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Do You Guys Keep Your University Textbooks or Sell Them?

  1. Yes I sell most of them (except for the ones I absolutely need)

    4 vote(s)
  2. I sell many of them (except the ones I might need in the future)

    5 vote(s)
  3. I Keep and Sell Roughly 50% of My Textbooks

    4 vote(s)
  4. I keep many of my textbooks (even the ones I might not need in the future)

    12 vote(s)
  5. I Keep All My Textbooks (for whatever reason)

    31 vote(s)
  1. Jun 23, 2012 #1
    I use to sell a lot of my university textbooks (mainly because I was just following what other people around me were doing. Basically I was following the herd so to speak), but it wasn't until recently (as in the past couple of weeks) that I realized that it can sometimes be a very bad idea to sell your university textbooks. That's especially true for the textbooks based on the subject(s) you are majoring in university.

    I am majoring in Psychology (as my username suggests) and I am only in 2-3 year right now, and recently I noticed the self-handicap I induced onto myself from selling my Introductory to Psychology Textbook (as well as the textbook for a Second Year Abnormal Psychology Textbook). I originally sold many of textbooks (After finishing the course) mainly because
    a) I probably don't need them ever again
    b) I could always find the information on the Internet, so why keep the textbooks

    The problem with those two above premises is the fact that

    a) You will likely need to look back into your textbooks (especially if they are subjects you are majoring in and/or minoring in)

    b) Even though theoretically you can find all the key information (like key concepts and terms) on the Internet, it would save you a LOT of time by having all the information nicely laid out to you in a very clear and organized fashion on the Internet. Besides, the information in the textbook is probably authoritative on the subject manner you are taking.

    I am NOT saying you shouldn't use the Internet for helping you study the material in your courses. It is just that the Internet cannot be a complete substitute for textbook information. I use to think that was the case, but now I realized that is a false dichotomy.

    That's mainly because both mediums (textbooks or books in general and the Internet) compliment each other since each medium has its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. You just need to allow both mediums to compliment each other in order to fill up the weaknesses of each of the two mediums. For example, books TEND to be more organized, concise, faster-to-search through and accurate than the Internet where the Internet has MORE information, can be updated more readily, but unfortunately takes more time to find the information you need.

    So what do you guys think? Do you guys keep your university textbooks or not? And what's the reasoning behind your decision? Do you agree with my points?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2012 #2
    Though I am not in Uni yet, I always hoard books of all kinds. Why, I even have my grade 3 books still.... :biggrin:

    I occasionally like to re-open and feel those memories again, having drawn all kinds of awesome pictures all over, crazy math done here and there :tongue2:
  4. Jun 23, 2012 #3


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    I made notes in the margins /end-papers.of my engineering texts, instead of using notebooks. As long as the departments didn't change texts, it was very easy to sell them. I could get practically full retail for them, once younger students realized that they could learn from my lecturers and their own lecturers. So yes, I sold them all to help finance my next trip to bookstore for new texts.
  5. Jun 23, 2012 #4


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    Dearly Missed

    I'm a keeper, not a bleeper.
  6. Jun 23, 2012 #5
    I get reimbursed 25$ for each book regardless of its cost, whether the book cost me $300 or $3. I usually get mine for little more than 25$ each anyway. The school bookstores I tried selling books back to wanted to give me like 5% of what I paid for it, so I said forget it. Selling on Ebay is an option, but that's too much trouble.
  7. Jun 23, 2012 #6


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    I have kept all my textbooks - and even bought extra ones.

    I think I still have most of my notebooks and classnotes. :uhh:
  8. Jun 23, 2012 #7


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    This reminds me in a University I had a lot to do with in a less advanced European country, many students, to say no more (don't get me started) had an essentially superstitious approach to science and how knowledge could possibly acquired and even what it was. A student would underline passages in a book. Then that book would sell for more than a new one as if you learned only the underlined bits you were thought you would be learning preferentially the bits likely to be asked in the (oral) exams and avoid the effort of the unlikely bits. However the next reader would have some different impressions and would underline the bits he thought likely to be important (mentioned in lectures, lecturer, seemed to stress) in a different colour, to distinguish. This would be in turn recycled in the same way until after a few years you saw tattered books with practically every word underlined sometimes doubly or triply in different colours.

    However for students in sane places IMO it is more often than no not a good idea to sell your books.
  9. Jun 23, 2012 #8


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    I still have every textbook.
    Though I should sell some of my "Statics" textbooks.
    I swear to god, it was a conspiracy.
    Create the worlds most boring class: "The study of objects not in motion"
    This will have them falling asleep within minutes, and they'll all fail, requiring them to take the course again.
    Change texts every term.​

    "What the hell do you mean?!! How can you change texts when we're studying things that don't change!!!!!?!!!!"

    Charge extra high prices, for the study of things that don't move.

    It worked.


    ps. If you ever see me get involved in a cantilever discussion here at the forum, please shoot me.
  10. Jun 23, 2012 #9


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    I took an Anthropology class taught by the department head, and every class he would tell a joke before the lecture. I'd jot them down in my book. I sold that text, and the next semester the guy that bought the book ran me down in the student union and said "He uses the same jokes with each reading assignment!" At least the guy that bought my book knew I attended every lecture, and my margin-notes were trustworthy.
  11. Jun 23, 2012 #10
    At least many of the textbooks which I've bought for my undergrad (which were used by the way) didn't have much highlighting in them. Here in North America I heard textbooks would be sold for a lower and not higher price if they had more highlighting.

