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Reader Tip: Amazon’s Trade-In Program

Chelsea emailed in with the following tip:

Last week, I discovered Amazon’s trade-in store, and ended up having almost 400 dollars worth of credit between six text books! After researching what the books were worth, I found that Amazon was offering me a very fair price. I was able to ship the books for free and quickly received the credit in my account.

Besides text books, Amazon also accepts electronics, movies and television series, video games, consoles, and accessories for trade. I would highly encourage MoneySavingMom® readers to check out this program. Paired with free shipping and price matching, the store credit could really come in handy.

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  • Michele says:

    I sold mine back also and got about 100 back. I never thought about trading them in though. I wonder if that would work well for the books that I found that only would sell for a .01 and there were like over 200 books. Im about to either donate them to a library or throw them out.

  • Jessica says:

    I have used this service before and have had nothing but good experiences. I was even given a $40 credit when one of my books was rejected but I was not given a reason why.

    • Brianna S says:

      Same here! I traded in my accounting book and asked if I should send in the packaged study guides. The amazon guy told me to do it just in case. They rejected the book because of the additional materials but never took away the credit? Maybe they knew it was their customer service persons fault. I am thinking about sending it in again but am wondering if I would still get a credit.

  • Marisa Stone O'brien says:

    What a fabulous and useful tip.

    Thank you!

  • Amanda says:

    This service is efficient and convenient, but I actually have found that I can sell books for significantly more on my own.

    • Kathryn says:

      There aren’t a whole lot of buyers for biomedical & electrical engineering textbooks. Amazon gave me the best prices by far, and definitely much better than I could have gotten in the event that I even managed to find a buyer locally.

  • Anna says:

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile, but still have never gotten around to trying it. I’ve only used so far. I’ve found to be a good site for comparing prices on websites that buy back books.

    • Renee says:

      Thanks for sharing the link! Looks like there are other sites that offer more than Amazon on quite a few books. Definitely a helpful resource 🙂

  • Jaimie says:

    I second your recommendation. I’ve been able to sell back many textbooks and educational resources through amazon, and I’ve used the credit to buy all kinds of things.

    A few points to emphasize:

    1. Amazon will only buy back books that they can resell, so do it sooner rather than later, before a new edition comes out!

    2. Be sure to search for your items by ISBN, not just by title. There are often many editions of a book (and many ISBNs of the same edition of a book). If you ship one ISBN after you are quoted a price for a different ISBN, the company will mail back the mismatched edition without crediting you, even if the titles and edition numbers are exactly the same.

    3. Amazon will give you a quoted price immediately when you look up your item. Remember that they will pay you this price in amazon gift credit, not cash. Of course, in my household, amazon credit is almost as good as cash, so no worries here. You could use your credit to buy more books next term, or groceries, or automotive headlight kits, or groceries in bulk, or a new camera . . . . You get the idea, right?

    4. When you agree to submit your books, you’ll be able to print a shipping label right away, and you have your choice of shipping via USPS or UPS. You’ll be given a deadline by which to ship the books, so be sure you’re ready to package them securely and send them right away. If you miss your deadline, your quote will expire.

    Good luck!

  • kristen says:

    Wow! I had no idea about this! Thanks, Crystal!

  • Julia says:

    We sold my husband’s textbooks buy as a seller through Amazon because his book wasn’t accepted through the trade-in. We got back as much as we paid for it, which was awesome! I would recommend becoming an Amazon seller for your textbooks if they get denied from the trade-in program. They (Amazon) take a commission but the shipping is prepaid by the buyer.

    • Brianna S says:

      Yeah I love doing it that way. Its also nice because if your book is small enough you can send it through the flat rate envelope for $4 or so and you don’t have to purchase an envelope. That’s what I did for one of my books and got back $22 versus $12 for trade-in.

  • denise says:

    I was coming to your site stressing over finding some way to purchase the 2nd grade books I needed this year. Maybe Ill have a few they will buy. Thank you for this blessing.

  • I wrote a few posts a while back on how the benefits of amazon buyback really outweigh other programs for me. Amazon textbook buyback is consistently the best rates available for me! Plus sometimes I can bring in extra money by picking things up at bookfairs for almost nothing and selling them back for $5 or $10… which I imagine would be a lot easier with a smartphone!

    Post is here if you’re interested:

  • Good to know! Thank you for the fabulous tip.

  • Stefanie says:

    I have used before and the prices are comparable. Here though, they mail you a check instead of giving you credit at a store. Its useful if you actually need the cash for something else.

    • Vanessa says:

      Cash4Books will also deposit into your PayPal account. I used them when downsizing my book collection a few years ago. I’m going to try to sell some of my husband’s old video games on Amazon trade-in. Maybe I can save up for the new kindle between that and Swagbucks!

  • diane says:

    I made 116 this month in credit selling books to Amazon 🙂 I will use the credit to buy christmas gifts!

