What to do With Old Hardback Books

Written by nadine smith
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What to do With Old Hardback Books
You don't have to throw out old hardback books. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Publishers often release hardbacks, editions of books bound with hard covers (also called hardcover and hardbound), before issuing a softcover or paperback edition. These hardback editions typically cost more; they also weigh more and take up more space than softcover books. People who have amassed a collection of hardbacks that are starting to show their years face several options for disposing of or repurposing them.

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Many used bookstores accept hardback books, even if they are old. If the book does not show too much wear, they may even allow exchanges for them. Because hardbacks are generally worth more than paperbacks, some used bookstores exchange two or more soft covers for one hardback.


The Internet enables almost anybody to sell old hardback books online. Some hardback editions may be rarer and fetch a higher price than their softcover counterparts. Some old hardback editions have even become collectibles. Companies such as Amazon, eBay and Advanced Book Exchange make selling used hardbacks simple. Local classifieds such as Kijiji or Craigslist provide platforms for sellers to advertise items and arrange selling terms on their own.


Donating old hardbacks offers an easy way to get them off of your hands fast. Used bookstores, public libraries, school libraries and educational charities often accept book donations.


Very old hardback books make a great decorative display on a bookshelf or on a fireplace mantel in a living room, den or bedroom. Old hardback editions of Charles Dickens or encyclopedia often come in bright colours such as red, green or blue and add a classic, studious look to a room.


Sometimes old hardback books just need a little TLC to get them looking presentable again. Restoring favourite hardbacks is possible with some quality glue and paintbrushes. Repair covers by gluing the spine of a book and then scoring it with a ruler. Apply a strip of tape to the inside of the book, where the front cover meets the first page.

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