5 Ways To Share Your Books
Whether you’re an avid reader or a dedicated writer, many of us book lovers have, at some point, found ourselves with an overabundance of books.
As a reader, maybe you just want to prune your shelves a bit to make them more manageable. Or you realized that book with the pretty cover that you impulse bought wasn’t for you. Or your friends and relatives always gift you with their favorite reads- which is great. Except for the books being in a genre you dislike.
As a writer, you’re constantly looking for ways to share your work. And nothing is harder than getting the word out locally! These ideas are a great way to do some local, grass-roots marketing- without annoying your neighbors.
Whatever the reason, you’ve got an extra book (or several dozen) and no idea what to do with them. Here are several ways to share your bookish love right where you live.
1. Little Free Library
Little Free Libraries are made just for this! Leave a book; take a book. It’s a win-win. If you have a stack of books you no longer want, >>make a list of nearby Little Free Libraries<< and drop off a couple at each one to spread the love!
This works well for writers too. Excited readers frequently visit Little Free Libraries and are sure to discover your books! These readers are also likely to pass the book on, creating even more buzz about your story.
Love this idea? You can >>make a Little Free Library for your neck of the woods by using one of these cool plans.<< Don’t forget to add it to the map when you’re done!
Want to see just how far your books travel? Use >>BookCrossing.com<< to create a fun way for engaged readers to log all the places your book has traveled with them. Similarly, you can create a reader pass-along sheet to tuck inside your book. This sheet prompts readers to write one sentence about what they loved or learned from your book.
2. Coffee Shops- Doctor’s & Dentist’s Offices – Local Daycares – Park Benches
Dropping some books off at a local establishment is a great way to brighten many people’s days. Many coffee shops love providing free books and games for their patrons to enjoy and are always looking for donations.
And who likes waiting at the doctor or dentist? No one. But being able to pick up an unexpectedly good book is sure to bring a smile. Really, any place that you have to wait is a great place to leave books (if the content is appropriate for the setting.)
Little kids grown out of their board or story books? Local daycares run on tight budgets and constantly need gently used books and toys. This is a great way to foster an early love of reading!
Parks are a great place to leave books as well. I suggest picking a high-traffic spot like a bench or picnic table and putting your book in a Ziploc bag to prevent damage from unexpected humidity. Leave a note clearly visible that says this book is a gift to the next person to come along.
3. Silent Auctions & Fundraisers
Supporting local charities helps the whole community! If you have a book or two in good condition from a popular author, consider making a gift basket to donate to the event. You can ask other local, small-business owners to donate related items for the basket (and to include their biz info!) and help even more people out. This works well for the giving-conscious reader or writer.
4. Nextdoor & Facebook Marketplace
As a reader, Nextdoor and Facebook Marketplace are excellent ways to give away large quantities of books. Especially helpful if you are significantly downsizing a large collection that is more than a couple years old. As always, when using these apps, be safe!
As a writer, Nextdoor is useful if you have an address you’re comfortable using to list a local business. You can make announcements about new releases, promos, giveaways, and signings directly to your neighbors. Be sure to follow app policies (and don’t use it to make announcements without a business status. Your neighbors don’t want to be spammed.)
Some great places to donate are your local libraries, education outreaches, prison ministries, and aid organizations.
Libraries always need more books! HOWEVER. If you want to see your book actually on the shelf, it needs to be a recent (or perennially popular) release and in great condition. If your books are a bit older and/or a little worn, they can still be used for the sale table to help the library raise funds. And don’t forget your local college and university libraries, especially if you have good-quality books in niche subjects.
For writers, donating a new set or two of your books is a great way to support our libraries and get our books in readers’ hands.
Education and prison literacy organizations are an often overlooked way to help your community. Education outreaches have a great need for material for their after-school and tutoring programs. Be sure to reach out and see what ages and areas they need materials for before donating. Prison literacy programs are a wonderful way to help someone rehabilitate. These programs need everything from adult education and self-help to classics to popular fiction. These books must be paperbacks or have their covers torn off. Contact an organization near you to see what their needs and requirements are.
Aid organizations frequently have second-hand stores to help generate funds and provide essential items for those in need. They need a large quantity of gently used items to keep these stores running. And books are a big seller! I love dropping boxes off at my local Gateway and Goodwill, knowing they will be used to help my neighbors.