The 3 Best and Easiest Ways to Sell Back your Used Textbooks

By Amanda Cohen on May 16, 2019

If you’ve already finished your college semester, congratulations! For many of us, the semester is still at large, but coming to an (unfortunately) very slow end. Many of you are trying to get your stuff in order: cleaning out your dorm room/apartment/house, sending stuff back home, preparing for finals (probably should’ve put that first), and selling your old textbooks. You may be frustrated that your teacher had you purchase a $200 textbook that you only used once, but there are ways you can get your money’s worth: sell your textbooks! Selling your textbooks can be a hassle, so let me guide you on the best places to sell the textbooks that weighed down your backpack for months and months.

Facebook and Other Social Media Groups

If you want to avoid the hassle of shipping your sold textbooks, post an ad on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. When you were accepted to your current university and when you joined clubs, Greek Life, classes, and other groups, the use of Facebook groups to communicate probably became a part of your life. Utilize these groups! Post pictures of the textbooks along with any necessary information and give a price. Say that you are willing to negotiate (to an extent) and give your contact information so that you don’t have to check Facebook constantly.

If you are not a part of any of these groups and/or you are looking to reach a wider audience, utilize Facebook statuses, Instagram stories, Snapchat stories, Tweets, and more. There is no shame in trying to make an extra dollar or two, so post away! Post the same information as you would in a Facebook group, except don’t provide your contact information since you reaching a broader audience. Instead, have people who are interested direct message you to discuss pricing and when/where they will be to get the textbooks that you sold him/her. This is the easiest, most efficient way to sell your textbooks, however, you can’t expect to get back the exact price you paid for the textbook since the textbook is now used.

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The beauty of Amazon is that most people have Amazon accounts, therefore you can reach a wide audience, and you can either sell or rent your textbooks out if no one wants to buy the book. In addition, students get a deal on Amazon Prime, so many students have Prime accounts, which will be to your advantage. Most people opt to buy their textbooks off Amazon instead of the school store because Amazon offers better prices than most university bookstores. This is why Amazon is a great place to sell.

However, since students are looking for a better deal when they go to Amazon to buy textbooks, don’t expect to get tons of money for your books; if you get half the money you paid I would consider that a win. Since you are dealing with people you don’t know, as opposed to people on Facebook and other social media outlets where you know your followers, the anonymous people won’t pull the friend card to get a better deal. However, with Amazon, you will be responsible for shipping and handling, which may be a drawback for you.

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Local University Bookstore

If you aren’t as concerned about making money and you just won’t the unwieldy textbooks off your hands, many bookstores will buy back used textbooks for $5-$20. I can almost guarantee that you paid a lot more for your textbooks than the amount that the bookstore will give to you, but not everyone is as concerned with making a ton of money of their textbooks and they just want the easy way out.

You also may have too much on your hands to worry about posting an ad on social media or Amazon and dealing with shipping and handling. It’s okay if you aren’t looking to make as much money off your textbooks, it’s easier for you because all you have to do is drop the books off at the bookstore. I remember at my university the bookstore would have tents around the diag where students could drop off and sell back their books; it was super easy, fast, and gave me more time to focus on preparing for exams and packing up my current living space.

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The above three options are the easiest, most convenient ways to sell back your textbooks. You can also look at websites like Textsurf, Chegg or, but those websites are not as widely used in the situations described above. If you want the best chance of earning at least a little money for your textbooks, I recommend using the options above. Another potential place to sell your books back is eBay, but I’ve never tried this before and don’t have enough information as to whether this is an effective way to earn money back on your books. Good luck with the end of the semester!

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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