How to Donate Textbooks to Developing Countries

Schools and libraries in many developing countries are in dire need of textbooks and other educational materials to promote literacy and train children and young adults for future jobs. Whether you are acting as an individual or through an affiliation with a school district, college or organization, you can help to make the world a better place by working alone or with others to donate textbooks to developing countries.

Multiply your efforts by recruiting an organization or ad hoc group of volunteers to help donate textbooks to developing countries. Such a campaign can be especially effective in the setting of a college or local school district. Groups as diverse as college sororities, high school sports teams or middle school chess clubs can volunteer their efforts.

Focus your plans around a book drive at the end of each semester or school year. Get the word out to potential textbook donors that they can help save the environment while simultaneously helping children in developing nations.

Choose a centrally located drop-off point where donors can unload their textbooks.

Conclude your book drive with a volunteer work party to pack your textbook donations securely for shipping. Communicate with the organization to which you will be shipping your books well in advance so that you can take advantage of their shipping expertise and any special shipping rates for which they may qualify.

Make contact with an organization such as Books for Africa to channel the textbooks that you donate to needy schools, orphanages and libraries in developing countries (see Resources below). Such organizations generally allow you to ship your books to a location in the United States where they are collected for overseas shipments.

Send your books to the Bridge to Asia organization if you want to help needy students in China (see Resources below).

Partner with Book Aid International to send your textbooks to sub-Saharan Africa and Palestine (see Resources below).

Keep records of the amount paid for purchasing your textbooks, as well as the amount you pay to ship them when you donate them. If you are donating as an individual or a company, you should be able to take an income tax deduction for these costs. Encourage book drive donors to do the same.

Let book donors know that they can also make a tax-deductible donation to assist in defraying the cost of shipping the donated textbooks. Many donors will be happy to throw a few dollars into the kitty.


Streamline your efforts by delegating tasks to individual volunteers. For instance, you are bound to receive some donations of textbooks whose condition does not meet your standards. Put one person in charge of separating these books and arranging for them to be picked up for paper recycling.


Don't accept or donate books that are mildewed or in extreme disrepair. The mold could easily ruin all the other books in the shipment.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop-off point
  • Shipping materials
  • Receipts for income tax deductions
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