For older books, a quick trip to eBay, Amazon or any of the sites listed below will give you an idea of how much the book will sell for. Sometimes it can be quite discouraging to find a title that once cost $5 is now just 50 cents, but if you’re determined to sell (remember, 10 such titles will generate $5) you should spend time determining which marketplace is most appropriate for that book.
For rare and collectable books, use a traceable delivery method in case the package gets lost in transit. Remember to include the cost of your bubble mailer and Scotch tape in your shipping costs. Depending on the size of the book, these can be as much as the postal charge itself. It is worth using good quality packing materials. These will ensure that your buyer receives their book(s) undamaged by any rough handling in transit. Happy customers mean repeat purchases and recommendations to their friends.
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As you can see the profit margins aren't huge on a single book, because there are several other Ebayers playing this trade-in game. However, if you can average a $5 profit margin on each book, you only need to buy 5 books everyday to pocket an extra $750 dollars each month! Considering there are over a million textbook auctions on Ebay right now, it shouldn't be too hard to find 5 books a day to resell.
List the book for sale – If it looks worth your while to sell the book, head over to your seller account and get it listed. You can do a quick search here by title or ISBN to find the book. You will then be asked about the condition of the book, how many you have available, how you will ship it (Amazon gives you a $3.99 shipping credit for each book) and how much you want to sell it for. You're probably going to want to go with the lowest listed price if you want to sell your item quickly. People wanting to purchase used books want them as cheap as possible.
The only trouble is the low quality of that yield. Mike Ward, owner of Thrift Books – the largest of the used book sellers in the US and parent company to a number of subsidiaries, including Books Squared – likens the book collection process to “a very large salvage operation”. His network of warehouses is bringing in, on average, 15 semi-trailer trucks full of used books every day, but less than 20% of those books arrive in saleable condition.
You might also consider selling your textbooks on Half.com. Their fees are usually lower than Amazon’s and you also receive a small shipping credit. Selling on Half is a good option for books that other sites currently are not buying back or offering low rates. As with Amazon, you only get paid once somebody buys and you might find yourself in a pricing war if other college students list their books as well.
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!*).