Published On: September 6, 2023- Last Updated: February 18, 2024- 9 min read-

Looking for Places to Pick Up Or Donate Second-Hand Books [Updated Sept-23]

The physical weight of a book. The smell of paper. The rustling of pages. These are some reasons why many avid readers still prefer holding a physical book in hand, despite electronic books (e-books) gaining popularity in Singapore over the years.

But reading printed books can be costly. You have to shell out an average of twenty dollars to purchase a brand new printed book in bookstores.

So why not buy used books in Singapore instead? While they may not necessarily be brand new, these pre-loved books are much cheaper to buy in Singapore and you can also do your part for the environment by granting them a new lease of life.

We’ve listed out a few places where you can obtain as well as donate second-hand books in Singapore.

Note: Please check with the respective organisations for more information before heading down to obtain or donate your second-hand books due to the current COVID-19 situation.

Carousell

Singaporeans should be familiar with this home-grown second-hand marketplace featuring a smorgasbord of pre-loved or brand new items.

How to obtain used books:

If you ran out of books to read and are on a tight budget, this app provides a quick and fuss-free way to buy second-hand books in Singapore. Simply download the Carousell app, search for second-hand books on sale, and buy what you need in a chat— all within ten minutes.

How to donate used books:

If you wish to donate your books on Carousell, snap a few pictures, choose the category “Books & Stationery”, and mark the price as “For free”. Donating your books on the platform helps in the recycling of old books for new people and new shelves.

Book Exchange Corner in National Library Board (NLB)’s Public Libraries

Launched in 1983, FairPrice Share-A-Textbook is an annual community programme that collects textbooks to be distributed for free to students from needy families. Apart from textbooks in the current syllabus, they also accept assessment books, story books and encyclopaedia’s. These are classified as “reference books”.

During the donation period, members of the public will be able to drop-off their books at any NTUC FairPrice store (besides Cheers and Unity). Visit FairPrice’s official website to stay up-to-date on the donation drive that takes place every November.

Our 27 public libraries are familiar reading spots since our childhood years. Other than borrowing and returning books, NLB had also started a Book Exchange Corner where old books can become new reads for others.

How to obtain/donate used books:

The Book Exchange Corner has only four simple rules:

1. Leave books that you don’t need at the Book Exchange Corner
2. Pick other books for yourself
3. Read them at your convenience
4. Return them at any Book Exchange Corners
Book Exchange Corners are located in libraries at Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Central, Geylang East, Jurong Regional, Jurong West, Queenstown, Toa Payoh, and Woodlands Regional.

Books more specialised specific to Singapore and Southeast Asia you can reach out to NLB directly Donate to our Collections (nlb.gov.sg)

FairPrice Share-A-Textbook Initiative

If you need textbooks or have some textbooks to spare after decluttering your bookshelves, FairPrice Share-A-Textbook is a good initiative that can help. FairPrice Share-A-Textbook is an initiative that collects used textbooks to distribute them for free to all needy students. Over the past 40 years, yes last November they celebrated 40 years of sharing, more than 5.3 million textbooks had been collected to help over 260,000 students save on textbooks expenses.

How to obtain used textbooks:

The distribution period is held during December. All members of the public are welcome to pick up pre-loved textbooks, assessment books, storybooks, and encyclopaedias. Keep a lookout on their website Fptextbook.com when and where the distribution will be held. Registration opens 26th November to pre-book your preferred date and time-slot before the distribution.

How to donate used textbooks:

The donation period is typically between November to December. Anyone can donate their pre-loved textbooks for this Share-A-Textbook project at 77 FairPrice stores island-wide, including Warehouse Club, FairPrice Xtra hypermarkets, FairPrice Finest stores, selected FairPrice supermarkets, and FairPrice Xpress stores at Esso service stations.

Dignity Mama stores

These stores are retail book stores selling upcycled books. They are run by youths with special needs and their caregivers who provide guidance to them.

It’s simply killing three birds with one stone. By buying or donating your pre-loved books, not only do you support the efforts of these youths with special needs, you also relieve the financial burden of families, and promote a greener Singapore through the reduction of waste.

How to obtain/donate used books:

There are 5 locations where you can obtain or donate your used books-

  • Dignity Mama @Sengkang: 110 Sengkang East Way Level 1 SKH Campus, Singapore 544886
    Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Dignity Mama @Chango General Hospital 2 Simei Street 3, Level 1 Singapore 529889
    Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00am – 5:00pm
  • Dignity Mama @NUH (Medical Centre) 1 Lower Kent Ridge Road #01-39, One@KentRidge, Singapore 119082
    Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10:30am – 8:00pm
  • Dignity Mama @NG Teng Fong 1 Jurong East St 21 Tower A NTFGH Clinics #02-10, Singapore 609606
    Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday 10:00am – 6:00 pm
  • Dignity Mama @Khoo Teck Puat 90 Yishun Central, Singapore 768828 (Located next to the Pharmacy)
    Opening Hours: Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 4:00pm
    Closed on Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays

Do check our they website for information: Dignity Mama | Project Dignity

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army’s social enterprise arm, Red Shield Industries, will process any donated items and retails those that are in good condition at The Salvation Army’s Family Stores located across Singapore.

