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Date Posted: 1/21/2011 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2010
Posts: 10
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I don't know about you guys but I know I have textbooks I would like to get rid of, I look and lots of people are wishing for them. I would gladly post them, but I paid around 70$ each for the ones I am thinking of posting. Would it be outrageous to ask for a few more credits than just one for a book? I'm thinking I'm not the only one feeling this way and I feel textbooks may deserve a seperate section on here and cost a few more credits. I know I would be willing to trade a textbook for a reasonable amount of credits but not just one. 

Honestly would 4-5 credits be unreasonable for a book that costs anywhere in between 50 and 100 $?


Date Posted: 1/21/2011 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,631
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Unreasonable is in the eye of the beholder.

PBS is set up on a one book equals one credit system.  Asking for more than one credit for a book violates the site rules and can get you banned from the site.

If you feel your textbooks are worth more than the one PBS credit you would get for them here, you should sell them on another site and not post them here for credit.

Date Posted: 1/21/2011 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,631
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Here's the help center section about this:

Can I offer/ask more credits (more than PBS 'price') for a book?


  • A bound book "costs" 1 credit at PBS (no exceptions)

  • An audiobook "costs" 2 credits at PBS 

    • some "children's-length" audiocassette items cost 1 credit each

Offering to "pay" (or asking a requestor to "pay"--see below) more than "PBS price" for a book is not permitted. 


  • If the book is Wishlisted, offering more than the PBS "price" for the book may allow members to leapfrog over others in the Wish List for the book. This obviously is not fair.
  • Even if the book is not Wish Listed, a "free market" system could lead to "bidding" for a book, and auctions are NOT permitted on PBS.
  • One reason is that auctions are subject to state laws, and as PBS members belong to various states, this could be illegal.
  • The other reason is that we want all members to have a fair chance to get books on PBS.  Pitting those who have lots of credits to spare against those who don't have a lot of credits at the time goes against the very spirit of PBS--the fair sharing of books. Everybody equal.

Asking for more than "PBS price" for a book is considered bookselling

  • Bookselling is not permitted at PBS
  • If you feel that your book is too valuable (or too costly to ship) to be swapped for "PBS price", you should not Post it here.
  • If this is a matter of postage cost (your book is heavy), remember that you can also request a "heavy" book with the credit you get for sending yours--so it all evens out.


Date Posted: 1/21/2011 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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Plus, dividing the site into different sections would add extra confusion and difficulty. After all, there are a lot of different textbooks out there, with a wide range of prices. For instance: This semester alone, I got a law textbook that typically sells online for over $70 minimum for a used copy (well over $100 new), but I also got two English textbooks that currently sell for somewhere in the $20-30 range, which is roughly equal to the cost of some hardcovers or even some paperbacks. So, such a separated system would quickly become unfair. Add in the fact that some old textbooks have little selling value at all (such as the ones currently on my bookshelf), and things really begin to get complicated. That's why PBS is strictly one book for one credit. It keeps it simple and eliminates all confusion.

As Sarah said, if you feel one credit isn't a fair price for any book (textbook or otherwise) then you don't have to post it here. You're more than welcome to sell such books elsewhere. You could even use that money to buy credits if you wish. That's your choice to make. But, you have the advantage of knowing what the selling 'price' would be here for any book you offer, and so can make an educated decision on what to post here and what to do something else with. :0)

Edited for typos and to add: I know I most likely will be selling all my textbooks I don't keep on Amazon or another site, and not posting them here. I would actually encourage you to do the same, if the expense of the books is an issue for you. Most books I post to PBS even if they could maybe be sold for a bit more, but ones that are worth significantly more, I will sell elsewhere. So, nobody here will think any less of you for selling your expensive books rather than posting them here. I promise you.

Last Edited on: 1/21/11 11:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/21/2011 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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If you want more "value" out of your credits, use them on the higher "value" books. I never quite understand the reasoning of someone wanting to ask for more credits, because then the other people could too and in the end you net yourself into the same place in the end.

Last Edited on: 1/21/11 11:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/21/2011 11:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Amy, PBS is firm on the 1 book = 1 credit rule.

But there are other sites where you can sell your textbooks if you wish.  Amazon allows customers to post and sell used books/textbooks, and it seems a fairly simple procedure (just sign up to become an Amazon Vender).  Barnes & Noble has a similar service.

In addition, we're seeing lots of online venders offering to buy used textbooks.  TextbooksRus.com is one example, ValoreBooks.com is another (unfortunately I just emptied my e-mail garbage or I could post a couple more).

ETA - Abe is reported to buy textbooks.

Last Edited on: 1/23/11 3:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/22/2011 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 1,996
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I would consider posting your books to Ebay or Amazon since you paid so much for them.  You probably won't get the same amount that you paid for them, but you will get far more in return than 1 credit is worth on PBS. 

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I know I would be willing to trade a textbook for a reasonable amount of credits but not just one.

If everyone would post them and be happy with one credit, then there would a lot more text books you could chose from for only one credit.

So it would even out if people actually posted them.

But there's too many other places to sell textbooks than to worry about messing with the system here. 1 = 1 is part of what makes the site work, and stay easy to use. I'm hoping it stays that way.


