What to do with your old textbooks?

(just one of the piles of textbooks I’m getting rid out this semester)

I am a self-confessed textbook hoarder. 

I hold onto books from school and university with the belief that I may need them, again, one day, possibly, in the near foreseeable future…that does not actually exist.

They sit on your bookshelf collecting dust and forever taking up space. Then a few years later, you realise that they are so out of date not even a second hand bookshop will take them, so you think, “I’ll just throw them out…but it’s such a waste, what if I need them, what if someone I know needs them…etc etc etc” and so then end up back on your bookshelf for another few years.

So what to do with them? Well I’m doing a mini series all about textbooks! So here’s my rundown and tips for clearing out those old books:

Sell them!

For many students, like myself, textbooks and readers are a huge cost each semester, many of my textbooks coming up to $200, so parting with them for nothing can be really difficult. BUT, you’re going to have to lower your expectations price wise, they’re second hand so no matter how good condition they’re in, you’ll never get the price you paid for them!

So here’s a few places to help you out:


Good old fb is a great place to sell your old books. You can sell them on your own profile, or even better join one of the textbook exchange groups for your university/institution. I’ve sold and given away textbooks to students who need them and many of my friends have done the same.

The way it works: you post a for sale ad in the group a photo and your suggested price and people will either comment or privately message you about it. You then organise a sale between yourself and the buyer. If you’re nervous about meeting strangers, take a friend and even better meet at a public place at your university, like your library.  Often you’ll need to include the publication dates, the course code/subject name the textbook is from and the condition of the book.

Whilst I can only talk about the Sydney based textbook exchanges, there are many that exist throughout Australia and even worldwide. Please remember that for some of these groups, you can only join with your university email! 🙂


Okay, so you don’t want to sell them on Facebook, your not part of a uni, or your not sure what course your textbook is from. Don’t worry; Gumtree is a great place to sell anything, especially textbooks.

The way it works: you make a Gumtree account, take a few photos of your books, post them online in your ad with some information about the price and condition and ta-da! Finito! All you need to do now is just wait for people to respond and then organise a sale between you and the buyer. Please make sure that you meet somewhere public or with a friend, because you are meeting strangers online, although, I’ve never had any issues with Gumtree ever. 🙂

(Another similar alternative to Gumtree is Ebay, which I don’t use for textbooks personally, but have heard other do!)

The Co-op Bookstore (if you’re in Australia)

Co-op is where you’ll buy most of your textbooks and they’re often located near your university!

The way it works: Check here to see which books and textbooks they are buying back, take your books into the store with some form of identification and they can give you up to 30% back on your books- which is great especially if you’re after something convenient and don’t want to meet strangers!

Donate them!

If you don’t need the money then given your books away is a great option! You can post a free ad online, give them to a friend’s sibling or your local library/school if they are accepting books. Here’s a list of some of the place in Sydney I have given free books and textbooks to:

For a list of other places Australia wide to donate books, click here!

…and if you can’t sell them or give them away, PLEASE RECYLE YOUR TEXTBOOKS!

Hope this little article helped. I’ll keep updating it the more things I think of as I’ve got a few more years of university and textbooks to go! Also please leave a comment of any ways clear out your textbooks!

Alana 🙂

If you’d like to find out what this blog is all about: CLICK ME! If you’d like to see me declutter other things, like makeup: CLICK ME!