How to dispose of old textbooks

Updated February 21, 2017

You have boxes of old textbooks that you need to get rid of. You don't want to throw them away, but they can't sit around your house or dorm any longer. You don't have to store them in a closet or set them out with the trash, though. There are a number of different bookstores, charities and services that will take your old textbooks and dispose of them properly to institutions and individuals who want the textbooks for various educational programs.

Wipe each textbook with a rag or shop towel to remove any dirt or grime from the book.

Place the old textbooks in a cardboard box. Lay the books flat so you can pack more books in the box.

Take the old textbooks to a second-hand bookstore and donate them or inquire about selling the books if the bookstore has a book-buying program.

If your area has a college bookstore and your textbooks were purchased within the last year, take the textbooks to the college bookstore and see if it will buy the textbooks through its "buyback" program.

Most college bookstores will not buy a used textbook that is out of date or no longer used by the college.

Contact schools, adult education programs and other educational services about donating the old textbooks if the second-hand bookstore or college bookstore did not want the textbooks.

Visit to locate a book-recycling centre in your area if you can't find a bookstore or educational service to take the old textbooks.

Enter "Book Recycling" in the box under the heading "Find recycling centres for" and enter your Postcode in the box under the heading "Near" on the Earth 911 website.

Click "Search." A listing of book recycling centres in your area will appear on the screen.

Write down the book recycling site information.

Visit the recycling centre and drop off the old textbooks.


Remove any papers and other documents that may have your personal information (Social Security number, address, etc.) from the old textbooks before you sell or donate them.

Things You'll Need

  • Rag or shop towel
  • Old textbooks
  • Cardboard box(es)
  • Pen
  • Paper
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About the Author

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.