Date Posted: 1/22/2011 2:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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Sell them elsewhere if you want more than a credit, though if they are over a year old it is highly unlikely that they will be worth anywhere near what you originally paid for them. 

Reasonability doesn't even come into it, what you want to do is against the rules.

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2009
Posts: 2,539
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I am not sure that the textbooks are ever worth what you pay retail and now there are venues that allow you to rent them. There are quite a few books on this site were worth more retail than others. Big books ,little books, hardbacks, autographed, well worn, etc. They all even out in the end. If it is a book I really want does it matter what it's  $$ worth?

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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As I am still in school I can understand why it is difficult to let go of a book that you shelled out $100 for only a semester ago for less than a tenth of what you paid for it. I've left the book buyback table at school in tears before. The fact is that textbooks in particular have a huge mark up and as soon as the next edition comes out (and they usually try to make a few minor changes every year) it isn't worth squat. Sometimes instructors will be kind enough to use an older book or will be aware of how little they differ and allow you to use whatever edition you can get your hands on, but more often than not they require you use that nice shiny new copy that the publisher sent to them for free. 

My philosophy is always if I can still resell it elsewhere and try to get something I can put towards my textbooks for next semester I will do so, but if people are listing copies for less than the cost of a credit on half.com I put it up here and hope it can be of some use to someone. 

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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DD just finished college . . . and I totally agree, the cost of textbooks is almost criminal.

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 7:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 31
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This is why everyone should rent their textbooks. When I went back to school, I saved close to $1000 by renting text books. I have a box of textbooks under my bed that are useless and I threw out a box of textbooks a month ago because they were taking up space. 

Last Edited on: 1/22/11 7:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/22/2011 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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Try selling them on campus to another student taking the course, and then on amazon or e-bay.  If you still can't get anything for them then you can try posting them here.

When I attended Rolla (Amazon came into existence while I was at school), there was a vivid underground of old textbook trading & selling.  Only the freshman and students who had more money than they needed actually got the "new" textbooks.  For the many of my classes I used textbooks that were 2 to 3 editions older than the "recommended" version with no problem.  And I can't even think about any of my professor even knowing about which edition I had (which either means they knew and didn't care or didn't care and never knew).  Then again, I only took two classes where the textbook was authored by the instructor (it seems this was frowned upon there given some comments I heard in student council), so they had little to no motivation to care about such things.

In grad school, I don't think I actually purchased any books that I knew weren't going to become permanent resource books for me (the ones that are on the shelf next to the dictionary and get pulled out even more often).  Course for more than one course there weren't any textbooks for the subject (we used photocopied journal articles, which for those who don't know is legal under the context it was used there, no longer sure of the specifics but it was based upon the amount of material used from the original publication and only for educational purposes) because the subject matter was too recent.

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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I actually ended up paying far less to straight-out buy each of my textbooks used from the Amazon Marketplace (in Like New/Very Good unmarked condition no less) than any rental prices I could find anywhere. So, it may be a good idea for some books, but definitely far from all of them. Plus, now they're mine, and I can at least try to get something back out of them later. But, even if I don't, it still cost me less. I don't think I'd likely rent books anyway, personally, unless I found a place whose policies and prices worked for me. Too many rental places allow what they deem to be 'minor' highlighting, notes, and underlining. Since highlighting gives me an instant migraine, I can't take the chance. A small amount of notes or underlining might be okay, but that wouldn't be, and I'd need a guarantee on it.

That being said, textbook prices really are rather ridiculous. But then, they know they basically have you stuck. If you need the book, you need the book. It's not like regular books, where if it's more expensive than you'd like, you can just choose not to buy it. There are very few classes out there where you can really get through it in good shape without using the textbook at all. So, they know that as long as their book is actively used in any classes, they can artificially inflate the price to whatever number they want. While it does cost a sizable amount to produce a high-quality textbook (not so much the printing process, as the writing and research and all that), which is the justification usually used for the prices, the multiple editions most are released in tend to do a great job to do way more than just recover those expenses. It's no coincidence that there are publishing companies that solely publish textbooks, and make great money in the process.

Date Posted: 1/22/2011 11:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,510
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I'm going to chime in here and mention the 'cost' of keeping the books...forever... until you do have a chance to sell them or trade them or whatever.  Which is basically what I did.  They do depreciate in value, but what is that the real cost to you, or value to someone else?.  I felt I spent so much on my textbooks back in the day and could never let them go (of course I should have sold them back at the end of the semester, but thought 'you never know, you might need it?!').  But after that and after more time passed, who was going to buy them?  So, for well over 25 years and through 8-9 moves I lugged them to each new place.  Heavy books, heavy boxes, piles of books, dusty, taking up space, depreciating in value, getting older, yellower, etc.  After a few years there was nowhere I could get rid of them.  But I couldn't let them go, due to the perceived value, value which I couldn't really get out of them.  Value only to someone who would want them.  And then, drum roll please, PBS.  So I have some maybe-$50 valued credits from my 80s texts.

My point is that you should sell them somewhere as soon as you can or you can hold on to them.  Or you can just trade them for something else to read.  A book is a book that you can read.  And a book is a book that you can trade for a new book.  Etc, ad infinitum.  And that is the value I have finally realized.