General Education

A Guide to Selling Your Textbooks

A Guide to Selling Your Textbooks
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Terri Williams May 22, 2014

You worked hard and you got the best grades you could get with your awfully busy schedule. Now it’s time to reward yourself by selling your books.

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You made it through the semester and you can now pat yourself on the back for all of your accomplishments. You worked hard and you got the best grades you could get with your awfully busy schedule. Now it’s time to reward yourself by selling your books.

Textbooks Are More Expensive Than Ever

Textbooks are a major expense in college. According to the American Enterprise Institute, the price of college textbooks increased by more than 142 percent from 1998 to 2013. The National Association of College Stores estimates that the average college student will spend $655 each year on textbooks. Sometimes, however, just one textbook could cost as much as $300, which can make your total textbook costs substantially higher. What’s worse is that most of these books are pretty much useless after you complete the course.

Get Some Cash Back

Put your used textbooks to good use by earning some cash these three ways:

# 1. Sell your books at your local campus

This is a quick and easy solution where you’ll get cash right away. The advantage of using your local college bookstore is that your books are more likely to be in demand at your school than at another university. However, be advised that some colleges only buy back textbooks near the end or the beginning of a school quarter or semester.

# 2. Go online and compare who will give you the most money

You may get more bang for your buck by selling your books online simply because you have an assortment of site options where you can compare prices. Just be mindful of the shipping and handling you’ll have to take care of when you sell online. Sites to check out include the following:

# 3. Try student online exchange

You can sell your textbooks to other students in your school. For example, ABC Los Angeles affiliate reported that students at the University of Southern California (USC) can buy and sell books to other USC students. All transactions are made through a website, that was created by one of the university’s students, Erik Bogaard. According to Bogaard, since all of the students are on the same campus, there are no shipping and handling fees. A private messaging center allows the students to send and receive electronic payments, and arrange a meeting place and time. is another website that allows students to sell and buy books from other students at the same university. It’s not available at every school, but there are several participating colleges and universities including Yale, Penn State, UConn, Duke, Georgetown, and Alabama.

Be Mindful of the Condition of Your Books

The quality of your used textbooks will determine how much money you will receive for them. For example, when you sell your books online, you may be quoted a price, but that price is subject to change depending on whether your textbooks are in good shape. For instance, at Bookbyte, you will receive the whole quoted amount if the book has all of its pages, all of the text is legible, and you note any minor signs of wear and tear, such as highlighting, staining, discoloration, or places where you marked text.

On the other hand, if the books have excessive highlighting, writing or other kinds of marks, odors, and stains, you will receive half the quoted amount. If the books are missing pages or the text is not legible, the books won’t be accepted. Bookbyte will recycle them instead of sending the books back to you. Most textbook buyers have similar quality standards.

If you keep your books in good condition, you should be able to use one of these methods to recoup your costs, which can help to make your college experience — and give you a little extra pocket cash for the summer.

(Looking to buy some books instead? Check out The Cheapest Textbooks in the Land for some great tips on finding cheap texts!)


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