How to Recycle Books

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You can recycle your old books in all kinds of ways, whether they have been around for many years or you've simply read them already. Donating them if they're still readable is one option, of course. But you can do and make so many other interesting things with old books. Fire up your creative juices here for a different read on the subject.

  • Sell your old books if they're still readable and in reasonably good shape. Use Amazon.com, half.com, Alibris and a host of other book-selling websites. Some of those books may be worth a bundle. Also sell them via consignment shops, flea markets, newspapers or garage sales.

  • Use the books' pages. Tear up book pages and create decoupage tables, wooden purses or trays with them. Tear the pages into small pieces and glue them onto a scrapbook page as a novelty background. Paint them all different colors and use them as word mosaic art. Use them for children's art projects, or glue them to any flat surface as a canvas for artwork that speaks volumes.

  • Make a lamp from a stack of old books. This is a great focal point in a den, study or living room. It also makes a perfect gift for a teacher, librarian, lawyer or writer. Find great detailed instructions at the DIY Network. (See Resources below.)

  • Create novel works of art. Get some inspiration from artist Jim Rosenau at his one-of-a-kind This Into That website. His objets d'art are all created from books. (See Resources below.)

  • Donate your old books to a nursing home, library, children's home, assisted living facility or just about anywhere people congregate. Donate religious books to the church, big-print to the nursing homes and so on to ensure that they'll be used. Carry one or two books with you wherever you go. Leave one on the bus, at the doctor's office or at a restaurant. Someone will appreciate it. Also give them to thrift stores that raise money for charity.

  • Make clever picture frames. They make standout gifts and a terrific addition to any room. Find the step-by-step instructions on wikiHow (see Resources below).

  • Throw a party where everyone brings old books (and magazines if you like) to swap. Throw one for all the moms and swap kids' books only, or for all your buddies who read romance novels. Make it as big or as small as you like. Use the time to talk about books and connect with friends.

Tips & Warnings

  • Donate books where they'll be used best: children's books to a children's organization or elementary school, carpentry books to the local trade school and so on. They will be much better appreciated when they fit the need.
  • Research your books, especially older ones, before selling. Otherwise, you may price them far below what you could get or overprice them so that they never sell. In a search engine, enter the book's ISBN number or its title with the words "compare used prices." A little research may net you a nice profit.
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