What Should I Do With My Old Textbooks?

You graduated with an associates, bachelors, masters, or doctorate degree. CONGRATULATIONS! The hard part is over, but now what do you do with all these bulky textbooks?

I started an online thread about this on a PA forum, not too long ago, and got a bunch of responses. Truthfully, many of them suggested bonfires and other cathartic releases, but I was looking for a way to at least gain a little bit of cash. Here are a few screenshots from the forum. Names were redacted for anonymity.

So a little background to my situation: I graduated PA school in December 2018, so just over 3 years ago. I’ve been practicing clinical medicine for over 2 years in both the Emergency Department and Hospital Medicine. At this point in my career, I don’t foresee any big specialty pivot. Like I don’t see myself going into orthopedic surgery, plastics, or psychiatry in the next 5 to 10 years. That being said, I probably don’t need as many of my textbooks that I had in PA school for those respective specialties. So if you are in a similar situation of having textbooks that you haven’t touched since school or you don’t foresee yourself using said textbooks, this article is for you.

Whether you got your MBA, MPAS, or DPT, you likely have a handful of textbooks that you’d like to get rid of. Granted, I am not getting rid of ALL of my textbooks from PA school. There are many that I think I will hold on to for my entire career, but the ones that I see no further use of, those need another home.

Selling Your Textbooks

According to Forbes, there are a handful of online outlets for selling used textbooks. However, the one I found the most success with and the most generous quotes was BooksRun. Granted when I was in school, I remember using Chegg and FreeTextbooks. But now Chegg is powered by GoTextbooks.com for selling. But many of my textbooks from just a few years ago were worth half if not a third of what I was being offered on BooksRun.

My Top 5 Choices:

1. BooksRun* (personal favorite)
2. BookScouter
3. Bookbyte
4. Amazon
5. GoTextbooks

BooksRun makes it simple! You simply search by ISBN, they give you a quote, and then you send the textbooks by mail with prepaid shipping label through FedEx. You can either get your payment by check OR PayPal. I opted for PayPal since it’s faster, simpler, and doesn’t involve the fickle mail service. But the process was seamless! Also BooksRun boasts a green promise that honors sustainability principles. Their inventory consists primarily of used items which encourage zero waste principles and further extend the life cycle of their books. Also, all their packaging is made out of recycled or fully recyclable materials. They’ve even planted more than 8000 trees through their loyalty program. Unparalleled values matched with great offers. You just can’t beat it!

BEST ADVICE: Shop around!

Look at a few different sites and price compare. You want to get the best deal you can find! Obviously, if you are still in school then you probably have more avenues to buying and selling. But if you’ve graduated and feel burdened by your bookshelf full of books that have been neglected, it may be time to consider selling.

Donating Your Textbooks

If you can’t get much money for your textbooks, consider DONATING. It could be that you’re too far out from school for your textbooks to be relevant or they come out with a new edition annually, but whatever the case, donating is a philanthropic option for your neglected textbooks. You could donate to your local library, local high school, or a neighbor interested in going into a similar field. Unfortunately, this option often takes a bit more digging and asking around, but it could benefit a school or student that desperately wants to learn more but doesn’t have the resources at their disposal.

Whatever you decide to do with your textbooks, I hope that you get the satisfaction of knowing they served a purpose, even just for a season. Hopefully they have a little more shelf life in them!

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