What Can You Do With Old Books?


What can we do with these old books?

This school opening, one of our biggest expense is school books (second to tuition). With 4 children going to school, we spent almost P30,000 for books alone.  I'm not complaining that we bought our children the books they need. When it comes to studying, books are your treasure of knowledge.

What bothers me is that at the end of the school year, we are left with lots of used books. What can we do with these old books?  There are 5 things which we can do with our old books (these include not only school books) that I would like to share.

1. Reuse Old Books

I remember during my school days, I reuse the textbooks of my big sister. Back then, I can reuse some of the textbooks since my sister rarely writes on them. But nowadays, most books of my children have end of chapter questionnaires or activities which they should answer.  So, how can the next sibling use them again?

I could just throw them away because of the added clutter in the house, but I still keep some of them. Sometimes, my children still use them for reference. Or when they have a project which needs some photos, I scan through the old books for photos and get them. At least, I would save printer ink since I don't need to use our printer for printing photos.

2. Sell Old Books

During college, I like to buy reference books for my subjects. I make sure that I take good care of them so that they will not depreciate that much. Then at the end of the year or at the beginning of the next school year, I sell some of them. I sell those which are not included in my course's major subjects like Philosophy, History or General Science.  There's an organization in the school campus that buys used books.  Whatever money I got back for the books, I used them again to buy school books.

If you Google search for places where you can sell used books, you can find a few online stores like Cash-4Books (featured in The Early Show and Dr. Phil), Swap Books and FEDS. In the Philippines, you can try selling them in stores selling second hand books in Recto. Or you may also sell them on Buy and Sell websites in the Philippines like Sulit and eBay Philippines.

3. Give or Donate Old Books

This past two weeks, the school of our children had a book drive. Since their library is still new, they asked if the students have any books that they could donate to the library.  Our children kept asking us if we have any books to give. I looked up some books and, yes, they donated a few.  Why hold on to the books if other children can benefit from them?

Aside from your school library, you can also donate books to a public library or charity like the Bridge to Asia which sends books to Asian countries where they are scarce like Cambodia and Vietnam or the Releaf Project in the Philippines.

4. Swap books. If you like buying and reading books, you may want to consider swapping or trading books to save some money on buying books. The idea behind this is you join a book swapping group or membership site, list the books you have, and when someone requests your books, you mail it to him. By doing so, you earn credit which you can use to request a book that you like from other members. Membership in this type of sites is free, but you cover the shipping fees of the book.

If you want to swap books, check out Chango Books or this page which lists 10 Best Websites to Swap books.

5. Recycle Old Books

If there's no other way to reuse, sell or swap the books, especially Workbooks, then you can consider them for recycling. Look for recycling centers or junk shops that accepts them. If you want to try, you can also recycle them yourself to make handmade paper which you can use or maybe sell.

Recycling helps to reduce the cutting of trees, energy consumption and the amount of paper going to landfills. I also found this webpage where you can find 10 Creative Ways to Recycle Old Books.  You may want to try some of the author's ideas.

Lastly, I am just wondering whether it would be possible for book publishers to make a separate answer booklet to complement textbooks so that the students would not need to answer on the book itself.  This would make the textbooks reusable. If families could just borrow the old textbook and buy the answer booklet only, it will give more savings for the family.  Are there any book publisher out there who cares not just for the profit they will make but also for the environment and the service they will do to lessen the burden on school expenses?

Also, can the schools and teachers contribute to the reuse of old books? If they could just instruct the students to answer on their notebooks and not on the books, it would help preserve the book.  Also, is it really necessary to change the books almost every year? I have 4 kids and if they change the books that often, the younger sibling cannot use the older sibling's books.

Well, the last two paragraphs are just rants and suggestions from a mother with 4 school children who wants to save some cash.  Every centavo saved goes a long way.

How about you? What do you do with the old books you or your children have?


Techie She said…
wow sis.. this is quite an informative and well-researched post. i'm very honored that it's your entry to the weekly giveaways.

many thanks again for joining. good luck!
krizza said…
Hi there! I like this post! Very informative and useful. Some of the tips mentioned here, I am already doing, some not yet. At least I have more ideas to consider. Thanks for sharing!

By the way, it's my first time here!
Chin chin said…
Techie She, it actually took me a while to write this post. But I enjoyed it myself.

Krizza, I'm glad that you dropped by. Yeah, this post also gave me new ideas to try out by the end of the school year.
teecup said…
I think if school started using e-books, more trees and less paper will be put to waste every year.

Great tips, by the way. :)
Chin chin said…
Using e-books would indeed be favorable to using less paper. However, that would require a laptop or PC which the less fortunate families can't afford. Also, that would mean straining the eyes of the children if they are to read e-books all the time.

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