7 Good Reasons to Keep Your Old Textbooks

Posted July 17, 2012

As much as you hated buying them and reading them in college, it’s hard to part from your old textbooks. Maybe you’ve kept them for grad school, your career, or simply for nostalgic purposes. And just because you haven’t fallen for the buyback scheme yet doesn’t mean you haven’t considered trashing them from time to time. If you love your old textbooks but need some new reasons why you should keep them, here are seven good ones to think about.

  1. Reference:

    Need the chemical formula for hydrogen peroxide? Forget what the court opinion was in Plessy v. Ferguson? Don’t bother scouring the web when you can turn to your trusty textbooks to help you find the answers to your questions. Old textbooks make excellent reference books that you can use for sourcing and fact-checking. If you work in a specialized field, you will definitely want your old textbooks as reference materials.

  2. Lend to others:

    Before you toss out or sell back your old textbooks, ask around to see if anyone needs to borrow them for the semester. If your textbooks are fairly new and still in use, you should have some takers. But if they are several years old, you can still offer them as reference books and additional learning materials. Either way, it’s worth a shot!

  3. Homeschooling:

    Even if your textbooks are outdated by the college bookstore standards, they may still be useful to a homeschooler or homeschool teacher. As mentioned earlier, old textbooks make excellent reference books and learning materials. Homeschool students and their teachers have more flexibility in the subjects they want to study, so your random assortment of texts may be just the thing they are looking for.

  4. Donate to charity:

    Instead of tossing out your old textbooks, donate them to a charity. Your old, dusty textbooks can go to a school or county library, a literacy program, or given to less fortunate students and those in tough financial situations. There are several book donation groups out there to help you find the right home for your used books.

  5. Visuals:

    Just because the text inside textbooks might be outdated doesn’t mean the illustrations and visuals are also obsolete. Textbooks contain wonderful visuals like maps, graphs, and charts that are still relevant today. Not to mention, the images of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other artwork found in textbooks can be studied and used for crafts.

  6. Decoration:

    Textbooks make excellent decorating pieces for the home. Whether you organize them on a bookshelf, stack them on the fireplace mantle, or leave them out on the coffee table, textbooks can bring a nice touch of color and quirkiness to any room. If you’re feeling extra crafty, try using your textbooks in an unexpected way, such as mounting them as shelves or turning the covers into drink coasters.

  7. Better than selling them back:

    If your textbooks are multiple years old, chances are you won’t get much money, if any, by selling them back. Colleges are constantly updating their textbooks versions and switching publishers, so your old textbooks are more than likely out of date and no longer in use. Instead of schlepping your heavy old textbooks to your local bookstore only to get a few lousy bucks, you’re probably better off just keeping them and use them for one of things mentioned above.

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