Believe it or not, there’s a huge market out there for selling textbooks. With college costs rising, people often look to buy used textbooks instead of new. It helps them save money on education costs.
If you have (or can get) used textbooks, you can potentially create a great side hustle by selling them. Here is some information on places to sell textbooks for the most money.
We also added some advice about how and where to sell to maximize your potential profit. Selling textbooks is a way you can make occasional extra cash.
Or if you want, you have the option of turning textbook sales into a bona fide small business.
Why Sell Textbooks for Money?
As I mentioned earlier, the cost of all education is rising, especially college. And people are looking to save money. So a lot of them buy used textbooks.
When selling textbooks, you would typically sell used ones. As a homeschooling mom, I sell textbooks regularly.
When my kids finish a particular book, I reach out to specific venues and let people know I’ve got the book for sale. 90% of the time I’ll sell it within a week.
I recover some of the money I spent on the book and declutter my house at the same time.
Some people also actively shop for used textbooks they can get at a great price. Then they resell them at a profit. Likewise, selling textbooks could be a great side hustle business for you.
There are typically two ways to sell textbooks: online and in person. Here’s a list of places you can sell them.
Sell Textbooks Online
If you’re looking to sell textbooks online, there are lots of options. Some websites exist solely for selling textbooks.
And other websites have sections where you can sell them. Here is some information on some of those sites.
First, you enter the (barcode) ISBN (International Standard Book Number) located on the back of the book you want to sell on the Decluttr search bar.
If Decluttr doesn’t currently take the book, the site will give you a message saying that. If they do, an offer price for the book will pop up. Second, you choose whether or not to accept it.
After you accept offer prices on the books you want to sell, they send you a free shipping label via email. Third, you print the labels. Then pack the books up, and ship them by dropping the box at a UPS shipping outlet.
When they arrive at the Decluttr warehouse, they’ll get assessed. If everything you shipped comes as expected, they’ll pay you the next day via PayPal, Direct Deposit or check.
Note that you won’t get as much money for your books on Decluttr as if you were to sell them yourself. However, the process is simple and a fast way to get some cash for your textbooks.
Cash4Books works similar to how Decluttr works. When you go to the website, you enter the ISBN of each book you want to sell.
The site gives you an offer price, and you can accept or reject it. If you take their offer, they’ll give you a free shipping label to print out. You box up the books and ship them.
After the books arrive at the Cash4Books warehouse, they assess them. If the books are found to be in acceptable condition, you’ll get paid via PayPal or a mailed check – whichever you prefer.
As with Decluttr, you probably won’t get as much money with Cash4Books as if you sold the books yourself. Also, I have found that other sites buy a wider range of books than this one.
This site can be a good site to sell to if you have college textbooks, though. And you’ll get your money fast without the hassle of shipping to an individual buyer.
This route might be the way to go if you want easy money and have a lot of books to sell.
Bookscouter is a unique site to sell textbooks. It will compile a list of buyer sites for you. Just enter the textbook ISBN, and Bookscouter will populate a list of potential buyers.
Also, it shows what each one is willing to pay for your book. From there, you choose the buyer you want and click on the link to their website.
Follow the directions from that site to ship your books and get paid. Note that Bookscouter doesn’t necessarily display offers from every other book buying site.
For instance, when I entered an ISBN for a science book, I got offers from several sites. However, my offers page didn’t list Decluttr, and Decluttr did have an offer price for my book when I visited the site directly.
As with similar sites, Bookbyte allows you to enter the ISBN of a book to get an offer price. If you like the price, hit the “Continue Sale” button and the site will direct you.
They’ll give you a free shipping label to print out. After Bookbyte receives your shipment (this typically takes 4-14 days), they’ll assess your books.
Once approved, the payment for your order gets sent to you via PayPal or check – whatever you choose.
With eBay, you’ll be selling your books to other private party buyers. This is a “do-it-yourself” kind of deal. You list the book, add pictures and choose a listing price.
In addition, you’ll need to choose shipping options and prices as well. I recommend factoring shipping costs when considering your selling price.
You can choose auction or a set sale price with eBay. For best results, be honest about the condition of the textbooks you sell and include good photos.
Also, consider pricing at or below what other similar textbook titles are selling for on eBay.
I’ve had lots of success using this tactic when selling textbooks.
Amazon has a textbook buyback program. You can access this site through a site like Bookscouter.
