According to CheatSheet.com, AbeBooks will “buy back” old textbooks or other lightly used reading copies, and they pay by check. Similarly, Powell’s buys used copies but has a very strict policy about the condition of your books. Expect to receive a check - but if you plan on buying additional books, you’ll get more bang for your buck by taking store credit.
This is also a great field if you are a book lover because there are many companies out there selling books that have affiliate programs. In fact, Amazon even has an affiliate program called Amazon Associates, and you can make money promoting the various physical and digital books. The great thing about doing this is that you don’t actually have to go out and find the books, or deal with shipping and returns.
Who’s buying? Richard Davies, PR manager for the popular online marketplace Abebooks, describes the customer base as rather broad. “There are people who just want a cheap book,” he says, “and the used book market fulfills that really well.” Others, meanwhile, have more idiosyncratic requirements. “The book they need is not going to be in a Barnes & Noble.” So they turn to online retailers, where the “breadth of inventory really caters to people who have got a demanding taste”.
For a couple of years, I purchased books at one franchise with a local store which would discount new books to as low as 47 cents each. I would purchase a shopping cart load, resell the more valuable books on Amazon, donate certain needed titles to a university library being developed elsewhere, and trade in the majority of the others at Hastings Entertainment.
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.
I like to start with BookScouter.com. BookScouter says they’re just for textbook buyback, but I’ve had some good luck checking prices of regular trade books. Book Scouter will tell you what websites will currently pay for each book you’re trying to sell. This will give you a good idea of whether or not it’s even worth selling your books. Remember, all of these websites pay based on what they think they can sell book for, so books with higher demand will sell for more.