Have you ever thrown a book away?

In the past, I have never thrown a book away. I’ve always donated my books or found them homes some other way, but sometimes the books are just so horrible that the thought of someone reading them makes me cringe. But then, there is a little piece of me that starts to compare it to book banning, and then I get all guilty over thinking such a thought. Me? Throw a book away? Never.


What if they are truly horrible in every way? Would you throw them away then? I was going through my shelves and came across two such books. They are horrible. I won’t even mention the names because even a negative mention would be a waste of breath.

I thought about just leaving them on a bus bench, at the park, in a bathroom stall somewhere. The compost bin was also an option. What do you do with books like these?


41 thoughts on “Have you ever thrown a book away?”

  1. I usually just leave these books on buses or elsewhere. We also have a new program in our county that recycles books and the money they earn from recycling them goes to local school libraries.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a book that it was so horrible as to consider throwing it away. There are some I will never read again, but more because my tastes have changed over the years. The series about the teenagers who could morph into animals (forget the name) and the Boxcar Children series are two of these, but I either keep them because they have sentimental value or I give them to Good Will.

    This brings up another point though. Did you know that bookstores going out of business rip the covers off books so that they cannot be resold and then dump them in the garbage? If I was the author, I would want them donated. I’m not going to get money anyway, so they might as well go to a library where at least I will get readers.


    1. I remember when Borders did that. Sometimes, my own University library does that and they aren’t even selling anything. I always see the discards in the recycle bin.

    1. I’d have to assume another identity before selling them to Powell’s. If I toss ’em, I will definitely put them in the recycle bin. I may shred them first.

  3. I think I would put it in the recycling bin. I have a really hard time throwing a book away, but if there is just nothing good to be had from the book, there is really no other choice. I can think of a book that I need to do this with soon.

  4. Bad books are such a disappointment. I usually pack them up and send them to Goodwill where someone else can give it a go for just $2.00 and then when they hate it they can donate it back to Goodwill and repeat the cycle. Goodwill is clearly the winner in this situation!

  5. I have thrown away books that are battered beyond passing them along. I don’t have many of these but I did find a few from Barbara’s collection to toss. The bottom of my son’s closet is also a good place to find a book in terrible shape. 🙂

    I don’t mind tossing an ARC if I can’ pass it along. If I enjoyed the book I like to give then to friends, if I think it’s a good choice for them.

    Give yourself the freedom to put a book in the recycle bin!

  6. I have only thrown away two books and they were two of the worst (yucky, vile) self published books I have ever read. After tossing them in the trash I sat down and wrote a review policy in which I stated that I don’t review self-pubs.

    There are some review copies that I will have to toss at some point if I don’t give them away on my blog because our local library doesn’t accept ARCs as donations – they toss them in the garbage/recycling.

  7. I don’t think I have ever thrown away a book on purpose. There are many books that definitely deserve it, generally I just donate them to someone else or give them to a bookstore. At the same time I really enjoy the image of a shelf packed with books, collecting dust. It connects with my writer self and I dislike having to throw away not only the image but the books themselves.

    – Ermisenda

  8. There was a book that was so horrible that my family and I burned it out in the fire pit. Not only was it horribly produced, construction paper cover, but the grammar was atrocious and the whole message was very demeaning to women. I had read passages to the fam and we all agreed that it wasn’t fit for donating, hence the fire.

    What makes it sort of funny was that it was a book about how to get a woman/date and even my BF was offended by it!

      1. What is worse, the author proceeded to berate me for the rating and review that I gave him on Amazon. Really? You think calling me, a woman, names is going to help you? With this book or even in life?

    1. Yikes! Clearly that person is single. There was one book I downgraded from 5 stars to 3 because of grammar, but 1. it was an ebook and 2. even though I downgraded it, it was a good story; I’ll never read it again or buy anything from that author but it wasn’t burn in a fire pit levels of bad.


  9. I always wonder how books that bad get published.
    The recycling bin sounds like a great idea al though throwing the books out is very tempting!

  10. Ti, I had to redraw for my “There But For The” contest and your name came up. I’ll be sending you and email shortly, but since spam filters seem to grab my emails often I just wanted to let you know here too.

  11. I have never done so in anger over how much I hate a book, but I have done it with books that the used bookstore wouldn’t take even as a donation. Sometimes leaving them in public places just means that someone else will throw them away.

  12. There have definitely been a few books I’ve wanted to throw away, but somehow I just can’t bring myself to do it. It just doesn’t seem quite right chucking a book in the trash even if it’s a totally awful read. Usually, I’ll try and peddle them at our yearly yard sale or if that fails I end up donating them – that way *someone else* can toss them in the trash, and I don’t have to feel weird about it. LOL!

  13. I was never able to throw books away until our college began a huge recycling program…we have large bins on every floor of our buildings and smaller bins in each classroom. While I cannot bring myself to throw away even the worst book, tossing it into the recycling bin is ok…I don’t feel guilty at all 🙂

  14. I make art out of them. I always feel bad for making projects (paper flowers, decorated lampshades, etc) with books that I love, even if they’re nigh impossible to read anymore. It just feels weird. But with bad books, I just pick a project that doesn’t put emphasis on the actual contents of the paper and go for it. Ripping/cutting/deconstructing bad books is somewhat satisfying.

    1. Loooooove it. You and my coauthor would get along so well. I invited Ermisenda to a wedding as my “date” and last I heard she’s planning on using the pages of our book as a dress. (Not because she doesn’t like it… just say’n)


  15. I had a book like that once and initially planned to give it to Goodwill, but never got around to it, so eventually left it in the apartment laundry room. I figured someone will pick it.

  16. Ive got rid of books, but I have always donated them to charity. I like the idea of leaving them somewhere.I have about 3 boxes at home of books I want to donate, maybe I will leave some around with a little note in them

  17. I’d leave them somewhere. Even if that person ends up throwing it away at least you’ll never know!!!! When I weed from my own shelves I put them on the library friends sale cart. At work I have an entire shelf dedicated to free books. The kids eat them up!

  18. I have thrown one book away. I felt really awful doing it but there was no way I was going to let anyone else read it as it was awful, mainly because it was so preachy!

  19. I would never throw a book into the bin. If a book is – in my mind (because most of my most-hated are other people’s favourites) – truly execrable, I give it to a charity shop or offer it on bookmooch. Even the worst books have friends,.

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