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.
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:
- Book Byte –
- AbeBooks –
- Books into Cash
- Book Buyer Online
- We Buy Textbooks
- Blue Rectangle
- Money for Books
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.
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.
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