Tuesday, November 29, 2016

10 Ways to Make More Money Selling Your Textbooks

1. Get your textbooks cheap in the first place!

Check out my article “10 Ways to Save Money on Your Textbooks” so that you can start fresh by getting the best deals you can on your textbooks to begin with. Using the strategies in these two articles together, I have actually made a profit on some of my textbooks!

2. Take care of your books.

Would you want to buy a used book that’s full of highlighting and notes? How about a hardcover book with a broken spine? Whatever condition your book is in when you receive it, keep it that way! Whether you are reselling online or in store, you are bound to make more money on a book in good condition. This is especially important for new books. Keep workbooks, guides, and CDs in a safe place – some stores will not buy back used books if they are missing these extras.

3. Wait to unwrap.

Don’t unwrap new books until a reading or activity has been assigned. As a student, I have had a few courses where brand new editions of textbooks were put on the list, but were never used in class. This may be for several reasons – an honest mistake, not enough time to cover the material, or even for more selfish motives. Whatever the reason, a book is worth less once it has been unwrapped, so don’t unwrap it until you need to!

4. Make a chart.

Make a chart to keep yourself organized and keep track of what you are selling. Just make a table on a word program with the information you need to sell the book: Title, Author, ISBN, Edition Number, and Publication Date will be useful, as well as some notes about the condition of the book. Make a column to keep track of what you originally paid for each book. If you’re not sure, check for stickers on the back of the book, check your online purchase records, check receipts, and check your bank statements. Leave a blank column if you are selling your books online, leave some blank columns to factor in how much is offered at different websites or how much you are attempting to sell the books for.

5. Find the best deal.

Services like BigWords.com can help you find out which websites will pay top dollar for your books, as well as show you which websites will cover shipping costs for you. If you are unhappy with the offers made by these websites, consider selling your textbooks yourself on websites like Amazon.com, Half.com, or other used book websites. (Personally, I do not recommend selling textbooks on eBay, as setup is much more time-consuming and fees are higher.)

6. Try selling locally instead of online.

If you do not want to sell online and are unhappy with the buyback price that the college bookstore is offering, try selling your books locally. Advertise your books for sale on campus, in the local or college paper, on Facebook, or on Craigslist. Try selling novels, plays, and short story collections to a local bookstore or thrift store. You can even try selling your books at a yard sale.

7. If possible, wait to avoid the rush.

It is tempting to sell your books online the moment you no longer need them. However, the end of semester rush is the worst time to sell books, because everyone is selling and no one is buying. During the fall semester, the rush is not as pronounced, but you should at least wait until after Christmas to sell your books (think of all the students selling their books for Christmas spending money!). In the spring semester, you should wait until at least July to sell your books.

The only time you are better off not waiting is when a new edition of your book is set to come out soon. (In science and medical disciplines, new editions can come out as often as annually. Other subjects, like literature, language, and philosophy, usually produce new editions less often, about once every three years.) Search the title on Amazon to find out if a new edition is in the works, In this case, get the book off your hands as soon as possible!

8. Don’t sell yourself short.

A tempting tactic that many booksellers use on Amazon.com and similar online bookstores is to simply charge less for your books than anyone else. While this may be a good way to get fast cash, you won’t be getting the best deal.

When setting up your book, look at other sales for the same book in similar condition. How much are other people selling the book for? How many other people are selling the same book? If there are few copies, set your price a little higher. If there are many, set a little lower. Use your best judgment to set the price – as long as the price is cheaper than brand new and you are patient, it will sell.

Another good strategy is to compare selling prices across websites. If a book is selling at Amazon.com for an average of $20 and at Half.com for an average of $25, you are more likely to fetch a higher price selling at Half.com.

When setting your price, keep in mind that you will not usually be reimbursed for shipping costs, and that selling fees are usually deducted.

9. Try, try again.

When selling on used book websites, don’t be discouraged if your book doesn’t sell right away. Keep an eye on other sellers’ prices. If your book still hasn’t sold after a week or two, adjust the price or make your description more appealing.

10. Establish a reputation.

An important part of selling books on used book websites is establishing a reputation. In your profile, mention that you are in college – students (as well as their parents) will be more willing to help out a fellow student than purchase from an unknown seller.

Be honest about the condition your book is in. Selling a book that is falling apart as “like new” will hurt your reputation. No one wants to buy from people that they can’t trust, especially online.

Be friendly, thoughtful and courteous with people who buy from you. Go out of your way to thank them for their purchase. Ship the book securely and quickly. Respond to feedback in a timely manner. If you have a good reputation, people will be more likely to buy from you in the future, and will be willing to pay more for guaranteed good service.


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