The Best Tips for Selling Your Used Books

used books

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

If you're selling used books in person or online, a great first step is to plug a book's International Standard Book Number (ISBN) into BookScouter. This is a tool that shows you how much 50-plus online book buyers are willing to pay for a title. To maximize your profits, use the price history tool to see how much a particular book has sold for in the past. It might help you to identify a particular time of year when your book will sell for more.

Once you have a target price in mind, follow these tips for selling used books.


While BookScouter has a paid version with additional features, there's a free version that anyone can use.


Watch Now: Tips on How to Sell Used Books

Places to Sell Used Books

  • eBay: eBay is a great place to try reselling your used books. Niche books typically attract bidders, and there are usually plenty of people are looking for used SAT or textbooks.
  • Local bookstores and book-buying markets: If you don't want to fuss with packing and mailing your books, take them to a local used bookstore, put them in a kids' consignment sale, or try selling them through Facebook Marketplace. As long as your books are recent and desirable, they should still earn you enough to be worth your time.
  • Yard sales: Have a yard sale to get rid of the books that you weren't able to sell through other channels. Yard sales usually don't bring in a huge profit for books, but at least you'll get something for items you aren't using.
selling books online
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Tips for First-Time Book Sellers

If you want to become a reliable book reseller, there are a few things you need to do:

  • Know how to clean books. Get rid of any damage, dust, or mildew before selling.
  • Be honest about the condition of the book. If there are damaged corners or missing pages, say so. If someone has written in or highlighted huge portions of the book, make that known. If the book has remainder marks (an indication they've been returned to the publisher), mention that, too. Fudging on the condition won't get you more money. When the buyer receives your book and finds it lacking, they will adjust the offer down and might even reject your book completely.
  • Package your books carefully. If a book was in excellent condition when you shipped it but it arrived in fair condition, you're going to be paid the fair book rate. You're responsible for getting the book there in one piece, so take the time to wrap it well.
  • Pay to ship your books. Offer to pick up the tab for the shipping costs.
packing up books for shipping
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Places to Sell or Donate Your Magazines

Do you have a lot of magazines to clear out? Sell them in your next yard sale, or consider donating them to a nursing home or art teacher. If you have copies of a magazine that is now defunct, you may be able to sell them on eBay for a small profit. Otherwise, just recycle them, and enjoy the extra space in your house.

used magazines
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida
  • How can I find out what my used books are worth?

    Check on BookScouter to see and compare what price over 30 vendors are willing to pay for your books.

  • What type of books should you resell?

    Popular used books that are worth trying to resell are textbooks, arts and crafts books, cooking books, sheet music, religious books, best-selling fiction, and non-fiction books.

  • What should I do with books I can't sell?

    If there are books that you can't sell, pass them around to family and friends, or donate them to a local school, library, nursing home, or charity organization.