Where to Sell Used Books and Textbooks Online

Selling used books is a good way to declutter your home and get some money for books that you probably won’t read again.  This is even more important for college students because you could sell textbooks for a lot more than normal books, but you’ll have to do it quick because textbooks become outdated and thus worthless very quickly.

Places To Sell Your Used Books And Textbooks Online

Last week, I received the following comment from LuLu Malou regarding selling used books on Amazon on my income ideas article:

Selling on Amazon.com used to be a good idea but now they take most of your profits. I’m looking for a better alternative to Amazon. Any ideas?

In response to her question, I did a bit of online investigation and did the comparisons below. Please note these sites work well for your typical textbooks and books, but not rare books.

Scenario 1 – Selling three textbooks:

Store 0131747428 0072826959 0470078359 Average
Amazon, new $114.00 $83.47 $125.36 $107.61
Amazon, used lowest $65.00 $55.00 $65.79 $61.93
BookByte.com $42.00 $29.40 $39.20 $36.87
Textbooks.com $42.35 $18.15 $33.90 $31.47
Velore Books $37.80 $26.25 $29.40 $31.15
eCampus $36.00 $25.00 $28.00 $29.67
BlueRectangle $29.64 $19.76 $29.64 $26.35
CKY Books $29.25 $17.05 $21.71 $22.67
Cash4Books.net $25.92 $19.17 $23.76 $22.95
We Buy Your Books $21.13 $16.50 $21.38 $19.67

From the table above, it appears that Amazon still offers the best price for selling used book.  But remember that you are not guaranteed a sale when you are using Amazon because you are only using it as a marketplace — i.e., you are not selling to Amazon directly.  Secondly, it’s worth shopping around when it comes to selling used textbooks due to the price variation.  For example, note that BookByte.com offers the best average price, but not the best prices on all three books.  Lastly, there are other factors not included in this study — i.e., shipping costs (some offers free shipping), payment options and promptness, customer service, etc.

Scenario 2 – Selling three regular books:

Store 0312339879 0553805096 047015263X Average
Amazon, new $17.13 $21.00 $19.77 $19.30
Amazon, used lowest $5.21 NA $15.96 $10.59
We Buy Your Books $1.56 $10.92 $7.34 $6.61
BlueRectangle $1.40 $9.40 $7.14 $5.98
Cash4Books.net $1.01 $6.26 $6.24 $4.50
CKY Books $1.62 $1.00 $8.14 $3.59

Note that there are fewer places that accept regular books.  This is expected due to low demand and resale value of most books.  Again, Amazon seems to be the best place and there are a lot of price variations.

Other Things You Could Do With Your Books

Of course, you don’t have to sell your books and there are plenty of things you could do:

  1. Keep them. Of course!
  2. Give certain ones away as gifts to friends and family.
  3. Swap your books with others: PaperBackSwap.com, BookMooch, etc.
  4. Sell your books at local bookstores
  5. Sell or donate your books at thrift stores
  6. Donate your books to charities
  7. Donate your books to libraries

Here are ideas so that you don’t have to buy books in the first place:

  1. Use your library
  2. Borrow from friends and family
  3. Rent your textbooks instead of buying
  4. Read stuff on the Internet

That’s it!  If you have additional ideas on where to sell books, buy them cheap, or get them for free, please share with us!

About the Author

By , on Sep 24, 2008
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (49 Comments)

  1. HS says:

    I have had some success selling books back to Powell’s. They buy cheap, but you see your money or credit, and if you just let the books sit any way, it’s a good deal.

  2. mike davis says:

    A very nice list of resources. The responses from people reading this are useful. What value is added to a book when the author signs it? Is there a rule of thumb? Just asking.

  3. Jesse says:

    These comparisons are useful for thought, but you’re not counting in other costs: in particular the fact that Amazon takes a considerable cut off the top! There are also costs associated with shipping with Amazon when some sites send you free shipping labels.

  4. Marie says:

    The textbook markup is incredible between the sellers in that list! But interesting that We Buy Your Books seems to be doing a good job with buy back rate and discount.

  5. Tyler says:

    I use http://www.bookbyte.com/selltextbooks.aspx because I’ve found this to be the quickest, easiest,and most profitable way to sell my textbooks. Bookbyte has always provided me with the highest price and the best customer service.

  6. Mathew says:

    I use Books for Cash simply because I feel its the most convenient online book buyback service that you can sell your used books for quick cash.

    It’s hard to tell which online book buyback service gives the best price because each store will give you a different price quote depending on the book your looking to sell.

    I have to say though i love the new iPhone application of Books for Cash. I can go over to a friend’s or family members place and easily let them know what their used unwanted books are worth and how easy they are to sell online.

    I believe the website also have an android app as well!

