What to do with old books (mostly English ones)

My bookcases are overflowing, so I’ve decided it’s time for a cull of some of the books I’ve had for years.

I can sell some of them via Momox for a pathetically small amount of money (that’s fine with me - I’m happy to give them away as long as someone wants them).

But there are quite a few that Momox won’t buy, so I still have a large pile of old books that I don’t know what to do with (quite a lot of middle-of-the-road fiction, eg Rosamund Pilcher, Ruth Rendell, PD James, Minette Walters etc).

What I’d like to do is parcel them up and give them to a charity shop, but the local ones don’t take English books (they’re not that keen to take French ones either!).

I don’t have the time or inclination to attempt to sell them individually via Amazon/ebay or similar.

I’m too lazy to do a vide grenier with them (and am not sure they’d be of interest to many of the locals).

Does anyone have any clever ideas, please? My bookshelves need to be liberated from their heavy load!

There is this if you’re anywhere near…

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@Esme_Jakes there’s already a thread which might be useful.


Thank you - that sounds just about perfect. I’m not in the Dordogne, but not too far away.

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Thanks v much - that’s a really helpful thread. Ta.


In a village near us some sensible person has set up bookcases in the small parking near the Marie. It’s a sort of DIY swap shop. It’s predominantly French books but I’ve dropped off innumerable English ones and they are always snapped up (maybe not actually read but snapped up regardless, which assuages my guilt in getting rid if them) Maybe you could start the practice im your neck of the woods.


The Hope Charity Shops, I think there are several but I’ve only visited the one in La Tulette (Confolens), takes English language books like the ones you mention. They have a large section devoted to fiction and non-fiction. All proceeds go to support animal welfare. Also, the village/town called La Souterraine in the Creuse department has an English language library. Perhaps they’d take some? I’ve not visited it though, so perhaps that’s not as helpful…


Thanks, Mary - that’s useful info too. I’m a little out of the area, but I’ll keep a note of this just in case.

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What a good idea! Next time I see the mayor, I might have a chat with him about doing this.

Hi Esme

Are you anywhere near La Manche ?

If you are Normandy Book Rescue are brilliant



Hi Andy - no, I’m not in that region at all, but thanks for the info. I’m sure someone will be able to use them!

That’s very useful, Andy - thank you! I hadn’t come across them and have been resigned to stacking them in boxes in the barn with the idea of taking them across to the UK to charity shops when (if?) I ever go :smiley:

Hi Angela

They are excellent.

It’s run by a lady called Alex, and she sells the books from 50c each, and takes any books you have.

Any money goes to local animal charities.

You can access her site on facebook. Due to Covid she runs a booking system to ensure there is only one browser there at a time. They are in Hambye so only down the road from you.

Take care


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That could be very useful indeed, Andy, thank you! As you say, Hambye is only just down the road (and has a brilliant nursery, did you know?) so I’ll brave Facebook and see if I can sort something out. I’ll have to make sure I don’t buy any books though as I am trying to discipline myself into reading only French at the moment (I’ll pass that wretched French exam thing whatever it takes :D)

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Keep going Angela because you’ll get there. I like to listen to French radios Inter, Info or Culture when in the car. Try and watch some French television too if you don’t already. Not the rubbishy stuff of course. We like Arte news and travel programmes, Des trains pas comme les autres on France 5, Julie’s cookery trips on France 3. And the weather forecasts… as long as you don’t get too riveted on the presenter’s attractive or unfortunate choice of clothes ! We have only French TV and I’m sure that has helped us.


You are absolutely right about the TV @fleur ! We don’t have it here (the 3km of wet string connecting us to the phone exchange or whatever isn’t capable of carrying a tv signal) but my partner watches it in his bolt-hole in the neighbouring town and finds it really helpful. I went for a hearing aid “contrôle” this morning and spent at least half of the time talking about the political and economic situation as we saw it in the UK and France. Absolutely marvellous for my vocabulary and grammar in that I only find which grammar I need to mug up on when I try to say something and realise I’m not sure of the construction! He was great for my morale too because he told me I wasn’t like most of his other English clients who make no effort at all in French - not even “Bonjour” :scream:


If you are in Savoie there are a few english old telephone boxes set up as cabanes à livres where you simply drop your books and pick up some more should you wish to.


If I were you I would watch the “rubbishy” tele especially game shows because its the french that you hear every day and there is no swearing . You can concentrate on the language without having to understand some complicated storyline.


Just about every commune round here does this. In old phone boxes, created shelves in a niche in the lavoir, you name it and they fill with books. In Dijon I even saw a little box on a bus stop…

Also things like Book Crossing - a sort of geocaching for books.


And some specific towns have their own initiatives, like this one


Talk to your local librarian. He or she will probably knows what’s around.

Yep as the others have said every town, and even tiny villages, around here seem to have a book box of some sort, often a few shelves in a window fronted box, or an old phone booth.