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How to Get Book Donations


Since its inception in 1990, San Diego–based nonprofit The Bookman has given away more than 8 million books to needy organizations in every U.S. state and 70 countries. Each year, charitable book projects such as this undertake massive donation drives for new and gently used books. Schools, synagogues, churches and nonprofits also accept donations for used-book sales to raise funds. Acquiring books for your drive requires being enthusiastic about your mission, spreading the word and enlisting as much help as possible.

Write a press release about your book drive and send it to local print and online newspapers, television and radio stations and alternative weekly papers. Include a brief history of your organization, the reason behind your book-donation drive and your contact information.

Create Facebook and MySpace pages to promote your drive and encourage donations. Frequently update the page with news, short feature stories and photos. If your drive is benefiting outside organizations, include interviews with recipients of your donated books. You can also create a website or blog that discusses your drive and includes photos and stories.

Contact book publishing companies by phone, letter or email and request donations of surplus stock. The Publishers Global online directory lists contact information for more than 5,000 presses worldwide.

Call bookstores, libraries and schools--or stop by in person--and ask for donations of unwanted or unneeded books. Also ask whether the business or institution might be willing to set up bins or boxes for customers, patrons and students to donate books to your cause.

Post announcements about your drive and how people can donate in the "Community" section of free online classified ad sites such as Craigslist.

Tell your friends, colleagues, neighbors and family members about your drive. Ask whether they can organize mini book drives at their workplaces, schools, social gatherings or places of worship.

Tips
  • Encourage donations by offering prizes to individuals who collect the most books.
  • Ask businesses or schools whether they have unused storage space where your organization can store its donations.
  • Keep your books in cool, dry environments to protect them from mold and mildew.
  • Don't think you can organize a drive by yourself. Many hands make light work.
About the Author

Angela Brown has been a book editor since 1997. She has written for various websites, as well as National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio and more than 20 fiction anthologies. Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in theater and English from the University of Wisconsin.

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