Where to Share Your Book Bounty

Thursday, March 23, 2006

For serious readers, throwing books away is unthinkable. But selling them or donating them to a good cause can soften the pain of parting.

Libraries or schools often are happy to take books in good condition, usually to sell them to raise money for their own programs. Call before you schlep. You can hawk books on the Internet, although that involves packing and shipping; unless they're valuable, it might be easier to unload them at a yard sale.

Used-book stores are an option, though typically they pay just a fraction of list price (as little as 5 percent) or only issue credit. If all else fails, set up a giveaway table in your office or apartment building for sharing. To determine value, check prices on http://www.alibris.com/ , http://www.bookfinder.com/ or http://www.amazon.com/ .

A few local possibilities:

· Perhaps the area's largest annual sale --125,000 volumes from Harlequin romances to pricey, signed first editions -- runs April 7 to 10 this year at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda. Donations can be left at the campus book barn round-the-clock, year-round; tax receipts will be mailed. Call 301-657-4322 or visit http://www.stoneridge.org/ .

· Goodwill Industries accepts donations at its retail stores (no paperbacks or encyclopedias). To request a pickup, call 202-636-4225. http://www.goodwill.org/ .

· Books for America sends donated tomes to hospitals, literacy programs and groups serving children. The charity also sells books at its Dupont Circle bookstore. Pickup is available for more than 50 volumes. 202-835-2665 or http://www.booksforamerica.org/ .

· Bonifant Books in Silver Spring buys paperbacks and hardcovers, although prices are quite low (no book club or Reader's Digest condensed editions). Pickup requires several hundred books. 301-946-1526.

Annie Groer

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