How to obtain used books:

Simply visit any branches of The Salvation Army’s Family Stores to get your books while helping those in need – Bukit Merah Family Store, Hope Centre Family Store, IMH Pick & Choose Store (only open to staff and patients of IMH), Praisehaven Mega Family Store, and Tanglin Family Store.

How to donate used books:

If you’re looking to quickly clear your collection of unused books, The Salvation Army is a convenient option, with its many drop-off points.
Donate pre-loved books or new books at any one of The Salvation Army’s Donation In Kind booths in Gracehaven, Hope Centre, IMM Open Car Park, Mandai Station, Praisehaven, Tanglin Family Hub (Drive-through), The Haven, or The Salvation Army Headquarters.

School Libraries

Other than donating your pre-loved books to organisations you’re not affiliated to, what about donating them to your alma mater instead? Your juniors in school will thank you for developing their collection of books in the school library.

How to donate used books:

Contact your school library officer for further details on how to make a donation. Ensure your collection of books that will be donated are age-appropriate.

Books Beyond Borders

Books Beyond Borders aim is to help the less fortunate by raising funds for education in Nepal.

How? By channeling the proceeds from selling gently used English books into enhancing the educational opportunities for children in remote areas of the country.

How to donate used books:

Donating to their second-hand bookstore is a breeze. They gladly accept English books, whether they’re engaging fiction or enlightening non-fiction, as long as they’re in good shape. Plus, they extend a warm invitation to anyone who’d like to drop by and choose a book or two for themselves.

Swing by their bookstore or check out their guide for book donations to join this noble cause and be a part of something incredible.

Drop-off location: Kong Beng Industrial Building, 41 Jalan Pemimpin #03-01E, Singapore 577186
Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays, 11am to 6pm

Check out their IG page for more information Books Beyond Borders

Blessings In A Bag

Blessings In A Bag is a volunteer-powered non-profit organization that has been collecting and distributing pre-loved items to children and youth in need in Singapore and Southeast Asia for over 10 years. They accept a wide range of donations, including books, household products, and more.

Before you donate, be sure to check their guidelines on their website to see what items they are currently in need of and what condition the items should be in.

Drop-off location: To donate to Blessings In A Bag, you can drop off your items at their donation centre or arrange for a pickup. You can also make a monetary donation online.

Check out their website for more information: Blessingsinabag

Thryft

Thryft, an online second-hand bookstore with sustainability at its core, was founded by NUS students.

You can either donate your books or trade them to help ensure they find new homes. In addition part of Thryft’s earnings goes towards making a positive impact in our society, so your beloved books are truly paying it forward.

How to donate used books:

Donating to Thryft is hassle-free. You can drop your books off at their designated spots or simply request a pick-up by reaching out to their friendly team.

For a more detailed guide on donating your books, visit their website.

Join Thryft and be a part of the sustainable reading movement!

Drop-off locations: Sprout Hub, 102 Henderson Road, Singapore 159562ㅣWarehouse Joy, 23 Kian Teck Road, #02-00, Singapore 628774
Opening hours: Mondays to Sundays, 9am to 10pm (Sprout Hub)ㅣMondays to Fridays, 9am to 6pm, Saturdays 9am to 1pm (Warehouse Joy)
More information: Thryft

Migrant Library Singapore

Migrant Library Singapore is a non-profit organization that provides access to books and reading resources via a mobile library service that delivers books to worker dormitories and occasionally organizes poetry readings and book discussions you can be sure you’re helping to promote a love of reading among the migrant workers.

The library’s collection is entirely derived from donations, and it is currently accepting books in Bahasa Indonesia, Bengali, Burmese, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, Tagalog, and Thai. English books are not currently being accepted, but donors can contact the library via Facebook messenger for the latest updates.

Drop-off locations: TWC2 Day space, 1C Rowell Road, #02-01, Singapore 207958
Opening hours: 10am to 7pm daily

Share-Your-Book

The Share-Your-Book @ South West initiative, announced in January 2022 by the South West Community Development Council (CDC), provides residents the ability to donate their books to over 14 Community Library @ RCs and reading corners in the South West District.

In return for their donations, donors can earn 5 cents for every book donated, which will be credited as recycling points in the Sharetings mobile app.

Drop-off locations: Visit one of the participating Community Library @ RCs or reading corners and drop off your books
Opening hours: Check CDC website for more information

One bag one book

One Bag, One Book is a non-profit initiative founded in 2015 by migrant worker and award-winning poet Zakir Hossain Khokan.

The aim is to spread the reading culture among migrant workers in Singapore by providing them with access to books in their native languages, including Bengali, Hindi, and other South Asian languages, in addition to English, Tamil, and Bahasa Indonesia.

Drop-off locations: Check One bag one book FB page for their book donation drive dates

Have some pre loved items you no longer require, take a look at Where to Donate Pre Loved Items in Singapore

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