How-Tos

Here’s the Last Thing to Do with Your Textbooks When the Semester Ends

published Dec 7, 2023
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woman reading book and making notes at home, concentrates on her studies.
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Is anyone else annoyed by the general concept of college textbooks? Throughout my time at school, I buy so many expensive books that I use for approximately six months, and then never touch again. It’s frustrating; I spent all this money on them, but then once classes are finished, they often do little more than collect dust and take up space in my already-too-small college apartment.

In the past, I’ve just shoved my old books into every nook and cranny of my living space, hoping that putting them out of my sight would also put them out of my mind. However, this year, I decided to look for better options — things to do with my old textbooks that actually benefit me, or at least benefit someone. Here’s what I came up with.

Sell them.

There’s nothing better than finding a quick, easy way to make a little extra cash. You can start by checking whether your school’s bookstore will buy back the books you bought from them. Also, many college campuses are located near used bookstores that buy back textbooks as well. If you’d like to go the digital route, there are also tons of book reselling websites you can use. (In fact, I actually bought most of my textbooks used from eBay and Chegg.) 

With any of these options, you’re not likely to earn back the amount you originally spent, but you can at least get partially reimbursed while giving someone else a chance to save some money by buying secondhand. 

Give them to another student.

If you’re looking to offload your books, you can’t go wrong with the ol’ hand-me-down route. Find someone at your school who’s in need of your textbook, and be their fairy book-mother by passing it down to them. At my school, everyone in my major is part of a Facebook group chat, where we can communicate with other students across grade levels. People are constantly using the group chat to find and give away textbooks — some are even able to trade their old books for new ones they need for future courses. You could also reach out to friends who may need the books, or ask your professors if they’ll take donated books for future students.

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Donate them.

Another way to quickly get rid of your books and reclaim your space is to donate them. My college town has a Goodwill, a Salvation Army, and a local thrift shop — all three of which sell textbooks donated from students. Your local library is another option; give them a call and see if they’re open to taking your donations. Additionally, you can donate to the following organizations, which help support literacy and education in underserved communities:

Turn them into decor.

If you’re passionate about your major, take the artistic route and create art using clippings from your textbooks. A collage based on your area of study could be a great motivator for you to finish your degree strong — and it could even serve as a background for displaying your eventual diploma.

Recycle them.

If you really can’t find another purpose for your textbooks, you can always recycle them. For paperbacks, you can place them in your paper recycling bin. However, if you have hardcovers, the covers must be removed first, as they are often made of non-recyclable materials. If you don’t have a recycling service, you can go to Berecycled.org to find out where to drop off your books.

Madison Harrison

Dental Hygiene

Madison has a huge creative side and a love for decorating as a creative outlet. She is most excited to help others create a life and space they love during her time at Dorm Therapy. Starting college led her creative side to skyrocket, and she cannot wait to help others with projects, inspiration, and more. She loves creating videos on YouTube and TikTok.

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SchoolSouthern Illinois University of Carbondale '24
MajorDental Hygiene
FavesThrifting, dogs, plants, painting, reading, movie theaters
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