Selling graduate textbooks

Once upon a time I realized that limited edition graduate texts in myField might go out of print some day and I decided to establish my own “little” library by buying them before they went out of print. In retrospect this was stupid. The reason is that graduate level texts are generally only useful while one is actually on the graduate level. After that most information is acquired from published papers. This even goes for the graduate textbooks which also reference papers. Another problem is that the information slowly gets outdated. It is rare that some information will turn out to be wrong, except when a famous researcher refuses to let go of his pet theory and invents steadily more elaborate patched to fit his old theory to reality, yet the textbooks will obviously and inevitably contain outdated information.

Therefore I have started listing my books on amazon. Surprisingly, many of them sell for quite a bit of money. After all, they’re not part of those double digit edition text books that make a select number of professors very rich and a huge number of students fairly poor(*).

(*) One suggestion to college students is to buy textbooks used 1 or 2 editions back. They typically cost less than $5 compared to the new price of ~$100. And if some book is in its 12th edition you can bet that the incremental changes are very small at this point.

Now the question is whether to also sell those proceedings where I actually got a paper of my own in – oh the nostalgia. I suppose I could always check it out from a library should I feel so inclined.

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Originally posted 2008-07-29 16:11:48.