Save Money with a Used Textbook Buying/Renting & Selling Service

college student reading from a textbook

Buying and Selling used College Textbooks

Statistics released recently by the National Association of College Stores show that college students spent an average of $850 last year on
textbooks. This was a sharp rise in contrast to what they spent two years and three years ago at $710 and $635 respectively.  This is definitely a lot of money for you if you are an average college student.

Depending on what your college major is, you might spend more or less, than the figures quoted above. For example, those who major in Math and Science require bulky books that are quite costly. This is in contrast to a student who takes say Literature, where the novels needed for the course may not be so pricey.

Still, regardless of your course of study, you can save money when you buy or sell used textbooks. Below are some practical tips you can use to save on the much-needed college books.

How to Save on Textbooks

1. Avoid College Bookstores

Purchasing your textbooks from the college bookstore is very much like buying all your groceries from a monopolistic store. You will have to pay a very steep price for it. Avoid the bookstore and look for your textbooks from sources that are more competitive.

Granted, you may have to visit the bookstore for some specialized materials such as works by a specific professor. However, your number one stop should be a source that will help you save on money.

2. Purchase/Sell Used Textbooks

There is nothing wrong with secondhand books. Actually, students from some of the best colleges have been relying on secondhand books for years. This did not prevent them from passing with distinctions at the end of their courses. This is a guaranteed way to help you save on money. What’s more, used textbooks are usually in very good condition, so you will not have to compromise on content and quality.

Although some students choose to buy the used books from their neighborhoods, online used always have better prices. In fact, they even offer students who sell used textbooks with textbook buyback options. This is a smart way to make cash on your used textbooks and to save when you want to buy other books.

To buy or sell used textbooks online; you need to use the ISBN number of the book in question. Each number is allocated to only one edition of a book. As such, you will transact in the exact edition of the book that your college requires for your course. A number of online sites provide
this service. These include eBay, Amazon,, and among others. The latter two offer textbook buyback option, where you can buy textbooks for cash and re-sell them later at a fair consideration.

3. Use Textbook Rentals

Renting books gives you a very convenient way to acquire the textbooks you need while saving some good money. In fact, this avenue is becoming very popular with students who need hefty, expensive books such as those for Math and Sciences.

Online textbook rental stores offer some very favorable terms. It is important that you understand the conditions as you rent the
books. The store will require that you take very good care of the books while they are in your custody. Otherwise, you stand to lose some money if you return the books in poor condition.

Find out how the secondhand version of the books costs before renting. You will then be able to determine whether to rent or buy. For some books, it may make more financial sense to purchase the textbook and sell it later for cash.

How to Use Online Sites to Sell Textbooks for Cash

Online textbook rental and selling markets are very competitive. It has become the preferred platform for buying and selling textbooks by the majority of students. It allows the seller to reach the biggest pool of potential buyers within a relatively short period.

You can take advantage of this vast market to sell textbooks for cash. First, you need to find out what are other textbooks similar to yours are going for. This entails that you browse through a number of sites to get an accurate idea.

Search for your book using its ISBN number through sites that will show you how it is pricing. Once you have this information, you can now price yours competitively to cater for your target student buyers.

As you put up your textbook for sale in the appropriate site, ensure that you are honest about its condition. Remember to pack it properly and use a cheap mailing system as you dispatch it to the buyer.

Can I Create a Business of Selling Used Textbooks Online?

Being a student, you may find it necessary to have a side-hustle to augment your sources of funds. Trading in used college books is a good idea and worth a try. Though it may not make you an overnight millionaire, it will help you get a consistent level of modest earnings.

To sell textbooks for cash profitably, you need to study the market demand before you purchase the book. How much does the book cost? For how much will you sell it? The difference is your margin and the reason for which you are in business. Do not purchase a book before you are sure it will give you returns.

The best time to sell your used textbooks depends on the market demand. The value of textbooks skyrockets when classes are starting. The value plummets when students break for summer. Put your used books on the market just before the start of the next semester. Do not hold on to them for long for they may become obsolete when publishers unleash newer editions.

What do I Do Before I sell my used Textbook?

Just like any other secondhand item, you will make more money if your textbook is in a good condition. Students’ books usually have highlighted texts, notes on the margin and dog-eared pages.

Try to clean all the pages as much as you can. Erase what can be erased, but be careful not to cause further damage as you go about this. Spruce up the covers and book jacket to make it look as tidy as possible.

More importantly, use pieces of adhesive paper to scribble notes instead of writing on the pages directly.

The used textbook market today stands at between $6 billion and $9 billion according to a recent survey from a reputable industry expert. This is a lot of money, and a student with a perceptive mind can make a claim to a piece of it. Most of the trade in used textbooks happens in campuses. However, a good
number of them also happen in online sites like eBay, Amazon, and, among others.

Where Do I Find used Textbooks to Sell?

If you want to buy and sell textbooks for cash, try any of the following sources:

i. College mates – You are likely to find a good number who want to dispose of their used books

ii. Family and friends – You never know what old textbooks they could be having lying around

iii. Secondhand stores like Goodwill – Make sure the price is right before you buy

iv. Craigslist – Very appropriate if you live in a college town

v. eBay –Make sure the textbook has a good resell value

vi. Amazon – You are unlikely to get low priced textbooks here, but…you never know!

vii. Other online sites that deal in used textbooks

viii. Garage sales

Where Do I Sell used Textbooks online?

Used textbooks have a big online market. You will not fall short of possible marketplaces. Some sites like eBay and Amazon deal in both textbooks and other items as well.

However, some online sites are specific to textbooks. These include:

i. Abe Books

ii. Campus Textbook Rental




As noted earlier, students spend considerable amounts of money on their textbooks. You can decide to get good financial returns by selling your textbooks once you are done with them. This will help you get some good money for sustenance. In addition, you will help other students save money when they buy your secondhand textbooks.

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