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Where to Sell College Textbooks

Where to Sell College Textbooks
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated November 11, 2022
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College is expensive, and while tuition may come with the biggest sticker shock, the cost of other necessities like textbooks can also add up quickly. Academic quarters and semesters fly by in the blink of an eye, and it can feel like a real shame to end up stuck with a pile of pricey and large textbooks once they’re no longer needed. One option students have if they’re looking to make a little extra cash is to sell college textbooks when they’re done using them.Keep reading for more insight into how and where to sell used textbooks after graduation or whenever students finish a class. 

Why Sell Your Old College Textbooks?

While keeping or donating college textbooks is an option available to students, let’s take a look at some of the reasons selling those textbooks can be a good idea. 

Good for the Planet

One of the best reasons to sell college books after finishing a class is because doing so is good for the planet. Making more used textbooks available to students helps cut down on production costs and gives textbooks a second life. 

Good for Your Wallet

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that selling textbooks can also help students get a little bit of their money back. Students who purchase used textbooks may even find they break even or make a profit when they go to sell their textbooks. Even with the help of student loans, college students have a lot of expenses to cover. Students can use their earnings to work towards paying off their student loan debt.

Fewer Boxes to Move

Cutting down on clutter is another major benefit of selling bulky textbooks — especially since most students move when they graduate from college or go home for the summer. 

13 Places to Sell College Textbooks

Not sure where to sell college books? Let’s walk through some options for where students can sell college textbooks so they can get a bit of extra cash to help them get through school. 

1. College Bookstore

Many on-campus bookstores allow students to sell back their textbooks since they know other students taking the same course likely need those same textbooks. If a student’s college bookstore won’t buy their textbooks, they can always try selling them at another local college bookstore. 

2. Directly to Other Students Online

It’s time to hop on social media and connect with other students. Most college course book requirements stay pretty consistent, so chances are students have friends and classmates who need the textbooks they finished with.

Craigslist

It’s possible to sell almost anything to local buyers on Craigslist. For safety purposes, those looking to sell college textbooks on Craigslist should bring a friend or parent with them when they meet up with the seller. 

eBay

To keep a sale fully online (and to avoid safety concerns), students can sell their textbooks on eBay. Some people even start small businesses by selling things on eBay.

Facebook Marketplace

Students who already have a Facebook account may find that selling their textbooks is simpler on Facebook Marketplace since they won’t have to create a new account like they would with Craigslist or eBay. An added benefit of Facebook Marketplace is that sellers can see buyers' profiles, which may give them some peace of mind when planning meetups. 

3. Half Price Books

Students can stop by their local Half Price Books location to try to sell their textbooks, as well as items like movies, music, games, and electronics. Not a bad way to beat the clutter and make some extra cash at the same time. 

4. BooksRun

Students who prefer selling books online may turn to BooksRun. A big perk of BooksRun is that it makes it possible to ship books to sell for free. 

5. BookFinder.com

This website connects consumers with tons of their partners that are looking to buy books. This allows students to choose between different prices to sell their textbooks. 

6. GoTextbooks

GoTextbooks is another convenient website that makes it possible for students to ship their textbooks for free and sell them after getting price quotes. 

7. Amazon

Many students turn to Amazon to buy their textbooks. Additionally, plenty of students sell those textbooks on Amazon when they’re done using them. 

8. Barnes & Noble

A lot of people may not realize it, but it’s possible to buy used books from Barnes & Noble. In fact, this bookseller is always looking to buy used books to fill up its inventory. 

9. Used Bookstores

When it comes time to sell college books, check out some local used bookstores. Students are likely to have better luck going this route if they head to used bookstores located near college campuses. 

10. eCampus

eCampus is yet another online marketplace with free shipping for sellers. It also offers instant quotes on a large selection of ISBNs.

11. AbeBooks

AbeBooks requires a $25 monthly fee for sellers, so this option is only a good fit if a student continuously sells their textbooks back. 

12. Chegg

Chegg is known for helping college students stay on top of their course work, but they also make selling college books online possible, thanks to their partnership with GoTextbooks. 

13. Cash4Books

Last, but not least, Cash4Books is another great option for selling used textbooks online without having to worry about shipping costs. 

Tips for Making the Most Out of Old Textbooks

Now let's look at some ways that students can get the most out of selling their used textbooks. 

Keeping Them In Good Condition

If someone does decide to sell college books after they finish using them, they may want to make an effort to keep them in good condition when they use the books themselves. Keeping the books in tip-top shape can make it easier to sell them later for a higher price. That extra cash can likely come in handy, especially amid the student debt crisis.

Cleaning Them Before You Sell

Before selling college books, it’s a good idea to clean them and get them in the best shape possible. That way, they look gently used and can go for a higher price. 

Taking Excellent Photos

If someone wants to sell school books online, they need to take high-quality photos of the books. This will allow customers or booksellers to get an idea of the condition of the books even though they can’t look at them in person. 

Selling Them Directly Yourself

There’s no reason a student can’t sell a used textbook directly to another student and cut out the middleman who wants some of the proceeds. Consider selling textbooks directly to make as much money as possible from the sale. 

The Takeaway

College students are often strapped for cash, and they may not realize that their old textbooks can help them generate a lot of extra income. This is especially true if they go to sell them right before the new semester starts instead of when it ends, as that’s when demand for textbooks is highest. They can use their earnings for fun money or to help pay off student loans

3 Student Loan Tips

  1. Once the pandemic-related pause on federal student loan payments ends, going back to making payments may be hard on budgets. One solution is to refinance to a lower interest rate, longer loan term, or both, depending on your situation. (The tradeoff is that you’ll be forfeiting federal benefits such as repayment programs.) Find and compare your student loan refinance options.
  2. One pain-free way to pay down your student loan sooner: send in your tax refund to put against the principal balance. Since it’s money that has already been taken out of your pay, you won’t miss it.
  3. Depending on their income, qualified borrowers can deduct the interest they pay for student loans, both federal or private, up to $2,500 per year. The deduction phases out for modified adjusted gross incomes of $70,000 to $85,000 for single individuals and $140,000 to $170,000 for people married and filing jointly.

Photo credit: iStock/SDI Productions
This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice. The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.LCSL0722003

Frequently Asked Questions

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About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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