What to do with old textbooks

As the school year ends, many college students will return home for the summer with new knowledge, and likely a lot of laundry, in tow. Some will also have a stack of used textbooks. The question then becomes, “What do I do with these?” Here are a few ideas.

I’d say that, right off the bat, you’ve got two obvious options. First, sell them back to the school’s book store. That’s what I did back in the day when times were tight. I also bought used books for the same reason (I loved that little yellow “used” tag). If you feel you’re done with a book, sell it back, get some cash and feel good that next year someone will get that volume for less than retail price.

Conversely, you can keep your books, as they do contain a lot of valuable information. Some age more gracefully than others. For example, in 15 years a French textbook will be more useful than a science volume for example – so keep that in mind, too. If you decide to keep a book, be sure you’ll actually get some use out of it, or it will just be clutter in a few years.

Depending on the education level a book us aimed at, you can reach out to a local homeschooling association to see if they have a need your textbooks. The HSLDA can help you find homeschoolers in, or near your town.

Lastly, an organization like Better World Books buys textbooks, resells them online, and then sends some of the proceeds to literacy initiatives.

There’s a few options for you. I hope one fits. If none of these ideas appeal to you, you can always make a secret compartment. But that’s another post entirely.

3 Comments for “What to do with old textbooks”

  1. posted by infmom on

    If you’re my husband, you keep them.

    For the record, he graduated from college in 1969. And it took me years to convince him to at least put them in a box in storage because “the information is still good.”

  2. posted by Carla on

    No, don’t sell them to the school bookstore (and don’t buy them there for that matter). Sell them on Half.com or Amazon. You get such a pittance from the bookstore. You may get back almost the full amount of you buy and sell online.

  3. posted by Leslie on

    Better yet, don’t buy the books, rent them if you can. Too often publishers (especially in business, math and science) come out with a “new” edition of a book every year, and next year the professor will require that particular edition so your old book is worthless on the resale market. My sons both ran into that problem, so they rented, or bought a used copy in the fall and hoped the course would be offered in the spring so they could sell it back. Perhaps a different strategy would work outside the business and sciences where books do get used in the course from year to year.

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