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31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Make Money Selling Your Used Books (Day 9)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next three months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

I wrote about making money with Amazon’s Trade-In Program earlier. That’s a great way to earn Amazon credit for used books, DVDs, CDs, and electronics. However, if you have lots of used books you’d like to sell, I’d recommend taking the time to check out how much you’d get from a few different sites.

Often, the price you can get for your books will vary between the different sites. So it’s worth it to spend a little time checking out multiple sites to see which one will pay you the most for your books!

Here are four recommended sites to check into if you have used books to sell:

1. Cash4Books

Type in the ISBN number of your books on and you’ll instantly be given a quote for how much they’ll pay you for your books. If you chose to accept their offer, you’ll be able to print out a postage-paid label. Then, just ship your books to them.

Once they receive your books, you’ll receive payment via Paypal or check. Payment is processed within three business days of your books being received and processed by Cash4Books.

2. MyBookBuyer

MyBookBuyer is very similar to Cash4Books. However, they specialize in buying back textbooks and you’ll often get a higher rate for textbooks from them than you’d get from

Again, just type in the ISBN number, accept the quote (if you like it!), and print the pre-paid shipping label. Once they receive the books, they’ll pay you via check or Paypal within three business days of receiving your books.

Here’s what Krista said:

I saw the Cash4books site on your extra earning page and decided to check them out. I didn’t have much luck, so I decided to see if there were other places out there.

I found MyBookBuyer and started checking books with them. I am getting ready to send in 17 books which, if all are accepted, will net me $68. On the other site, I was only going to make $21. So, if you’re considering selling books, it pays to check multiple sites! -Krista

3. Amazon’s Trade-In Program

I wrote more extensively about this here. The gist of it is to search for your product on the Amazon Trade-In Store to see how much Amazon will pay you for a Trade In. If the price seems fair, click through to verify the condition, title, and price.

Follow the steps to print the postage-paid shipping label. You can choose to go with free UPS shipping (you’ll need to drop your package off at the nearest UPS location) or shipping via the U.S. Postal Service (you can give your package to your mail carrier or drop it off at the nearest post office).

Ship out the item in a timely manner. Once it has been received by Amazon, they will check it to verify that it is eligible and in the condition you promised. Items considered to be not acceptable will be returned. Return shipping is free, but you will not receive any Gift Card amount for the returned items.

After your item has been received and approved by, they will issue your Amazon credit. You can use this credit to purchase anything on

4. offers an Instant Sale option which is similar to Cash4Books and MyBookBuyer in that you type in the ISBN number, get a quote, accept the quote, print a label, ship your books, and get paid within a few days. However, you’ll likely make more money if you list your books individually and wait for a buyer to purchase them.

I’ve done this successfully many times and made good money — especially when Jesse was in law school and we’d sell his textbooks after he was finished with them! The downside to selling this way is that you have to hang onto your books and wait for someone to purchase them at the price you are asking.

It could take weeks or even months for a buyer to come along. And when they do, you have to package up the book, pay for shipping, ship the book within 72 hours, and wait to be paid. It’s not as convenient as the Instant Sale option is, but you will likely make quite a bit more money if you’re willing to have more patience and go to the effort of shipping a book every time an order is placed.

 Have you sold used books before? If so, I’d love to hear about your experiences — and any tips or suggestions you have for the rest of us!

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  • Jill says:

    I’ve sold tons on I actually love it. I’ve sold books, cds, movies, and even video games. I often go through the house on a long weekend or vacation week (I’m a teacher) and de-clutter things. I am often surprised at how much items are selling for, which tends to be more than the other two sites you have listed on this post.

    Last year when I went through a divorce, we got rid of a lot of items. Tons of items that we had acquired and didn’t want to keep and move to our new homes. We made over 2K on everything sold. My ex-husband and I split the profits. It was a large chunk of the divorce fees! I highly suggest selling on

    • JP says:

      I’ll be cleaning out a house soon. It’s great to hear that your experience went well with selling stuff on Maybe we’ll do the same thing!

  • Maegen says:

    We sell books pretty frequently, but we just take them to our bricks and mortar, Half Price Books store.

    I’m sure we make less than we would with one of these options, but if you’re content to just make a little something and clear out the closet, it’s another option, and it couldn’t be easier. Thanks for this series!

    • M says:

      I agree! I like half price books because you get cash and not instore credit like another place in my town. But most of the time I find books I like so the cash doesn’t make it home 🙂

  • Elisha says:

    This is great! I had never heard of

  • Jenny says:

    A funny story with the Amazon program. DH sent a book into them and it was returned to him for being in too good condition. He checked with them on what would make it acceptable (I think a few pages needed to be written on or something), so he wrote on a few pages and sent it back in. It was then accepted.

  • Starla says:

    Another great site I recently discovered is which will check all the sites that buy used books and give you a list so you can see which one will pay the most. They also have user ratings for each site so you know how fast or slow a site is when it comes to paying you for your books. Before I found that site, my top site to sell to was They don’t give you a TON, but they’re pretty quick with payment.

