The 3 Things You Should Probably Do With Your Old Textbooks

what to do with old textbooks

Towards the end of every semester, there’s always that giant stack of textbooks that takes over your desk space. But when the finals are over and summer break is creeping in, you’re probably left wondering what to do with old textbooks.

Donate? Sell? Turn them into a secret stash for candy/money (no judgments; we’ve all been there)? Interestingly, this post-semester textbook dilemma is more common than you know. Now, before you banish them to your closet or your parent’s attic, let’s see some creative and eco-friendly ways to give those textbooks a new life.

In this article, we’ll be discussing 3 things you can do with old textbooks. We will also see how to value your books for a competitive price (if you want to sell them), donate them, or turn them into creative pieces for your dorm space.

The 3 Things You Should Probably Do With Your Old Textbooks

Interestingly, there are a lot of things you can do with the old textbooks you have used. I will tell you 3 of them that are easy and best.

1. Selling Your Old Textbooks

As the academic seasons change, so do the required textbooks. This perpetual cycle often leaves shelves lined with outdated editions. Fortunately, there’s a practical solution: selling your old textbooks.

Not only does this option allow you to recoup some of the initial investment, but it also opens up valuable space for new resources. Various avenues exist for selling textbooks, from online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay to specialized textbook buyback websites.

Before listing your books, ensure they’re in good condition, as well-kept books fetch higher prices. By opting to sell, you’re benefiting your wallet and enabling someone else to access the information they need without purchasing a brand-new copy.

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2. Donating for Education

For a more generous approach, consider donating your old textbooks. Many individuals lack access to educational resources and self-help books due to financial constraints. Your contribution could bridge this gap. Local schools, libraries, community centers, and organizations like Book Aid International often welcome book donations.

By donating your old textbooks, you’re providing a valuable resource to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn. This act of kindness can have a lasting impact on someone’s education and prospects, and it aligns with the spirit of giving back to your community.

3. Repurposing Creatively

Repurposing your old textbooks can lead to fascinating outcomes if you’re inclined toward creativity. Instead of relegating them to the recycling bin, consider turning them into something unique. Old textbooks can be transformed into functional items like bookshelves, quirky wall art, or even innovative furniture pieces.

Alternatively, you can use the pages for crafting projects such as paper flowers, bookmarks, or origami. This displays your artistic side and adds a personal touch to your living space. Embracing repurposing minimizes waste and allows you to blend functionality with creative expression.

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More Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Textbooks

Before you banish your textbooks to the dusty corners of your parents’ attic or donate them, consider these creative ways to repurpose them:

  1. Book safe: Feeling like a dorm room James Bond? Cut a sneaky compartment for a safe within a textbook to hide valuables (just don’t forget where you put that hidden ten-dollar bill!).
  2. Shelves: Using an L-shaped metal bracket, you can create a piece of floating furniture with your textbooks. Line your books across the frame to create a cool book frame and save on floor space in your dorm.
  3. Book lamp: Textbooks can brighten your space! Stack them strategically to provide a study light.
  4. Textbook Headboard: A textbook headboard can be a creative way to display your academic pursuits while giving that extra touch of personality to your dorm room. Bonus points for using textbooks related to your major!
  5. Collage Drawing: Textbooks offer a unique canvas for various art projects. Use the pages for collage drawing, where the existing text adds an unexpected dimension to your artwork. Or, get crafty with 3D Book Sculpting, cutting out shapes to create a truly unique dorm room statement piece.

Different Ways to Sell Your Textbooks

Selling your textbooks can be a great way to declutter your space and earn extra cash. Here are different methods you can consider:

Online Marketplaces

Platforms like Amazon, eBay, and provide a vast audience for your textbooks. You can create book listings, set prices, and interact with potential buyers. These platforms often have built-in shipping options and payment systems for convenience.

Campus Bookstores

Many college and university bookstores have buyback programs where you can sell your textbooks back to the store. While the prices might be lower than online options, it’s a quick and hassle-free way to offload your books.

