Ah, college textbooks. Maybe you were forced to buy them just to never open them, or they were your faithful companion for a semester. No matter where you lie on this scale, there comes a time when your books are retired to the shelf.
Trust me, throughout my many years in school, I racked up a LOT of college textbooks. After graduation, I wasn’t sure what to do with the books that I didn’t need to keep. So, I did extensive research on different platforms to sell my textbooks online.
I have personally sold with and have had positive experiences with all of the websites that we will discuss in this article. And if you’re wondering, none of the platforms mentioned are offering any type of incentives for this review. These are just my honest thoughts and experiences!
Although I have thoroughly vetted each website, I still encourage you to perform your own personal research on each site prior to deciding where to sell your textbooks.
In this blog post, we will discuss where and how to sell your old dust collectors (I mean textbooks). Trust me, a little effort is worth the extra cash in your pocket!
Prepare To Sell Your Textbooks
The first step is to evaluate the condition of your books to see if they are worth selling. First, inspect the book looking for any damage like water, food, or other stains. Next, flip through and make sure all pages are intact.
Also look through the textbook to see how much writing and highlighting has been done in the book. Make sure to note this in terms of percentages for transparency in your listings. For example, state “highlighting present in approximately 25% of the book”.
Lastly, check to see if the access code or any other supplemental materials (like a CD) are intact. If you’re going to send off your books to a buyback company, many do not accept books without an active access code.
However, if you decide to sell the book yourself, just make sure to disclose if there is an access code, or if it has already been redeemed.
Determine The Value Of Your Books
After you have determined your books are in good condition and worthy of selling, the next step is to determine the value of your books. This varies widely depending on the year of production and any updates the publisher has made since.
The absolute best and quickest tool that I have found is the Bookfinder textbook buyback. All you have to do is navigate to the website, and enter the ISBN of your books into the search.
From there, it will compare buyback prices from 10 different platforms.
Bookfinder also provides information on minimum order amounts, as some buyback platforms have a limit on the lowest amount they can pay out. This ranges from $3-$15, with most being in the $10-$15 range.
If you find a price you like on a platform, just click on the dollar amount in that row and it will take you to the checkout portion of that site. If you want to sell multiple different books on the same platform, continue the process of clicking on the dollar amount to build your cart.
Another way to determine the value of your textbooks is to search on Amazon with the ISBN. That way, you can see that the going rate is for a new or a used textbook.
Now, in no particular order, here are what I found to be the 8 best websites for selling your old college textbooks online.
Booksrun is a website that offers customers options to buy, sell or rent textbooks and eBooks. First, input the ISBNs for all of your textbooks. After you accept the quoted amount, BooksRun provides a free USPS shipping label.
As a default, this site will send a QR code. With this method, pack up your book, bring it in the post office, and USPS will take it from there. They will scan your code and print the label for shipment.
BooksRun offers two different payout methods. This includes a physical mailed check and PayPal. PayPal is the quickest and easiest method, as you will have to wait for a check in the mail.
TextbookRush prides itself on making selling textbooks fast and easy. This website also offers the ability to sell multiple quantities of textbooks. This was especially helpful for me because I was able to sell some of my classmates’ books too.
Once you receive a quote from TextbookRush, it is valid for 7 days. This means you have to have your package postmarked within that time frame. Otherwise, they can reassess the value and you may receive less for your book because of this.
You can cash out with PayPal or store credit on this site. As with most platforms, you receive a little bit more if you opt for store credit. This may be helpful if you already know what textbooks you will need for next semester.
Valore also is a one stop shop for buying, selling, and renting textbooks. For sellers, this site also offers a free shipping label to all of its buyback customers.
They utilize UPS services for shipping. Along with free UPS shipping, an insurance policy of $100 comes with each shipment. If you have many books to sell totaling over $100, break up your orders into multiple shipments.
This is a safeguard just in case something would happen to your package. For example, let's say your package of books worth $150 gets left out in the rain.
Unfortunately, you will only get $100 reimbursed due to the shipping insurance cap. By splitting your orders up, you will be fully covered and eligible to receive a refund if warranted.
To receive your payout, you can choose either by check or with PayPal. Additionally, Valore charges a return processing fee if the books are not up to par.
However, this is arguably better than some platforms, because some do not process returns and instead dispose of the items.
eCampus.com is a unique platform that has different options for those looking to sell books. It operates like the above platforms where you can receive a quote and send off your books, however there's more.
With this website, you can also sign up to be a bookseller on the eCampus.com marketplace. That way, you are able to receive more for your textbooks. However, this requires more time and energy on your behalf. There is also no guarantee the books will sell this way.
If you choose the standard option to box up your books and send them in, eCampus.com offers free UPS shipping for all orders.
This website offers many different methods to receive your payout. You can choose from in store credit, direct deposit, PayPal, or a check.
Between all of the payout options, store credit offers you the highest payout. If you choose a check, it comes with a fee. Direct deposit and PayPal are both standard options with no fee.
In summary, buyback programs are a great option to make some quick cash on your old textbooks with very minimal effort. Now we will transition to discussing platforms where you may be able to make more money, however will require more work on your part.
5. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is a great platform to sell textbooks online. With this method, you will have to snap a few pictures of the book, add a title, description, and shipping information.
This marketplace has an option for media mail shipping which allows you to ship your book the most cost efficient way possible.
With Facebook, you can choose either local pick up, shipping, or shipping and local pick up. Alternatively, another strategy is to join a relevant Facebook group that is relevant to the population that would need the textbook.
For example, if you are wanting to sell your veterinary school textbooks, do a quick search to see if there is a Facebook page of veterinary school students. With this route, you can accept payment through PayPal and obtain a shipping label through PirateShip.
eBay is another great platform with a lot of support and infrastructure geared around selling textbooks. First, fill out the marketplace form with all of the necessary information.
As a general rule of thumb, the more you can fill out, the better. Once the item sells, you can ship at a significantly reduced rate with Media Mail through USPS.
Mercari is online marketplace where I have also had success selling my old textbooks. Unfortunately Mercari does not support the use of Media Mail, so it will likely be more expensive to ship through this platform.
As you did with eBay, fill out the marketplace form including all of the necessary details. In the description, state the title, author, and ISBN at a minimum.
Lastly, Poshmark also allows you to sell your textbooks on its site. Like Mercari, Media Mail shipping is not supported. Therefore, you will have to ship the item using priority mail flat rate.
With this platform, be careful with your more hefty textbooks. This is because Poshmark standard labels allow a weight up to 5 pounds per package.
If your book weighs more than this, you will have to upgrade to a different shipping label for an extra cost.
As always, when you ship out your books, make sure to package them carefully. Preferably, pack the books in a waterproof material within a cardboard box.
In conclusion, selling your old textbooks can be a great way to make some extra money and declutter your bookshelf. There are so many choices for selling your textbooks, including multiple online marketplaces and buyback programs.
It’s up to you to decide which method works best for you. Now get out there and turn those books into cash!