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The Best Websites to Sell your Textbooks Online

Updated on May 1, 2013

How to Make Money Selling Texbooks

I live in a college town and, after four years of college and three seemsters grad school, I am no stranger to the frustration of selling textbooks. Everyone who has ever purchased textbooks knows how hard the beginning of a semester hits the wallet, and how you can hardly buy a pizza with what you receive for selling them back. A big trend in education (my graduate field of study) text books is the "student value edition." These books still cost $100, or more, but do not come with a binding. Instead, they are printed loose leaf you must place in a binder. There is really no value to the student at all - try to take them back to the bookstore and you will hear the book is not buy-backable.

After two years of getting robbed by the school bookstore and textbook manufacturers, I decided there had to be something I could do to make at least a measurable fraction of my money back. I was right. It takes a little more work than walking to the campus store after exams are over, but it can help you recoup a much larger chunk of change. After seeing several people on my street, including some former housemates, throw away textbooks in frustration, I decided to write a hub detailing how I make money selling textbooks. I've even snagged old textbooks roommates and neighbors were going to throw away out of frustration and turned around and sold them for decent money.

The Easy Way to Sell Textbooks Online

The easiest way to sell your textbooks online is to use a textbook buyback service. Even if you don't get rich, you can usually get more than what your campus bookstore has to offer. Because I think a few minutes of my time is worth the extra money I could make, I usually open two or three different buyback websites and copy/paste a book's ISBN number into each one to determine which site pays best. At the end of the semester, you can easily send books to two or three different sites to get the best possible deal. Every reputable textbook buyback site provides you with a shipping label to print. All you need to do is put the books in a box, print off the label and any packing slip, and drop the box off at the post office. Some websites pay by check, but others allow you to receive a PayPal payment. Incidentally, many of these buyback websites are also a good place to buy your books next semester at a discount!

My favorite go-to site is BookByte. They are prompt, pay well, and even have special promotions, like game system giveaways. Sometimes they buyback video games and movies, too, so make sure to sign up for their emails.

Blue Rectangle also has competitively-priced offers and a quick, PayPal payment option. Visit the "wanted to buy" page for offers on non-textbook items from phones to frequent flier miles and more. The website design isn't as catchy as BookByte, but the company is every bit as trustworthy.

There are many other texbook buyback websites, but I have used BookByte and Blue Rectangle on several occasions and can recommend them highly for promptness of payment and amount of payment.

Sell Texbooks on Amazon

There are currently three ways to sell textbooks on Amazon. Amazon added a new feature to some of its book listings (and other items, too, for that matter) that allows you to sell books back to them for Amazon gift card credit. Your book must be in fairly good condition or it will be rejected. My anthropology book was sent back to me for its poor condition! As soon as a book is processed and received, the Amazon store credit is immediately placed at your disposal. You do not have to wait for a gift card in the mail and you can use any fraction of it at any time. To see the "Trade in" option pictured, look at the screen capture below. This button is the middle of the right side.

If you want to get more involved, and make more money, open an Amazon Seller account. It is free and allows you to list items along with everyone else on Amazon Marketplace. Simply search you book, click the button toward the bottom right that says "Sell on Amazon" and create your listing. To find the seller account option, log into your account and look to the right under "Your Other Accounts." This screen is shown in the capture below. Once you have your account, you can use the "Sell on Amazon" option, also seen in a screenshot below. It is located just above the row of email/facebook/twitter/pintrest share icons. If the items sells, you are responsible for shipping it. Amazon pays in the middle and at the end of each month, but there is no waiting period. If you sell a book the day before a settlement date, as long as you confirm the item's shipment, you will get paid the next day. These payments are sent via direct transfer to your bank account. Amazon says to allow up to five days for transfer, but I usually get them after one full business day.

Lastly, you can use the new "trade-in textbooks in person" option. Amazon has started sending representatives to campuses to conduct book buybacks. So far the available in-person opportunities are limited, but you can check for your campus here.

Selling on Amazon

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sell a book back to Amazon for creditOr open a free seller account for Amazon Marketplace
Sell a book back to Amazon for credit
Sell a book back to Amazon for credit | Source
Or open a free seller account for Amazon Marketplace
Or open a free seller account for Amazon Marketplace | Source

Selling textbooks online can take a little bit of time, but you can make much more money than you imagined. Also, In my experience, textbooks sell for about the same amount of money at any time of the year. I recently talked with my sister about selling books on Amazon. She assumed that listing them at the beginning of a semester would be best, but people need textbooks all year. Many students go to school during the summer, or take condensed half-semester courses during the regular school year. So if folks in your house or on your hall are getting ready to haul books out with the trash, snatch them up and search for them online. No matter the time of year or how long you've been holding on to a book you never read, type its ISBN into some buyback websites and you could end up with more money than you thought!

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    • jamieedwards1 profile image

      jamieedwards1 3 years ago from Dundee

      great hub. very useful. thanks for the help.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Hahaha, thanks, autocorrect. Yes, I hope you earn a little extra cash. The dangers of typing things on an iPad!

    • ronny2005 profile image

      ronny2005 5 years ago from HubPages

      Natashalh "earns little extra cash" corrected.

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Great, helpful hub!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Unfortunately, most places here don't really want textbooks. Glad it works for you, though!

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Sounds interesting, but I have already sold my text books to the second hand book store in my locality.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Excellent, all too often people here the book store offer and give up!

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 5 years ago from USA

      My daughter did a bit of this when she was in college, too.

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! I kind of wrote it in a fit of frustration because all my neighbors keep throwing books away. It's absurd.

    • ronny2005 profile image

      ronny2005 5 years ago from HubPages

      Great hub Natashalh and very very informative too!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you! Yes, hopefully you're done with the textbook trials and tribulations! I know it sounds too good to be true, but I literally just got an email that said another book sold on Amazon! Unreal.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just supporting you Natasha;obviously this hub doesn't help me very much. Great job as usual!

    • Natashalh profile image
      Author

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      I hope it helps and thanks for stopping by!

    • Skarlet profile image

      Skarlet 5 years ago from California

      Great hub! I will put this to use. Voted up