    Anything, I think it is obviously BEST to buy the textbooks used at the lowest price possible for the best deal (aka it contains all the pages, is in reasonable shape, and has the necessary attachments that allow you to do certain assignments).

    Most university textbooks are exorbitantly expensive especially if you are majoring in anything that is remotely science related. What I noticed is that many humanities majors can save a ton of money on textbooks since the books they need are usually widely published books/novels that sell in the double digit prices rather than over-sized and over-priced textbooks that cost well over $100.
  12. Jun 23, 2012 #11
    Selling your books is evil. You don't sell your children, DO YOU?
  13. Jun 23, 2012 #12
    Not sure about you guys, but I change dorm every year. So it is a hassle to move all my books and find storage for them over the summer. I sold all the books I bought for classes not in my major. There were only 43 or 4 of them though. I major in math where a typical textbook costs like $80. So I didn't buy many textbooks in the first place. For the ones I bought, I sold quite a few of them.

    You might think you will need some of the books in the future, but the truth is, if you learn the material well enough, the book you started with may no longer match your taste. For example, I took calc using some book that I don't remember, but if now I want to look something up in calc or review some stuff, I pick up a copy of Spivak. If I want to review real analysis, I will use baby Rudin, which is not the textbook I used.
  14. Jun 23, 2012 #13
    A good math book is way better than a child. Just saying.
  15. Jun 23, 2012 #14


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    I'm still kicking myself in the butt for loosing (?) my EM problem sets.
  16. Jun 23, 2012 #15
    Not in college yet, but after I took my AP European History exam, some friends and I started up a bonfire and burned all of our notes.

    We had to turn the books back in though..
  17. Jun 24, 2012 #16


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    I keep all of them.
  18. Jun 24, 2012 #17


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    There are points on both sides there.
    On the one hand from the fifties in biology there were rapid changes in paradigms still ongoing. Often there weren't even any textbooks at any level covering them. Or they did so in a seriously outdated way. The teaching departments could be the same! But then tended to have 'Young Turks' who would update. In more than one place I saw that students were not content and wanted to be taught out-of-date stuff! and protested at these difficult innovations! Not just because of the cost but because of the comfort of the beaten paths.

    There I'm talking of University level. So-called anyway. So-called University students! :yuck:

    At school level it is a bit different. Clearly syllabuses and approaches do change. I don't know how it is in the US, but in England books are on the schools' budgets, loaned to the schoolkids for a year. On the Continent they are more on parents' budgets. It is perceived as a bit of a racket. Collusions between Edu Ministers or bodies and publishers and authors perhaps. Again a certain rate of innovation is necessary. But parents were incredulous when they saw the recommended books in every subject changing every year or two so the bottom falling out of the second-hand market. As a result of agitation I have seen limits placed on the rates at which new editions can be brought out.
  19. Jun 24, 2012 #18
    I keep them all now. I have kicked myself in the past for selling them and I will not make that mistake again :)
  20. Jun 24, 2012 #19
    There are some which I plan on keeping, but most have got to go.
  21. Jun 24, 2012 #20
    I'd only keep a book if I couldn't find an ebook version. I always got my text books from the library anyway.
  22. Jun 24, 2012 #21


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    Most of my (and all the students majoring in physics, math, etc.) textbooks are photocopied because most of the textbooks aren't sold in my city (over 1.5 millions inhabitants) nor in the country. The only option would be to buy from the Internet but then the price is about 150% the one you can read on Amazon or any other websites due to the customs here, and it will take months for the book to reach your home. So importing books is not a good option; you start the semester and get to know which book to buy, the time you buy it you'll recieve it too late and only if you have luck and at an extra price.
    I still managed to find and buy some books in the local language like Purcell's on EM and Landau and Lifgarbagez on CM and 3 others (math books). I sold 2 of the math books and glad to have done so. My appartment is small and I have no space for any other book. I've litterally trashed several photocopied books and many stuff I had print from the Internet. So far, no regret.
    P.S.:If I was living in a country like the USA, Canada or in Europe, I'd sell approximately half of my textbooks from past courses on probably Amazon. I'd keep Jackson's book on EM, Goldstein or Landau on mechanics, etc.
  23. Jun 29, 2012 #22
    As far as I can remember, I have all my course textbooks plus a lot more. I've probably been required to get 15 books for courses (5-10 courses havent had books) but I probably have 50.

    I likely will sell some intro texts though. I really don't need a gen chem book anymore.
  24. Jul 2, 2012 #23
    I sell pretty much all of them. In the past when I have saved school books I've never ended up taking a second look. Having a big library at home is nice but I need the cash.
    For my math book, my reasoning is that the books don't make a whole lot of sense without the teaching anyway. It would be extremely laborious to go back and learn any of the material if I would ever forget it. Any formulas I need I can find online, and if I forget how to solve a type of problem I'll cross my fingers and hope that it's on Khan Academy or youtube in general.
    I was more inclined to save my econ books but from what I've seen so far they also turn into mathematics and formulas later on so I will most likely be selling them too.
  25. Jul 4, 2012 #24
    Well most textbooks are worth keeping around especially if they are the subject (s) you are majoring in. I couldn't agree with you anymore!
  26. Jul 6, 2012 #25
    I had a scholarship that bought my textbooks each semester, so I really didn't have much invested in them. I kept them around and eventually realized how useful it was to have them for reference.

    Now it is almost an addiction to collect text books. My amazon wishlist is very long and full of textbooks on physics, pure mathematics, or engineering. A lot of them are over my head, and I just read them out of awe of what people know. I even have multiple textbooks on the same topics to get full perspective and more examples. I think it will probably turn into a hobby one day when I have more money saved that I will collect rare ones.
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