What to Do with Old Textbooks: Where to Donate Textbooks, Sell, Recycle

It’s the end of the semester and It’s hard to believe that you no longer need all those books that cost you a fortune. Aside from tuition, your greatest expense is the books you have to buy for each course you take. You spent over $500 on them. It’s shocking that they’re already useless. Time flies, but books are rarely ever garbage, so don’t be flustered. You have an array of options. Some will even put some money back into your wallet.


It’s possible to sell textbooks even when they’re not in perfect shape. Your buyers will be students trying to save money and only need the reading material they buy from you to be legible. Pin a sign on a bulletin wall in your dorm or anywhere else on campus. Let everyone know that you’ve got books for sale. Include your contact info. You’re not going to be the only one selling those specific books. Your former classmates will be your competition, so you’ll have to make your price more attractive than theirs, which is a little discouraging, but the objective is to recoup at least some of the money you spent. The college bookstore where you bought them will likely offer you half of what you paid, so it won’t be possible to haggle with them the way you might be able to with a student who has cash in hand and is in a hurry.There’s always Amazon’s buyback program. Create an account on the site. You’re only entitled to sell up to 40 books as an individual seller, so keep that in mind. You can set your own price. See what happens. You never know who’ll place orders with you. Amazon’s not the only site that will let you sell textbooks, so conduct a thorough search and explore your full range of choices.


Maybe you don’t have the patience to manage accounts with multiple buyback sites on the Internet and your only goal is to make room on your desk and bookcase. It should be simple enough to take your books to a local Goodwill location. Goodwill resells reading material that’s donated. Your donation may possibly be tax deductible. If you think you might claim what you donate when you do your taxes, don’t forget to ask Goodwill for a receipt. If there’s not a Goodwill in your area for some reason, try the Salvation Army. It also welcomes boxes of free books. The printed matter you drop off will be made available to men and women in homeless shelters, so although you won’t earn anything in cash, you’ll be supporting a worthwhile cause. There may be a small thrift shop near your house that you prefer to give your books to. Thrift shops aren’t always only able to accept freebies. Sometimes they’ll pay you if they think what you’ve got will be of interest to their usual customers. You have nothing to lose by bartering a bit before you let your textbooks go for free.

Public libraries

Not every branch of the public library system in your city will have an inventory system in place that allows them to process books you offer free of charge to their collections. Some just don’t have the capacity to actively sort through boxes of books dropped off by members of the communities they’re located in. Most would have a policy that’s not particularly textbook friendly since the bull of their patrons are looking for popular reading content such as novels. That said, some libraries in the country except books that are donated that they then sell on Amazon in order to fund certain efforts. You may ultimately end up placing what you’ve got in a recycling bin you leave along the curb, but call your local branch first and ask what their policy is.

Conduct a simple flea market or garage sale

Rummaging through neighborhood junk for sale on weekends has become a great American pastime, Spreading out your books on a table on your lawn or behind your house might actually work. People are always on the hunt for antiques and vintage clothes, but books tend to be items that get also get lot of attention. If you happen to live near the campus of a college, holding a sale before the start of a new semester would attract students. Make sure your flyers include titles and prices. Advertising your event on social media would help spread the word and allow you to post pics of thetbooks you’re selling that show the condition they’re in.

College textbooks are a significant investment. One alone can cost as much as $200. Thinking practically about the value of the books you’ve bought for coursework you’ve completed, will avail you of much needed cash. Your science books will have a much higher resale value than the one you bought for an introduction to foreign film elective. Be realistic. You may not even make back half of what you paid for the thick heavy books taking up so much of your personal space, but something goes a long way further than nothing.

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