Thursday, August 5, 2021

How to Get the Most Money From Your Old College Books

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If you haven’t sold your old textbooks yet, you’re basically sitting on a pile of money. Textbooks can be worth extra cash if you’ve taken care of them. The biggest problem that students face is where to sell their books. You can sell your textbooks on campus or online. That’s right! There are actually websites that will pay you for your books, and the best part is, they usually pay more than the campus store! Here’s how to get the most out of those old college textbooks.


  1. Don’t Write In Them! Or Damage Them…

This may seem incredibly obvious, but you’d be amazed how many college textbooks are returned heavily damaged or otherwise unusable. Taking care of those textbooks is nothing short of protecting an investment; and while you certainly won’t get more than you paid for the book, getting a small percentage of the purchase price back ensures that your investment wasn’t a total loss.

Keep your textbooks in good condition to get the most out of your buyback. Whether you’re selling online or in-store, the buyer will want to see complete pages, free of coffee stains, rips and tears, and intact binding. Some highlighting is acceptable under certain conditions, but if you’re writing entire papers in the pages of your textbooks, you’re going to have some trouble selling them.

You can put covers on your books to protect them, or keep them in your bag when you’re not using them. It’s probably a good idea to lend your books out with caution, as classmates are less inclined to be careful with something they haven’t paid for.

Generally, a “like new” condition book has no blemishes, or minor ones, no ripped or missing pages and no writing in the cover or on any pages. Without a like new condition, you can expect the largest payout for your book.

  1. Don’t Sell Them Back to the School

Remember how insulting the cost of your textbooks was when you bought them at the campus book store? You’re looking at further insult if you decide to sell them back to the same store. Campus stores generally have high purchases prices and low buyback rates.

Campus bookstores are set to make the largest profit possible, which means your old textbooks aren’t going to get the best prices. They’ll match the book against demand and cost factors, providing you with a buyback number that will likely make your heart sink.

Online retailers generally offer not only better purchase prices, but better buyback prices as well. Online stores are much more efficient to run since they don’t have the same costs as a typical brick and mortar store. These savings are passed on to you, lowering prices and even offering rental options if you’re not looking to buy.

If you decide to sell your books, you should get a few offers before you decide on one. Call the bookstore, get a quote, and then shop around online for a better offer. You’ll likely find the better offers online anyway, as the sites can offer better buyback prices since they’re not running a brick and mortar storefront.

  1. Sell Privately

Another option you have is to try a private sale. You can sell your old textbooks to students coming into the class in the next semester, providing them with a discount and you with a reasonable return on the purchase price.

The great part about selling privately is that you get to set the price, which is still likely cheaper than the bookstore’s price. You’ll be providing your fellow students with a great opportunity for a discount. Just be sure the ISBNs match with the required books, as some editions have different numbers.

You can list private sales on sites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace as well, to get the most exposure for your listing. That way, you’ll have several offers on the table and can choose the best one for you.

  1. Rent Next Time Instead of Buying

You can rent textbooks online, as well. By renting, you’ll save yourself the cost of purchasing a brand new textbook. There are hundreds of books that rent for under $100 per semester. That’s quite a discount from the normal hundreds you spend on new books.

Renting does come with a certain responsibility, however. With a rental book, you’ll want to take extra care of the book so as not to incur any damage charges, and to keep the book in good condition for the next student. If you’ve ever gotten a textbook that was in poor condition, you understand how frustrating it can be to use a book that’s falling apart.

Many buyback sites also offer textbook rentals at discounted prices. When it comes time to send the books back, you’ll simply pay postage and send your book back (in good condition) and your transaction is completed. Consider this alternative the next time you need textbooks.


Purchasing textbooks is an expensive (and sometimes stressful) process. Buying from your campus bookstore is probably the most expensive option and returns the least amount of value in terms of buyback. Choosing an online vendor will not only earn you more money but save you money in the long run with lower prices. Be sure to take care of your books, whether renting or buying, so you can sell or return them for maximum profits and minimal fees.

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