It’s That Time of Year: Schoolbooks

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I guess now that I have been blogging for over a year, it’s only natural that I will want to revisit some topics. Here’s what I wrote about schoolbooks last summer:

Books: Israeli children are expected to bring their own books. Younger children’s books are cheaper, but they are mostly workbooks that cannot be reused (although I often try to). Older children’s books are more expensive but they can be bought used and resold. The best arrangement I have is with a friend whose youngest is a year ahead of my daughter. She routinely passes on to me what I need. Usually at least one book is new for my daughter’s year. The publishers are also notorious for “updating” the textbooks every few years. Sometimes she asks me to pay her, sometimes not. Even if I pay her we avoid the middleman of the used bookstore and it is a good deal for both of us. Some books I have from my older children; this year I have about half. Another option is to trade back and forth with a family with different aged kids. I have found full price books run about NIS400-700 per child. It’s been a long time since I bought all full-price so that may be an underestimate. Anyway, if anyone has some high school physics books please let me know; I need them. Will buy or trade!! I have some chemistry books.

I think the situation has gotten worse. My son just finished tenth grade, and my daughter will need a completely different set of math books for eighth grade. I just went through the books I have saved and put them in piles to try to sell or donate (see above for a partial view). I don’t think I will have much luck selling those old books.

I have made two mistakes over the years: 1) Not going to the summer book sales held by a small number of schools (I guess I used to think that I should buy new books for my kids, in order to hand them down) and 2) Saving books for kids more than two grades younger. Keep in mind that there are so many choices nowadays that two different schools will rarely use the same books.

As always, I hope the younger parents reading here can learn from my mistakes.

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  1. I get rid of EVERYTHING at the end of the year. Whatever the store will have, that is… wouldn’t you know that I brought in a BRAND NEW work book, bought at THAT SHOP barely one year ago and it’s NEVER been used, spine isn’t even cracked (school’s requirements are wasting my money) – and the store will not take it back, citing a brand new edition for the coming school year!!!!!! Do I just throw out that UNUSED workbook?
    So, I figure it’s best to get rid of everything every year, as long as they’ll take it.

  2. RaggedyMom says:

    Regarding general school supplies, not specifically books – I was 5 when we moved to America, but my brothers were 9 and 12, and I know that what always totally baffled my mother were the lists of increasingly complex art supplies they needed – most of which she could barely identify!
    Good luck with your back-to-school prep!

  3. mominisrael says:

    Tamiri, some organizations are collecting donations of school books. Email me.
    RM–I only once had that problem, when the first grade art teacher insisted on Talent waterpaints, at NIS200+. I just bought something cheaper, but other parents complained and the request was retracted.

  4. Good luck. It seems to be a huge mess.
    I will say, though, as a kid, I MUCH preferred workbooks… it meant less to schlep and usually less work (b/c you didn’t have to copy the questions out of the book.)

  5. mominisrael says:

    Thanks for asking about KCC–I haven’t gotten too many entries. It’s time to write a pleading post.

  6. Since there are zillions of new and revised books every year, reusing them is getting rare, like an honest politician.
    As an English teacher, it’s tough to choose good books.
    How’s KCC?


  1. […] high cost of textbooks. I’ve been buying schoolbooks for 15 years now—I’ve written several posts on the topic—and this is the worst year […]