Reuse textbooks, save money


Nitya Thakkar

“My geometry and biology textbooks were provided by the school, I found a used version of The Ways of the World online, even though must students have new ones, and I had to buy all my English books new. If SPA had a way to reuse and resell books I would definitely use it,” sophomore Adrienne Gaylord said.

Nitya Thakkar, Aureus EIC

With the rising costs of textbooks every year, students need more creative ways to reuse books. Every year, as students enroll in new classes they often discover they need more than one pricey textbook for their class, regardless of whether it lasts for a full semester or not. Most students have to buy at least one $100-plus math or science textbooks, three or more English books, the required $75 history textbooks from 9th to 11th grade and an assortment of other books they may need for language classes or electives.

Therefore, the student body needs to implement new and creative ways to re-use textbooks. An online website could be both efficient and practical. Students could post on there what kind of textbook they are selling (or donating), what condition it is in and how much they will charge. It would likely also be more convenient for students to obtain books, rather than having to hunt through bookstores or pay a shipping fee to receive a book online that could take more than two weeks to come. Another option is that there could be designated spaces/bookshelves in each department for students that want to donate their books. This would also be helpful if a student forgot their book at home during the school year and needed one for class. This can also apply to classes outside of the “regular” academic ones; students in painting or photography classes can donate their supplies after the course is over or sell them to other students.

However, there are a few unavoidable conflicts: the first is that most textbooks come with an online access code. However, these codes are often only valid for one year and by one user. This means that if a student with a used book wants to access the online version for it but the previous user already used the code, they cannot. Second, this means that students will not be able to write in their textbooks, something most students do especially in History and English classes. If they do write in their textbooks, then the next user would have to erase everything given that most books do not have enough space in their margins for two sets of comments. This problem could be resolved, however, by students taking notes on other pieces of paper rather than in the actual textbooks. This small adjustment could help multiple years of students use the same textbooks.

Despite some downsides, the overall benefits of re-selling and donating textbooks outweigh the costs. These solutions could save students both money and the effort of finding textbooks in bookstores or online every year.