Never Sell Back Your College Textbooks

A college professor of mine once gave the advice to never sell back any textbooks relating to my major. The advice made sense at the time. Every professor’s office had at least one small book self filled with textbooks, journals, or other publications. I knew I would never get close to full value for my books by selling them back to the university; and outside companies would do little better, if not the same. So I kept all textbooks from my major semester after semester hoping the professor’s advice would pay off. It did.

Student View

Many courses in college have some overlap. At times, your textbook for a course the previous semester will help clarify some points made by a textbook for a current course. Textbooks from your undergraduate degree may also be useful in graduate degree courses. I referred back to my textbooks on communication disorders frequently when writing papers or participating in discussions for my graduate courses in special education.

Many students believe they can get ample clarifying information via the Internet; therefore, they should sell back their books for much needed pocket money. While the Internet provides many wonderful resources, few of them provide sources that can be used in papers and other official assignments. Professors want cited professional publications (e.g., journals, books, booklets); not blogs or organizations’ websites (yes, that includes this site). Keeping your textbooks provides you with books to cite, but also with a list of books and journal articles you can look up or request from your universities library to use in assignments.

Professional View

No professional remembers 100% of the information taught in undergraduate or graduate studies. Yet, that does not mean the information not retained is not important. Professors keep a professional library so they can refer back to important information when needed–whether that be for designing curriculum, answering student questions, or conducting research. Other professionals utilize a professional library to answer questions for parents, direct instructional and behavioral strategies, and to conduct research.

I use my old textbooks as reference guides when I write blog posts and pages for my websites. I also use them to understand concepts and strategies in the disability profession that I was not able to explore in depth through my undergraduate and graduate studies. I continue to collect a professional library buy purchasing books and textbooks on subjects in which I have professional interest.


Education in the disability profession is a continual path (as is the case with any profession). You cannot expect to learn everything all at once. Your textbooks offer more information than could possibly be explored in one semester. Take the time to explore chapters and ideas that your professor did not cover. Use the textbooks as references to guide your practice and continuing education and goals. Use your textbooks to show clients and other professionals what you learned in school. However you choose to use your textbooks is up to you; however, under no circumstance should you ever be selling them.

Categories Professional Practices

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