In this post: What college student couldn't use some extra cash? Or, maybe you're the parent footing the bill and providing free storage for a bunch of used textbooks nobody wants. Today, we are looking at the Amazon Textbook Buyback Program. Get those books out of your garage in exchange for some always appreciated Amazon store credit.
When you’re in the college circuit, May and December mean two things: the end of classes, and textbook buyback season.
Many booksellers and resellers, especially those close to campuses, are in the practice of buying used textbooks from students. It’s a win both for the businesses and for the students — as long as the used books can be bought back and sold. But with the rise of selling and reselling books online, even more options are now available for offloading your used textbooks. At the forefront of the trend is, of course, Amazon, which is at its inception was an online bookstore (though it’s become much, much more since then).
The great news for college students is that Amazon offers you yet another way to make money off your old textbooks, especially when the shop down the street won’t buy your chemistry books back because the professor is using a different textbook next semester.
Don’t let your books go to waste even if they aren’t going to be used on your own campus next semester! Here’s how to make money with Amazon’s textbook buyback program.
How Much the Textbook Buyback Program Pays
On Amazon’s textbook buyback page, the headline states that you can get as much as 80% of the purchase price back on your old textbooks. That’s about as good a deal as you’ll find anywhere if you can get it on your books! Not every book can be bought back, of course, and not every book will call for 80%, but the books I randomly tested (borrowing from course listings at the nearby university) usually were worth anywhere from 25% to 50% of the new price.
How to Use the Program
To find out how much each specific book will be worth in the program, visit the textbook buyback site. There, you can enter the ISBN of each book you want to sell. What pops up next looks like a search results page, but look over on the far right. If the book qualifies for the program, you’ll have a clickable link that gives you the option to do a trade-in and tells you how much the trade-in value is.
Once you click on that link, you’ll be taken to a page that asks you a few questions about the condition of the book you’re selling back. Answer these truthfully — Amazon is known to be extremely picky with their trade-in program, and if they don’t get their books in the condition you list, they may be rejected.
After that, you just pick your return shipping address and you’re good to go! You can keep adding books to your trade-in order, or if you’re done, hit the yellow Confirm Trade-In button.
The next step is to package up your books, print off the free mailing label, and get them on their way to Amazon. Once they’re received and verified, you’ll receive a credit for your total trade-in value.
The Only Catch
Amazon’s textbook buyback program is part of their greater trade-in program. This is a great program for selling your unwanted books and other media. So while you’re trading in your textbooks, look for other books, music, video games, and electronics you can send in for even more money!
The caveat with the trade-in program is that you don’t get paid in cash. Payments are made in Amazon gift cards. For many people, this is as good as cash — especially because you can use those credits to turn around and buy your books for next semester.
But if you’re interested in the program because you need the little green pieces of paper fast, the Amazon textbook buyback program isn’t going to be the best option for you. You’ll be better off looking for local bookstores with a textbook buyback program.
How to Maximize Your Amazon Textbook Buyback Results
Once you’re up and running with the textbook buyback program, there are a few tips and shortcuts you can use to maximize your trade-in values.
First, look at the criteria they want for their trade-in books. Keep your textbooks as clean as you can over the course of the semester, refrain from writing your name and other notes in the cover, and protect them from water damage or excessive wear and tear. This will help you have better odds with trading in next semester.
Second, turn your trade-in credits around to buy your textbooks for next semester. Plan ahead for this! Really stretch your dollars by looking at the new and used options for each book you need to buy. If you’re early enough, you’ll be able to pay way less than sticker price and save yourself a bundle.
Third, buying your textbooks on Amazon makes it even easier to resell them. When the time comes, check the textbook buyback program at the end of next semester. If you’re logged in, you’ll have a list of options right there on the page for your previous purchases that qualify. This makes the process even easier in the future, saving you both time and money.
And as I mentioned before, the textbook buyback program is part of their trade-ins, so always be looking for other media you can add to your trade-in order to get even more back in credits.