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Textbooks.. keep or toss?


Tuilelaith

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Hi everyone. I'm new here, and thought I'd contribute to some chit chat :)

I recently moved into my new apartment and will be starting my Master's in the fall, and realized how many textbooks I have accumulated throughout my undergrad. I have this odd attachment with books, and only sell them if I hated the course when it's done. So with novels and textbooks, I am in book overload. The majority of textbooks I have are relevant to my area of interest, obviously, and I do refer to them occasionally. A few I am willing to toss or give away, because I just don't do psych anymore :P

How many of you have this "fetish" with textbooks? Or books in general. If you do, how on earth do you store them all in an apartment? My cheap little bookshelf just can't handle all the weight, and my closets are full!

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Welcome! After undergrad and two graduate degrees, I have a handful of books that I have kept. Typically they are ones that are not traditional textbooks, which survey information. Do you really need an intro book when you have taken X upper-level courses? Probably not.

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Novels don't go out of date, so I keep those - but I try to sell my life science textbooks as soon as I'm done using them because information in the life sciences can become outdated very quickly (math textbooks, not so much). It's difficult, since I get very attached to my books too! I tell myself that if I tried to sell them down the road to make more room in my apartment, nobody would want to take my old editions. For a lack of a better analogy, it's like... passing a hot potato.

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I loooooooveeee my books and I love keeping them. For me they're sacred to the point that no one (not even me) is allowed to write on them. I know, it's going to be tough surviving grad school without writing down notes in the books. I'll have to find a way.

The good thing is that in Spain in undergrad you barely don't have to buy books (I think I only bought 5 during my 4 years in undergrad), since most of the classes involve note taking. I did accumulate books that I bought for pleasure, though, but most of them are in Spain, so they're not taking any space in my shelf here. I guess I'll worry about space issues in a year or two (hopefully two).

The only books that I tossed away (that is, sold for less than $20 after spending almost $200 on them) were the ones I bought for the American Society course I had to take when I came to the US as a Teaching Fellow. I didn't like the course or the readings that much and only kept one of the books, which was about rampage shootings (I thought it was an interesting reading).

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I only sold back the books from courses that weren't particularly interesting, or not even remotely connected to my field (I got a nice bundle back on my big fat Econ textbook my second year of college). However, anything relating to Classics, British History, Literature, Art History, Theater, or even just anything else I found interesting, I kept.

Basically, I ended selling (i.e. tossing away) the big fat Econ book, my Psych 101 textbook, and my Astronomy textbook (although i loved the class, I couldn't imagine referencing that book ever again for anything).

Books are SACRED, and should be cherished. (this probably explains why I'm happiest with my nose stuck in one, and why English lit is my ruling passion in life).

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I have a nice collection of books after double majoring in English and History as an undergrad, and I kept virtually every single one because I always planned on grad school and eventually teaching. I also held onto a lot of non-major textbooks, like the Geology text that had great overviews of Earth and climate science, and the Psychology textbook that had explanations of all the basic theories and terms. I figure those function as more reliable references, with better illustrations and tables, than most websites and Wikipedia. I don't crack them open as often as my "major" reference books, but it's still comforting to have them.

I do have a fetish for a well-stocked and well-organized bookshelf. If someone asks me a question, I revel in the ability to go to my shelves, find the right book, and open it up to the right page or chapter.

In the interest of cutting down on the volume of books I own, especially under pressure from my boyfriend/roommate, I have donated quite a few books to charity. Most of *those* were novels that I can easily find at the library, or will never read again, or reference works that I will either never reference or be able to look up elsewhere. As it stands right now, my two 6' shelf units are full, and I have a table full of novels and off-topic reference books that want boxed up. Getting the whole collection to the new city in the recent move was a trial and a half, but re-organizing them was like catching up with good friends.

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Books are SACRED, and should be cherished. (this probably explains why I'm happiest with my nose stuck in one, and why English lit is my ruling passion in life).

I agree with this to an almost pathological degree.

I lived with my older sister's family (husband, daughter, dog etc) for a few summers. Her sweet, loving, damnable dog destroyed one of my books, and my sister called my cell phone while I was on the hour-long bus ride back home. She had thrown the book away immediately, and couldn't even tell me which title it was and couldn't understand my near-hysteria at not knowing whether the dog had chewed up one of my favorite, precious books.

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I agree with this to an almost pathological degree.

I lived with my older sister's family (husband, daughter, dog etc) for a few summers. Her sweet, loving, damnable dog destroyed one of my books, and my sister called my cell phone while I was on the hour-long bus ride back home. She had thrown the book away immediately, and couldn't even tell me which title it was and couldn't understand my near-hysteria at not knowing whether the dog had chewed up one of my favorite, precious books.

When I was 9 or 10 I caught my little brother scribbling in one of my books (I didn't even especially like it). He was 3 or 4 and the poor thing had to listen to my several-minute talk about how sacred books are, that they were little treasures that had to be cherished and that he had to treat them like living things. He didn't dare put a finger on one of my books for several years. unsure.gif

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  • 3 years later...

I've kept every book I've purchased for classes since starting my M.A., & I've gotten a solid few related to my thesis work + general areas of interest. I kept a small handful of undergrad books, & if I couldn't sell one of the rest back, I'd pass it down to someone else. I am a total book hoarder, thanks to my mom's career (she works for a publishing company). I regret nothing.

