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The cost of college tuition has outpaced inflation, but the cost of textbooks has increased more than 800% since the 1970s.
I was extremely cost-conscious when I applied to college. My parents weren’t going to pay for everything, so I had to apply to schools I knew I could afford.
I knew the cost of tuition and the price of on-campus housing would be expensive. But I wasn’t prepared for the cost of textbooks. I couldn’t believe I’d spend hundreds of dollars on books each semester — almost as much as my meal plan.
When you’re paying so much for textbooks, you want to get as much money back for them as possible. That’s why knowing the best places to sell textbooks is so crucial.
When you’re taking out student loans to pay for everything, every dollar you get back is a dollar you don’t have to borrow.
Best Places to Sell Used Textbooks Online
With so many different sites that sell books online, you want to find the ones that offer the best prices.
BookScouter is an aggregate site. You type in the ISBN number and rather than getting one fixed price, you get a range of prices from more than 30 different buy-back sites. BookScouter is a good place to see what your options are before choosing where to sell your used textbooks.
Depending on the book’s popularity, you may not get offers from all 30 sites. At the very least, it’s a good starting point.
Decluttr makes textbook buyback easy. You download the app, use the app’s scanner to automatically scan the bar code, and wait for their price. If you agree to the price, you’ll accept the offer and print out a pre-paid mailing label.
You have to mail the items in and after Decluttr receives them, you’ll be paid. If the items are not in the condition you described them, you may be paid less.
Bookbyte works similarly to other sites where you can sell your old books online. Enter the book’s ISBN number, see how much Bookbyte offers, and then accept or decline the offer. If you accept it, you’ll get a prepaid shipping label. You must mail the books within seven calendar days for the offer to be valid.
Once the books reach Bookbyte, you’ll receive payment via PayPal or check.
Run out of Oregon, Cash4Books works like other websites where you can sell used books. Customers input the book’s ISBN number, get the offer, accept it, and print out a pre-paid label to send in their books. Payments are made via PayPal or check.
The site mostly takes college textbooks, so high school students should look elsewhere if they’re trying to resell books. According to the website, Cash4Books primarily takes textbooks published in 2016 or later. If you have older books, consider using a different site.
They have a list of their 500 most popular titles so you can see what they pay for high-demand books.
BooksRun is another site where you can sell back your textbooks. Sellers enter the ISBN number, choose the condition of the book, and then check out to print their label. You can also download the Android or iPhone app to scan the barcode, which is easier than inputting the ISBN number manually.
You’ll get paid within four days after the book has been processed, and you can choose between PayPal or check.
ValoreBooks has the same book buying and selling model as its competitors. Type in the ISBN number, view the price, accept it, and print out a pre-paid shipping label. ValoreBooks has a minimum $15 order, so you may have to sell multiple textbooks to meet it. You’ll be paid via check or PayPal.
The site will evaluate the books when they get them. If your book is damaged in any way, you may have the offer rescinded.
BookFinder aggregates book buyback options and includes sites like Amazon, BooksRun, and sellbackyourbook.com. You can see which site offers the most money and then click through to their link to sell your book.
This site doesn’t seem to include as many stores as BookScouter, so check there first.
TextbookRush is available on the web or as an iPhone app. Like other sites, you enter the ISBN number, view the offer, and ship it with a pre-paid shipping label.
Offers are valid for 20 days, and customers can choose to get paid via direct cash deposit or PayPal. A key difference between TextbookRush and other sites is that you can choose to be paid via store credit. This will earn you an extra 5% more than the other payment options.
If you’re going to need books for the next semester, choose store credit to get more money.
9. Student 2 Student
Student 2 Student is a different kind of textbook buyback site. Instead of shipping your books through a site and getting paid through them, you list your books and sell them to real students near you. You’ll sell the books to other people from your college and meet on or around campus to exchange the book and payment.
This can be a good option if you don’t have the ability to send in books or have specific books that other textbook sites aren’t looking for.
10. Textbook Buyer
Textbook Buyer is a site where you can only sell books. It’s not clear what they do with the books since you can’t buy books on the site.
Textbook Buyer pays for all shipping costs. Payment is only available via check, but the site claims it sends out checks as soon as the books are received. Books must be in very good condition. If they’re not, you may have the price adjusted once it arrives or it may be discarded without payment made to you.
