As a college student, I know the importance of selling back used textbooks at the end of the year. The extra pocket cash can be half of the cost of the book, or if done right, can actually make you money. For instance, I purchased a calculus textbook for $90 and sold it back for $105. This article will look at 10 tips for getting the most money back for your used textbooks.
1. Sell Early
Most schools purchase used textbooks back at least one week before the semester is over. If possible, sell your book the first day book-buying start; this will help maximize profit. If you wait, often times, the school will get too many copies and will pay a reduced amount or nothing at all!
2. Reduce highlighting
Highlighting in books may be vital for studying, but instead of using a highlighter, I recommend using pencil. Excessive highlighting in books reduces the buyback value significantly.
3. Use websites
Selling books back to the school is often not a profitable way to sell used textbooks. Websites such as Amazon.com, half.com, and ebay.com are excellent, safe ways to sell used textbooks for the best possible price.
4. Reduce damage
Taking care of your books and treating them with respect will keep their quality high, which is what increases the value you receive when selling them.
5. Current editions
Current edition books, in place of previous editions, will fetch the most money come buyback. Teachers may allow you to use older textbooks, but keep in mind you will not receive more than a few dollars for the book when selling it.
6. Ask friends who are taking the class next semester
Friends are a great resource for selling used textbooks too. Often times you can sell the book for 50-75% of the purchase price to a friend who is looking for a deal.
7. Research average prices for the used book
Companies or schools that buy books back will lowball the offer in order to maximize their profit. For instance, I was selling an advanced macroeconomics textbook back last year, which I paid $150 for, and the school offered me $20, so I kept the book. Do not always assume one price is best until you shop around.
8. Shop around
Using resources such as websites, book buyers, and the school bookstore are great resources for finding out how to maximize your profit. Book buyers typically come to campuses 1-2 weeks before classes are out, and offer cash for used textbooks. However, I caution using this method because they may lowball offers in order to make more money.
9. Buy used
Used textbooks that are identical to new textbooks (same edition) fetch the same sell back rate as new textbooks do. You may actually make money when selling your books back if you purchased used in the first place.
10. Look for deals
At my college, the bookstore offers a 20% coupon on future purchases, which can save a lot of money in the end. You may get a lower offer from the school for the textbook, but if the coupon saves you, money in the future it may be worth it.
Personal experience selling textbooks back during my undergraduate studies