Charity is a big part of the used book market. Martin Mullen, head of UK acquisitions at Better World Books, tells me that the public good is at the core of the company’s business: to date they have donated more than 50m books, raised millions of dollars for literacy initiatives, and reused or recycled more than 153m books – books that for the most part would be decomposing right now had they not saved them.
Used-book stores. Larger used-book stores and book exchanges sometimes buy entire collections, although at best you'll probably receive only about 15 percent of the cover price, and then only on the volumes they really want. If you have any textbooks to sell, try college bookstores first: They usually pay more than other used-book stores, at least for recent editions.
There are two main categories of second-hand books. The first and most common is that of a book which has been owned by someone else (yourself or another person) and is now being resold at a percentage of the original cover price. This category could include textbooks for students, popular fiction, or ordinary books which are being sold off following the death of their original owner.
Assuming you have located some comparable books on these sites, if the prices quoted are for the most part $15 to $20 or more, there's a good chance you may be able to realize $10 or more by listing your item on eBay. If the prices are lower than this, chances are you've got a dog. Another rule of thumb: in my experience, it simply isn't worth the trouble to list a book that sells for less than $10.
Great tips! I love trading in books. Every time I take a trip to visit my parents I bring a big bag of books to trade in at their local used bookstore. That store is probably one of my top ten favorite places. Sometimes I will take the cash, but usually, I just want store credit. We like to use the trade in money to buy new books for our kids since we homeschool. Sometimes I will treat myself and use the money to add a new book to my collection of antique books.
Self-published authors have had big success in recent years. Take Hugh Howey, who sold a series of science fiction books through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. At one point, he was selling 20,000 — 30,000 copies a month, which generated $150,000 in income monthly. Amanda Hocking, who writes “paranormal romance” and fantasy novels, has sold well more than a million books on Amazon, generating over $2 million in sales. That's proof that you can make money self-publishing on Amazon.
Selling used books is certainly a fun venture. I started selling books a few months ago. My goal was to profit $30 a day right now I am at $23.90 😛 I have been blogging about my adventure from the start at AlwaysBooking.com The money is certainly not a huge amount but it helps! I really look up to Adam Bertram at sellyourbooksonline. He started where I was and I hope to surpass him! To anyone that wants to get started buying books look for the obscure titles. If you look at a title and think why would anyone buy that, chances are good that someone on Amazon is looking for it.
College kids are terrible planners and tend to buy their textbooks at the last minute. For this reason, they’ll usually pay 20%+ more to have a book ship 2-3 days Prime versus waiting 10+ days for media mail. So that means you can buy books which are FBM (and tend to ship media mail) and turn around and resell them Prime at a higher price. I kept a list of 10-20 textbooks I could do this with. The returns are better than the stock market!
There it sat on a shelf, priced at $1, until a semi-trailer from Books Squared whisked it away among 3,000 other leftovers. At the Books Squared warehouse in south-west Dallas, Our Gang was checked and processed by receivers and a scrupulous quality-control team, who deemed the book “like new” before scanning it into their computer system to be sold online.

The price point is partly a result of the market’s downward pressure: at a certain level of supply and demand the race to the lowest price swiftly plummets to the bottom. What remains inflexible is the $3.99 fee Amazon charges the buyer for shipping. From that $4, Amazon takes what they call a “variable closing fee” of $1.35. They also charge the seller 15% of the item’s price – which in the case of a penny book is zero. That leaves $2.64 to cover postage, acquisition cost and overhead.
There comes a time in every reader’s life where they have to accept some hard truths: that not every book they’ve read is one they should treasure forever; that they don’t need three different copies of their favorite classic, even if it keeps being re-released with cooler covers; that decorating in towering stacks of books might not be the healthiest choice, unless they want to start wearing helmets around the house. When you’ve come to this point, you will want to clean out your collection. And, that may mean it’s time to sell books (*gasp!*).
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