Or you can access directly by signing in to your Amazon account and putting “textbook buyback” in the Amazon search bar.
When using Amazon, the site will ask you a few short questions about the book’s condition. Then it will give you a buyback price.
After you’ve accepted their offer, they’ll give you a free shipping label. NOTE: when selling via this route, you will get an Amazon e-gift card or cash – whichever you choose.
Also, they do give you the option to sell the book as a third-party seller if you don’t like their offer price.
ValoreBooks has a textbook buying program just like similar sites we’ve mentioned here. You start by entering the ISBN of the books you want to sell.
After you accept their buyback offer price(s), they’ll email you a free shipping label. You’ll send in the books, and they’ll assess their condition.
Then they’ll send you your money via check or PayPal, whichever you choose.
BooksRun works the same as many of the other sites listed here. Enter your ISBN, get your quote. Accept your quote, print out your free shipping label and ship your order.
You’ll get paid via check or PayPal, whichever you choose. Note that with BooksRun and some of the other sites listed here, there is a minimum $15 buyback order that you need to meet.
Student2Student is a free website that lets you advertise textbooks for sale. You simply create an account, list what books you have to sell and how much you want to sell them for.
Student2Student buyers contact you to buy your books. Then you meet up on a local college campus and make the trade. Cash deals only with this site.
Bookfinder works similar to Bookscouter for selling textbooks. You enter the ISBN of the textbooks you want to sell. Bookfinder will show you offer prices from all of their available buyers.
When I used Bookfinder, I found they offered me a lower number of buyers than Bookscouter did. For that reason, I recommend checking both sites before taking a buyback offer.
As with similar sites, TextbookRush will give you a quote for buying your textbook when you enter the book’s ISBN on their website. The site says book buyback quotes are good for seven days.
They’ll pay you for your books in one of three ways of your choosing: PayPal, check or store credit. Yes, you can buy textbooks and other items at TextbookRush too.
12. Barnes & Noble
Popular bookstore Barnes & Noble also has a textbook buying program. You can enter the ISBN for any number of books.
However, you have to have at least $10 worth of books before Barnes & Noble will accept your buyback order. At that point, they will send you a free prepaid shipping label as well.
Once your shipment arrives, and Barnes & Noble assesses it, they’ll pay you via PayPal or by mailing you a check.
TextbookBuyer.com purchases college textbooks only. They will give you a free shipping label to print out after you accept their offer prices.
If you don’t happen to have a printer, you can ship the books via Media Mail at the U.S. post office, and TextbookBuyer.com will reimburse you for your shipping costs.
However, you need to follow their instructions to get reimbursed. You’ll get paid for the textbooks you sell via check once your order arrives at their warehouse and they evaluate it.
eCampus.com will buy your textbooks in the same manner as most other sites mentioned here. They’ll send you a free shipping label once you accept their buyback offer price.
After your books arrive at their warehouse and they assess them, they’ll pay you. Payment gets made via PayPal, mailed check, Direct Deposit or in-store credit you can use to buy other books.
Note: eCampus.com will allow you to sell textbooks on your own via their Marketplace too. See their website for more information about that.
Craigslist has a “books” section where you can sell textbooks also. Note that, at least in my area, most of the books for sale on Craigslist were not textbooks.
You might find a big market for textbooks on Craigslist in your area, or you might not. If you live in an area with many colleges, you might have more luck selling textbooks on Craigslist.
When listing textbooks on Craigslist, consider including the ISBN in the listing. This information will better help students determine if your book is the one they need.
Note that you may be able to use other sites like Craigslist to sell textbooks too.
Facebook can be another great place to sell textbooks online. This is especially true if a lot of your Facebook friends are college students.
As with Craigslist, be sure to include the ISBN in your Facebook post or marketplace listing. Take photos and give a thorough description, including any defects.
I’d recommend meeting up in public. And take cash only if you’re selling the books to someone you don’t know well.
There are also a few ways you can sell textbooks in person. Here are some ideas.
Sell Textbooks in Person
You can also sell textbooks in person instead of online. Here are some places to try.
16. Sell to Local Bookstores
Many bookstores buy used books to resell them. Check with local bookstores near you, or chain bookstores like Half Price Books.
These stores will provide you with quotes when you bring in your textbooks. If you like their offer price, they’ll often give you cash on the spot.
Half Price Books will also give you more for your books if you take a Half Price Books gift card instead of cash. Check bookstores near you for more details.
