Selling and Making the most out of your Textbooks

As current or former students, we all know what a fortune it costs to buy textbooks. Sometimes in the thousands of dollars per semester. Given students’ limited income, this can be quiet tough for most students to afford, and can shred your budget to pieces!

Having said that, there is something you could do with your textbooks when you no longer need them, that could get you some much needed cash.

Sell them!

Sure, most of us know that we can resell our textbooks and make some money that can help us with buying books for the next semester or other things. But how to go about doing it? how do you compete with hundreds of other students on campus, selling the same books at the same time?

Drawing on my years of experience in college and university, here are some very good tips to help you sell your book faster and for generally good prices:

-Timing is everything: the earlier you sell, the better. But that doesn’t mean right after the semester is over. Wait till just before the start of the new semester if you can. Make sure you sell the next semester and not delay it by a year or more, because the book will probably be old by then, replaced by a newer edition.  Selling it before the new semester starts is crucial, otherwise it may be too late, as most students would have bought their copies by then.

-Location: where to sell your books? first and most obvious place would be on the campus, by posting flyers. Be sure to post detailed information about the book, including ISBN, course code it is offered in, and of course your full contact information. Try to bundle and offer discounts: for example, the more books they buy from you, the more discount you give them. This way, you may be able to sell more books to the same person, rather than one book for each potential buyer.

Or if the new class has already started, you can stand at the door of the new class and directly ask students if they are interested.

Next best place would be local classified sites such as Kijiji and Craigslist. Here, you can reach even more people than just those from your college or university.

You can also try selling them online, where there are a lot of sites that specialize in mediating between sellers and buyers. Here are some of them: – You choose your own price
– the online auction giant – Set your own price while comparing it to others’ prices

Then there are those sites that will actually buy your books themselves, including:

When all else fails, you can try on-campus book stores. The reason this should be your last resort is simply due to their low payouts. Usually up to 75-90% off the original price.

How much to sell for? You don’t have to list your books for a fraction of what you paid for. Generally speaking, you could list them for 25-50% of what you paid. This will still get you some much needed money while saving the potential buyers lots of money compared to buying new.  And always remember, while it is natural to seek the maximum returns, you are not in it to make a profit.  Textbooks, much like certain car models, are terrible for lost value in a short period of time. They can only depreciate in price, and rarely ever appreciate.

Needless to say, you have to do some research, compare prices before you make up your mind as to where you will sell your books. In other words, don’t just sell to the first buyer, unless they are offering you 100% of the original price (quiet unlikely)

Last but not least, it is important to keep your books in excellent shape, and try to not highlight them or anything like that. Preserving your book in its original state can mean a big difference in selling price.

You can use the cash you get from selling your books to buy books for the new semester. If you are done from school, you can save the money or use it to start paying off your student loan debt.