5 Tips for Selling Your Used Textbooks

By Sarah Jackson on May 10, 2017

As the academic year winds down, many college students face the question of how to get the most money for their used textbooks. Here are some suggestions to help get you started.

1. Ask around

Talk to friends, roommates, and other people you know to see if they’re interested in taking the books off of your hands. Even if they aren’t interested, they might know someone who is. As with many other tasks in college, networking is key!

2. Join a buy-and-sell group on social media

Many colleges have specific buy-and-sell groups on Facebook and other social media outlets. You might need to request permission to join the group, but once you’re in, you have a great chance of connecting with someone who wants to buy your books!

3. Get quotes from Amazon and online booksellers 

You might also be able to sell your books to online retailers. To sell your books to Barnes & Noble, for example, simply enter the ISBN of the book here, and they will give you a quote. If you’re happy with the amount offered, they will supply you with post-free mailing labels. Other companies, such as Amazon, offer gift cards in exchange for your books.

4. Look into bookstores near you

If you aren’t satisfied with the cash amounts offered in your campus bookstore’s buyback program, check out other bookstores that are not affiliated with the university instead. Here in New York City, just blocks away from NYU, the Strand Bookstore buys books from the public on a walk-in basis six days a week. 

Image by ocegep via flickr.com

5. Take part in your school’s buyback program

If you can’t find better prices anywhere else, you can fall back on the buyback program at your school’s bookstore. Find out when your buyback program is being held, and get there early! For some classes, especially large introductory courses for a major, the university bookstore may only buy back a set number of books at a certain price. Once they reach this limit of books, they may offer less money per book or even refuse to buy it at all.

Whichever route you take to selling your textbooks, know that there are other options worth trying if you are dissatisfied with the amount of money you’re offered. Finally, if you find that some of your books will not go for any amount no matter where you try, you can always donate them to literacy-based organizations. Better World Books, will either donate your books to children in need or resell your books and donate the profits to charity; they even cover shipping costs!

Hi there! My name is Sarah, and I'm majoring in Journalism and English at NYU. In my spare time, I like to play the violin, explore the city, and discover more indie rock bands.

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