10 Things To Do With Obsolete Rulebooks

     You’ve got em. I’ve got em. Your secondhand bookstore down the street’s got em. Sad old books that have existed past their useful span. Obsolete rulebooks.  In a long enough span, it will happen in most games you play. The producers of your game of choice are gonna change things. “We didn’t know then what we know now.” they’ll say.  And faster than you can say ‘new edition‘, a bunch of your books are obsolete and need replacing. It’s a goldmine for some….

     So… let’s talk paper and square footage in your home. YOU have a metric eyesore of books that no longer make sense to own or use in the pursuit of your fantastic hobby.  Codexes and previous editions no-one liked.  (I know we agreed never to speak of D&D 4th Ed. again.  But you can’t GIVE those away.)  What do you do with em? Here’s 10 things you can do.

Imagine how cool you’d have thought your school library was had you found these on the shelf over in the 790’s. DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM 4 LYFE!

Donate em.

     Just because they’re useless to you, doesn’t mean they’re useless to someone else. Especially a library or a school.  A lot of us were exposed to gaming by people who’d resources enough to afford the books. But with RPG rulebooks selling up in the $75.00 range nowadays, a lot of kids aren’t gonna have that kind of bread. A lending library suddenly having access to your obsolete books can get kids into playing these kinds of games early on. And we all know RPG and Tabletop gaming teaches creative thinking and problem solving skills.  Let’s get’em while they’re young! 

With apologies to Gallagher, whichever one of them this is. But damn… lookit this old fella with the flaming sledge of melon destruction go!

A Warhammer WARHAMMER.

     Another way to describe obsolete books is “Almost a big honkin’ block of wood.”  And what can you make out of a big block of wood? It’s not a slicer. It’s not a dicer. It’s not a chopper in a hopper… what in the hell could it possibly be??  AN ACTUAL WARHAMMER.  Now… the making of such a beast is a blog post all its own really, and you’re already thinking about how to do this now that you’ve read it.  But please.  Enjoy this pic of a flaming sledge destroying fruit.  (USE AS DIRECTED.)

 Hollow em out!

     Now if these things are useless in a way that you’re feeling a bit… destructive.  Make that work for you.  Bore out the things and turn em into a secret book safe for your valuable valuables.  A GAMING themed one.  You’re not gonna find that on Amazon.  And any burglar’s gonna have to be Sherlock Freakin’ Holmes to look at your shelf and go, “Obsolete editions all. These have had no place on a serious gamer’s shelf for years now. Ergo, they are being used there for something else… let’s see what they’re hiding…



     So… I will admit. I cheated a little. I did a google search on “What to do with old books.” By the Omnissiah… there are a LOT of pages for that kind of thing. Book sculpture, Book Furniture. Accessories.  Costumes.  There are thousands of Etsy shops out there that use books to make WHATEVER. You could even contact some to see if they’ll take your old soldiers off your hands as fodder for their sell-able art. They might even barter you something cool. Let’s hear it for a good trade… paperback. A-haha.  Alas, my wife has also trained me in bad puns.

My wife, who works as a lead framer at a art store would undoubtedly look at this photo and go, “Michaels Frame.”

Display em!

I used to cut out stuff from magazines to hang up in my locker. This is the kind of thing Gen-X-ers used to do before there were search engines to look for cat pictures and memes online. Like our Neanderthal cousins once did.  Happily, I’ve ‘evolved‘ since then.  There’s old books out there with art from big-name, award-winning artists.  If you’re looking for some good quality art prints? You and your outdated codex have a date with an X-Acto knife. (Or better still, a book guillotine!)

Purity Seals


Ammunition:  If all creativity fails, you can huck em at one another for fun.

But not 4th edition Simba. You must never go there.

Appraise’em and sell’em.

Is there an Antiques Roadshow equivalent for old RPG books?  WELL THERE NEEDS TO BE!  Get em appraised an sell em!  E-Bay em!  Get that money!  What else to you purchase new little codexes and editions with? IT’S THE CIRRRRCLE OF RULEBOOOOOOKS!!!!

I used to work in a library. And the idea if hurting a book is fairly heartbreaking to me. Please use caution if you do anything like this.

Recycle em.

There will be some books you can’t even GIVE away. No matter how hard you look.  There’s shredding services that will come to you nowadays.  And you know these guys recycle.  Pay some to come out to your house!  If you’re very lucky, you’ll get ones that will let you chuck the books into the industrial wood chipper yourself.

And then there’s the other option…

I mean… I suppose… if you want to be boring, but you want to show off your gamer cred in? You can always prop up an uneven table with em.

No desks were harmed in the making of this photograph.

Edward WinterRose is a 48th level Nerd, and maintains that this sort of thing is toxic to the personality and imagination, and offers himself as a meager example.  ^_^