Most students and parents can already tell you that the cost of tuition has gone up quite significantly over the years, but what you almost never hear about is the insane price of the books you need to attend the already pricey classes you’re attending to earn that degree. In fact, while tuition has gone up by about 260 percent since the year 1980 according to Business Insider, the cost of books has increased even more exponentially — by a staggering 800 percent since the mid-1970s.
Most kids today are not looking to attend Ivy League schools in the way they did in generations past — we’re starting to understand that you get out of a college or university what you are willing to put into it, and that means you can get a quality education just about anywhere you decide to attend. But, even with the dramatically lower cost of community college and in-state university, no matter where you attend, the cost of the books remains relatively the same, unbelievably.
About Textbook Buying and Selling Sites
Most textbook buying and selling websites work in a similar fashion, which is that they look for the titles you have by simply having you enter the ISBN number found typically on the back of the book. From here, you will be shown the value of the book, what you can sell it for to that website, and how much will be docked from the price based on the condition of the book.
This is good news for students who have been working throughout the semester with books they bought already used, because even if a book is twice or even three times used, it still has value to textbook resellers, who can turn it around to other students looking for books at a more deeply discounted rate.
So, once you have bought expensive books and completed your courses, those books still have value — a lot of it. And, other students can benefit profoundly by buying gently used textbooks and literature from a whole host of websites and bookstores around campus.
But here’s a little secret: those bookstores around campus are only going to give you a pittance in comparison to what you could make if you sold the exact same titles in certain places online.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best places you can sell your used textbooks and literature online to ensure that you get the most bang out of your used books.
BooksRun is a terrific option for reselling old textbooks for a few different reasons. To begin, it works like other textbook buy-back sites in the sense that you will enter the ISBN number to determine the value of each individual text or other learning material.
But what makes BooksRun different is that it offers an app for your Android or Apple phone that allows you to scan the barcode of the book rather than manually entering the ISBN number, which greatly simplifies and streamlines the process.
Then, once you have input the information about the quality and condition of the book or other item, you can then check out and have the shipping label you will need emailed or texted to your phone for you to print out when you are next able to do so.
Even better, BooksRun pays for your used texts and learning materials within just four days, and you can choose to be paid either through PayPal or by paper check. Keep in mind, however, that it might be best to wait for the paper check if you are able to, as PayPal may assess its own fees, lowering the amount of money that eventually makes its way to you in the end.
As noted above, and like most other textbook sellers online, Cash4Books will use the ISBN number on the back of your textbooks and other learning materials to determine the current value of the item.
From here, Cash4Books will make you an offer, which you can then accept. Next, you will print out the label created by accepting the offer, which will allow you to send the books and other items to them free of charge to you by simply applying the sticker to the box used to send the book(s) back. The labels are created in a manner commensurate with the weight of the texts, so their shipping labels are fairly accurate.
With Cash4Books, payments are made to booksellers by either paper check or through PayPal, making it relatively easy to accept payment. But, keep in mind, if you opt to use PayPal, there may be charges associated with the sale that can be taken out of the payment on your end. So, if you can wait to be paid, a paper check may be a better bet in the long run.
Considering that you can also determine the value of your book or books by reviewing their top 500 most popular titles, Cash4Books can be a pretty great way to go, especially if you have multiple popular titles on hand.
BookScouter works differently from other textbook buyback websites. It can best be described as a sort of Trivago or Priceline of book-buying websites in the sense that what BookScouter does is offer you the buyback prices offered for your textbook by as many as 30 different textbook buying websites.
As an aggregate website, BookScouter is maybe the best way to go if you are looking to compare and contrast the value of the books you are selling back to determine where you will get the most back for each individual one.
But interestingly, if you have a pile of books, you may find that one book buyer on BookScouter is offering a great buyback price for one book while another book buyer is offering a better price for another book you have on hand.
In one sense, this can be the smartest way to go, because you will get more back in the end, but in another sense, it can become more of a hassle, as you will have to print up labels and ship various books to different buyers. But, if you are willing to put in the effort, this can be the most financially beneficial way to go at the end of the day.
And, just as with most other textbook buying platforms, the way the price of your books is determined is by entering the ISBN number you will find on the back of the text or other learning material.
And, because BookScouter ultimately hooks you up with another book buyer, you will be paid in whichever manner that buyer pays, but typically within a week to 10 days, and oftentimes through either paper check or PayPal, whichever you prefer.
TextbookRush seems to be one of the better options for students for a number of different reasons. To begin, they offer both a website and a phone or handheld app, which can make it easier for some students or parents to sell back books.
Just as with competitors, you will enter the ISBN number of the book or books you wish to sell back to TextbookRush, but the difference is that the offers they make on your books are good for up to 20 days, meaning that you will have some time to look around to see if you can get a better offer someplace else for the titles you wish to part with.
