At the end of each semester, have you found yourself staring at your desk wondering where on earth you could sell your used textbooks? I mean, you probably don’t want to see them again. And throwing them out is obviously wasteful.
Well, what if I told you that there are some great options out there where you could sell at best rates and put some extra cash in your pocket?
If you’re keen to know the best places to sell textbooks, then sit tight and let’s dig in!
Why sell your textbooks?
Before we start, you may be wondering why you should even sell your textbooks in the first place?
If you have some books that you treasure and that will be valuable to your education in the future, then sure, you may want to hold on to them.
However, there are certainly other textbooks that have nothing to do with your major or that you know you will never open again.
If you have these, then selling them will bring many benefits including:
An opportunity to declutter
Books take up space and they gather dust easily. If you’re looking to have a more spacious living area, selling your old textbooks can be a great way to declutter your space.
Additionally, if you’ve ever had to move, you’ll likely know that books are no fun to deal with. Unless you’re a weightlifter, you’ve probably found books to be quite a workout come moving time. So why not sell them?
The ability to save more money
It never hurts to have more cash. Ever. Selling your textbooks can be a great way to accomplish this. Not only will you be able to get the books into the hands of someone else who needs it, but you’ll also be able to give a little boost to your savings account.
Extra funds to go towards paying off debt
Paying down debt if you have any should always a top priority when it comes to your financial wellness. Doing so with side hustle income will get you ahead of the game in no time. Any incremental dollars you use to pay off your debt now will save you a ton of money in future interest expenses. While money from selling your textbooks might not seem like a lot up front, it can certainly help with covering one or two monthly loan payments.
Extra fund to go towards new textbooks
If you still have a few more semesters before graduation, you may consider using the proceeds from selling your current textbooks to buy new ones. Not only is this a smart financial decision, it saves you from using any additional hard-earned dollars that could be spent on other meaningful pursuits.
12 of the best places to sell your textbooks
If you’re ready to get the most for your textbooks, you’ll definitely want to check out the list below!
1. Half Price Books
Over the years, rumors of the death of the traditional bookstore spread like wildfire. Big names like Borders closed and Kindle threatened to dominate the book space. But its not over till it's over for bookstores and many are still thriving.
Half Price Books is one such brand that’s been going strong since 1972. With over 120 stores across the country, the company stands as the largest family bookstore in the country selling not just used textbooks, but also music, movies, games, and collectibles.
The process of selling your books to them is pretty easy.
All you have to do is take your old books to your local Half Price Books store and they’ll give you cash in return. The primary factors they consider when buying your used books are 1) condition and 2) supply and demand. An offer will only be made once they see the book in person and accept it in their inventory.
If you’re looking for an online bookstore that lets you sell, buy or even rent new and used books, look no further than Books Run.
To get started with selling your old books, all you have to do is to enter the ISBN number of the book you wish to sell and hit search. You’ll then be taken to what they call the “seller cart” where you can check the book out.
After checking the book out, you’ll be able to print the prepaid shipping label and send your books within 5 days of creating the order.
Before selling be sure to read their Terms & Conditions to understand what they mean by “New,” “Used - Very Good,” and “Used – Acceptable.”
3. Book Finder
If you’re shopping for the best rates, Book Finder can help you do just that.
Once you enter in your books ISBN number, the site will aggregate offers you can receive from various bookstores letting you see the best price you can get.
What’s really cool is that the price you’re quoted is the price you will really get in your pocket because there are no hidden fees. Shipping costs are included.
Among the millions of items sold on Amazon are textbooks. Amazon has a textbook buyback program that will pay you up to 80% of the book’s retail price if it meets their requirements.
Not a fan of their buyback program?
You can still make a sale on Amazon as an independent seller which would require you to create your own listing and to pay for and manage shipping to the buyer. Amazon will hold about 15% in commissions so this together with shipping costs, will be worth keeping in mind when calculating your margins.
5. Barnes & Noble
Believe it or not, Barnes and Noble will buy back your used textbooks. Their process is just as simple as many of the other options included here and they pay a fair market rate.
Their only condition? You must have at least $10 worth of books to sell.
By entering your book’s ISBN number on Chegg, the popular textbook sales site, you get instant access to quotes for your used textbooks. Once you’re satisfied, all you need to do is to ship your books to Chegg for free. You can print your free shipping label from the site and then drop off the package at your local UPS store.
Chegg promises to pay you as quickly as humanly possible but with shipping and processing windows, it can come to 10 to 15 days.
You might think it's pointless to sell books that are not in excellent condition but that’s where BookByte steps in. Based out of Oregon, BookByte will accept a range of books – those in great condition and those with some damage (as long as they are still usable).
8. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook offers numerous ways to get your textbook out there, with the best being Facebook Marketplace.
When you list your textbooks on Facebook Marketplace, they are visible to anyone on Marketplace and in News Feed, search and on and off Facebook.
Once you’re on facebook.com, click on Marketplace in the left menu.
Click “Sell something” then click “Item for Sale” and enter all your details.
You’ll be able to upload 10 photos with your post ensuring that buyers get to really see the quality of your books.
Once a buyer sees and wants your book, they will be able to send you a message and once you reach an agreement on price, you can meet the buyer in person to make the exchange.
The most important thing to remember when selling on Facebook: safety first when meeting buyers.
One relatively old school (in digital years) but effective way of selling books online is doing so through eBay, the online auction site.
To get started, you will need to set up an eBay account and enter your Paypal information. There will be minimal auction fees associated with each sale and you can have these automatically deducted from your Paypal account.
Like other sites, you will be asked to enter the ISBN number of the book, note its condition, state your price and enter the cost of shipping.
There is also a comments section where you can add any additional information. Use it. You can add details such as whether the book has a straight jacket or add more information about special features such as a bonus CD or workbook that the book comes along with.
The more detail you can provide, the more likely you’ll be to make a sale because people like knowing they are buying from a real person.
10. Second-hand bookstores near you
Bookstores in your area can be another great place to sell your used textbooks.
Indie bookstores can be a great place to get cash back for your used textbooks. Sometimes they will give you store credit instead.
To be most efficient in your research, be sure to call them ahead of time to confirm if they take used textbooks.
To see the best bookstores in your state, check out this list.
11. Valore Books
Another great textbook comparison option is ValoreBooks. The site lets you enter your ISBN and then it automatically pulls prices from buyers from all over making sure you get top dollar for your textbooks.
What’s also amazing about their site is that if you find a better price elsewhere, you can let them know and they’ll match it!
Ecampus prides itself on being an easy and reliable platform for selling your textbooks. Once a sale has been made, you can receive payment by Paypal, check, direct deposit or as a store credit.
There are no listing fees and no hidden fees associated with your sale. However, the site does charge a 15% commission of each sale that is completed. About 1 million students use eCampus which is plenty of traffic for your book sales!
Tips on how to get the best price when you sell your textbooks
If you want to maximize your returns from selling a book, you can do so with just a few easy steps:
Books that have been sitting for a while can always do with a quick clean up. If your books have been sitting on a shelf gathering dust (literally), you can start by simply blowing the dust off the edges.
If the dust is stubborn, use a soft toothbrush or an old towel to do the heavy lifting for you.
Interiors may need a facelift too. Often with textbooks, you may find yourself writing in them with a pencil from time to time which undoubtedly leaves sketch marks. Smudges and pencil marks can easily be removed with an eraser to give the pages a fresh, clean look.
As you go through the semester, be mindful not to eat or drink around the book to minimize the risk of spillage and book stains.
If a book is not well protected, especially a softcover one, its pages can easily rip at the edges.
Each time you buy new books, be sure to protect them from wear and tear.
If a book is not handled with care, it can easily become vulnerable to rips or creases.
The best way to protect against that is to ensure that your books are properly secured against a hard surface either in your bag or when you bring them home.
Be clear about the condition in your listing
Nowadays, transparency is everything. If you’re looking to make a great sale, the more honest and upfront you can be about the condition of the book, the better. People love detail so that they know exactly what they’re getting.
Does the book have a coffee stain in the middle? Be sure to include that.
You want to ensure that the buyer is happy with their purchase and if you’re planning on selling other books in the future, their positive review from this sale will make a world of difference.
Take great photos
Photos, especially good ones, bring a book to life for a potential customer.
If you have a book that you’re selling online, it is absolutely essential to make sure that you have clear, bright and well-staged photos. No need for fancy equipment – your phone will do.
But the key is to capture the book from many angles and to demonstrate that it truly matches the details in the description you included.
Alternatives to selling your textbooks
Don't want to sell your textbooks? Or perhaps you can't get a good enough deal on your old editions to make selling worth your time? Here are a couple of good alternatives that you can try.
Donate your textbooks to your local library or schools
Libraries typically welcome donations of like-new and gently used books that they use to restock their shelves or sell at fundraising events. Not all books are accepted but if the library feels that your books would be valuable to their collection, they will likely accept the donation.
Donate your textbooks to Goodwill
Another great place to donate your used books is to your local Goodwill.
Goodwill accepts donations of almost every item, including textbooks which they will then resell to the public.
The coolest thing about donating to Goodwill? Its that you’re actually doing good for your local community. The money from the sale of items goes into job training and providing services for people in your community.
Now you are well equipped to get the most bang from your used textbook sales!