that’s even better. This attaches an emotional value to it.

However, if you’re a really picky reader, you may not like all the books you’re gifted. Maybe you’ve already read them, or maybe you’re not interested in the subject at all. Some books are just not worth finishing.

So what should you do with them? Keep them on a bookshelf and let them collect dust? That seems like a waste. There are better ways to deal with gifted books you don’t want anymore.

Here’s what we propose:

1. Donate them

Donating makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. No, really. Studies show that giving wholeheartedly will make you happy. And you’re not giving away just anything, you’re giving away the greatest gift of all – books


Reading can change your life. Books can be your friends, your partners-in-crime, or your confidantes. They can transport you to new places, help you solve your problems, or offer you a way to escape your reality.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to books. So why wouldn’t you want to donate the gifted books you don’t want anymore?

If we’ve convinced you, here’s what you need to do

First, you should contact your local library and ask them if they’re willing to accept your books. They will most probably be happy to, but if they reject you, don’t lose your hope. You can still donate your books elsewhere. 

Your next targets should be thrift shops, charities, and churches. Most thrift shops also have a book department, so you can leave your books with them. Charities and churches also accept donations as books because they can sell them to raise profits for their establishment. 

If you can’t find a place for your books in your local community, you can also donate them online on Craigslist.

2. Trade them

So many books, so little money. 


The downside of going through books really fast is that you constantly need to buy new ones. Of course, you can always lend them from your library, borrow them from friends, or buy e-books instead of books because they’re cheaper (and environmentally friendly!).

But nothing quite beats the feeling of owning a book. We know. This is why swapping books is a great way to discover new books you might actually like

You can even make a whole event around the idea of trading books. You can invite your friends and family to your place for a cozy dinner and ask them to bring a book to swap. This way, you have one more reason to spend more time with them. 

Or you can take this a step further and organize something for your local community. Gather your friends and cook a warm meal for those in need, or hold auctions with unwanted books to raise money for charity. 

If you think all this is too much work, you can also trade your books online using platforms like Paperbackswap. Since you can trade with people from all around the world, you can think of this opportunity like having access to the world’s biggest library.

3. Gift them

Just because you don’t like a book doesn’t mean anyone else won’t like it either. It might feel weird to gift a book you’ve received, but there’s actually nothing wrong with that. 

Some readers love to gift one or two of their books to their house guests. This makes a good connection between people. Sharing knowledge is the biggest thing you can do, and books are a perfect way to do that.


You can also give your books for anniversaries or as graduation presents. If you write some quotes on the front cover to make people understand how you feel about giving that book to them, they will cherish it more.

Just make sure your books are in great condition, you don’t already have a dedication on the first page, and the person you’re gifting the book to actually likes the subject. You don’t want to become that person who makes unthoughtful gifts.

4. Release them into the wild

What does that mean? You put all your gifted books you don’t want into a box and “place them strategically”. You can choose the corner of your street, a bus station, or a hospital. When people are waiting and have nothing to do, they will be more inclined to pick up one of your books. 

You know what they say: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” And who knows? Maybe when you’re looking for places to leave your books, you will find boxes from other people and you can swap

Or, if you like DIY projects, you can build one of these cute library boxes with a bit of help from Little Free Library.

5. Recycle them

Being more thoughtful about our environment will also make you feel better about yourself. If you really have no use for the books you are gifted, you can think of ways you can recycle them.


Here are a few things you can do with books: 

  • paint them and use them as decor around the house
  • carve the pages and make a box for storing things
  • rip pages to make covers for other books
  • make unique envelopes for cash or birthday cards.

Possibilities are really endless here.

Another option – Selling your books

Selling the books you’ve been gifted doesn’t feel quite right. But it’s still an option. If you have textbooks or books that are mandatory in college, you can sell them to students or college book stores so others can use them.

Alternatively, you could sell them online (on Craigslist or on similar websites) or at garage sales

Have you ever been gifted books you didn’t want? What did you do with them? Let us know in the comments section below. Happy reading!

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