Another great advantage to using TextbookRush is that, unlike most other book buyback websites and apps, they offer better ways to get paid back. You can opt for PayPal like with other book buyers and sellers, but you can also opt for direct deposit, which means you will get the full amount back without being potentially docked by PayPal. And, of course, you can also opt for a paper check if you prefer.
But, TextbookRush also offers students and parents the option to obtain credit on their site for books too, so if you would rather not receive any money back and have a little net egg set aside for the next time you need to buy books, you can just head to TextbookRush before your next classes begin and buy your textbooks there instead at a discounted rate!
Student2Student works completely differently than other textbook buyback websites, apps, or programs, so you will have to get used to the user interface and dashboard before you proceed with unloading your titles.
But, in essence, it works like this: rather than entering your book’s ISBN number, you will interface with other students who also have books they no longer need, and who also need new (or gently used) books to continue their higher education.
So, instead of getting paid through a book buyer and seller website, you will simply list your books on your profile, allow other students to browse your titles, and then in most cases, sell the texts to other students who live near you or your school, if you happen to be educated far from home or out of state.
What’s great about this is that you will often meet people who are taking, or who have already taken, the classes you are taking, which can be a great way to get a leg up on a class before the term even begins! And, even better, Student2Student becomes not only a way to sell books to fellow students, but to make friends with people at your own school and nearby schools in the process.
Yep, you read that right, the world’s first-ever discount online bookseller is in the textbook buyback game — big time. And, Amazon offers a few different ways for you to unload your no-longer-needed textbooks as well.
To begin, you could opt to make use of their trade-in program, which allows you to obtain Amazon credit for any of the books they will be willing to buy back from you, which is a pretty prolific collection, to be honest.
What’s great about having Amazon credit rather than cash is that you can immediately set aside the books you need in your Amazon cart, and within just a few hours, you will be able to buy the books you need for your next semester, before it even begins. Amazon can, however, be a little more strict with the condition of the books it will allow you to sell, so if your books are in really rough shape, this may not be the absolute best option for you.
What Amazon does is have you fill out a brief but pretty comprehensive questionnaire about the condition of each of the books you are selling. Next, you will receive your printable shipping label (as long as they accept the books based on how you answered the questions in your questionnaires), and you will have seven business days to ship them to Amazon using the label.
This can be done from your local post office, or if you prefer, you can also head to your local Kohl’s department store and have them shipped from there, whichever is easiest for you.
Powell’s Books has both physical locations as well as the option to sell your books online. However, Powell’s Books is extremely picky about the books they will accept in terms of the condition of the books, which they will only buy back from you if they are in excellent condition.
But, the flip side of this coin is that because the books are only accepted in superior condition, Powell’s Books is usually willing to pay more for them than other brick and mortar or online textbook buyers, meaning you are more likely to walk away with more for your titles — as long as you have carefully and very gently used them throughout the term.
If you opt to use their website, you will simply enter the books’ ISBN numbers and your email address, and Powell’s Books will send you back a quote for the titles you have on hand along with a shipping label to cover the cost of shipping the books to them.
And, if you happen to like your textbooks in excellent condition, you are in luck, because Powell’s Books offers store credit that you can use when you sell them your books. On the other hand, you can also opt for straight payment, which is done through PayPal or by paper check.
Some Tips About Selling Back Your Books
Now that you have a good list of quality places where you can sell your books back quickly, easily, and for the most money, it’s also important that you understand the rules of the road when it comes to selling back used books. Here are a few pointers to get you headed off in the right direction.
Do Not Lie About the Condition of Your Books
If you lie or misrepresent the condition of your books, you will earn a bad reputation for yourself among book buyers and book buyback programs, especially those who sell back to other students, just like you.
Not only can this get you banned from the websites or apps you use to sell your books and other learning materials, it can cost you money — a lot of it — when book buyers decide to dock money from the check or other payment they were going to send you when they thought your books were in better condition.
So, instead, just be honest about the condition of your texts and titles, and never tell a lie or mistruth that would garner you a higher price — because in the end, it really isn’t worth it.
Ship Your Textbooks With Care
When shipping your textbooks and other learning materials, consider purchasing a waterproof or at least water-resistant form of packaging. You never know what these packages and boxes may go through on their way to the book buyer, so to ensure that they don’t think the worst of you or that you were lying about the condition of the materials you are sending them, this can be a great way to safeguard your precious cargo.
Additionally, be sure to properly tape up your packages and boxes before sending them off — you don’t want them getting wet, or worse, the heaviness of the books to cause the box or package to rupture open.
After all, the book buyback program you are using will pay to have the books shipped, but it is not ultimately their responsibility to ensure the safety of the texts and materials on their way to them.
Consider Donating Books That Are Not Sellable
If you have a textbook or other learning material that is just too banged up to earn you any money, consider that there are more unfortunate students out there who can still benefit from these texts and materials.
You can donate your books to your local college bookstore, and they will either sell them for a tremendously marked down price or set them aside for students who are attending school on grants or other forms of student aid.
This can be a powerful way to ensure educational equity in your own community, so please, consider it.