11. Barnes & Noble
Book retailer Barnes & Noble seems to have a more stringent book buyback policy. Two popular titles weren’t on their current buyback list. You must also sell at least $10 worth of books for each total order.
Payment is available via check or PayPal and can take between one to two weeks after receiving the shipment.
What makes eCampus different is that sellers can list their books and set their own prices. If you have a book and want to get the most money for it, you can list it on eCampus for the price you want.
eCampus takes a 15% commission off each book sold and provides a partial credit for shipping. They pay via bank deposit on a weekly basis.
Most people know Amazon as a place to buy things, but you can actually sell textbooks on Amazon. Go to their trade-in store and click on “Books.” Next, type in the name of the book or ISBN number.
Amazon will ask you a few questions about the book’s condition, like how much is highlighted or if any pages are damaged. Answer honestly. If you send in a book that’s in worse condition, the offer may be withdrawn. You’ll receive payment via Amazon gift card.
Where to Sell Used Textbooks Near Me (in Person)
If you don’t have a post office or UPS store near you, then selling books online may be a hassle. It may be more worthwhile to sell them locally, especially if you have a car.
14. Secondhand Bookshops
There are a number of different used or secondhand bookshops where you can sell your textbooks.
Half Price Books
Half Price Books is a second-hand store that sells a huge variety of books. With more than 100 stores, it’s likely that there’s a Half Price Books near you.
The store can’t give you an estimate over the phone or online; you have to bring them in person. You’ll receive cash if they accept your books. They accept textbooks, fiction, and even kids’ books.
2nd and Charles
2nd and Charles has locations in states all across the country including Pennsylvania, Florida, and Texas. You bring in your items and can leave them there for the staff to examine and price. You’ll get a text or email notification when they’re ready.
If your books are accepted, you’ll receive payment in cash or store credit. They offer more money in store credit, but it’s a great way to make money now if you need it.
Local Used Bookstores
If you have a used book store near you, check it out to see if they buy textbooks. If they’re located near a college campus, these stores often stock popular textbooks.
You’ll have to take your books with you to the store and probably wait a few minutes to find out their value. Still, it’s a good option for those who don’t have a car but have a book store within walking distance.
If you live in a college town and have lots of leftover textbooks, selling on Craigslist may not be a bad idea. You can sell them as a lot or divide them by class. For example, if you took the basic required freshman English course, you can sell all the books necessary for that class.
Make sure to meet somewhere public to exchange the books and always get the money in cash.
16. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is a free place to sell anything, including textbooks. If you live in a city with lots of college students, you can find a decent selection. There’s no seller’s fee on Facebook Marketplace, and you can see buyers’ ratings on the marketplace.
Letgo is available as a website and an iPhone and Android app. It’s available in most major cities including New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, but also in smaller ones such as Wichita, El Paso, and Tampa.
Sellers can list their items on letgo and then wait for a buyer. Buyers can haggle the price on letgo, so you’ll want to list your textbooks at a high price and then negotiate down. Because you meet up in person, you should only accept cash as payment.
With OfferUp, you can sell items both locally and online. To sell online, you have to turn on the “Sell & ship nationwide” feature. There will be a 12.99% service fee for items that are shipped.
OfferUp is available as an iPhone and Android app and on desktop. It immediately finds your location to see what’s closest to you. You can communicate with buyers directly through the app, and users can rate one another. Low ratings or missing a profile picture may indicate red flags.
NextDoor isn’t a selling app. It’s a website where you can join your local neighborhood online. People post about yard sales, lost dogs, and community events.
However, you can also make a post about selling your books. Because the people looking at it live near you, this is a good option if you have books to sell and don’t have access to a car. You may struggle finding customers so don’t rely on this as your primary way to sell your textbooks.
See Also: 40 Creative Ways to Make Money Fast
Check Multiple Sources Before Selling Your Used Textbooks
Comparing costs is an important life skill to learn, especially when it comes to managing your own money. Getting as much money back as possible for your books is a good place to start practicing this skill.
You may have to sell your books at different sites and stores to get the most cash possible. This can be a frustrating experience, especially if you procrastinate. The longer you wait to sell your books, the more dated they’ll be and the less money you’ll get for them. To maximize how much you get back, try selling them as soon as the semester is over.
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