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I didn't get too many books for classes during my undergrad.* It was nice having the same major as my SO who was two years ahead of me! There are at least 4 books I didn't have to pay for because of that. In addition, I used a lot of PDFs. I've only ever had to buy something like a book a semester! It's pretty nice, because I get access to a lot of resources without adding any bulk. :) This semester I'm using one borrowed book, one PDF, one bought book (used, very cheap!), and one of my classes has readings uploaded for free.

 

*Actually, I lied, I had a bunch from my last major (Russian)... But those I keep at my parents' place.

 

 

 

EDIT: As far as actual advice for OP... Only keep your favorite books, or those most relevant to your graduate education, especially if the information is timeless. You can look for free digital resources to compensate for some books as well. Maybe try to give the ones you don't exactly need but don't want to get rid of to people who are close to you so you can have access to them again if the need ever arises, or if you move back into the area.

 

Also, I'm ready for the comments about how people prefer actual books over digital media. XD

Edited by PhDerp
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My partner and I have a lot of books stacked onto books. I think the only thing that saved us was each staying with our parents briefly while we looked for our next place to live, and having giant sprawling book collections that kind of melded with our parents'. We were both able to leave books behind where space isn't at a premium, and I'm sure we both took some books that didn't really belong to us. I will keep a mystery novel I liked for years until I've forgotten the solution and can reread it, so naturally we're planning on buying more shelves.

 

I didn't buy a lot of textbooks as a history major-- just tons of monographs so I could read selected chapters from them. :D I tended to save those because they were interesting, and because I could sometimes use them in papers in later classes. I never saved science textbooks unless I couldn't sell them back, because they go out of date, and same for any other textbook that wasn't my major (or even that was-- if I took a low level history class just because I liked the topic, the textbook usually wasn't very worthwhile). I saved all my language textbooks.

 

I think if you learned a concept from a textbook, still think of it their way, or even picture where on the page you learned it or the example they used when you recall that concept, that's a reference book you'll be able to use effectively. If not, there's no particular reason to save that textbook and refer to it as opposed to any other source of information.

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I live with the firm belief that one should keep as many books as one can.  I hate selling them, unless they are really irrelevant, but even then, I still have a biology book lurking somewhere. Buy more book shelves, or get wall shelves.  One can never have too many books. 

 

Plus, book that I have relative to my major I see as a way to build my library for when I am a professor.  

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I only kept books relevant to my grad degree and honors thesis.  Since grad school, I have kept EVERYTHING.  I may never use my books on nonprofit management, but if I teach a course in it, I will need them!  I horde books.  Between my books and my SO's books, we will need many bookcases.  The good news is that his dad is a woodworker and makes them.

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I only kept books relevant to my grad degree and honors thesis.  Since grad school, I have kept EVERYTHING.  I may never use my books on nonprofit management, but if I teach a course in it, I will need them!  I horde books.  Between my books and my SO's books, we will need many bookcases.  The good news is that his dad is a woodworker and makes them.

 

I've done the same. The only minor difference is that I only buy books in grad school that are going to be useful for me as a reference after the course is finished. For books I just need for a class, there is a library one floor up from my office and I just use the course reserve if necessary. However, since we can be much more selective in grad classes, the majority of books I needed for grad classes make excellent addition to my reference library too :)

Edited by TakeruK
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I wish we had a reference library but we don't.  And, honestly, all books that you get for actual courses in-house are going to be required for comps.  SO MANY BOOKS.  Right now they are all in my office.  I still haven't brought them all home.  I am hoping I can leave them all there until I move and then move them into my new place when we get bookshelves.

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I wish we had a reference library but we don't.  And, honestly, all books that you get for actual courses in-house are going to be required for comps.  SO MANY BOOKS.  Right now they are all in my office.  I still haven't brought them all home.  I am hoping I can leave them all there until I move and then move them into my new place when we get bookshelves.

 

Oh, your school doesn't allow the instructor to put copies of course textbooks on reserve at the school library so that people can't check them out (but allow for use if you stay inside the library)? Also, I sometimes take an older edition out on loan for the term if I want to take a book home! But in my field, books are rarely the only reference for anything and we don't have to read books and discuss them--most of the time, I only use the book to look up an equation (or Google) or if the homework was assigned to be "Problem 5 on page 195" etc.

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Yeah, the books we read, for the most part, ARE the work because political science is about the books/articles we read or it's based around some lab manuals for methods courses.  So, we will need them for a time after, I guess.  IDK.  I had one prof that put expensive stuff on reserve (one small reading book was like $170.00) and I would go to the library for that stuff.  That was really nice.  No one else will, which is a bummer.

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Computer programming books aren't worth keeping with the exception of C++ books because the standard changes slowly, or a book heavy on theory.

Math and physical science books for upper division courses should always be kept.

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Hi everyone. I'm new here, and thought I'd contribute to some chit chat smile.gif

I recently moved into my new apartment and will be starting my Master's in the fall, and realized how many textbooks I have accumulated throughout my undergrad. I have this odd attachment with books, and only sell them if I hated the course when it's done. So with novels and textbooks, I am in book overload. The majority of textbooks I have are relevant to my area of interest, obviously, and I do refer to them occasionally. A few I am willing to toss or give away, because I just don't do psych anymore :-P

How many of you have this "fetish" with textbooks? Or books in general. If you do, how on earth do you store them all in an apartment? My cheap little bookshelf just can't handle all the weight, and my closets are full!

 

I kept all my science textbooks from undergrads (mainly calculus, physics, biochem, biology, chemistry, engineering), then I also kept some interesting textbooks such as US history since 1877 and developmental psy. I just don't think it's worth the money to resell them to a local vendor, nor online. Plus, they reminds me how I made it this far in my life today. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

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