There comes a day in every book lover’s life when they look at their ready-to-burst shelves and must make a critical decision: how can they make room for all the new books they want to buy?
Throwing your old books away (gasp!) would just be a waste (and definitely not a good option for the environment). So, you’re left with the options of selling, donating, or repurposing your books.
Luckily, there are plenty of great sites and stores that are willing to pay cash for your used books. We’ll tell you all the ins and outs of the best places to sell your used books below, as well as a few options for donating.
Where Is the Best Place to Sell Books Online?
There are plenty of online options available for selling your used books. Below are several sites that will pay for your old textbooks, as well as other genres.
BookScouter primarily targets textbooks, but you can use their ISBN search tool to see if there are any offers for some of your other fiction or nonfiction books. (Sometimes classic novels or books that aren’t considered traditional textbooks are used as required reading in high school or university courses).
BookScouter will tell you how much other websites will pay for your used books, which makes this a great place to start if you want to get a feel for how much your books can go for.
Half Price Books
Although they don’t allow for online/mail-in trades, there are over 120 Half Price Books locations across the U.S. where you can bring in your books, music, movies, collectibles, electronics, and more.
Simply bring your items to the store and a bookseller will appraise your books and make you an offer. Appraisals are made based on the condition of your merchandise and on supply and demand for that item.
Amazon offers several options for sellers of used books. The first is to use their trade-in program. All you need to do is search your book’s ISBN, see how much Amazon will offer, and fill out a brief questionnaire about the condition of your book.
Amazon will send you a shipping label, and when they receive your book, you’ll get paid in the form of an Amazon credit. (Not cash, but is there really anything you can’t buy on Amazon?)
Your other option is to set up a seller account and list your books yourself, though this does take a bit more effort, since you’ll need to set up a separate product page for each book you plan to sell. Still, it’s definitely an option, especially if you’re serious about selling a lot of books with high demand.
Powell’s will allow you to bring in your books to their physical stores for appraisal. However, unlike Half Price Books, you can sell to them online. They prefer to buy books in excellent condition, but all you need to do is enter your ISBN and they’ll send you a price quote and a shipping label. You can choose to be paid via PayPal or opt for store credit.
Chegg is a popular textbook rental service that primarily serves college students, but they’ll also buy used textbooks that you’ve previously purchased. Shipping is free—all you have to do is print your free label and drop your box off at a local UPS store.
Bookstores.com offers free shipping on buybacks over $15. You can choose to be paid via check, PayPal, or store credit. They also focus on textbooks, but like BookScouter, they’ll also buy back a number of other works that are often used in educational settings.
eBay is another great and popular option for selling your used books online.You can start listing for free, with your first 50 listings each month covered by the site. However, you will be charged a small fee when your item sells.
Local Indie Bookshops
If you want a quick response and a speedy transaction, you might want to hit up your local independent bookshops. Many of them are happy to buy used books in good condition, and they might offer you cash or store credit.
You should also try to call ahead and find out the store’s requirements for trade-ins.
If you have a lot of old books cluttering your shelves, you might consider selling them at a garage sale. You might not make tons of money this way, but if you have 50 books that you price at $1–$2 each, you could clean up with $50–$100 in your pocket (and of course neater shelves!)
Organize your books by genre (separating children’s books, textbooks, etc.) and set up a nice presentation with signs to help your books sell better.
If you think selling used books isn’t worth the hassle, or if you’re simply in a charitable mood, you can always donate your books to organizations like The Salvation Army, Goodwill, thrift shops, or your local library.
You can also choose to donate your used books to prison. Not only are books a connection to the outside world, but many prisoners who are nearing their release use the prison’s library to prepare for their GED or to improve their language skills. Both can help make their success after re-entry more likely.
Little Free Library
You can also drop off your books at a local Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization that facilitates neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Little Free Libraries use book-sharing boxes to provide 24/7 access to books in areas where books are scarce. To find a Little Free Library near you, search here.
Does Barnes and Noble Buy Used Books?
Barnes & Noble does in fact purchase used textbooks. You can simply enter your ISBN into their search tool to get a quote instantly and submit your book return. However, note that you must have at least $10 worth of books to sell in order to participate.
Where to Sell Used Books
With some creative thinking and the wealth of resources available to you online, selling your used books can be a great way to earn a little extra cash. Or, you can choose to donate and make space on your shelves for all those new books you’re dying to pick up!
If you’re looking to buy books at a discount, be sure to check out our list of the best sites for cheap used books. And if you want to refine your selling skills, try one of our picks for the best books about selling on Amazon.
What do you do with your old books? Share your ideas in the comments below!
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