Piles of books leaning against a wall.
Piles of books leaning against a wall.

It is said that one can escape or lose himself in a book. By donating books to the soldiers and veterans of our country, provide them a chance to escape during downtime or to educate themselves. Organizations such as Books for Soldiers and Operation Paperback provide gently used, donated copies of books for active-duty military, veterans, military families and patients at VA hospitals. Volunteer with an organization, donate your books and help provide someone with a source of entertainment.

Type of Books

Look through your recently read books for potential donation candidates. The organizations request you send paperbacks as they are lighter to carry and easier to transport. Operation Paperback states the most popular genres in their organization are bestsellers, murder mysteries, fantasy, science-fiction, action and spy novels. Requests are received for business and investing titles, military history and current-event nonfiction books. Most of the organizations do not accept romance novels and pornographic materials. Specific titles and genres are requested; you can sign up to send the books directly to the specific soldiers or veterans.

How to Send

After you have signed up as a volunteer with your chosen organization, you will have access to a database of soldiers and veterans. You may select a soldier or veteran from a list. Her address will be sent to you to fulfill her request for books. Pack up her requested genres or titles in a small box box such as a shoe box. Send the box via media mail at the U.S. Post Office. Media mail must consist only of books, magazines, DVDs, CDs or software. You can put other requested items in with your books but you will have to send it priority mail or some other shipping class. If you are shipping to a base that is out of the United States, you need to fill out a customs form.

Monetary Donations

Some people opt to send monetary donations in lieu of or in addition to books. This enables the organizations to buy specific or popular titles for large groups. They are able to help purchase books for veterans’ book clubs and hospital groups. The donations also help the organization’s operational expenses to keep the nonprofits moving forward.

Veterans

In addition to Operation Paperback, there are veteran-specific groups that will come to your home and pick up donated books for distribution to veterans. Vietnam Veterans of America runs a program called “Pick Up Please” in more than 10 states. They will come pick up books either to give to veterans or sell in thrift stores where the proceeds benefit veterans and their families. Ask your local veterans clubs if they would like to start a library at their facilities.