The Best Tips for Selling Your Used Books

used books

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Do you have used books to sell and want to get a great price for them? Usually reselling is a bit of a gamble, but it doesn't have to be with books. There are several methods for reselling books, both in-person and online.

A great first step is to plug in a book's ISBN into Book Scouter, which is a tool that shows you how much 50-plus online book buyers are willing to pay for a title. It even has a free mobile app that you can download, which is handy if you want to check thrift stores, yard sales, and estate sales for books that you can resell at a profit. Just scan the ISBN to see what a particular book is currently selling for, and if it's more than what you can buy it for, snap it up and resell it.

To maximize your profits, use their price history tool to see how much a particular book has sold for in the past. It may help you to identify a particular time of the year when your book will sell for more. Also be sure you know how to clean books to get rid of any damage, dust, or mildew before selling.

Tip

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

More Places to Sell Your Used Books

  • eBay: eBay is a great place to try reselling your used books. Niche books always attract bidders, and what's your trash could be another's treasure: plenty of people are looking for used SAT or textbooks on eBay.
  • 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, donate them to a thrift store, or tuck them in a Little Free Library, so other people in your community can enjoy them. It sure beats having them take up space in your house.
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:

  • 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, he or she will adjust the offer down and may 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