Hi, if you want free updates from my blog, you can enter your email address here.

Sell Textbooks Online – How to Maximize Your Cash

This post was submitted for the Carnival of Making Real Money.

Everyone knows that you can sell used books back to your college book store. But your best source of cash is to sell textbooks online. And here’s the ultimate guide to maximize your cash!

My wife figured out this method, and we executed it together. We sold several boxes of used books and textbooks, earning over $570.

Round up your books to sell

You first have to gather up the books to sell. It’s important to round these up all at once, to maximize your possible cash. Put everything you want to sell in a stack.

sell textbooks online

When deciding what to sell, don’t ignore any of your books. Even if you think nobody will want an old, ratty copy of A Tale of Two Cities, put it in your “sell” pile. And definitely include newer, best selling books that you’ve already read.

Also, consider taking used books off of other people’s hands. Your classmates, friends, and family might have books they no longer want. Offer to dispose of the books for them, and add them to your “books for sale” stack.

Create a book buy back list

Now that you have your books to sell, you need to catalog them. It sounds like a daunting task, but book buyback programs operate based on the ISBN of each book.

To get the most cash for your books, you’ll need to create a master ISBN list. This allows you to easily shop the books around to multiple buyers and maximize your cash.

Take each book, find the ISBN (usually on the back cover or copyright page), and enter the numbers into a simple text file on your computer. Put one ISBN on each line.

During this process, try to keep the books in the same order as your ISBN list. That lets you quickly link a book to its ISBN.

Sell your textbooks

This is the easy part! All you have to do is see which buyers want your books. Fortunately, there are lots of online book buyers, and they have varying needs and prices.

Here are several book buyback sites to get you started:

Go to each book buying site and enter your master ISBN list into their textbook selling form. Just copy and paste from your text file into the ISBN field. The buy back site will then tell you which books they want.

Now you just look through the sites and find the best price for each book. Best selling books will have higher prices, and some books might not be wanted by anyone. You can parse through the lists and max out your cash with this price comparison method.

Prepare the shipments

After you decide which books to sell to which buyback site, you can get ready to ship them. Each site has similar instructions, but read them all carefully.

Generally, the site will have you print a packing list for the shipment. And they will provide a postage-paid label for your box. Print out the shipping documents and get each shipment in a box, ready to go.

It’s important to double check your packing lists, so you send the books to their proper destinations. With several shipments going out, it can get confusing if you’re not careful.

Ship your books

The book buyback programs will give you postage-paid shipping labels. Just tape these on your boxes, and you can drop them off at the Post Office.

If you have several large boxes, you can ask the Post Office for a cart. They’ll give you a big cart to wheel out to the parking lot, saving your back and several trips in & out.

Note: Some of the book buyers ask you to insure the books. You will have to pay for insurance, but it should only be a few dollars.

Collect the cash

You won’t see your money overnight; be patient. The books are shipped media mail, so they take a while to arrive at the buyer’s warehouse. Then the buyer processes them. Finally, your payment is sent.

Most book buyers will pay by check or PayPal. I’ve used both methods with various buyers, and they work equally well.

Any questions?

I’m no expert at book buyback programs, but I want to share what I have experienced. If anything is unclear, or you encounter problems, please let me know. Post a comment below, or contact me.

Get more legal tips

Sign-up below to receive my bi-monthly email newsletter with free legal tips. All fields are required.

See also...


27 Responses to “Sell Textbooks Online – How to Maximize Your Cash”

  1. [...] Legal Andrew explains how to maximize your cash when selling textbooks online. [...]

  2. [...] Great Personal Finance Tips If you like what you see, please subscribe to my RSS feed.Or, you can get free email updates.Thanks for visiting!It’s not directly about productivity, but I do write about money from time to time around here. Thus, I’d like to point out Brett’s edition of the Carnival of Personal Finance. He had a ton of contributions, and there are lots of great articles to read. Oh yeah, he included an article I wrote. [...]

  3. SavingDiva
    August 7th, 2007

    I’m a big fan of half.com and amazon. They offer insurance for the buyers and sellers. Although they might take a larger commission, I feel as though it is worth it. Also, listing books at both sites (and cancelling them when it sells) really helps me clear out stacks of old textbooks quickly.

  4. Andrew Flusche
    August 7th, 2007

    Hi Diva!

    I’m glad to hear that Half.com and Amazon are working for you. I haven’t tried that method yet, but I probably will soon.

    Thanks for commenting,

  5. Kaps
    August 8th, 2007

    We are having talk with a publisher to sell books online. We will keep your post in mind while designing process. Thanks a lot.

  6. Andrew Flusche
    August 8th, 2007

    Kaps – I’m glad you found the post helpful. That’s great!

  7. Josh Creighton
    August 18th, 2007


    I’m glad I found your post today, it provided insight on selling books I hadn’t utilized yet. I’ve had really good success selling on Amazon and eBay for awhile now. I’ll have to try the buy-back system and compare the profits I receive to my other outlets. Looking forward to more information from you.

  8. Andrew Flusche
    August 19th, 2007

    Josh – It looks like you’ve got a good system going there. I’m curious how the buy-back programs will compare. Best of luck to you!

