how to sell books

There are numerous ways to sell books, whether you have a book collection that needs to be trimmed or you have self-published your own book. Do your best to keep your books in good shape, do some research, and you’ll be well on your way to having money in your pocket and books off your hands.

Where Can I Sell Used Books?

These are some places to sell used books, whether online or in person. We have alternatives for selling textbooks, hardcovers, and paperbacks.

#1. BookScouter

I usually begin with BookScouter claims they are only for textbook buyback, but I’ve had success checking to price on standard trade books. Book Scouter will inform you what websites are currently willing to pay for any book you are attempting to sell. This will give you a decent indication of whether it’s even worthwhile to sell your books. Recall that all of these services pay based on what they believe books will sell for, thus books in more demand will sell for more.

Before we continue, keep in mind that unless you’re a collector or plan on doing this in large quantities, you’re unlikely to make a lot of money from your books. You’ll be lucky to make $1 for each book. If you intend to sell books, make sure you have at least a stack ready to go. If you only have two or three books to re-home, you should put them in a Little Free Library.

#2. Half Price Books

I had a banker’s box full of hardcovers in excellent shape on my previous trip to Half Price Books, and I made approximately $20, which was enough to pay for the purchase of some bookends and magazine boxes that I needed to finish organizing my bookshelves.

If you live near an HPB, this is an excellent way to sell your books. You pack your books, bring them into the store, and then wait while a bookseller appraises your books. You can look through the stacks and they will contact you when your offer is ready.

#3. Amazon

There are several methods for selling books online through Amazon.
The first option is to use their trade-in program. With the trade-in program, you search for your book edition, get the ISBN (the 13-digit code usually found on the back or on the copyright page), and see if Amazon would pay you for it. After you complete a quick questionnaire regarding the state of your book, Amazon will provide you with a shipping label. They’ll give you an Amazon credit after they’ve received the book.

You may wind up getting more money from this approach altogether because Amazon really simply wants you to spend your money at Amazon, even if it’s free money. Simply attempt to buy a book from a local indie to balance off your book-buying karma. You may also sell books on Amazon the usual way by creating a seller account and listing your books. If you do this, you must create a product page for each book you intend to sell and then wait for a buyer. This is entirely achievable, although it does need some dedication.

#4. Powell’s Books

Powell’s, like Half Price, will allow you to bring books into their stores for assessment, but if you don’t live near one, you can sell to them online.
They only accept books in perfect condition. Simply enter your ISBNs into their website’s form, and they’ll send you a price quote and a mailing label. You can get money through PayPal or shop credit.

#5. Buy Back Programs Online

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of websites that will allow you to enter your book ISBNs, answer a few questions about quality, and then provide you with a pricing quote and a shipping label for your book.
Some have minimums, which means you won’t be able to cash out until you’ve sold X dollars worth of books with them. Use BookScouter to see which of these websites will give you the most money back.

#6. Local Indie

Next, look for secondhand book sales in your neighborhood indie bookstores. Many sites provide cashback or store credit in exchange for your books. Always call beforehand to confirm their needs.

How to Sell Used Books

If you’ve identified some sites to sell used books online or locally, keep these few pointers in mind. It will assist you in avoiding any charges or complaints while selling books.

#1. Be True to the Condition of Your Books.

Buyers will be upset if you misrepresented the condition of the book and may report you to the website through which you sold. If the book has some shelf wear, mention that.

#2. Be Aware When Shipping

If you plan to conduct a lot of bookselling, you should have some shipping envelopes and other packing materials. Make sure you’re using a water-resistant material, and if it’s a book that may show bumps and dings, like a fine hardback, wrap it carefully.

Don’t forget to write down the tracking numbers as well. Although the bookselling site may provide you a mailing label, it is your responsibility to ensure that the book gets at its location, and you will need the tracking number to contact with the post office or shipping firm.

#3. You Can Always Make a Donation!

