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Textbook Buyback

You have just finished your Business Law class for the semester. You now have a textbook for the class that probably cost you about a $100 or more. What should you do with the book? You are a college student, so of course the first thought that comes to mind is to sell your used textbooks and make some cash.

The most popular way to sell used textbooks is through textbook buyback programs.

What is a Textbook Buyback Program?

These programs are usually held by the bookstore where you originally purchased your textbooks. Most schools will have a massive buyback session over the course of a few weeks at the end of the semester. Other schools will buy your books throughout the school year.

How do buyback programs work?

Usually you would take your school identification and your used textbooks to your school bookstore, or wherever you purchased your books. They will run the barcode on your book to determine if it is a book that they are in need of for the next semester. Depending on their supply and demand for the book, they will offer you a specific amount for your book. You can accept or reject the offer.

How much will I get selling textbooks?

The amount offered to you will vary depending on circumstances such as current supply, professor need, and what edition you have. Most schools will give anywhere from 25%-50% of whatever you paid for the book. If the book will not be used by the school during the next semester, then you will most likely be offered wholesale price for your book, which from experience, can be as little as $1 for a book you may have paid $150 for.

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Other Options for Selling Textbooks

If you are not happy with the proposed buyback offer from your school bookstore, perhaps you should look into other ways of making money off of your used textbook.

  • Online Buyback Programs: Websites such as Chegg and ecampus.com will offer you money for your used textbooks. However, they are similar to your bookstore where their offer depends on supply and demand.

  • Private Sale: You can list your textbook for sale through online marketplaces such as amazon.com or ebay.com. You should always check into local marketplaces as chances are someone from your school may need the book you are trying to sell. Craigslist.org is a great local resource to sell used items fast.

  • Donations: If your book is an old edition and is just not needed by anyone or any school, you should consider donating them. Check with your local Goodwill store or consignment store. They may be able to point you in the direction of a charity who can put used books to good use.

Remember, you will not receive the full amount back that you paid for your book(s). The whole point of buyback programs is so that your school bookstore can make money. Therefore they will offer you a lesser amount so they can still sell it again and make a profit. If you want maximum profit for your used books, then skip the buyback events and sell your book through a private transaction.

Your Best Bet

Students may have the best luck looking online.

Fortunately, there are many textbook sites on the web looking to buy textbooks and can usually offer you a better price than the college bookstore. Be sure to take a look at our study of the best places to sell textbooks. What we did was take a random sample of textbooks and figured out which textbook retailers offered the highest buyback prices.

Here were the results:

The best places to Sell your Textbooks:

Textbook Retailer Book A Book B Book C Book D Total
1. TextbooksRus $64.46 $53.75 $34.80 $61.94 $214.95
2. Textbooks.com $63.75 $51.60 $35.10 $46.00 $196.45
3. Barnes & Noble $63.75 $51.60 $35.10 $46.00 $196.45
4. WeBuyTextbooks.com$58.58 $54.77 $8.65 $73.82 $195.82
5. Valore Books $53.55 $48.30 $30.45 $61.95 $194.25
6. eTextshop $61.46 $51.21 $20.49 $59.05 $192.21
7. BookByte $54.78 $43.92 $30.13 $56.84 $185.67
8. BooksValue $53.76 $42.96 $29.76 $58.56 $185.04
9. CollegeBooksDirect $58.50 $49.50$33.50 $43.50 $185.00
10. TextbookBuyer.com $50.41 $40.33 $28.01 $54.89 $173.64
11. eCampus$51.00 $43.00 $29.00 $50.00 $173.00

For more, see the original study.

Other Textbook Resources