Where to donate used books in the GTA

Donate used books, like these on a shelf at the Habitat ReStore.

Do you have piles of old books in your basement? Struggling to make room for new books on your shelves? Why not donate used books to a charity or local organization today? You can declutter and make room for new literary purchases while helping the mission of non-profits at the same time. Before you donate used books to an organization, make your donation process as smooth as possible by taking a look at the organization’s website or calling ahead to ensure they accept the books, magazines or texts you are looking to donate.

Donate to charity or other local organizations

There are several charities in Burlington, Mississauga, Oakville and the GTA that accept donations of books to be sold in thrift store or secondhand store environments. Donating your books to these stores means they’ll get a chance at a second life, giving someone else the opportunity to purchase the book. It’s also a environmentally-conscious option for decluttering, since you’re reusing books and preventing them from being thrown away or treated as waste.

Habitat for Humanity is one non-profit which accepts donations of used books for its ReStore locations across the GTA. ReStores are social enterprises which sell new and gently used furniture, appliances and other items at 30 per cent to 70 per cent of their original value. Proceeds from sales in Habitat ReStores support Habitat’s vision of creating a world where everyone has a safe and decent place to call home. This includes several ongoing build projects right here in your community, allowing families in need to gain a hand up to access homeownership and affordable housing.

Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga is currently looking for donations of children’s books, fiction, history, biographies and more to add to its shelves of books in its ReStores. Habitat HM also has a section of nostalgia, curiosities and rare books where you can find unique reads for your shelves.

You can donate used books to Habitat ReStores.

To find the Habitat for Humanity ReStore closest to you, check out the ReStore locator on Habitat Canada’s website. For spring cleaning that goes beyond your bookshelves, Habitat ReStores also accepts a variety of other items such as furniture, appliances, home decor items, clothing and more. A full list is available on the ReStore website.

The Burlington Humane Society accepts donations of non-fiction hardcover books, and fiction and non-fiction books in good condition. These donated items are sold in their two stores, Loft and Attic, located on Griffith Court and John St. in Burlington, respectively. Donations can be dropped off at either store location. The Burlington Humane Society also accepts donations of gently used glass, china and clothing. Visit their website to learn more.

Goodwill is another organization that accepts both hardcover and paperback books to their stores and donation centres. Goodwill, located on New St. in Burlington, also accepts donations of gently used clothing, household items, furniture and small appliances.

Donations are sold in Goodwill Thrift Stores, which are staffed by many people who may face various employment barriers. Proceeds from sales support Goodwill’s efforts to find employment for local individuals. They also have drop off boxes for post-secondary level textbooks through their Textbooks for Change program. You can learn more on the Textbooks for Change website. Goodwill Industries also operates two bookstores in London, Ont. which sell rare, out-of-print books alongside bestselling books.

You can also donate hardcover and paperback books, as well as magazines, to Value Village. A portion of your donation helps to support local charities in your community. Value Village also accepts donations of accessories, clothing, kitchen items, small furniture, other textiles and more. A full list of accepted donation items is available on Value Village’s website.

The Salvation Army also accepts donations of books and media to sell in their Thrift Stores. Money raised from sales in the Salvation Army Thrift Stores go towards supporting their programs, services and emergency relief efforts. You can find more information, as well as locate the Salvation Army branch closest to you, by visiting their website.

Donate online

You can also dispose of used books by selling them online. Sites like Freecycle allow you to log in and search by location or items you’re looking to sell. You can also look to get rid of old books through sites like Kijiji and eBay. Amazon also has a trade-in program where you can send in books in exchange for credit to use on their site.

Donate to a local used bookstore

Of course, local bookstores are always a great option for donating used books as well. If you’re located near Burlington, check out By The Lake Books, Book Nook or Fly By Night Books & Antiques.  If you’re planning to take a trip downtown, you can also check out BlogTO’s handy list of the best used bookstores in Toronto (useful for both donating used books, and buying them!).

When donating to local bookstores, keep in mind that not all of your donations may be accepted at the price for which you’d like them to sell. If feasible, consider calling ahead to discuss your donation.

Donate used books today

When you’re looking to donate books, keep in mind that there are several organizations which not only accept your donations, but also use those donations to do good in your community. These organizations turn the profits made from selling your donated books to do things like provide housing for low-income families, operate no-kill animal shelters and help people find employment.

Remember to check that the organization you are donating to accepts what you are looking to donate, as some have particular guidelines about magazines, textbooks and other text items you may be looking to get rid of. As well, although most organizations accept both new and used books, remember to donate books which are in good quality.

You can feel good about clearing out your shelves and giving to a local not-for-profit that will turn your donation of used books into social good that brings benefits to your local community. So gather up those old, unwanted books and donate them today — your community, and bookshelves, will thank you.

By Sherina Harris