    • A Mom says:

      Thanks for sharing! I wish I would have known about bookscouter a few weeks ago. I just priced my books that I sold for Amazon credit, and I would have made about $40 more off my books plus in cash rather than store credit.

  • Kat says:

    Um…this is a neat idea and I have a bunch of books to get rid of (clearing house for a move) but under number 2 the link for My Book Buyer dot net actually links to cash4books. 😛 Do you have a referral link for the other site?

  • Sarah says:

    I use because you just type in all of the ISBN numbers and it checks all websites and shows which will give you the most money.

  • Claudia Matei says:

    I actually do this on a weekly basis. I send about an hour and a half at local thrift stores with my phone looking up book prices and then selling them on various different websites. I average about $30 a week. It’s not much but it’s something. And there have been times when I’ve even scored big and made $80-$100 bucks in a trip. It takes a little time and patience tho. I use to check prices on different websites but my favorites are and

  • Krista says:

    I think you can trade in at swag bucks too!

  • I have had great success selling kids books on eBay, I wait until we have a pile we are done with that are all of the same author, or same subject, series, or reading level, then I list them in lots. I always make way more than I would have if I had sold them at a yard sale, and it clears out our no longer needed collection fast.

  • kayli says:

    I’m not sure how it compares to these sites, but is what I always use to sell my textbooks. My husband and I recently went through our apartment and gathered up all of our old textbooks (that we had kept why again?? I have no idea…). We traded in 14 books and made $469! You can get either Chegg credit or cash, and there were even a few in the pile that I wouldn’t consider to be “textbooks” that made their list. Chegg is also a great place to buy/rent textbooks – we are taking 3 classes each (total of 6) this semester and our books came out to less than $300 total…I think we saved around $700.

  • Amanda says:

    I’ve found that amazon trade-in doesn’t give me as much for my textbooks as other sites. But, that may be specific to textbooks or my field.

  • Nancy says: is a site that gives you prices from a variety of companies.

  • Wendy says:

    I’m a newby at this book selling thing but what is ISBN? Thanks in advance.

    • Rebecca says:

      It means International Standard Book Number and its a unique number assigned to a book title. You can usually find it on the back of the book with the UPC barcode. It helps to identify the specific title/edition of the book you have. HTH 🙂

  • Katie L says:

    We’ve sold many books on The fastest sales were textbooks (newer books sell faster) and gaming books. I always pay for a tracking # when I sell books online and I don’t sell books for less than $3.00, because it isn’t worth my time for the small profit. We’ve also brought used books into our local used bookstore for store credit. The used bookstore sells used & new books and games. They gave us twice as much store credit as they would have given us cash. We used it to purchase textbooks for husband and homeschool, but you could easily use it to purches gently used or even new Christmas gifts!

  • Steph says:

    Another excellent site for selling books is Abebooks Buyback program – it’s wonderful! They accept a lot of the books some of those other sites don’t and it’s so convenient. They pay for shipping and you can mail it off either by FedEx (preferred) or USPS. I’ve regularly made $30 to $50 selling books, usually for around $3 a piece, in one go. It’s so easy and there’s no wait!

    • JP says:

      If you’re relatively experienced at selling used books (or maybe not experienced at all) maybe you can work with friends to collect old books from their house. Pack ’em all into a car and spend a weekend pricing, packaging and shipping.

      Tell everyone they’ll get a cut of what you can sell them for. Community book sales!

  • hiedi brodwater says:

    Where did day nine go????????

  • Jessica C. says:

    I’m not sure if this has been mentioned yet but when I want to sell books online I go to You just type in the ISBN number and it tells you all the websites that are buying your book: cash4books, powells, amazon, etc. It saves a lot of time since all the results are in one place and you don’t have to go to each individual website.

  • Sarabell says:

    Swagbucks also takes in used books. They don’t pay out a lot, so I typically only send them the books they’ll take but no one else will, but if you have a ton of books they will take and no one else will, you’ll get 600 SBs or more (you can only check out if your box is worth 600 SBs) which is a $5 Amazon gift card and a half.

  • Megan says:

    Help! I have tried all these sites suggested (except, which I do intend on listing my books there). I have several Accounting and Finance textbooks that I want to get rid of, plus a dozen+ novels (and they’re common titles) and none of these sites will take them. Any other sites out there that will be good to sell these books?

  • Anna says:

    I sell my books on Amazon rather than using the Amazon buyback program, but I set them for a lower price, at least $1 or $2, sometimes $5 even, than the other books listed. My books sell quickly that way, and I clear them out, but I still make a pretty good profit, better than I would make using a buyback program (though I always compare it to the buy back price to see whether it’s worth it).

    I sold a bunch of books a month ago to buy some things for my daughter’s birthday and pay for her gymnastics lessons. I’m hoping to get back into it soon, and get working on clearing out our house. 🙂

  • Heather says:

    I just made $40 selling three books to MyBookBuyer! Thank you! 🙂

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