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Advanced Potion-Making (by Libatius Borage!) was used for sixth year Potions classes. Canon does not make clear whether it was also used for seventh year Potions, so I'm going to presume it was only the sixth years' textbook. Slughorn passes out two battered copies of Advanced Potion-Making to Harry and Ron, and Harry ends up with Snape's old textbook, as we know. A few relevant passages from Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows:

Harry bent low to retrieve the book and, as he did so, he saw something scribbled along the bottom of the back cover in the same small, cramped handwriting as the instructions that had won him his bottle of Felix Felicis, now safely hidden inside a pair of socks in his trunk upstairs.

This Book is the Property of the Half-Blood Prince

Half-Blood Prince - page 183 - Bloomsbury - chapter nine, The Half-Blood Prince

‘SECTUMSEMPRA!’ bellowed Harry from the floor, waving his wand wildly.

Blood spurted from Malfoy’s face and chest as though he had been slashed with an invisible sword. He staggered backwards and collapsed on to the waterlogged floor with a great splash, his wand falling from his limp right hand.

Half-Blood Prince - page 489 - Bloomsbury - chapter twenty-four, Sectumsempra

‘You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? It was I who invented them – I, the Half-Blood Prince! And you’d turn my inventions on me, like your filthy father, would you? I don’t think so ... no!’

Half-Blood Prince - page 563 - Bloomsbury - chapter twenty-eight, The Flight of the Prince

Snape?’ shouted Harry. ‘You didn’t say –’

‘He lost his hood during the chase. Sectumsempra was always a speciality of Snape’s. I wish I could say I’d paid him back in kind, but it was all I could do to keep George on the broom after he was injured, he was losing so much blood.’

Deathly Hallows - page 66 - Bloomsbury - chapter five, Fallen Warrior

There is no question Snape is the Half-Blood Prince, or that Harry got hold of Snape's former textbook; as well as useful potion-making information, it also contained rather questionable (Levicorpus) and downright dangerous original spells (Sectumsempra).

Not only did Snape have the opportunity to secure his copy of Advanced Potions Making at the end of his sixth year, I'm guessing he had all of his seventh year to destroy, hide, or keep the book as well. Also, he had at least five years as Hogwarts' known Potions master to ensure the book was kept away from the students.

As Potions master, Snape would have had access to all inventory relating to the Potions classes, including Hogwarts' copies of any potions textbooks. It would seem likely, while arranging or cleaning his classroom and stores, Snape would have come across his old textbook at some point. I personally think he would've recognized it. So, to ensure the book didn't fall into students' hands:

Why didn't Snape keep or secure his copy of Advanced Potion-Making?

(Or did Snape want a student to find it for boastful personal reasons, just as Tom Riddle used the diary Horcrux to take credit for the Basilisk and being the Heir of Slytherin?)

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None that I know of. He might have left it there on purpose so as to help some other student with Potions, with all the hacks he had found about. Or it might have gotten left behind by accident, which isn't very improbable either. –  ash_k29 Apr 30 '14 at 7:23
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I think as a student Professor Snape did not own the book. Hogwarts has bought that copy and had lent it to students, but they had to return it after the end of the year so that other students could use it. –  b_jonas Apr 30 '14 at 9:16
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Snape kept a scanned copy in his Evernote account.. Cloud rules everywhere. –  S S Apr 30 '14 at 15:27
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except at Hogwarts, where muggle technology doesn't work –  user13267 Apr 30 '14 at 16:03
    
@user13267: maybe it still did at Snape's time? Pre-1980, who knows? ...oh, wait... –  leftaroundabout May 1 '14 at 18:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 50 down vote accepted

The book was probably left in the cupboard by Snape as a personal reference, and found by Slughorn when he took over the class. Of course, after many years of referring to it, Snape probably knows everything in it completely from memory, and he doesn’t need to look at the book any more.

Harry and Ron only get textbooks from the cupboard because they didn’t buy copies beforehand, which is fairly unusual. When Snape was running the course, you’d know whether you were taking Potions to NEWT before you started the class (and Snape isn’t the one to make exceptions).

It sounds as if Slughorn expects them to borrow them, then return them when they have their own:

“Ah, yes, Professor McGonagall did mention… not to worry, my dear boy, not to worry at all. You can use ingredients from the store cupboard today, and I’m sure we can lend you some scales, and we’ve got a small stock of old books here, they'll do until you can write to Flourish and Blotts….

Prior to Slughorn taking the position, the copy was quite secure.

Somehow I don’t imagine Snape being so generous. You turn up without the textbook? Tough, five points from Gryffindor. Ten for talking back. And another fifteen at the end of the class when you can’t finish the potion.

There was probably never a risk that a student would get that book in one of Snape’s classes, and the possibility only opened up when Slughorn took over the class.

I imagine that in earlier years, Snape would have been more careful, but he has a lot on his mind – the ongoing war with Voldemort, his Unbreakable Vow, and preparing a DADA course – an old notebook that he hasn’t looked at in years probably isn’t top of his mind of things to remove when sanitizing his old classroom.

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"another fifteen at the end of the class when you can’t finish the potion" or twenty for getting Hermione to help them –  Kevin Apr 30 '14 at 14:41

Snape was poor when he went to Hogwarts, he had to use borrowed books and then return them to the school.

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Do you have reference about that ? –  Luc M Apr 30 '14 at 20:29
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@LucM - well, there's canon info that he was poor. However, I don't know of any that said he had to borrow books (even Weasleys' didn't) –  DVK May 1 '14 at 1:54
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This book is the property of The Half Blood Prince. It was written in the book's first page, at least in the movie. –  hims056 Jul 25 '14 at 17:29
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@hims056 It is also written in the book. I mean in Harry Potter HBP, not in Advanced Potion-Making. Well, no. It's written in both. You get what I mean... ;) –  algiogia Jan 26 at 8:58
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@hims056 And of course kids never write in books that don't belong to them... –  Rawling Jan 26 at 9:38

I think that Dumbledore, had Snape leave the book and place a spell on the book so Harry would retrieve it and knew harry would win the "Good Luck" (Felix Felicis) potion, and retrieve the needed memory, I'd doubt if much happens at Hogwarts by accident.

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Is this fanfic or are you basing this on any actual canon evidence? –  Richard Jul 23 '14 at 18:08
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Do you have any evidence to support this? Dumbledore's good but there are a million easier, and more surefire ways to get the potion to Harry. He could have simply ASKED Slughorn to help him make one "For experience" since Sluggy loves him so much. Furthermore, the potion, IIRC, wasn't part of Dumbledore's plan: he simply wanted Harry to persuade him, and he was too damn clumsy to do it. After all, Dumbledore could have taken Felix Felicis to get it himself -- he expected Harry to do it, as Hermione said, in a way no one else could. The fact that Harry messed that up wasn't Albus' plan, IIRC. –  Mac Cooper Jul 23 '14 at 18:11

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