How To Sell Textbooks

stack of books

You generally have three options: sell online, sell to local bookstores, or sell to your friends. Below is an in-depth guide that explains the pros and cons of each option and how you can hopefully end up with the most cash in your pocket. When some books can cost upwards of three hundred dollars, recouping some of that expense can go a long way.

1) Sell Online (2 Options)

  1. Sell them Yourself -The most common method is to create an Amazon seller account, create a listing for each book, and sell directly to the consumer. While this method takes the most work, it can yield the highest returns. Ebay used to be a thing, but I don't think you'll get a very good price on there, nor do I know anyone who routinely shops there. Amazon is your best bet.

    Amazon does charge $0.99 per item if it sells, and if you want to sell more than forty items per month, Amazon has a subscription plan that can bring listing fees down even more. Check out the individual seller account help page for more details on fees.

  2. Sell to Buyback Companies -A number of online companies buy and re-sell textbooks, and some of them distribute to university bookstores on campuses all over the country. They will give you an instant quote for any book, and most of them provide a printable, free shipping label. For in-demand books, offers can be very good - sometimes over $100. But they won't just buy any book - it has to be one they can resell.class_selector

    Even if you want to sell the book yourself on Amazon, buyback websites are a great place to get a ballpark estimate on where to set the price - you can look at the highest offer from the buyback companies and set your price even higher (no middleman). And you can use them to figure out if your book is even worth enough to make selling creating a listing worth your time.

    Selling to a buyback company online is by far the easiest option, and it is kind of like selling back to the campus bookstore. But the trick is you can compare offers from multiple companies and choose the highest one. If you have multiple books, just ship them out individually to whichever companies give you the highest bid. However, some have 'buyback minimums' which often means that to get free shipping, the total value you are selling has to be over a certain amount (sometimes $50). It is a way for the buyback companies to stay profitable. Here is a list of top buyback companies. You can also compare offers from these companies using the form below.

2) Sell Locally

If you are a student, this is really easy - just take your books to the campus bookstore, but you are limited to whatever the bookstore is willing to pay. Depending on inventory, you may get high or low offers. If you are in a college down, try off campus bookstores - they may or may not give you a better offer. To be most successful, the trick is to sell immediately after final exams, once you no longer need your books. Don't wait a few days - go immediately after your test. Once other students start selling their books, inventory goes up, and buyback offers go down. Here is a handy tool to find bookstores nearby, including campus bookstores.

3) Sell To Your Friends

This is the best option but requires you to know a good many people at your school that are in the same major as you and need your books next semester. I think for smaller schools and community colleges this works better because people typically know each other more - many students at community colleges went to high school together. At larger universities, this is not so easy unless you are in a really tight-knit major or program. Some schools have book swap platforms, but most large universities want their students to go through the campus bookstore.

For many of the big schools, you can find Facebook groups for trading/selling textbooks, but they are not normally a viable way to sell or buy a used book. It's more just a stream of random books people post that don't match up to the classes you are taking.

3) Parting Advice

I recommend doing a combination of the above - trade or sell to friends if possible. Then compare online buyback offers, and try the campus bookstors to see if it can match the online offers. Then you can make a decision on whether the online offers are good enough to justify the work of packing up your books and shipping them off. Sometimes the bookstore wins becuase it's just easier, even though it may pay slightly less.

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