  9. David Romano
    August 25th, 2007

    BooksintoCash.com, sell-textbooks.com, and moneyforbooks.com are all run by the same person (David) in Spokane, WA (look at the contact info for each site). Webuytextbooks.com looks like it’s associated with abebooks, considering the results format is *very* identical. One you might not have heard of (and will only give you virtual credit at their store) is Powells.com. People can also donate books (in order to fight illiteracy) at betterworldbooks.com.

  10. Andrew Flusche
    August 25th, 2007

    David – Thanks for the information. I knew that David ran several sites, since I’ve sold some books to him using this method. The weird thing is that I believe his sites accepted slightly different books from us.

    I appreciate your comment!

  11. Jill Smith
    September 1st, 2007

    I have been selling textbooks online for a couple of years now. I have followed a consistent strategy that has helped me break-even or even turn a profit. I always buy my textbooks for fall semester when they are at there lowest point–June to the middle of July from half.com. Later, I post them online during the beginning of the last week in August or the beginning of the first week in September on amazon.com. I have noticed that the buyback website that you have listed don’t give you a lot of money back. In my humble opinion, you can always do better then selling your textbooks to a buyback website. If the buyback website is offering you a good price for your textbook, more than likely you could sell your textbook for even more at amazon.com (amongst the other websites). The price of textbooks are based on supply and demand. Demand increases and supplies decrease during the beginning of each semester as many students get their financial aide (pell grants, scholarships, loans, etc) during this time.

  12. Andrew Flusche
    September 2nd, 2007

    Jill – It sounds like you’ve worked out a pretty smooth approach to book selling. I agree that selling books directly to consumers gets a higher price. However, the method I outline above helps get your money quicker. It’s especially useful if you have a lot of books and you’re in a hurry for some quick cash.

    Thanks for your comment!

  13. | textbookssell.info
    September 28th, 2007

    [...] Sell Textbooks Online – How to Maximize Your Cash ? Legal AndrewEveryone knows that you can sell used books back to your college book store. But your best source of cash is to sell textbooks online. [...]

  14. | textbookssell.info
    September 28th, 2007

    [...] Sell Textbooks Online – How to Maximize Your Cash ? Legal AndrewBuy and sell used textbooks in Canada with ease. We have textbooks available at the college and university level, and all at a big discount. [...]

  15. [...] wrote an interesting post today on Sell Textbooks Online – How to Maximize Your CashHere’s a quick [...]

  16. [...] since I wrote about selling textbooks online, a lot of people have read and used that advice. It’s definitely a popular post on this [...]

  17. [...] previous post focused on maximing your cash. But for this one, let’s just look at the basic process. [...]

  18. Glen Nothnagel
    April 12th, 2008

    You can sell all of your books also on http://www.sellbackyourbook.com. They are very competitive.

  19. sell textbooks
    May 16th, 2008

    nice article – my two fav sites to sell textbooks back on are amazon.com (their marketplace) and valorebooks.com (sell back program)

  20. Brandon
    August 16th, 2008

    Instead of checking the prices from all of those websites manually, you can have BookScouter.com check all of those, plus 20-ish more all at once.

  21. [...] If you want to take it to another level, check out my post on maximizing your textbook cash. [...]

  22. Sell Textbooks
    September 14th, 2008

    “Also, consider taking used books off of other people’s hands. Your classmates, friends, and family might have books they no longer want.”

    This is a great idea, I am sure if you tell all of your friends that you are looking for books they will all tell you how they still have last semesters textbooks in the trunk.

    Glen Nothnagel
    Sell Back Books

  23. Samedaycash
    September 16th, 2008

    I love the idea of buying a used book and then selling it back after i am done. You save so much money on textbooks.

    Great post i think everyone should read this one before they buy a new textbook.

  24. [...] write a lot about books. Buying and selling. There are lots of posts here on the subject: maximizing your cash, the basic process, getting the best price, buying cheap books, buying more cheap [...]

  25. Wes
    December 15th, 2008

    I tried half.com and other websites, but I now use StudentBookTrades.com because they match me with other students who need my textbook and I need theirs. This lets me trade the book and save even more money. The website also lets you buy and sell college books with other students at your own home campus. The search feature allows me to find book at my campus so I do not have to mail them unless I really want to.

  26. Tim Roders
    March 21st, 2009

    If you can manage to buy your books used and not at the bookstore, it essentially becomes like book renting when you sell them back. In fact I have even sold my textbooks for more then I paid at times. Anyways, I would recommend trying http://www.studentbooksearch.com locally and http://www.half.com for books that I cant find locally.

  27. [...] love selling books online (basic process, maximize cash, buy cheap books). In fact, my wife just prepared three boxes of books to send off for over $200. [...]

Comments are automatically closed on older posts.

  • Legal tips by email

    Sign-up below to get email tips and exclusive discounts on videos, webinars, and future items.

    All fields are required.

  • Receive updates

    By email
    By rss (full feed)
  • About Andrew Flusche

    Lawyer, bicyclist, husband.
    More about me...
    Tumble Log
    View Andrew Flusche's profile on LinkedIn
    Andrew Flusche's Facebook Profile
  • Popular Posts