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The Best Place to Sell Used Textbooks: 10 Tips For Selling Textbooks Online

Studies show that 3 in 4 college students buy their textbooks used. While you might be tempted to donate your books to a thrift store or secondhand collection, you could earn a little extra spending money if your book is in good condition.

Before you start to look for the best place to sell used textbooks, here’s what you need to do.

1. Evaluate the Condition of Your Textbook

If your book has water damage or is missing pages, you might have a hard time selling it. Be honest in reporting any wear and tear that your book might have sustained. This way, merchants know exactly what they’re signing up for and they can price it accordingly.

2. Mind the Spine

If you bought your book used, chances are that the spine is already worn in ⁠— and hopefully without damage.

But if you bought your textbook new, there’s a way to break it in that not many people know about. Bookbinders recommend the following:

  1. Place the book with its spine on a hard surface.
  2. Let the front cover down, then the back cover.
  3. Open a few leaves in the front, then a few in the back.
  4. Alternate until the center is reached.
  5. Repeat two or three times, and don’t force the back if it doesn’t yield. The book may be bound too tightly and this could damage the spine.

3. Check for Missing Pages

The easiest way to check for missing pages is by examining the edge of your textbook opposite the spine. If you notice any gaps or irregularities, there might be pages missing or detached.

In this case, you might not be able to sell your book to a reseller, but other students on your campus might be interested in buying it at a discounted price. Use social media or other online marketplaces to advertise.

4. Prevent Water Damage

If you’re like most students, you probably take your textbook wherever you are for some on-the-go studying. This might mean an occasional water stain, which can wrinkle the pages and even result in mold.

To protect your book, you might want to invest in painter’s tape or a waterproof sleeve. But if you do spill a liquid on your book, don’t panic. Here’s how you can easily minimize the damage:

  1. Don’t open the book, fan the pages, or remove the bindings.
  2. Cover the designated drying surface with plastic sheeting and/or absorbent paper.
  3. Stand the book on either its head or tail end and allow the liquid to drain.
  4. Place paper towels between the pages and the covers, and use aluminum foil if the cover dyes are bleeding.

5. Be Considerate of Note-Taking

Many textbooks have practice exams and questions for study. If this applies to you, be sure to write your answers on a separate sheet of paper so the next person to use your book can get the most out of it.

Highlighting passages is generally acceptable if the ink doesn’t bleed through surrounding pages. (Some students might even thank you for pointing out the most important concepts for them to focus on.) If you do choose to highlight your book, considering using pastel-colored mild liners or pencils.

6. Never Dogear the Pages

To preserve the quality of your textbook pages, avoid dogearing the corners. Instead, use bookmarks or adhesive tabs to mark your place, that way you can remove them when you’re finished.

If you don’t have a bookmark handy, here are some alternatives you can use:

  • Receipts
  • Ticket stubs
  • A photo
  • A recycled, clean slip of paper
  • An envelope
  • A business card
  • The flap of a dust jacket, if your book has one

Likewise, some things just aren’t meant to be used as bookmarks, including:

  • Flowers
  • Money
  • Candy wrappers
  • Rubber bands
  • Handwritten letters

Keep in mind that you don’t want to use anything too thick to mark your pages, as this could damage the binding. You also don’t want to accidentally leave something personal or valuable between the pages of your textbook when it’s time to sell it. Avoid anything that can stain the pages, too.

7. Know the ISBN

If your book is a custom edition or teacher’s edition, you might not be able to resell it to standard retailers. To avoid this, you’ll need to check the book’s ISBN, or International Standard Book Number.

Your ISBN is a 10- or 13-digit code that’s calculated mathematically and usually accompanied by a barcode. To make sure you’re checking the correct ISBN, don’t rely on the printed sticker. Instead, refer directly to the book’s copyright page.

8. Access Codes

If your textbook came with an access code for supplemental materials, then you probably used it. It’s important that you let the buyer know if you did. If you didnt use the access code, then you can probably get more money for your used book.

9. Compare Prices

Retailers compete against one another to buy your books, which means it’s in their best interest to offer you the highest bid. At, we automatically do a selling comparison for you.

In other words, if you buy your textbooks used and then sell them for the highest price, there’s a good chance you’ll make a profit at the end of the semester.

10. Pay Attention to the Payment Method

Some merchants will try to offer you more money for your textbooks if you’re willing to take store credit. If you plan on ordering books through the same merchant, this isn’t a bad idea. However, if you’re looking for the flexibility of cash, make sure you opt for a check.

The Best Place to Sell Used Textbooks

The best time to sell your used textbooks is at the beginning or end of the semester. At these times, used books are at their highest demand because of the influx of students taking classes, so you’ll be more likely to get a good deal from a retailer. is the best place to sell used textbooks because we price compare all the major textbook buyers. Visit our sell back price comparison page today to start comparing prices.

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.