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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you could sell textbooks for a lot more than normal books, but you’ll have to do it quick because textbooks become outdated and thus worthless very quickly.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!

49 thoughts on “Where to Sell Used Books and Textbooks Online”

  1. Nice list!

    Even though places such as Amazon and eBay take a pretty good cut of your sales, it’s usually worth going with them, because they attract the largest market, and you’ll move your books faster. Go where your customers are, they say.

    That said, I usually just dump my books on the library or take them into the used bookstore. 😉

  2. I have a huge library of books in my cube at work full of text books that i used during undergrad and a bunch I have been using for grad classes. People always walk by my cube and comment on how many books I have, thus, creating a false perception. HAHAH. Regardless, I have tried dumping them on eBay and Amazon but to very little success. Most of my textbooks end up being older editions by the time I sell them. Boo to the college textbook system they need to put stuff online more for classes but then they would not make as much money and save students money. Yea, no way they would do that!!!! Great post!

  3. I remember (I’m dating myself a bit here) back in college trying to figure this out because the internet wasn’t SO hot yet and I recall seeing flyers around campus to sell the books back to the bookstore at like 15% – everyone just gave in because SOMETHING was better than NOTHING. The bookstore just turned around and sold them again at 90% of what they originally sold them for. Grr….

  4. @Lindsay — Yeah, it’s hard to beat Amazon to get your books in front of potential customers.

    @Doctor S — Yeah, textbooks get out-of-date very quickly by design. Both the professors/authors and the publishing house definitely has it all worked out very well for them.

    @Hank — Campus store is the worst place to buy/sell anything — sorry. 🙂

  5. You can use bigwords.com to compare a bunch of places at once. You can use that site for either buying to selling. Half.com is also a good place to sell books and as of the last time I checked, they take less of a cut than Amazon.

  6. Bookmooch rocks (I only use it for non-textbooks)!

    If you are an avid reader in multiple genres and don’t always want to read only the latest bestseller its a better deal.

  7. BookScouter.com was created specifically to do these price comparisons quickly. It compares prices from all of the sites you mentioned here (except amazon) plus a bunch of others. Although you seem to have included all of the major ones.

  8. @Brandon — Thank you for sharing. I think your site is better for buying as opposed to selling because you show the purchase prices, but I’d still have to visit each vendor to check how much I could sell the book for.

  9. @Pinyo – BookScouter is specifically for selling books, and doesn’t have any prices for buying them. I’m not sure how you got the impression that it was for buying books. Is that unclear on the site?

  10. Okay, I see that now. I thought the “Price” was the buying price and I had to click on the “Sell Here” to check the sell price. Good job Brandon!

  11. The problem with BookScouter is there’s no way to tell which will pay promptly if at all. The top payers can be real problems.

  12. @Elgin – BookScouter does have user-submitted feedback, which does a decent job of letting you know which sites are questionable. There is getting to be enough sites listed on there now, that I’m thinking of only listing the most reliable ones by default, but still allowing the user to view all of the others with another click.

  13. I will pipe in for bookscouter, it is a great site to compare since buyback websites change how much they pay often. Although amazon will get you more, the book can sit on the shelf for ages and not get bought, and if you think about the shipping supplies you will need to package a single book, opposed to selling many books to one buyback site. Also amazon charges commision and a per book charge, so if you sell a book you will pay $.99 plus 15% to amazon on ever single book you sell, if you sell 10 books those fees will add up. Unless you have hundreds of books and can afford to pay the 40 dollar a month to become a pro merchant on amazon, it is not the way to go. Find a buyback site you like and stick with it, or use bookscouter to find what buyback site is the best for you!

    Hope this helps,

    Glen

  14. Nice comparison. If I’m reading the chart right, these are the sale prices pre-commission (which applies to at least some of the sites)… I wonder to what extent that would affect the rankings.

    • @Student Scrooge – I didn’t calculate commission into the ranking. These were the prices quoted by each site on the day I ran the article. Feel free to pick a random selections of book and run the numbers yourself.

  15. I can suggest another option for selling non-text books that I have used with much success in the past. Put a collection of books together and post them as a lot on craigslist. This works well for books that you can’t sell individually because they just aren’t worth anything. Plus there are no commissions or shipping charges for craigslist. It seems to work well if you can put together something that has a theme, like a mystery box or a literary classics box etc. You still won’t get a lot of money for them, but if you just want them gone and to get something its a good option.

  16. It’s kind of weird, but people just jump on this. And it is actually less of a hassle than dealing with them individually, since they all go in a single transaction. Plus you don’t have to wait to get paid, you get cash in hand when you turn over the box. I’ve done two boxes this way (~60 paperbacks total) and I’ve got another box I’m going to post next week.

  17. Being a college student, I have found that either way you get ripped off 🙁 …needless to say after I have sold to places like amazon and the local bookstore I found the best to be @ osochill.com/textbooks. Check it out, hope you get more cash for your books like i have! 🙂

  18. What if you have books pre ISBN? I have about 100 ranging from religion to poetry, fact and fiction as well as old school library books on various subjects, mostly books on snakes. Most still have the library stamp and some have the check out cards. Any ideas on where to sell these besides eBay and other sites that take what little money you might make on the sale? Thanks all, Anton

  19. Selling used books on net has always remained a question with a big confusion for me….i went through the ratings of different sites above and figured out that http://www.a1books.co.in, a US based Indian online book market’s name has not been mentioned.

    about 2 months back I sold my “Advanced Architecture” book which was in pretty good condition and I got the price I wanted for it….I just couriered it to them.

    Happy selling guys….go beyond the amazon thing and try the new players…they are giving out there best to beat the competition….take the advantage… 🙂

  20. 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

  21. 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. A site I found recently was . 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

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