If you want to sell your textbooks at the end of the semester, it’s important to take care of books from your first day of ownership. If this is your first semester of college and you aren’t really sure how to take care of your books, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks so you can make sure your textbooks are in the best condition possible by the end of the semester so that you can sell them well and make good money.

We understand your books are probably going to receive some wear and tear—you’re in college, after all. But keeping your textbooks in great condition will give you your best chance at receiving some money for them when the term is over. Here are three easy ways you can keep your textbooks looking their best.

How to Take Care of Hardcover Books and Textbooks

Use Textbooks for Studying Only

If you’re using your book as a lap desk, dinner plate, or coffee coaster, it’s going to look worn. Coffee will inevitably splash a little; food will spill, and then suddenly, your textbook will look more like a menu than an instructional manual. Use your textbook for studying, assignments, and reading—avoid having food around it at all.

Don’t Write in Textbooks

Don’t make any highlights, either. This is why Post-It Notes were invented. We know writing in your textbook may be the easiest way to keep your thoughts organized, but when you write in a textbook or highlight a sentence, it actually decreases the value of your book. If your book was brand-new when you bought it, and you write in it, the condition immediately goes from new-ish to looking-used-ish.

If you buy a textbook and there are already notes in it, you may think that adding your own doesn’t make it look any worse. Imagine if all previous owners had the same thought. Companies that sell used textbooks rate them by their condition, so the more notes a book has, the worse the condition rating is. There are plenty of sticky notes and notepads you can use to take notes while you read.

Keep Textbooks in Their Own Place

This may seem silly, but having a designated place for your textbooks will help you take care of books and keep them in top condition, protecting their covers and edges. If you have a specific bookshelf or area on your desk for your books, you are less likely to just toss the books wherever there’s room. Rather than dumping them in a pile with other miscellaneous items, put your books in their own place.

How to Take Care of Library Books

Library books require even better care. After all, these are the books you don’t own; therefore, you are responsible for returning them in exactly the same condition you received them in. Keep the library books on a designated shelf; always leave them upright and firmly supported. While using, don’t crack open the spines of the tightly bound books. Never use library books as coffee trays or supports for writing. Be very careful not to do any damage. And, it goes without saying that you must not write in library books.

How to Take Care of Old Books

If you have old books that you plan to sell in the future, you need to take measures to preserve them in a great state. Apart from all the above-mentioned recommendations that apply to the old books as well, there are a few specific ones. To keep your old books fine, place them away from direct sunlight and air vents, dust them regularly, store them vertically and snug against other books of the same size. Never leave them stacked in a pile or open.


It’ll take some thought and effort, but if you can treat your textbooks well throughout the semester, you stand a better chance of selling them when the semester ends. Selling textbooks is a great way to make some money. The better the book’s condition, the more money a vendor is likely to pay you.