10 Reasons Why You Should Not Sell Back Your Textbook

For many students, getting to sell back their textbooks is almost as exciting as having the semester come to an end. Who wouldn't want to get some money back? While cash can be good, there are actually plenty of reasons why students might be better off keeping their textbooks instead.

By Jessica Lyons


If you're a student, you might be thinking to yourself that it'd be difficult to find real reasons to choose a book over the money. Let's take a look at some that could change your mind.

1. The money doesn't make it worth it.

As part of a recent survey, asked more than 1,200 students about their textbook habits, including how many of them sell the books back. Of all the respondents, more than 800 said that it all depends on how much money they'll get. Even though you might have spent $150 on a textbook, you may only be given $35 if you sell it. So is it really worth it?

2. The same book might be required for another course.

Before selling back a book, take a look at the required classes for your degree program to see if it might be used again during any other courses. For instance, a book that's partly covered in your introductory class could be further discussed in classes that build on that first course. You definitely don't want to buy the same book twice.

3. It could have material you want to read on your own.

As shocking as this could sound to some students, there might actually be material in your textbooks that wasn't covered in class but is still of interest to you. Did you have to buy a collection of short stories for an English class but only covered maybe half of them? You might want to keep the book to read the rest. Or maybe you're a criminal justice major and there are some cases discussed in your books that you want to read up on more.

4. The books could be useful in your career.

Some of your college textbooks probably contain useful reference information that you might need even after you've graduated and have entered the workforce. Whether it's a glossary of legal or medical terms, writing style information or computer programming codes, it could be handy to have the information around in case you want to refer back to it.

5. You might be able to help someone else out.

Do you have a friend or family member who will be enrolling in your school and maybe even in your degree program? If you're not going to be getting much money during the book buyback process, you could hold onto them to try to help out another student. Your good deed will surely be appreciated.

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6. They could help you in other classes.

Even if a particular text isn't required for a later course, it could still prove helpful while making sure you understand certain concepts or while you're completing your assignments. If you save your introductory psychology book, for instance, you can look back at some of the information to make sure your foundational knowledge is set as you move on to more advanced concepts.

7. The notes in your book could be important.

You know all those notes you wrote in your book and all that highlighting you did to make sure you understood everything and had the most effective study tools? All that work took a lot of time, so you might not want to part with the book. Once again, depending on the class, the notes could help you out down the road.

8. You can donate them instead.

If the amount of money you'd be getting back for your books would be so small as to make it not really worth it, why not donate the books instead? Maybe your local library would like to have a copy of it on hand or you could donate them to a non-profit organization. For instance, Books for Africa will accept college textbooks that are 'gently used' and of interest to African readers as part of the organization's efforts to stop the 'book famine' in Africa.

9. You can avoid all the hassle.

Anyone who's been to his or her campus bookstore during buyback time has probably seen the extremely long lines and how aggravating the process can be. Is this really the best use of your time as the semester wraps up?

10. You could use the books to help start a rental program.

Do you see a need to create a textbook rental program at your school? Maybe your books could be the beginning of it all! You could talk to a student life representative to see about starting a student-run program or talk to your university administrators about doing it. In either case, offering up your books to help get things going could make a positive impression that will show your dedication to the cause.

Are you thinking about selling back your books because you are in desperate need of the extra cash? Maybe some money management tips for students can help you avoid such a situation.

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