If you discover that selling your books is too time-consuming, if you don’t think you’ll make enough money to warrant the effort, or if you have a book that just won’t sell, remember that you can always donate your books!

Several organizations are always seeking books, or you can leave a book off at Local Little Free Library. Or, donate your books to convicts. If none of these options are available, we offer a few suggestions for how to repurpose your used books.

#4. Set a Goal

It’s really tempting to go out and buy more books with your book money, but try to resist! Having a plan for how to spend my book money is beneficial to me.

As I previously stated, I spent my book-selling proceeds on magazine boxes for my comics and other organized aids for my shelves. You could spend the money on a special edition of one of your favorite books, or on something from Book Fetish.

Tips for First-Time Book Sellers

If you want to become a dependable book reseller, there are a few things you need to do:

  • Know how to clean books. Get rid of any damage, dust, or mildew before selling.
  • Be truthful about the book’s condition. If there are damaged corners or missing pages, say so. If someone has scribbled in or highlighted big chunks of the book, make it known. Mention whether the book has remaining marks (an indicator that it has been returned to the publisher). Fudging on the condition won’t get you additional money. When the customer receives your book and finds it lacking, they will reduce their offer or maybe reject it entirely.
  • Pack your books with care. If you shipped a book in good condition but it arrived in fair condition, you will be paid the fair book rate. You’re responsible for delivering the book there in one piece, so wrap it carefully.
  • Pay for shipping and offer to pick up the tab for the shipping costs.

How Can I Sell Books on the Internet?

To sell books online, first, decide what kinds of books you want to sell. Your store could sell a wide range of books or books centered on a single theme, such as used books, textbooks, and even antique books.

Where Can I Sell Books on the Internet?

Shopify is a great platform for selling books online because it gives you complete control over your brand, marketing, and customer experience. Shopify can also help you integrate with social media networks like Facebook Marketplace to boost sales.

Is It Possible to Sell Books on Shopify?

Yes, many bookshop owners rely on Shopify to power their online stores. Merchants using Shopify can take advantage of over 6,000 Shopify apps to help modernize book shopping experiences. This involves providing individualized book suggestions to your customers, as well as hosting a store-linked email newsletter.

How Can I Set a Price for a Book?

The best way to price your books is to look at what your competitors are charging for similar or identical books. After that, you can decide whether your pricing strategy will seek to undercut your competition or sell at a higher price. You’ll also need to factor in shipping costs, particularly when dealing with heavier books.

What Are Some Examples of Good Online Bookstores?

The Lifted Brow, founded in 2013, is an example of a Shopify-powered firm that sells its own magazines. They use Shopify app store cart abandonment apps to increase sales and have even used the Shopify POS app to sell magazine issues at in-person events.

What Books Should I Try to Sell?

Textbooks are the most popular and profitable resale books. Art books and recipes, as well as some religious and non-fiction books, have a better chance of selling well, whereas popular fiction is unlikely to bring you a large return.

What Shall I Do With the Books I Am Unable to Sell?

As previously stated, books that are unlikely to be sold can be donated or recycled. Unfortunately, books in poor condition can only be discarded with the regular garbage.

What Is an ISBN?

Every book that is published receives an International Standard Book Number (ISBN). This identification number is required for all online bookselling options since platforms utilize it to determine which books are in demand and at what rates they are being sold.

Is It Possible to Make Extra Money by Selling Books Online?

Selling secondhand books online can be an excellent way to supplement your income, but don’t expect to retire on the revenues. Most paperbacks in decent condition will garner a few dollars, with hardback and unusual editions paying you a bit more. You’ll also need to consider delivery charges if any exist.

Where Else Can I Sell My Secondhand Books?

There are various ways to sell books in person, including going to places like Half Price Books or having a garage sale. You might also give your used books to local schools, libraries, or hospitals.


What are you going to sell now that you have all of the necessary information? Have you sold books online before? What advice do you have for folks who are just starting out? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below — we’d love to hear them!


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