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What to do when your bookshelf is overstuffed but your wallet isn’t

Victoria Dudys | Fulcrum Staff

Photo by Adam Feibel

DURING MY FOUR years at the University of Ottawa, I’ve managed to accumulate quite a large stack of books. Majoring in English literature with a minor in history has made my collection of novels and textbooks pretty vast. With a sizeable dent in my bank account and dwindling space in my tiny apartment, I’ve come to realize it’s time to start sorting through the paper.

It’s a familiar sentiment among students, and a common question: what to do with all those books?

Sell them

This is a pretty obvious choice, but finding places that offer decently high prices for your books is difficult. The U of O bookstore does buybacks, but I haven’t received anything higher than $15 for a $100 textbook—never mind cheaper novels and anthologies. Agora, the student-run bookstore at 145 Besserer St., claims to buy back at higher prices than the university bookstore, and a shop near Carleton University called Haven Books (43 Seneca St.) also offers decent deals. Another option is to go to websites like, where U of O and Carleton students can sell and buy books from each other.

Donate them

Jump on the thrift bandwagon and help people pop some tags. Those books with the mystifying $2.99 price tag at Value Village have to come from somewhere. The statistics textbook that repeatedly put you in a coma might be incredibly valuable to someone who can’t afford to buy it anywhere else.

Upcycle them

I know as an English student I should probably be cursing anyone who rips apart literature, but it’s a great way to avoid being wasteful and to create something new. A simple Google search of “upcycling books” will show you the vast array of options at your disposal. Websites like Pinterest can help with ideas on how to recycle your reading materials, like home decor, bookmarks, and gift wrap.

Whether you’ve decided to sell your books for some bills or recreate your collection by upcycling, I recommend you put a bit of thought into which books you actually want to get rid of—there might be a textbook you want to reference later or a novel you want to reread. Parting with books too soon is just as traumatic as sitting through the classes you bought them for in the first place. Be smart with your book rummaging and you’ll feel a lot better about the amount of spring cleaning that awaits you after exam season is done.


  • Spring 2022: Desiree Nikfardjam Fall 2021: Zofka Svec 2020-2021: Aisling Murphy 2019-2020: Ryan Pepper 2018-2019: Iain Sellers 2017-2018: Ryan Pepper