Probably the most expensive books you’ll ever buy in your life are the textbooks you need for college.
Their cost has increased a whopping 1041% since 1977, and it’s estimated that an average student has to spend about $900 per year simply to buy the required course books. According to a recent College Board report, some university students spend as much as $1,200 a year total on textbooks.
That’s a significant proportion of the cost of going to university. But when you reach the end of the semester, good luck getting much money back if you try and sell your books to the campus bookstore.
It’s a racket where they trade on the convenience to rip you off.
It can be just as easy selling your books elsewhere, and you can shop around for the best value. Best still, most of the following places that buy back textbooks give you free shipping, with a mailing label.
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1. Sell via Textbook Comparison Sites
There are a lot of textbook buyback sites, as you’re about to find out. Going through each of them in order to find the highest paying site for your used textbook can be tedious and time-consuming.
But there is an easier, faster way…
Use a comparison site like BookScouter.
You simply have to enter the ISBN, the identification number of your book and the sites will search over 40 textbook buyback sites to find the one that pays the most for your book.
Bookscouter.com even offers an app that you can use to scan the barcode on the back cover, making number entry even easier and foolproof.
Prices change, so it’s best if you can get the values and commit to the sales all in one day. Using scouting sites, you can be sure that you’re getting a good price for your used books.
This is a popular website, as they make competitive offers for your books and pay very quickly.
What’s more, they have a low minimum of five dollars value. They accept a modicum of highlighting and notes in the books.
Just like Bookscouter, they have an app that can read the ISBN barcodes on the back of each book, not only saving you typing but also making sure there are no mistakes.
Of course, Bookscouter is a scouting site that searches amongst different book buyers for the best offers, but Cash4Books is an alternative if you can’t use Bookscouter.
If you sign up with Cash4Books, you will receive regular emails and bonus codes that will give you a little extra.
3. Buyback Express (Previously Book It Buyback)
Buyback Express will accept books that have minor markings and underlinings, and also take ex-library books, though the amount they pay you for these is limited by their policies.
They require a minimum of $10 value and provide a Media Mail shipping label for you to send the books.
You get paid via PayPal.
Valore will often give you a little more than some other buyback stores, so it’s worth checking out.
There is a $15 value minimum, but with the higher prices, this is easier to obtain.
You can print out a free UPS shipping label for your package.
Like Cash4Books, they will send you occasional bonuses if you sign up for an account. The bonuses come as coupon codes, which you can enter to get an extra 5% or 10% on the buyback value.
Payment is made via PayPal, and will usually arrive within two weeks. You can request a check, but this will probably take longer.
If your books have been marked up with a highlighter, underlines, and notes, some sites won’t accept them. TextbookRush will take them, provided the markings are not extensive.
They also buy ex-library books, but they have to be stamped “Withdrawn”.
The minimum amount they accept is $15 value.
For that, they will send you a SmartPost shipping label. This will be either for USPS or for FedEx, so you have to check where to drop the parcel off.
You can get paid by PayPal or with a check.
They give you a little more if you accept a credit for their online store, but unless you know you’re going to be buying more books it’s probably not worth it.
In spite of the classic name, Textbooks.com will consider buying back other books, and can sometimes offer better prices than other stores. It’s worth checking them out.
7. CKY Books
CKY Books is a bookstore in Kentucky and specializes in buying back textbooks.
It will take ex-library books as well as books that have minor highlighting and markings.
You need a minimum of $30 value for CKY Books to be interested, and you get a free Media Mail shipping label to return the books. However, if you have more than $40 value, CKY requires you to use UPS and sends you a shipping label for that service.
It pays you via PayPal.
Chegg is in the book rental business, and to keep up with demand it has a buyback service.
If you rent books from Chegg, they come in a bright orange box.
Chegg is good for the environment. When you use Chegg to rent a textbook, Chegg undertakes to plant a tree.
You can search for books to rent using the ISBN, author, or title.
You probably already know that Amazon is a marketplace for buying and selling textbooks.
You can buy used books for up to 90% off list price, and you’ll still get 60% of what you paid back when you come to sell them again.
What’s more, if you are a current student with a .edu email address, Amazon will give you free two-day shipping for a year.
The only snag is that Amazon pays you with an Amazon gift card and not as cash – but as you can buy so many different things on Amazon, this is only a minor problem.
A student-oriented website, eCampus sells and rents textbooks, and will buy yours with a check, direct deposit, or with in-store credit.
You get free UPS or USPS shipping for your books.
If you’re still in college, eCampus credit could work out, as the store also sells college clothing, as well as more textbooks, DVDs, etc.
MyBookBuyer does exactly what it says on the label – it buys books.
Simply enter the ISBN’s to get a quote. If the quote’s acceptable, they’ll send you a UPS shipping label for the parcel.
They pay out through PayPal or send you a check.
12. Powell’s Books
This is a well-known bookstore based in Oregon, and will pay well for your used books provided they are in good condition.
But be aware that it doesn’t return books rejected because they are not acceptable. You can read the full guidelines on the site.
Basically, they don’t want ex-library books, books that are torn or taped, or even books that are highlighted or noted.
They pay you through PayPal, or will give you a better price if you take it as store credit.
Another store that offers good prices, but again with conditions.
There is a high minimum amount, and any of your books that are deemed unacceptable will be recycled.
You get paid with PayPal or with a check.
Where to Sell Textbooks for Instant Cash
What if you need money right now and don’t have few days to send in your book to any of these sites and waite for them to accpet it and pay you?
The good news is that some of the major bookstore will actually buy back your old textbooks and will pay you cash instantly.
14. Barnes & Noble
Once again you need at least $10 value of books, but Barnes & Noble buy your books for instant cash.
You can get a quote online by entering the ISBN(s) of your book(s). If you like the price, you can either take it to the nearest B&N store and get cash for your book there, or if you prefer, you can mail them the book (they’ll pay for shipping) and get paid via check.
The textbooks you’re trying to get rid of could be just what another student is looking to buy.
Put an ad on Craigslist and see if any local student wants to buy ’em.
As you can see, there are many options when it comes to selling textbooks, and you don’t necessarily have to go to the campus bookstore and just accept their low bid.
In fact, with the information contained above you might find it worth helping your student friends sell their textbooks for a higher price, and make a little commission on the side!