How do I get rid of books

Sell, donate or give away used books: These are the options

Your bookshelf is bursting at the seams, you want to move and carry as little as possible or you never read the works more than once? It would be a shame and unsustainable to just throw the used books in the trash. To get rid of the discarded tomes, you can either sell, donate or give them away. We present various possibilities: purchase portals including price comparison as well as organizations that sell donated books for a good cause. And: is it allowed to simply put out sorted, used books on the street to take away? We clarify!

Sell, donate or give away used books: These are the options
Sell, donate or give away used books: These are the options

Selling books: an overview of the possibilities

  • Sell ​​books to purchasing services such as or
  • Sell ​​books yourself online, for example via, or
  • Sell ​​books through Facebook groups (for example "📚 Book flea market 📖", over 40,000 members)
  • Selling books at the flea market

Selling books through buying services

Who buys old books?

You can sell used books on the following popular online purchase portals:,,, and If you want to sell antiquarian books on a large scale, you can leave that to, but pay monthly sales fees. Do you still have books from your studies lying around? buys them.

How does the purchase of used books work?

You first enter the ISBN number or the title of the book on the website of the purchasing service. You will then be shown whether the respective portal will buy the book at all and if so, at what price. This is how you can put together a shopping cart. Then you will receive a dispatch note, send the package and, after checking the books, receive your money.

For free shipping you have to offer a minimum value of goods: at and € 10, at € 30, at € 15 and at € 20.

Price comparison: which buying service pays the most for used books?

We compared the purchase prices of the various portals for a modern classic (“Harry Potter”), a popular non-fiction book (“Gut mit Charme”) as well as an older and a current book by a bestselling author (Lucinda Riley). The result: At, in most cases you get the highest amount when you sell your used book to the portal. However, this sales channel is only really worthwhile for very popular older or relatively current books.

Here you can see the result of our comparison of the purchasing services:

As of 10/22/20

"Harry Potter and the
Philosopher's Stone ",

Joanne K. Rowling
ISBN 3551354014)

3,28 €

1,60 €

currently no
if 0.05 €

0,15 €

2,31 €

"Gut with charm",

Giulia Enders
ISBN 9783550081842)

5,78 €

5,69 €

5,55 € - 7,40 €
(depending on

2,20 €

5,73 €

"The Orchid House",

Lucinda Riley
ISBN 3442475546)

0,17 €

currently no

currently no
if 0.03 €

currently no

currently no

"The seven
Sisters Volume 5 ",

Lucinda Riley
ISBN 3442490782)

4,25 €

3,72 €

2,69 €

0,95 €

2,68 €

Tip: Do you want to make a price comparison for a specific book yourself? Simply enter the ISBN number or the title at There you can see the current purchase prices of the various resellers.

Selling books yourself: is it worth it?

Sell ​​books online

Obviously, if you take care of selling your used books yourself, it will take more time. You have to enter the offer with photo yourself on Ebay and Co., take care of shipping and payment processing. We searched for "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" on and Ebay classifieds. Sometimes more, sometimes less, is asked there than you would earn with purchasing services. But the books are rarely bid - so it can take a while before you actually sell your books. Some offer whole packages instead of individual books, for example all Harry Potter volumes collected. You can then ask for a higher price (in which case the seller will ask for 40 euros). The chance of selling multiple books for more money in one fell swoop might be worth a try. The same goes for Facebook groups. Make sure you use the search function there and enter the titles of your books, because many group members post requests.

Selling books at the flea market

Flea markets cost time: packing up the goods, organizing change, setting up the stand, selling for several hours, repacking leftovers and otherwise getting rid of them. However, if you had to send the books one by one, that would also take a lot of time and costs. In addition, you do not have to pay a proportionate sales fee for the flea market sales - depending on the flea market, only stand fees are incurred. Experience has shown that anyone who has many older bestseller books (see example “The Orchid House” in the comparison table above) earns at least 1 to 2 euros with them on the flea market, while only a measly amount or nothing at all is available through buying services.

Donating books: opportunities and organizations

  • Oxfam Social Department Stores: You can see whether there is one in your city using the shop finder at You can hand in the book donations directly to the shop. There volunteers sell the used goods. The proceeds go to development projects.
  • Diaconal shops: Here everyone has their own rules and websites, which can be found on Google with the name of your city. With a book donation you create and secure jobs for the long-term unemployed in the diaconal shops. What is left of the money goes to charitable projects of the Diakonie.
  • You can send used books from all over Germany by post. In Berlin it is also possible to have the donations picked up or to bring them over yourself. In the integrative project, people with and without disabilities sell the used books. With a donation you help to create and secure jobs. Behind the project is the Berlin organization "SinnWerk non-profit GmbH - integration company for people with disabilities".
  • Inquire in the region: Some libraries, kindergartens, hospitals, old people's homes and similar institutions accept used books as donations. Just inquire by phone or email. You can also ask local organizations, such as the German Red Cross (DRK), whether they can use book donations.

Giving away books: an overview of the options

  • Place the book box on the sidewalk / on the edge of the property (follow the rules!)
  • put in public bookcases (there are lists for all regions here)
  • "Exposing" books in public places, for example in cafés or on park benches, via
  • at offer books regionally for giving away and picking up instead of buying
  • Pass on used books to relatives / friends

Laying out books to give away on the sidewalk: is that possible?

Especially since we have been spending more time at home due to the corona crisis, many have been using the time to create order and clear out. That is why you see more and more boxes with books on the sidewalk or in driveways with the sign “to give away”. But this is only possible without a permit if you put the used books on the edge of your own property that is directly adjacent to the sidewalk, for example in a courtyard entrance without a gate. As a tenant, you must ask the property management for permission. If you put away the books that no one wanted for free in the evening and only display a small amount, you are more likely to get an agreement.

Simply put the used books on the sidewalk to give away? You shouldn't risk that. This is considered a special use of the public area and requires a permit from the road construction authority or the local traffic office. You have to submit a special use request. Anyone who puts books to be given away on the sidewalk without permission must expect fines in many places - in Munich, for example, this is three-digit. The problem: The boxes with used books may impair traffic safety and the appearance of the city. And: If you just leave the leftovers behind, the community has to take care of the disposal.

Danger: If you have permission to display books to be given away, make sure that it doesn't rain that day and that the blue bin isn't emptied then of all times!

Alternative: tinkering with old books

Are your used books too old to sell, donate or give away? Then maybe you can make something great out of it. Here you will find suitable upcycling ideas: a cloakroom and a side table made from old books. Book pages can also be used to wrap small gifts or design postcards.