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Textbook Buyback Websites

Several websites specialize in buying back textbooks. They provide quotes based on the book’s ISBN and condition. Some popular options include Chegg, BookScouter, and TextbookRush.

Social Media and Online Groups

Utilize social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to list your textbooks for sale. You can also look for local buy/sell/trade groups specifically dedicated to educational materials.

Book Fairs and Flea Markets

Participate in local book fairs, flea markets, or garage sales to sell your textbooks in person. These events can connect you with potential buyers who prefer to see the books before purchasing.

Online Textbook Exchanges

Some websites facilitate direct exchanges of textbooks between students. You can list your books and find others looking for the books you need, potentially avoiding the need for monetary transactions.

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Why Do We Need Book Solutions?

In less than two decades from now, the overflowing landfills may no longer hold our trash. Books, especially textbooks with valuable knowledge, shouldn’t end up there. They deserve a second chance to educate new learners, not become forgotten waste.

But before you decide on what to do with them, take some time to research their potential value. Here’s how:

  • Online Marketplaces: Search for similar copies of your textbooks on websites like AbeBooks or BookScouter. Look for listings with matching editions and conditions to get an idea of the selling price range.
  • Used Bookstores: Take your textbooks to a used bookstore and get a quote. They can assess the condition and edition to determine a fair price.

Can Textbooks Go in Your Recycling Bin?

Yes, textbooks can generally be recycled, but there are a few factors to consider before tossing them into your recycling bin:

1. Condition: Textbooks that are severely damaged, moldy, or contaminated with food or liquids might not be accepted for recycling. It’s essential to check the guidelines of your local recycling program.

2. Cover and Binding: Some textbooks have hard covers made of materials like leather or plastic. These components must be removed before recycling, as they can’t always be processed alongside paper. Softcover textbooks are generally easier to recycle.

3. Paper Quality: The type of paper used in the textbook can affect its recyclability. It might be harder to recycle if the paper is glossy, heavily inked, or contains non-paper components (like plastic inserts).

4. Local Recycling Regulations: Recycling guidelines vary depending on your location and the capabilities of your local recycling facility. Some facilities might have the technology to handle different types of paper and bindings, while others might not.

5. Donation or Reuse: Before recycling, consider donating your textbooks to libraries, schools, or other organizations that might find them useful. Reusing textbooks extends their lifespan and reduces waste.

6. Recycling Method: If your local recycling program does accept textbooks, they will likely be pulped down and turned into new paper products. Recycling involves removing ink, bindings, and other contaminants from paper fibers.

7. Remove Personal Information: Before recycling or donating your textbooks, remove any personal information, notes, or bookmarks that might be inside.

8. Check with Local Authorities: To get accurate information about whether textbooks can be recycled in your area, check with your local recycling center or waste management authority or visit their website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do with my old textbooks?

There are several options for your old textbooks. You can sell, donate, or repurpose them for various creative projects. The choice depends on your preferences and goals.

How can I sell my old textbooks?

Selling your old textbooks can help you recoup some of your investment. You can list them on online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay or use specialized textbook buyback websites. Make sure to check the condition of the book and compare prices to get the best deal.

Is donating old textbooks a good idea?

Absolutely! Donating old textbooks can provide valuable resources to students in need. Local schools, libraries, community centers, and organizations like Book Aid International often accept book donations.

How can I repurpose old textbooks creatively?

Repurposing old textbooks can be a fun and sustainable way to give them a new life. You can turn them into decorative items like bookshelves or wall art, use the pages for crafting projects, or transform them into unique furniture pieces.

Are there any eco-friendly options for old textbooks?

Yes, embracing eco-friendly options is a responsible way to deal with old textbooks. Consider upcycling them into eco-friendly products like notebooks or journals. By doing so, you’re reducing waste and contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle.


When faced with a collection of old textbooks, remember there’s more you can do than let them gather dust. Whether you sell, donate, or repurpose them, each option holds potential value for you and others.

By taking action, you’re decluttering your space and contributing to education, creativity, and sustainability in your unique way. So, the next time you wonder what to do with those old textbooks, consider the possibilities beyond their well-worn pages.

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