A Guide to Reselling Old Textbooks


Textbooks take up a big chunk of your budget — and you tend to only need them for a single semester. Reselling textbooks once you’ve finished a class is a great way to regain some of your investment. Plus, since you’re surrounded by students, you have no shortage of potential customers. To maximize the amount you receive from old textbooks, there are a few things you need to do.

1. Avoid Your Campus Bookstore

The most obvious place to sell old textbooks is actually one of your worst options: your campus bookstore. Since the bookstore wants to make a profit, the amount you’ll receive will be much lower than what the next student will pay. Plus, bookstores don’t want to incentivize students to return their books because it’s in their best interests to sell new (rather than used) textbooks.

2. Advertise to Students

A much better option than your campus bookstore is to sell textbooks directly to students. Find ways to reach students who are taking the class next semester — either by advertising in the appropriate building on campus or through social media. Your university may have a social media group dedicated to buying and selling textbooks. Alternatively, search for groups for the class or subject.

3. Research Pricing

Make sure you’re asking the right price for your books. If the price is too high, you may end up needing to wait another semester before you’re able to offload your books. The best way to find out how much to ask for a book is to research online. Check ecommerce sites for the same textbooks in a similar condition to your own.

4. Use Buybacks

Another option is to use a textbook buyback program. Find out what retailer websites are offering and decide if this is better than what you could receive selling to students. To take advantage of these programs, you’ll need to send off your textbooks as soon as the semester ends — if not before. Also bear in mind that some retailers want to receive books around the last week of finals. You’ll need to determine if this is feasible for you.

5. Keep Your Books in Good Condition

Wherever you decide to sell your books, you’ll gain the most money if they’re in great condition. Don’t feel like you need to be so careful that your textbooks are like new when you’re finished with them — using your books to study and do well in your classes needs to be your top priority — but you should avoid unnecessary damage. This means you shouldn’t write in the margins, highlight text, or fold corners to bookmark pages. All of these will be off putting to the next student, as they make your textbooks less effective study aids.

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