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5 things to do with your old guidebooks

By Brad Tuttle
updated February 21, 2017

Guidebooks are obviously good for helping you plan a trip. But what do you do with the book when your trip is over?

A lot of travelers just line their old guidebooks on bookshelves, where they do little more than collect dust. If you're planning on revisiting the destination in the near future, hang onto the guidebook, obviously. But if you won't be traveling there again anytime soon, perhaps you'd be better off putting the book to better use. You might want to:

Sell them online

GuideGecko.com allows you to list guidebooks for free, then takes a 15 percent commission when you make a sale. Glyde, meanwhile, is an online marketplace for used books, CDs, DVDs, and video games. When an item sells, the site takes 10 percent and sends you a pre-addressed, pre-stamped Netflix-like envelope, so you can mail the item to the buyer without having to package it or wait at the post office.

Sell them to a bookstore

Many bookstores sell (and buy) used books. Some stores are particularly picky, however, and you'll have the best chances of getting some money for your guidebooks if they're fairly new and only gently used. Call the store first and ask about what they buy, and how much they'll pay. Otherwise, you might haul in a box full of books for no reason.

Swap them

At Swaptree, members trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games at no cost other than shipping. The way it works is that you list the items you want to trade, along with items you'd like to get. The site automatically figures out when there's a match with another member (or three members, in a triple swap), you're notified via e-mail. Once everybody agrees to the swap, you mail your old book (or whatever you're trading) and wait for your new CD, DVD, video game, or book to arrive.

Leave them behind

Inns, B&Bs;, hostels, and small hotels often like to keep brochures and guidebooks on hand to help out guests. So if you enjoyed your stay (and perhaps even if you didn't), why not give your guidebook to the cause once you're done with it? Alternately, when your trip is over and you're leaving the destination, you could hand over your book to some traveler just arriving at the train station, bus depot, or airport. You can totally make some traveler's day. It's good karma too.

Give them to the library

Library budgets have been slashed, and most are happy to receive any and all book donations. At many local libraries, the travel section features guidebooks from the '80s, so they need all the help they can get. Ask for a receipt when you bring in your books. You can use the donation as a deduction on your taxes.

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