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Selling Used Textbooks Including How to Sell Books Locally

Updated on October 30, 2012

Not all college students sell back their text books at the end of each semester but most should. Sure, some people want to hang on to their college textbooks in case they need to reference that material again either in their academic career or later on in their work. If you have a really great textbook that you think is going to be useful to you in the future then by all means, hang on to it. But chances are that most of your books aren’t going to be of value to you after the class they were purchased for is over so you might want to get in the habit of selling those textbooks back.

Why Sell Used Textbooks

There are several good reasons to sell your used textbooks. Here are a few:

· Money. The main reason that you want to sell your college textbooks is so that you can get some money back. Those books were expensive and it’s nice to put at least some of that money back in your pocket at the end of the semester – especially since your school loans are probably all gone and the new ones have yet to come in! You can make a pretty penny on some of your books when you re-sell them.

· De-clutter. Books are one of the worst things to have a lot of when it comes time to move from one place to another because they take up a lot of room and they are heavy to move. Get rid of your used textbooks before moving away from your college so that you don’t have to deal with them during the move.

· Helping other students. When you re-sell your textbooks to others, you give them the chance to get the books that they need at a lower cost than if they had to buy them new. Everyone wins!

Where to Sell Used Textbooks

Okay, so you’ve decided that it’s a good idea to sell your college textbooks. Where should you do that? There are three major places that you can sell your college textbooks: locally, through online retailers direct to the buyer of the book and through online stores that purchase textbooks to resell to students later. Let’s take a closer look at what your options are within these three categories for selling your used textbooks.

Selling used textbooks locally. Many people opt to sell their textbooks locally. There are four major options for doing this:

1. Sell your textbooks back to your college bookstore. Most college bookstores will buy back some of the textbooks at the end of the semester. This is the easiest way to unload most of your books at once and that’s why many students prefer this method. The major drawbacks are that you may not be able to sell of your books since the school will not need all of them the following semester and also that this may not give you the most money back depending on the book.

2. Sell your textbooks to other local bookstores. Some local bookstores specialize in selling used textbooks and will purchase books from you. Check around at your local stores to see if this is the case.

3. Sell your textbooks directly to other students at your college. Some colleges have methods for students to sell textbooks to others directly, either through advertising in a local college paper or through working with the teacher. You can always go this route if you have friends who are taking classes that you’ve already taken – get some money back yourself while giving them a break on the cost of books.

4. Sell your textbooks through a site like Craigslist. You can advertise to sell your books locally through any local advertising website or newspaper. This can be time consumingsince you have to list the books individually for sale, respond to the people who want them and arrange a time to meet up to give them the books. However, some people do like this method of selling textbooks.

Selling used textbooks online directly to the buyer. Another option for selling your textbooks is to sell them online through a website such as where the buyer can purchase the book directly from you and you will ship it to the buyer. The benefit to this is that you can list all of the books that you have for sale in one place. Additionally, you can sometimes make a good percentage of money back on your textbooks when selling directly to the buyer in this manner. The drawbacks of selling textbooks this way are that it takes time to package and ship the book, you may have to pay some shipping costs and it can take a long time for your entire inventory of textbooks to sell. If you decide that this is the way that you want to sell your textbooks, here are some of the top places to consider listing your books for sale:

1. Amazon. Many people sell books through Amazon. It’s easy to set up an account and to receive payment. The system for doing this is really streamlined and user-friendly and a lot of people use this site so there is a good chance that your books will sell.

2. This is eBay’s bookstore and a place that is well known by college students who want to get discounted textbooks. It’s also a place where you can sell yours.

3. This is a place where you can buy and sell used textbooks online. Sales are charged a commission like with any of these other sites.

4. eCampus. This is yet another favorite site for both buying and selling textbooks.