  • Nona says:

    Great tip~ I use, and it “shops” several book sites for the highest price (for selling or buying), including Amazon’s offer. My son bought 4 textbooks at a yard sale for $2 total, and we made $36 by selling them. I think they have an app to add to your phone, so if you find a textbook at a thrift store or yard sale, you can check the ISBN to see if any source is buying it.

  • Teresa says:

    Can someone explain the “price matching” mentioned in the post? I haven’t ever heard of Amazon price matching . . . ?????

    • Chelsea says:

      Teresa: After reading your comment and researching it, I couldn’t find a specific price-matching policy for Amazon. Sorry about that! I should have looked into that more before I submitted the tip. 🙂

      That being said, even if there aren’t rules about it, I have found that Amazon consistently has the lowest online prices when I am looking to buy an item. If I find a store offering the item for less, I have emailed customer service with the link and they have adjusted the price down. If they will sell the item for less, I’d rather get it from Amazon because of the free shipping.

      I have done this three times and have found that Amazon’s customer service is really helpful and prompt in getting me the best price. So even though they don’t have a specific policy for it, I’d recommend emailing or calling customer service for a price adjustment if you find a lower price.

  • Laura says:

    I use amazon’s trade in service every semester. I have found that they usually offer double what my school bookstore will buy books back for. Great program!

  • Shannon says:

    My daughter uses Amazon for this program and loves it! This quarter we combined her trade-in credit from Amazon along with some Amazon gift cards I got from Swagbucks to help pay for books.

  • Dee Wolters says:

    My college daughter and I have used this with great results. For my daughter, it is easier than dealing with being a seller and having to ship books when they sell, as it may not come at a convenient time. I have used both seller and trade-in for books. Both great ways to get $ for books we are finished with. And if Amazon does not want the books you send, they return them at no cost.

    • B says:

      I second that. It is such a hassle for me trying to sell books each semester and trying to ‘time’ it right so other students are looking for them. I always check prices, but usually Amazon credit is more worthwhile because I can avoid the hassle (and huge fees- you can actually lose money through shipping and fees for some books)!

  • Michelle M says:

    We just tried this for the first time a few weeks ago and I got almost full purchase price for one of the books. It’s really a great resource.

  • Kate says:

    Thank you for this great tip–I was unaware Amazon has a trade-in store. I got $52 in credit for four old college textbooks that have been sitting in a box in my attic for the past five years. Yes, I did check the ISBN numbers to make sure they matched. =) Thank you again, I have been on a purging rampage lately and these books were destined for the library book store, so I am very happy to have made a little money!

  • Katrina says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I just found a few things I could trade in. I love amazon! I am trying to do all my Christmas shopping through it as I see deals. 🙂

  • Karen says:

    I accidentally bought 2 copies of one of my daughter’s homeschool books. I sold the second copy back to Amazon for gift card credit. 🙂 It was super easy, and I was thrilled.

  • April says:

    My husband and I are both in college (he’s working on his Master’s and I’m working on my Bachelor’s.) He discovered this a few years ago and we’ve been trading our textbooks there ever since. It has been GREAT for us because we use the money in our account to purchase diapers for our daughter. It feels like getting free diapers! We’ve also purchased textbooks on Amazon for much cheaper than the campus bookstores and since shipping is usually so fast, it doesn’t slow us up at the start of the semester.

  • Ashley says:

    I have to say, buying textbooks from instead of the bookstore saved my husband and I a few hundred dollars this semester.

    Long story short, my husband went to the campus bookstore to purcahse our books and they were stolen when he left them sitting on the ground while he adjusted his bookbag. We saved our money all summer to purchase our textbooks and it was quite a blow on us financially. We were able to make a claim with our insruance since our property was stolen but, in the meantime, we HAD to have textbooks. We found that amazon had the best prices (more than 60% off the bookstore price) and were able to replace them all for around $200 (that includes expedited shipping) thanks to the in-laws loaning us the money. We now plan on buying all of our textbooks online now!

  • Christy says:

    We’ve traded in textbooks on Amazon several times. We did have one unfortunate experience as apparently the box never arrived, so we got $0 credit. It was sad because it was full of expensive law school textbooks. I think the problem was probably with the post office, not Amazon, but who knows. Anyway, don’t count on it too much, as it is possible for things to go wrong.

  • Christina Skibinski says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I just received $52 credit from unopened movies and textbooks!

  • boysmom says:

    I am so excited to try this. I have several textbooks sitting downstairs and would love to get rid of them.. I use my Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards for Christmas so this would help raise my giftcard account that is currently already at almost $400 to be used towards Christmas for my children and my step grandkids….

  • Kim Hanners says:

    I am definitely going to give this a try! I graduated from nursng school a couple of years ago and have all of my textbooks just sitting around. Thanks!!!!!

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