When you go to college, tuition makes up only a small portion of the full cost of attendance. Other expenses like housing and other fees can add thousands to your bill and force you to take out more student loans.
One of the biggest costs you’ll probably face is buying textbooks. Despite costing hundreds of dollars, when you try to sell back your textbooks to your campus bookstore, you’ll only get a fraction of what you paid for them.
But the campus bookstore isn’t the only place where you can re-sell your books. There are other options where you can sell your books for more money, ultimately putting more cash back in your pocket.
Cost of textbooks
The price of college books has skyrocketed in recent years.
From 2002 to 2012, the cost of new textbooks went up by 82 percent, according to a 2103 report from the Government Accountability Office.
What’s more, last year The College Board estimates that the average student spends more than $1,250 on books and supplies a year. Over the course of four years of school, that’s an average of $5,000 a year spent just on textbooks.
Many students try to find ways around buying books, such as avoiding classes with pricey versions or going without the books at all. However, that approach could end up hurting their overall academic performance.
When you sell back textbooks to the college store
Many students try to recoup their costs at the end of the semester by selling back textbooks to the college bookstore.
If the campus bookstore is giving you 50 percent off your book’s original price, that’s actually a pretty good deal. But that usually only happens if the school is reusing the same edition and your book is in excellent condition.
Unfortunately, most stores often offer pennies on the dollar for your textbooks, so you’re ultimately out hundreds of dollars. Otherwise, you may get offered as little as 10 percent back on the book’s original price, or nothing at all.
How to get more money for your books
If you want to sell used textbooks, your best bet is to sell them on your own online. There are many options available to help you figure out the best price.
The five sites listed below are great options for getting started. These platforms have proven to be the best places to sell textbooks online.
With Amazon’s textbook trade-in program, you can get back as much as 80 percent of your book’s original purchase price.
And, the system is easy to use. By entering the title, author name, and ISBN number, Amazon locates the book in their database and populates all of the book’s information in your listing.
They also have a questionnaire to help you determine your book’s condition. Then, you can choose what shipping options are available. Once your book has sold, Amazon will send out an email notifying you to ship it out.
The one downside of Amazon’s program is that your book has to be already in their database. If your textbook is part of a niche industry or written by a little-known author, it won’t come up in their system.
Additionally, Amazon does not allow you to enter a book’s information that isn’t already listed.
BookScouter is a site that links individuals who want to sell their books to book-buying vendors. You type in your book’s ISBN number, and you can see priced purchase offers from different buyers.
You can also compare prices and vendor comments and choose the best offer for you. The customer will then send you boxes and shipping labels, so shipping is completely free.
One misconception is that you can sell college textbooks directly to BookScouter. But BookScouter is just the middleman that connects you to buyers, so not all vendors may be reputable. Be sure to do your research on each offer before agreeing to it.
Like BookScouter, BookFinder allows you to sell back textbooks to vendors actively looking to buy.
Just enter your ISBN number, and you will get offers from various buyers. Shipping is free, so it’s a great way to sell your textbooks and get cash back.
BookFinder, however, does not accept all books. They only connect you to vendors if your book’s ISBN number matches a listing in their database. They are looking for new, rare, and collectible books.
ValoreBooks boasts that they offer the best prices for used textbooks. They offer a “best sell back price” guarantee to prove it.
And if another site offers you more for your book, just send ValoreBooks the book information along with competitor’s offer and they will match it. That offer can be a great approach if you have a lot of books to sell.
Keep in mind that ValoreBooks has strict standards for books they receive. Books must be in good condition, without excessive writing or highlighting. Books also have to match ISBNs in their database.
With BigWords, you can get up to 90 percent of the original value when you sell back textbooks. Just enter the book’s title or ISBN and get offers from vendors.
What’s more, you can choose to list your book to select sites of your choosing, so you can rule out buyers you don’t recognize.
Not all buyers on BigWords pay for shipping, but some do. That’s an important factor to consider when evaluating offers since shipping costs can cut into how much money you earn.
Sell textbooks online
It’s a good idea to sell back textbooks from the past semester. It can help you reduce your expenses and give you cash to buy next semester’s books.
Just remember that you are not limited to selling them back to the college bookstore. Use these five sites to sell your pricey books and get much more money back in return.
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