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Last Minute Gift Idea: Textbooks

To Sell: Half a Dozen Textbooks by Nina Scaletti on FlickrYou may feel funny getting the student in your life something as totally lame as textbooks for a gift. But if they’re cash-strapped like I was over the course of my education, it may end up being the gift they appreciate most this season. It feels like a big weight has been lifted when you go to buy textbooks knowing that the price of them is already taken care of.

How to Give Textbooks as a Gift

Logistically, this gets a little tricky. There are a couple ways you could do it:

  1. Give the student a handwritten (and signed!) IOU for one term’s textbooks. Put instructions on it that the student must email or give you a complete and accurate list of the textbooks they need as soon as possible. Once you have the textbook list, you can go ahead and purchase the books through your preferred textbook retailers, or hit up some of the ones in my textbook buying guide.
  2. Send the student a gift certificate to Chegg so that they can purchase or rent their textbooks from there. Chegg is my personal favorite textbook service, and I rented at least one textbook from them every term since their debut.
  3. For more flexibility, go with a gift certificate to Amazon and write out that it’s for textbooks… or anything else the student might want or need.
  4. I guess you could also go out, buy some random textbooks, gift wrap them, and hope for the best. I meant, who doesn’t love getting a pile of heavy books that may or may not be relevant to your classes?

And don’t feel like the lame friend or relative for giving textbooks instead of something fun. The fun gifts they may receive from other people will be more enjoyable without the cost of textbooks hanging over their head. Trust me.

*Disclosurery stuff: I have affiliate relationships with Chegg and Amazon. I don’t know if I get an sort of commission for gift certificates sold through Chegg, but the link does include a coupon code embedded in it, so it’s win-win. I receive a 6% commission for Amazon gift certificates. As with all of my affiliate relationships, I recommend these sites wholeheartedly with or without commission.

15 responses to “Last Minute Gift Idea: Textbooks”

  1. Mr Greengar

    This must be sarcasm. The last point — “I guess you could also go out, buy some random textbooks, gift wrap them, and hope for the best. I meant, who doesn’t love getting a pile of heavy books that may or may not be relevant to your classes?” — totally gives it away.

  2. Emily

    Great idea Stephanie! You know I went to school a while ago, and I don’t think any of these services were available at the time. I couldn’t believe the cost of textbooks, even 20 years ago.
    P.S. Even if you don’t get around to selling your text books for a few years, half.com was a viable source for me for re-selling. Listing was free at the time and the only applicable fees were if you happened to sell one, I haven’t checked lately though. And, Happy Holidays!

  3. Emily

    p.s. Chegg is AMAZING! Just checked out their website. I SO WISH Chegg was in business when I was in school.

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  5. Hiro

    I wouldn’t recommend option #1…it gets rid of the personal sincerely a bit too much. Gift card is still not as personal, but Amazon giftcard would work out better.

    The overall idea is great. Students could never run out of the need for textbooks.

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  7. JGomez

    This is good info. Never thought of giving text books as a gift. They tend to be really expensive

  8. niki

    do you know? there are several people out there who become sick when reading a book. Funny to imagine if they were given the gift of textbook.

    but, personally i love reading. for me that is good gift idea :D

  9. Martin

    Very nice gift idea Stephanie. I wish you a Happy New Year. Regards, Martin

  10. Anna CNA

    Hi, Stephanie

    This is rally very nice last min idea. I think there are lot of people out there who love reading, and for them it is a best gift. And I wish you a very happy new year.

    Thanks!

  11. Melanie

    My brother, a college student right now, suggested to me a Kindle for college students so they can download those heavy textbooks instead.

  12. Dave W

    This is great idea IMO. When I was a student I’d much rather have spent the £30 to £50 per textbook on enjoying myself. If I’d just have been given the money instead though it would have been gone in days. I still have the textbooks!

  13. Dave

    Hi Stephanie,

    It’s kind of a weird gift idea to be honest, but then again, thinking back to my uni days I would have actually loved it. Text books are so expensive!

  14. Mike Blankenship

    Great idea for the reason’s you stated!