When you come across our guides on where to donate books in your local area, you’ll see one of the criteria is listed as “donation type.” 

Organizations accept book donations in a number of different ways, so here’s the key to understanding what the various donation types actually mean. These are also reflected on our interactive Book Donation Map of America.

Drop Off

This is probably the most common way to donate. This is going to be for places that have brick and mortar locations where you can easily go in and hand over your used books to their collection teams, either in-store or at a warehouse. Just be sure to check the opening times (we include these on our lists too!)

Drop Off in Book Bins

Some specialist book charities will have “book bins” dotted across a variety of locations. These could be outside grocery stores or other local businesses.

If they’re outside, you can drop off books in the designated “bins” 24/7. Some local stores will keep book bins inside, so these will only be available during the store opening hours. It’s important to check this distinction, and remember not all book bins are open 24/7.

This can absolutely be an easier option if you’re pressed for time, and is more prevalant in larger cities such as Chicago, but not all organizations offer this method.

reading heart

Reading Heart is a book donation nonprofit in Fresno. They have 12 collection bins throughout the city, which help create magnificent sights like this!

Pick Up From You

Yeah, you did read that correctly. It’s not uncommon for charities to offer pick up services where they’ll arrange a time with you to collect your books at your home.

Book Drive

Some book-centric charities prefer you to host a book drive on their behalf, and they’ll usually provide you with the tools to set up a successful drive, market it, then collect the books from you when it’s done. We appreciate this isn’t the most ideal option for those looking to unload excess books, but hey, if you have some spare time on your hands and want to go the extra length, we figured we’d include this option too!