The Problem with Popular Textbook Companies

One of the most expensive items on a college student’s budget is textbooks. A time-honored practice among students is to sell these books when they are done with them. Ideally, the profit gained goes toward purchasing the next set of books needed for the next course. The big question is where you can sell your college books so you get the most out of it. Although nearly all schools offer textbook buyback options, what you get will probably be less than selling your books elsewhere.

Where Used Book Companies Can Go Wrong

There are a lot of used books sold online. Doing a search using the keywords “used textbooks” or “used books” will generate huge amount of hits: 100 million for the former and a whopping 1 billion for the latter. To make things easier for you, here are a number of websites that the majority of students flock to when they search for low-priced textbooks. There is a higher chance at these websites that you receive an acceptable amount of money for your books.

1) Chegg – this was basically a textbook rental company for students when it launched in 2007. The company has expanded its services to include buying used textbooks from students that meet their “Acceptable Condition” requirements. If your books meet these criteria, just type in the ISBN numbers of the ones you plan to sell in order to get a quote. You can then ship the books for free through UPS. Once they receive your books and confirm that they are indeed in acceptable condition, you get paid.

2) Amazon – this online superstore saw that allowing students to buy and sell textbooks through them is big business. The textbooks should meet certain requirements before Amazon will deem them acceptable (e.g. condition, ownership, cause of damage, etc.). These are stated in their “Textbooks Condition Criteria”. You can resell books with Amazon even if the books were not purchased through them. Book shipment is free through US Postal Services and UPS Ground. The books have to be received first before you receive any credit for them, which can be viewed as your gift card balance in “Your Trade-in Account”. There are also various promotions that you can avail of from time to time that makes selling books with them more lucrative.

3) – this site is focused on reselling or renting out movies, games, music, books, and textbooks. It is a subsidiary of the hugely popular online selling website eBay. In order to sell books through, you have to create a seller account. The site will ask for your credit card number as a means of identifying and verifying who you are. Your card will not be charged for this. The site encourages sellers to put up for sale only books in good condition through a feedback profile that has to be kept public if you want to sell through You will have to handle shipping and product returns. This includes packaging and cost of shipping., however, provides tools that will help you do this easily, efficiently, and quickly.(6)

4) AbeBooks – the company, in conjunction with TextbooksRus, provides a convenient buyback option for students or anyone who would like to resell their books. The price quote you get for your books depends wholly on the demand for that particular book. If demand is high, you will get quotes that are usually more attractive than your college’s buyback offer or AbeBooks competitors. If you receive payment that is less than the quoted price, this means that the condition of the book you sent to them is lower than what is required by the company. You may even sell editions that other companies refuse (e.g. international editions, free copy editions, instructor’s editions, etc.). Shipping is free via FedEx and USPS Media Mail.

5) BIGWORDS – this site gets you in touch with companies that buyback books and resell them. It allows you to compare the different offers available. The companies covered are not just those that are based online but also include bookstores and used books companies. Shipping depends on whether the company you chose to sell your book to will pay for the shipping themselves or ask you to handle this yourself. It is a very good site if you want to get a feel for how much your book is worth, aside from which company is offering the most for it.

6) BookFinder – this is another site that provides the visitor with information on how much bookstores are offering for your books. Shipping is covered by BookFinder’s partners. The titles, however, are limited to those the site’s partners are buying. These partners include those located in Canada and the United Kingdom not just the United States.

Some Tips on Getting the Best Price

When you purchase a used book, buy with an eye towards reselling the book. Make sure that the book’s condition meets with the minimum required by most buy back companies and keep it that way. You not only save by buying your books at a lower price, you save even more because you can resell this book later on. An excellent way to do this is to purchase books from reputable resellers that provide return options.

Take time to compare buy back offers. Websites like BIGWORDS and BookFinder will prove invaluable in providing you with this information. Also, use your school’s book buy back offer as a baseline for comparison, especially if you do not have the luxury of time and need to sell your books as soon as possible. If you do have the luxury of waiting until demand for your books go up, do so. You will get some of the most profitable sales this way.

So, Where Is the Best Place to Sell Your College Books?

The answer, anywhere you can get more for each dollar you spent in getting that book. Of course, you need to do some research so you know how much your books are worth. The best time to sell a book is when the demand for it is high. So, keep your books in good condition and save a lot for your next set of required reading materials.

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