Here’s How To Make The Most Of Your Old College Textbooks

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Want to know what’s worse than spending over $500 on a textbook? Trying to sell it back and only getting $20 for it. I kid you not, I regret my early years of college because I lost out on so much money.

Well my friends, I’m here to save your life. You have been buying and selling your textbooks all wrong and it’s time to save that wallet of yours. Here are some tips and tricks.


Don’t buy all your books.

Every college student goes through what I call “The Syllabus Purge.” We stare at our syllabus and start scratching out what’s worth doing or buying for the optimal grade. Remember that “Required Materials” section you get in the beginning of the semester? Scratch it out and do some research. Are you going to read a novel for class? Try to borrow it from the library instead of buying it. So many people forget that library services are free. Do you have upperclassmen friends? See if they still have a copy of a textbook you can borrow or buy for cheap.

Some professors still use older editions of books, which tend to be cheaper than their up-to-date counterparts.


Don’t sell your books at the campus store.

As Star Wars‘s Admiral Ackbar once said, “It’s a trap!” If you bought your books from your school store, you’ll most likely get the worst deal imaginable. It doesn’t matter how good a condition your book is. From a business perspective, the campus book store can’t give you an awesome deal. It has to deal with quotas from the school, and agreements from publishers and professors. Trust me. You’re better off selling your books somewhere else.


The Internet is your friend.

For both buying and selling your books, the internet is your greatest tool. Amazon has great resources for college students that allow you to rent out books or sell them for a great deal. There are also other great stores like Book Scouter and Chegg. Some universities even have Facebook pages dedicated to students wanting to buy and sell their textbooks. It’s all about doing some research beforehand. Sure, it takes more effort than just going to the campus bookstore, but your wallet will love you in return.


Keep them in good condition.

If you plan on keeping your books, then by all means scribble in them and throw some coffee stains on them. But if you want to sell them back for the best price, keep your books as pristine as possible. Most stores accept highlighter and minor notes in the margins, but they’ll hurt your final sale. Use sticky notes to jot down notes and fight the urge to dog-ear the pages.


Don’t wait to sell your books.

Remember what I said about professors accepting older editions? Some publishing companies release a new edition every year or so, so if you wait too long to sell your books, chances are your textbook will be outdated. It doesn’t matter if the content is the same. You might miss out on a goldmine just because you were a month late.

Don’t lose out on textbook buyback season. If you really want to get some money back, do your research. Trust me, selling your books for profit is a lot better than being forced to use them as an expensive TV stand in the future.

Lillie Mae GauranoCOLLEGECANDY Writer
A writer by day and a reader by night, and if you say the words "free" and "food" together I'm there.
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