3 Ways to Reuse Old Textbooks

Ideally, you should be able to sell your old textbooks. Sometimes, though, it doesn’t work out that way. A new edition may have just come out, rendering your textbook obsolete. Perhaps you’re in a highly specialized field, and not many buyers are biting. Whatever the case, you have other options for reusing or re-purposing your old textbooks. Take a look at these three ideas.

Donate Online

If you know where to look, you’ll find plenty of websites that accept old textbooks. This donation method lets you get rid of your textbooks from the comfort of your home. The downside, however, is that most of these organizations only accept certain types of books.

Books for Africa accepts fiction and nonfiction books, whether they are hardcover or softcover. It accepts most college textbooks that have a 2002 or newer publisher date. Certain subjects — like law and medicine — must have a 2007 or newer publisher date. As its name suggests, this organization sends books to students in need in Africa.

Books Through Bars sends books to prison libraries. It accepts mostly paperbacks, and the most highly requested subjects include African-American studies, trade skills, small business, and urban fiction. If you would rather donate your books to soldiers, make sure to check out Books for Soldiers or Operation Paperback.

Donate Locally

Donating your textbooks to a local business or organization is a great way to help your community. It does involve lugging around a bag of heavy books, but you’re also more likely to get rid of them faster.

Try contacting the library to see if it accepts donations. In most cases, the staff will be happy to take your old textbooks off your hands, either to add to their bookshelves or to sell during fundraisers. You could also donate your books to a local thrift store or to charitable organizations like The Salvation Army.

Are you feeling ambitious? Go a step further, and collect other people’s used books so you can run your own book drive. Running this type of event would look great on your resume.

Upcycle Your Textbooks

Makers, crafters, and artists have come up with some really cool ways to repurpose old books, and they were kind enough to post instructions online. Do you have a nosy roommate? Try turning a textbook into a secret safe, or make a hidden drawer out of book spines. Do you like to show off your unique style? You can turn old books into jewelry, wallets, or even a tablet cover.

Other upcycle projects include book lamps, picture frames, headboards, wall art, and iPhone charging docks. If you get good enough, some of your pieces may even be sellable to other students on campus or through Etsy.

Your old textbooks don’t need to gather dust in a forgotten corner. You paid good money for them, so why not make the most of them? You can find an organization that wants your textbooks, or failing that, you can transform them into something fun and useful.

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