Hand holding a group of books

How can you make money selling college textbooks?

For most college student’s financial resources are limited, and even though we would like to eat steak and lobster every night and just throw our books out of the window at the end of every quarter, most of us have to stick to ramen noodles and count on the money we recoup on textbooks after classes end.

Selling books can be a tricky endeavor. You want to maximize your financial return but also don’t have time to mess around with flakey buyers; I mean, you have some spring break activities to partake in after all.

So what are the best ways to sell your books after classes end? We have listed four of the best resources for selling your books and finding inexpensive books when the next quarter or semester starts.

  1. The Campus Bookstore- Your campus most likely has a bookstore, and oftentimes, they will repurchase your book unless they have suddenly and without warning moved onto the next version, which means you’re stuck with it. While the campus bookstore is often an easy choice when selling your textbooks, they often offer pennies on the dollar. The campus bookstore is a retail operation, and they must have margins to turn a profit, so if you want to maximize your financial return, maybe explore another option.
  2. Amazon– A great way to quickly resell your books. According to a recent Business Insider article, 58% of Amazon sales are third-party merchants. Interested now? The first step is to set up an Amazon seller’s account and plan.
  3. Craigslist- Everyone is familiar with craigslist; it’s a great option whether you want to buy and sell textbooks or pick up a futon for your new off-campus living space. While Craigslist is a great online marketplace, it can sometimes be a hassle dealing with flakey people. If you are going to go the Craigslist route, be prepared to wait for a serious buyer, but you can set your own price, at least with Craigslist.
  4. eBay- There are many things for sale on eBay, and it can be a fun place to go look for obscure items you won’t find anywhere else. It is also a good platform for selling used items to the highest bidder. While it is safe and secure and usually takes minimal effort to sell your textbooks. The only downside is that you will be required to ship the book, so make sure you take that time and effort into account when pricing your items.
  5. Powell’s Books- This hip independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, is gigantic and amazing. Selling your books to Powell’s is a great option for those that want to support an independent retailer and don’t want to go through the hassle of waiting to find a buyer. However, selling to Powell’s has some of the same drawbacks as selling to a campus bookstore, including retail margins and having to ship your books.

Remember when selling your books that you have several options, make sure to think about what makes the most sense for you, and always study hard and have fun! As always, we hope these quick steps were helpful to you.

Hiten Patel

I am CampusKnot founder and CEO. We built a tool, so no learner feels behind, whether they're in a small or large course setting.

I enjoy writing about the latest edtech trends, entrepreneurship, and disruptive technologies.