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Ask the Readers: The Best Way to Sell Books?

Today’s questions is from April:

I just finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I now have a huge pile of items I no longer want to keep!

I would like to try and get some money out of them, but having a garage sale won’t work based on where I live. One thing I thought I could do was sell my pile of books online, but it doesn’t look as easy as I thought.

Do you have any suggestions (besides ebay) on how I can sell my used books online without doing it as a business or having to pay a monthly fee?

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  • Allison says:

    Check to see if they have any trade in value.

  • I was going to suggest Amazon since you want to avoid Ebay. I have sold some books on ebay for homeschool curriculum so that people could get it who needed it. I didn’t do it for the money really. So, I didn’t make a ton, and I did put in quite a bit of effort to do it. I mainly wanted to make sure the books went to people who would use them.

    Good luck!

  • Meagan says:

    Does your community has an active Buy-Sell-Trade group on Facebook? I’ve had great success selling children’s items, DVDs, and men’s clothing this way.

  • Jessica says:

    Half Price Books

  • Carly says:

    I’ve sold a ton of books (and a few other things) using an Amazon seller account. You can look up the books ahead of time and see how much others are asking for them so you can determine whether there is a market for the items.

  • Siobhan says:

    When I “tidied” my bookshelves, I took several boxes to a local used book store. I had enough trade credit to buy my husband the boxed set of the first 6 Star Wars movies that he’s been wanting.

  • Patti says:

    My local library has a resale shop and they take donations for books, CD’s, etc. Its very easy to drop them off and get a receipt to deduct them on my tax return. No cash in my pocket but every deduction on my taxes owed helps out. Plus I know avid readers use this resale shop.

  • Brooke says:

    We have Half-Priced Books by us, so I bring my books there. Most of the time though, esp with the move to Ebooks, they are not worth much. If there is not a used book store nearby, I’d just donate or post on a Buy Nothing group. Other options are just not worth the effort, in my experience.

  • Shana says:

    Try I have had really good luck with them. Pay fees like eBay but not an auction so you set the price and can stay available as long as you like.

  • Kristen B says:

    Textbooks sell great on
    It isn’t an auction, you just look it up by ISBN number and rate the quality and set your price.

  • Mary says:


  • jennifer says:

    Depends on the type of books they are.
    * pulls info from around 40 online booksellers and lets you know if any are buying what you are selling. (Mostly textbooks). Most provide a postage paid label to send into them.
    *Local facebook swap
    *consignment store
    *half priced books

  • Emily says:

    As other commenters have mentioned, it really depends on what type of books they are (textbooks, novels, etc.) and if you’re looking to make the most money vs. just getting it done. If time is limited and you want to clear them out of your house fast, I would start with Amazon trade-in. They will send you a free pre-paid shipping label and you don’t have wait for the books to sell. Also, try some the book buyback comparison sites as some texts can have higher values from individual sites.

    • Kelly S says:

      In the past, I have done Amazon trade-in first. If the books do qualify, it’s very simple and worth the Amazon credit!

      Then, while looking up to see if it had trade-in, I would see if there were any high-value books on Amazon. Personally, selling a book for $.01 wasn’t worth it to me. But if the lowest priced one was $10 or more, probably worth it to list on Amazon.

      Otherwise, I would just donate the rest.

  • Lisa says:

    We have a Hastings bookstore in our town. I feel like I always get a good price when I take store credit. I then use the credit to purchase gifts. Win win!! They also buy CDs and DVDs.

  • Krista says:

    I use Half Priced Books. As mentioned above, you probably won’t get a lot of cash. However, I like that they donate the books they don’t plan on selling.

  • I took a picture of all of my books and put them on Facebook. I asked people to make a donation for some friends raising money for their adoption and then I sent them the book (and covered the cost of shipping). But I imagine you could price each book or also ask for donations and see what happens. I got rid of about half of my books that way, then decided to donate the rest.

    A quick note… I had a similar occurrence after reading that book! Unfortunately, I kept a few boxes of things around, waiting to find a way to sell them and get money. Finally, I got fed up with it and just took the tax receipt for donating. If you can’t get rid of things in a few weeks, it really isn’t worth keeping everything around for months. Good luck!

  • Lauren says:

    Did that a year ago. I sold a lot of mine on Amazon through they’re seller program that is super simple and eSsy to ship from. then took the rest to second and Charles. Made a good profit to put towards buying our first home and got rid of many things that I didn’t have to pack.

  • Denise says:

    I sell on! Comment if you have questions. Have done it for about 8 yrs!

    • Emily says:

      Me too! You can keep them on indefinitely and they also go onto eBay automatically!

    • Melissa T says:

      What kind of packaging to you prefer to use when you ship your books after you sold them? I find it challenging to stay profitable.

      • Denise says:

        I buy bubble self sticking envelopes in bulk. Usually like 8 or 10 packs at Walmart. Usually come out to about $1 each. So my shipping costs they reimburse me for are usually pretty close as long as I don’t sell books for too cheap. If I have to drop my price below $3 I take it to Half Price Books. Usually there I can get between $1-2 for an excellent condition newer book. I take old magazines there too. You won’t get much but for me it is easier than taking the to a recycling program.

    • Janell says:

      Is better than selling on E-bay?

  • Michele says:

    Try Powells or local FB groups.

    My first step is usually to a local bookstore that takes them.

  • Lori says:

    We just downsized and sold or donated about 350 books.

    1) I checked out to compare multiple book-buying companies. You box the books up, print off a label and they pay for shipping. They will pay by check or PayPal.

    2) Sell on eBay ONLY those that are collectible / rare editions.

    3) Sell on I found this to be a lot of effort for very little money.

    4) Donate to your local library’s book sale. Donations to my local library are tax-deductible.

  • Susan says:

    I also cleaned out over the weekend and had books to sell. I used the app BookScouter. You scan the bar code and then it will bring up online book buyers and the price they’re willing to pay. I scanned all of my books and found a common buyer and then sold them and shipped them in.

    For those no one wanted online, I’ll take to a local bookstore that buys used books and see if they’ll take them.

    Still no taker? I’ll donate them and take the tax write off.

  • Rach B says:

    Check out BookScouter. You type in the ISBN number and it scans about 20-30 online booksellers and buyers (including Amazon) and tells you who is looking for it and offering the best price. Often they will email you a free packing slip too. I’ve sold many books this way and have gotten great prices.

  • Phoebe says:

    Homeschool Curriculum groups on Facebook – Homeschool Curriculum Marketplace, Homeschool Curriculum Free for Shipping, and others – just type “homeschool curriculum” and see what comes up! I’ve sold lots of books that way.

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