17. Your College Campus Bookstore
College campus bookstores might be willing to buy your unneeded college textbooks.
Typically, the books have to be pretty new for campus bookstores to buy them. They want editions that are new enough that they can resell to incoming students.
Check with colleges near you for more information on campus bookstore buyback programs.
18. Garage Sales
If you have a lot of textbooks available, you may want to consider selling them at a garage sale. Gather the other items you have in your house that you no longer need or want.
Or partner with a friend or family member for a bigger garage sale inventory. Advertise your garage sale on garage sale sites and on Craigslist, and be sure to mention you have textbooks for sale.
19. Homeschool Groups
I’ve sold a lot of textbooks to homeschool groups in the past. Even if you aren’t a homeschooler, you can sell your textbooks to homeschool groups.
Do an internet search for “homeschool groups near me” for more information. Explain what textbooks you have for sale and how much you want for them.
Homeschool groups look for elementary and high school textbooks as well as college textbooks for their students.
Now let’s talk a bit about how to get the most money for the textbooks you sell.
How to Get the Most Money for the Textbooks You Sell
There are things you can do to get the most money for textbooks you sell. Follow these tips for maximum profit.
Know What Kinds of Books to Buy
It’s important to know what books to buy that will resell quickly and make you a profit. The newer the textbook, the faster it will likely sell. Also, the more popular the subject, the quicker it will probably sell.
If you regularly sell textbooks, you may want to use a trusted shopping app (see this article at PCMag.com) to scan barcodes of what books are selling for.
That way you know if you’re paying the price for a textbook that will net you a good profit when you sell.
Know Where to Buy
You’ll probably get the best prices if you buy from private parties just looking to get rid of the books. You may be able to get a few good deals on sites like eBay.
However, buying directly from students or former students may get you the lowest buying price. The lower your buying price is, the higher your profit.
Keep or Buy Them in Great Shape
If you’re selling textbooks you’ve purchased new and used them yourself, be sure to keep them in great shape. Don’t write in them. Be careful with the pages as you study. And store them in safe places.
Don’t eat or drink near them. Keep them far away from water sources. If you drink water as you study, use a water bottle to help minimize damage from potential spills.
If you’re buying used textbooks, whether to study with or resell, look for ones already in great shape.
Look through the copies to ensure pages are intact and not written on with ink. If they’re written on in pencil, erase the writing carefully.
The better shape your books are in, the faster they’ll likely sell.
Sell at the Right Time
Selling at the right time is also vital. People don’t generally buy 10-year-old textbooks. Try to sell ones that are less than five years old. Less than two years old is ideal for maximum profit.
Check to see what edition is currently selling new. If a new version has already replaced a book from the publisher, your chances of selling it decrease dramatically.
It’s also helpful to sell textbooks during the right time of the year. Sell your books when people are starting to think about the books they need to buy.
For example, sell in the weeks and months leading up to a new semester or trimester. Think late spring or early summer. Or sell during the early days of winter break.
Research Prices Before Setting Your Price
It’s essential to research prices when selling textbooks too. I typically sell most of mine either via the homeschool group I’m in or on eBay.
Before I sell on eBay, I always check other similar listings to see what they’re asking. Then I list a couple of dollars below the price of similar items. As a buyer, I always look for a great product for the lowest price.
However, if an item is priced far below similar listings, I get suspicious. Therefore, I choose an amount that’s a few dollars below similar listings, but not too much below.
Remember to keep shipping costs in mind too and factor them into your list price. I typically offer free shipping when I sell, but not always.
Look at other listings and see how you can make yours just a bit more attractive to potential buyers.
Choose Your Venue Thoughtfully
The venue is another important consideration when selling textbooks. Think about what is more important to you.
If you’re looking to get rid of the books quickly, consider Decluttr or a used bookstore like Half Priced Books.
However, if you are looking for maximum profit, consider sites like eBay. The time factor is important too.
Do you have time to package up and ship books out? If not, eBay might not be the best choice for you.
You’ll have to decide if the time saved or money earned is most important. From there, you can choose the selling venue that best fits your textbook selling goals.
Whether you’re just selling textbooks you’ve used for school or making a career out of selling them, you can make money. Buy right, sell right and check out the different options for selling textbooks.
It will likely take some time and research to do so. But if you do it correctly, you can make some serious cash.
Have you ever tried to sell textbooks? If so, what was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments section on our Facebook page.