  7. jamie says:

    nice try but the author certainly didn’t finish. the author skipped the big book companies like biblio.com and alibris for one. why not rewrite your article and try finishing it by making it a little more thorough? great start though. and yes, Amazon is beginning to suck big time. As of 4/23/2011 they no longer offer tracking so every package Will get lost or the customer will pretend it got lost because any loser shopping on amazon knows that they can make a claim and, instantly get their money back AND keep the book. don’t use Amazon shipping service if you decide to sell there and be prepared because also starting this month, uncle sam will take 30% of any of your profits. Amazon now reports to the IRS for you and btw, amazon installs spyware on your computer.

  8. Debra Ingle says:

    My father had a large collection of books. We have already donated a lot of them to libraries and our churches. There are about a dozen that are probably collectables.

    The Golden Bough, by Sir James G Frazer F. R. S., F. B A. New York, the Mac Milan Company 1951

    All in the Family, by Edwin O’Connor An Atlantic Monthly Press Book, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, Toronto, Copyright 1964, 1966 by Edwin O’Connor
    Library of Congress Catalog Card NO. 66-24017

    The Rise of Emerican Economic Life, by Arthur Cecil Bining, Copyright, 1943, by Charles Scribner’s Sons

    Winston Churchill, An Informal Study of Greatness, By, Robert Lewis Taylor, Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1952 “The Soldier, ” from Collected Poems of Rubert Brooke, is copyright, 1915, by Dodd, Mead & Compnay, Inc. PUblished by permission of Dodd, Mead & Company, and Sidwick & Jackson, Ltd., London.

  9. WDjoe says:

    To sell your old books give vialibri.net and biblio.com a try.

  10. janette johnston says:

    can you please tell me, if you know, of where i can sell old books. written between 1800 and 1940.

    thank you 4 your time

  11. Bob says:

    Now there is a new tool to help get the best price. It is an Android app that you can take to the bookstore with you. Scan the textbook bar code and click the Sell Textbook button to see what the online book stores will pay for your book. Very Cool, you know in seconds if the book store is offering you a good price! Search the Android Market for Cheap Textbooks to find the app.

  12. WDjoe says:

    I made this website so people can list as many books as they like for free that way they can keep all of the profits. No listing fees, no subscription fees, no limit on how many books you can list, all types of books welcomed especially textbooks because I know first hand how expensive textbooks are and how little campus bookstores pay when they buy them back.

    I also made a handle book selling price calculator to help you price your books.

    Your email address is always hidden from view when people are searching for books and when they email you regarding your book(‘s) for sale.

  13. evarun21 says:

    I sell all my textbooks to http://www.mybookcart.com. They give good prices for my books, and they are great to do business with. Never had a problem with them. Buy used online, and resell online – that’s the best way to save money on textbooks!

  14. Fred says:

    goSnuffy.com is a very cool Textbooks Exchange that lists over 6,500 colleges, universities, and beauty schools. You can buy and sell directly to other students at your campus. The site is 100% free to use and no registration is required. Go check it out.

  15. Tina says:

    I found ISBNS.net to get the info I need!

  16. Tina says:

    How and where do I sell my books that do not have an ISBN number? I have several that are 1st editions.

  17. Matt says:

    I have found that offloading used textbooks in-between terms to be a really easy way to recoup some of my investment. The best online textbook services I have found to sell used books include: Textbookology.com and Collegesmarts.com because they are completely free and easy to use.

  18. Brandon says:

    Both my wife and I just finished school, and we found that selling books locally via our local craigslist.org site to be the most profitable option with the least amount of hassle (no shipping, no paypal, no percentage of proceeds going to the site etc). We usually ended up pricing our books a little above the Amazon.com price, and because we knew which schools were in the area, we looked up their book requirement lists and listed the actual course numbers and sections that applied to our books. We never had much difficulty selling them, and on the rare occasion that we were unable to sell them immediately following the semester, we were always eventually successful.

    Because we always bought our books used in the first place, we have actually made more money than we have spent on books since we began this strategy several semesters ago.

  19. Chuck says:

    A site I found recently was http://www.sellusedbooks.com. The good thing is that unlike Amazon, you don’t have to create listings for each book, you can just put in all the books you want to sell and it gives you an offer. Plus it has free shipping.

  20. David says:

    Some students have visited Textbookbuyer.com to see if they can sell uesd textbooks there.

  21. william says:

    One of the best places I have found to purchase textbooks is Uloop (http://www.uloop.com/) — They connect students with other students so all transactions are local, which means you don’t have to worry about shipping anything. Also, unlike Amazon & eBay they don’t take a cut. This means books are cheaper (buyer) as well as more profitable (seller).

  22. Amit Sehgal says:

    I use Bookase.com to sell my used books. It gives me the price comparison of the books showing me which store will provide me the best price for my books. I have got money everytime for my used books by using this service

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