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Article: Giving Old Books New Lives: My Book Donation Journey

Giving Old Books New Lives: My Book Donation Journey

Giving Old Books New Lives: My Book Donation Journey

A couple of years ago, I rejected the idea of giving away my books. It’s not because I was selfish or miserly. I just couldn’t bear to part with my books! I was also a cash-strapped student grateful for any opportunity to earn some easy money on the side, and selling used books was one such opportunity. 

However, as I grew older, I had less patience to wait for months for the odd buyer to chance upon my Carousell profile and scroll through all my listings. Waiting for what felt like forever just for an extra $5 didn’t make any sense. 

At the same time, my bookshelf was overflowing as a result of my book buying addiction. I was incurring the ire of my family, who supported my love of reading but wasn’t a fan of the messy piles of books. I had to do something, fast.  

Desperate times call for desperate measures

To manage the number of books I owned, I started trading them with my friends. Book swapping is fun because I get to see what’s on someone else’s shelves (and perhaps, judge their reading taste a little). It also ensured that my books weren’t just sitting around at home collecting dust. However, book swaps did not alleviate any space constraints I had at home.

I also tried leaving some of my older books on the first floor of my HDB block for anyone to take, but that exposed them to bad weather, and worsened their condition. The unclaimed books would then be disposed the next day. I’d rather see my books get a fresh lease of life than rot away in some landfill.


Donating books: the gift that keeps on giving (more space to buy new books)

Earlier this year, a friend on Instagram suggested donating my books to secondhand book stores. Since I treat my books well, most of them remain in excellent condition, even though some of them have undergone a bit of foxing (thanks to the tropical heat), so they would probably be saleable.

A few months ago, I made the decision to part with some of my books. I selected a few books that I was unlikely to revisit in the future, packed them neatly in a paper bag and donated them.

Since then, I’ve never uploaded another listing to sell my books. I’ve realised that donating books is actually the perfect way for me to free up some space on my shelves – for new books, of course.

Sure, I don’t get any money from it, but there’s something really heartening in the thought that the books I’ve given away will eventually find a new owner who will go through the entire process of discovering the same stories I enjoyed. 

It’s a much lovelier thought than imagining them sitting in a pile of trash.

Too many books? Donate them for a good cause!

Got some books collecting dust in your room? Pass them along to us! Check out our giving guide here to see what we’re accepting first before dropping your books off at the Book Barracks. We also provide doorstep pick ups for donations of 20 books or more. 

All proceeds from our book sales go towards funding education in Nepal. Do reach out to us if you have any questions! 


Cherry Tan

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