How to get the most from your old textbooks

The close of the fall semester frenzies students as they try and squeeze some money out of old college textbooks.

For some, the best place to sell textbooks might be to fellow students, at a shop right down the road, online or at the campus bookstore. But sometimes it could be better to keep those textbooks for future use rather than sell them for a couple bucks.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Scott LaMascus is a self-proclaimed bibliophile and can attest to the pros of keeping old textbooks.

“The books you use will surprise you and the value of a re-sale, in my opinion, is often a pittance compared to the value of learning now and learning later from that book,” LaMascus said.

LaMascus said he kept some of his textbooks, and even the first book he bought as a child. He has re-read and used his textbooks since then.

“I still have a paperback copy – complete with groovy vintage cover – of “The Religions of Man” by world authority of the day, Huston Smith, used in a senior Bible seminar here at OC when I was a student,” LaMascus said. “I confess I first kept the book because I got to meet and talk with the author over a week’s time while taking the course.  He made a huge impression. … And I’ve re-read those books and used them as references, occasionally, since that time.”

Senior Bible major Tyler Robbins said keeping textbooks in your major can be very useful later on.

“As a Bible major, I think that the pros of keeping your textbooks far outweigh the cons,” Robbins said. “… For one thing, I’ve gone back and reused textbooks assigned for previous courses on many occasions, in the context of paper writing, sermon preparation, refreshing myself on the details of a particular subject, or just reading for pleasure during the breaks.”

For those taking general education courses or those not as inclined to keep college textbooks, there are several avenues for getting rid of old textbooks.

English writing major Paige Brown said she rents textbooks online because she doesn’t have to worry about selling them back and the books are much cheaper.

“When you rent the textbook, it includes shipping and handling not only for when they send you the book, but also for when you send it back,” Brown said. “All in all, you can save a lot of money. Plus, you don’t have to worry about a book you’ll never need again once the semester is over.”

Other alternatives are donating textbooks to the Oklahoma Christian University book sale or using a comparison website to find out what site will give the most money for each specific textbook.

“Dealoz.com is a wonderful site that I happened to stumble upon last semester,” Brown said. “It is easy to work as well. You type in the ISBN of the book you need and it finds that book on as many websites as it can.”

Dealoz.com also has the same option for selling textbooks: input the ISBN and the site will compare and then indicate what place offers the most money for the specific textbook. For some, it means getting $80 for a textbook instead of $15.

Overall, students want to get their books as cheap as possible and sell their books for as much as possible. Sometimes that means going online to Valore Books, Amazon or Cash4Books.

Sometimes it means just going down the road. Textbook Brokers is a business four miles from Oklahoma Christian specifically for students to buy, sell and rent college textbooks.

Brown said in her opinion, students should not sell their books back to the bookstore.

“Look for other avenues so you can get a good amount of money for the books you probably spent way too much on,” Brown said.

Brown said most of the time she purchases books online, rents them or buys them from friends. Brown said it’s useful to ask friends for textbooks because it offers a chance for students to make a little money while doing a favor for their peers.

“Every once and awhile you’ll have a professor who wrote their own book,” Brown said. “In that instance, you have no other choice and you just have to bite the bullet.”

While it is useful to try and get the most bang for your buck, buying books at the campus bookstore supports Oklahoma Christian and the Edmond community.

While some prices may be higher, the bookstore has all the books for each class on campus, and in some cases, they are the only ones who have specific textbooks. The same is true when one tries to sell books to other stores that are specifically tailored to Oklahoma Christian students.

But before selling books back to the campus bookstore, Amazon or a local store, first consider the value of the book.

“Sometimes we are very bad judges until time has passed and we see where the value lies and where life’s twists and turns will take us,” LaMascus said.

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