College textbooks are not cheap. Often, they can cost hundreds of dollars, and you will typically only get a fraction of what you paid when you try to sell those textbooks back to your campus bookstore.
But a university bookstore isn’t the only place where you can sell textbooks. There are other options where you may be able to sell your books for more money. Here’s what you should know about selling textbooks:
Why you should sell back textbooks
In fall 2020, students were paying an average of $84 for a new hard copy of a book and an average of 23% more for e-books than they were in 2019, according to the Education Data Initiative.
What’s more, full-time, undergraduate students spend an average of $1,240 for books and supplies in one academic year. Over the course of four years of school, that means you’d spend nearly $5,000 just on textbooks — and that’s just one of the many costs of paying for college.
By selling their textbooks back at the end of the semester, many students try to recoup their costs. The campus bookplace is a common place to try to do this, but campus bookstores tend to have rigorous standards. Often, it will only accept a few books.
Even if the campus bookstore does accept your books, most stores often offer pennies on the dollar for your textbooks, so you’re ultimately out hundreds of dollars.
How to sell your textbooks
There are a couple of ways you can approach selling your used textbooks. Some ways may be more profitable than others, but each method can earn you at least some money.
Sell your textbooks online
Selling your textbooks online may prove to be the most lucrative method to recoup the money you spent on them. Likewise, you may be able to buy your textbooks for much cheaper online than you would at a bookstore. Unfortunately, when selling your textbooks, you may have to account for extra costs such as fees and shipping when using an online platform to sell your textbooks. Read on to learn about the best places to sell your textbooks online.
Sell your textbooks to other students
As a student, you may already have access to your customers: Your fellow peers. By networking and getting to know your classmates, you may be able to sell them your textbooks for a decent price. This way, you can also skip out on having to pay fees or shipping costs that you may have to pay when selling your textbooks online.
Sell your textbooks to the campus bookstore
While taking your textbooks back to the campus bookstore to sell might be the most convenient way to sell your books, it may be the least profitable. Campus bookstores also tend to have tight criteria as to what books they’re willing to purchase. Typically, books must be in good condition and should be a recent edition in order for the store to accept them.
Where to sell your textbooks
If you’re trying to figure out where to sell textbooks, your best bet is to sell them on your own online. There are many options available to help you figure out the best price. The 17 sites and companies listed below are great options for getting started:
How much you get for your books will depend on many factors. Some of these are outside your control, but there are things you can do that could increase the amount you receive. Here are some tips:
Keep them in good shape
Many vendors won’t accept books they don’t deem to be in acceptable condition, so if you want to make extra cash off of your used textbooks, it’s important that you take good care of them. Dust them off and try not to tear or bend the cover and pages. You may also want to avoid highlighting or writing in your textbooks if you plan to sell them.
Research their value
Shop around and try to get multiple quotes for your textbooks. You don’t have to accept your first offer right away. You may be able to receive more money for your books if you reach out to multiple companies and see what they’re willing to offer. While you may not be able to recoup the entire cost of your textbooks, you may get more than you expected if you’re patient.
Be honest about their condition
If you’re going to sell your textbooks online, take good photos of the books and be transparent about the state of your textbooks. Buyers aren’t going to be happy if you state that a textbook is in good condition, but when they receive it, it’s all marked up and the cover is bent or torn. As a result, you may not receive payment.
Sell during peak resell season
Once a newer edition of a textbook comes out, the amount of money you may be able to receive for that book decreases. So, you’ll want to sell that textbook quickly after you’ve finished it in order to capitalize on the highest bid.
Another way you can get the most money for your textbooks is to make sure you sell during peak resell season. This means selling your books at the beginning of the fall semester (typically August) or spring semester (typically January). After all, this will be when most students are looking to purchase books for their upcoming classes.
The process of selling your textbooks can be a hassle, but that doesn’t mean you want them to continue cluttering up your bookshelf. If you don’t want to sell your textbooks, consider these other options.
Donate your textbooks to the bookstore
Even if they won’t buy back your textbook, your campus bookstore most likely has a donation bin where you can offer up your used books. Typically, in these scenarios, the book store will donate them or recycle them so your books won’t go to waste.
Donate your textbooks to libraries or Goodwill
If there are other organizations you’d rather donate your books to, consider going to libraries, schools or Goodwill to donate your books. These organizations typically accept book donations and may be more than willing to take you up on your offer.
It’s a good idea to sell back textbooks from the past semester. Just remember that you are not limited to selling them back to the college bookstore. You also can sell them online through reputable sites, like the ones we mentioned above. Or, you can even connect to local buyers with services like Craigslist, Letgo and Facebook Marketplace.
You may also have good luck selling on campus via school bulletins or even just word of mouth. If a class you just took is being offered next semester, think about letting your professor know that you have textbooks for sale; they can direct new students to you.
Whichever method you choose, you can get more money back for your books, giving you the cash you need to buy next semester’s books. And, if you want to save money on books, you can always rent textbooks instead of buying new ones.
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