In a world of rising education costs, the price tag on one semester’s worth of school books alone is enough to make anyone choke. It’s a widely lamented fact that most college textbooks are awfully expensive, only used for a few months, and then become some incredibly pricey doorstops. What if it didn’t have to be this way? What if you could recoup some of those costs?
This is the part where I get to tell you that the textbook resale market is alive and well – and I’ve got the details on how and where to sell your used books.
Tips for Preparing to Sell Your Used Textbooks
If you’re planning to sell your college textbooks, it’s important to keep them in good condition – the state of your book determines how much you’ll be able to recoup when you sell it. Avoid marking the book, so don’t highlight passages or write in the margins. Try to avoid eating or drinking while studying as well, and keep your book shelved when it’s not in use. Anything you can do to minimize wear and tear on the book as you’re using it will help assure a maximum return once you’re ready to sell it on.
Another important tip for selling your old textbooks is to do it as soon as you’re finished with the book. Don’t wait – prices can and will drop when a book becomes less popular or if a new edition is released. While you leave it on your bookshelf, you could be losing any chance of reclaiming the money you spent in the first place. Given how pricey textbooks often are, that’s no small chunk of change!
10 Places to Sell Your Used Textbooks
If you’ve ever attended college in person, you probably know that you can sell your books back to the university bookstore at the end of the semester. But did you know that you can sell your books online as well? You can, and often for a better return on investment than you can get at the physical bookstore. I’ve rounded up 10 of the top companies you may wish to check with before selling your used textbooks offline.
Bookfinder has been around since 1997, and is proud of the fact they've been recommended in august publications like Forbes and the New York Times – they also are partnered with buyers who purchase over a million titles – just enter your ISBN on their site, see every offer for your title, and choose the best one. You don't pay shipping either – their buyers do that.
Bookscouter works with 42 buyback vendors, and they also compare all prices offered based on your title – just search by ISBN number. You have the opportunity to review seller feedback before choosing which vendor to sell your used textbook. You also ship for free with them, and they have a mobile app available for both Android and iOS that makes it even easier to check buyback offers for your books.
When selling to TextbookRush, you start by searching with your used book’s ISBN to see if they're currently buying copies of your textbook. If they are, you'll next need to verify you have a US Student Edition of the book in question – if you have another edition, you can follow a link to see if they're buying your particular version of the book. Otherwise, you'll sell your book, they'll give you a prepaid shipping label, and then pay you through cash, Paypal, or store credit. Once you get a quote for your book, that quote is good for seven days.
Chegg prides themselves on offering some of the lowest prices on textbooks – and they buy used textbooks, too. As with any other buyback process, start by entering the ISBN from your book and discover how much they'll pay. If you decide to sell, they provide a shipping label for you to print and use; you can expect payment after they receive your book or in about 10-15 business days.
Cash4Books purchases textbooks in over 15 subject areas, which you can explore on their site – or simply type in the ISBN from your used textbook to get started. They don't charge any fees for their service and will pay for shipping your books to them. It takes about 13 days for you to receive your payment after you submit your transaction and receive instructions on how to mail your books; you’ll receive your payment either as a check or a PayPal payment.
You can sell your books on Amazon using a Marketplace individual seller account – note that you won't be able to sell more than 40 books this way. You essentially create a listing for the book you have to sell, including identifying the condition of your book and setting your selling price, then wait for a purchaser. For some books, Amazon may offer trade-in prices where you can sell your book to them in exchange for Amazon credit.
Decluttr doesn't just take your unwanted movies or video games – they'll also purchase used textbooks. You can use the search bar on the site and enter barcodes to find out what they'll pay for each item, or you can download their app and use your phone's camera to scan barcodes. If you decide to sell to them, they'll pay for shipping and insure the package. They pay next day after your item is received at their warehouse and checked over – you can choose to receive your payment via PayPal or check, through direct deposit, or you can donate it to charity.
There are two ways to sell used textbooks on eCampus.com. First, you can participate in their standard buyback program: enter the ISBN from your textbook into their search bar and get an offer. If you accept it, they'll pay you through a check, direct deposit, or PayPal. You can also receive a bonus in many cases if you choose to receive in-store credit rather than cash. The second way to sell your textbooks is by signing up for their Marketplace, and listing your book for sale there. All of their customers will see your listing, and eCampus.com just takes 15% when you make a sale. They’ll also send you a shipping credit to help defray the cost of shipping when you make a sale.
CampusBooks.com is another comparison site – enter your ISBN to compare buyback prices on your used textbook. Once you select an offer, you'll complete your sale on the merchant's website. Many merchants will provide free shipping, and the method of payment will depend on the specific merchant as well. CampusBooks.com is a facilitator to connect you with other merchants, and they provide some great tips for helping you get the most for your used books.
Bookbyte purchases used textbooks directly from you so long as the books meet their resalable conditions. As with any other resale site, enter the ISBN from your book to discover what they're paying for that title, or if they're accepting it at all. If you like their price, agree to it, ship them your book, and they'll pay you between 4-14 days after you've shipped. They pay via check or PayPal, and they also pay for shipping.
Ready to sell? Click through to one of the sites above, and make sure you’re getting the biggest bucks for your books.