So I received an interesting email the other day from the good folks over at Onlinedegreeprograms.com suggesting their recent post "7 Good Reasons to keep your Old Textbooks." While I talk quite a bit on this blog about techniques for selling old books in general and textbooks in particular, this is a bit of cover for the fact that I keep a vast quantity of books for myself, including a large number of textbooks in my chosen field of Anthropology.
Looking through ODP.com's reasons, I find a few of them resonate. In particular the importance of old books for reference; in anthropology we rely upon extensive texts called "ethnographies" over articles and for much of what I do, a book is a necessary and good thing. My medical doctor friend says the same about his anatomy books. I also lend many of my books to colleagues (always put your name in them!), one of ODP's other ideas.
Their idea of visuals is a neat one: obsolete books could be scavenged for their images for collages, wrapping paper, etc. The use of books for decoration I find amusing, though I do have a few nice leather books in my living room, most of my useful textbooks are far too beat up to be decorative.
This leaves two of their uses: donation to homeschoolers and to charity. I've actually found that obsolete textbooks are not appreciated at most charities, in particular library book sales that look askance upon such things. The relevance of most college-level texts to homeschoolers seems a bit of a stretch, you'd have to find just the right student I suppose. Moreover, if a book is still relevant enough for a homeschooler, it's still probably relevant enough for me!
I find that obsolete textbooks, if they're not cut up for pretty pictures are, unfortunately, often only bound for the recycling, but I do appreciate ODP's enthusiasm.