Selling used textbooks to online book sellers. Some people don’t want to have to go through the hassle of selling their textbooks directly to buyers either because they don’t want to have to deal with meeting up with buyers locally or because they want to be able to get rid of all of their books at once. A good option for such people to consider is the sale of used textbooks directly to online book sellers. They will purchase the books that they want from you outright (like a local book store would) and you’ll be done with the deal; they’ll handle sales to buyers after the fact. The drawback here is that you take a loss on some of the profits but you do save yourself some time and hassle. People who want to try this method of selling textbooks should start by looking at the following places:

1. Textbook Buyer. This website has gotten positive reviews from places like Wall Street Journal so you know that it’s probably legit.

2. Books Value. They claim to be a good deal although I don’t have any personal experience with them.

3. TextbooksRUs. This one has received favorable ranking from college papers in the past.

4. Barnes and Noble. The online version of this store buys back textbooks in a manner that’s easy to understand.

Things to Consider when Selling Textbooks

Before you decide which of these methods of textbook sales is right for you, you’ll want to consider what the main reason is that you’re selling your books. Do you just want to get rid of them? Do you need the money? Your motivation could dictate which is the best of these methods for getting rid of your books. 


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    Ambrose 4 years ago

    After getting frustrated from my college bookstore and local bookstore not buying some books back, i decided to open a website that will just act like a campus noticeboard. is geared towards students buying and selling text books locally for free.

  • Drstabile profile image

    Drstabile 5 years ago

    Great advise. The bookstore is normally the best option for buyback, but they are limited to buying back only 70% of their future need, so it's not guarunteed you will sell your books back even if they are being used the following semester. You listed the best alternatives.

  • Tamim Azizadah profile image

    Tamim Azizadah 5 years ago

    Great article. I wanted to add one more great local resource that launched this year:

    Kleverz @

    Buying and selling textbooks is 100% free on Kleverz. No fees, no commissions, no fine print.

  • profile image

    rent textbooks 6 years ago

    To save time and get the most money for your textbooks, its best to use a book buyback comparison site like

  • profile image

    Buy Cheap Textbooks 7 years ago

    yes, the author is quite right about the fact that students will save some money and provide a cheap source of knowledge to others too. however, would someone like to comment on publishers rights??

  • profile image

    Lance David 7 years ago

    Sources like Swapbooks and eCampus are good directions if you are selling your books. But students should also be advised about how to to Buy Cheap Textbooks

  • greg1313 profile image

    greg1313 7 years ago from New Hampshire

    between my wife and i, i bet we have 5,000 in used text books, wonder if there is still any market for them being graduated for almost 10 years now?

  • profile image

    Elenor 7 years ago

    When I was at the uni, I always bought used textbooks and sold them after I am done with them. It is a good way to make some savings.

  • profile image

    Patrick 7 years ago

    I found Chegg pays the highest prices for used texts. I also use them to rent texts every semester instead of buying and save a lot of money! I wanted to share a promotional code that your readers can use to get an extra $5 when selling used texts to Chegg or for a discount on their text order. Put in the code when ordering and hit the "apply" button.

    The code does NOT have an expiration date so it can be used at anytime. Here it is:


    Feel free to share with friends who need to save money!

  • profile image

    Scott 8 years ago

    One way to also beat the textbook woes is just paying less up front for books by renting instead of buying. Try They have a lowest price guarantee. Then when you're done using them just print out a free shipping label and send them back

  • profile image

    Eco Encore 8 years ago

    If you don't want the hassle of selling your books, consider donating them to Eco Encore, where we sell donated books, CDs, DVDs and software then distribute the profits to Pacific Northwest Environmental organizations. It won't earn you money or win you awards, but it's easy that way to make your used books good for the environment.

  • Whitney05 profile image

    Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

    I actually found another site before I got around to reading your hub, which is GREAT, I would like to add. seems to be a good site to buy back textbooks. I just sold 3 to them. Two of which, I just got a few bucks for but no other site I found was buying them back.

    Do you have suggestions for books taht no one will buy back? What to do with them?

  • Robin Marie profile image

    Robin 8 years ago from USA

    Excellent advice. Will be returning here at the end of the semester.

  • Reynolds_Writing profile image

    Reynolds_Writing 8 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    Good advice on why , where and how to sell your text books. I would add- sell them quickly afte your semester ends. I found when I tried to buy and sell my MBA program text books- they were constantly updating the editions.