I’m a big fan of Dave Ramsey. I listen to the show every day. When you listen one thing is clear: when you’re trying to succeed financially, every dollar helps. As Sam and I are working on the Baby Steps I’m always finding ways to make cash on the side. Recently, I made over $300 in one afternoon by selling my old textbooks online. In today’s post, I’ll show you how you can too.
This is my fifth year in college. For the first 4 1/2 years of college, I was an Education major. I saved every single one of the textbooks from my English classes and my Education classes because I expected them to be useful references in my future career as a high school English teacher. When I changed my degree to Liberal Arts and decided I no longer want to teach, I suddenly had 30+ heavy, expensive textbooks laying around that I had no idea what to do with.
That’s when my mom told me about Bookscouter.com. Bookscouter searches the web for all of the places online that will buy back your textbook and shows you their offers all in one place. All you have to do is search by your book’s ISBN! Here’s how it works, in six easy steps:
Step 1- Locate Your Textbook
First, put in your book’s ISBN and press “Sell.” In this example, I’m looking up the ISBN for an old linguistics textbook.
Step 2- Review Offers
The next screen will show you what book the ISBN is correlated to- be sure you entered it in right! To the right of this, the best offer for your textbook and the website offering that price will be shown. In the image below, you can see how to ship your book and receive your payment. You can scroll down to see other offers on your book and their corresponding websites.
Step 3- Enter in Other textbooks
Before you click “sell” next to the offer you want to take advantage of, I recommend opening another tab and repeating steps one and two for all of the books you want to sell. See which websites are offering you the most for your textbooks. I like to try and “bundle” my textbooks by sending in more than one textbook to the same place. Some buyers require a $15 or $20 buyback minimum, so bundling your book can make sense for that reason too. Plus, it’s just less hassle to send all your books to one or two places instead of five or six. To me, it’s worth the one or two dollars you lose. I have had the most luck getting good buyback prices from Textbook Rush and Valore Books. Write down which books you will be selling to which website.
Step 4- Sell Back Your textbook
Once you click “sell,” Bookscouter will redirect you to the third party website you are selling your book on. This is where things become a little complicated. When Bookscouter redirects you, it will do so as separate orders. It won’t bundle multiple books onto one website for you. This is where you will use the list you made in Step 3. After the site redirects you, enter in the ISBN’s for all the books you are buying on the seller’s website. For each book you want to sell back, click “Add to sell cart”. After each addition, the site will redirect you back to your cart. When you are ready to sell, click “Checkout.” **Please note that the layout of your buyback screen may differ from mine depending on which site you are using.**
Your checkout screen will look something like this:
Step 5: Package and Ship
Before checkout, most buyback companies will require you to make an account. After you do so, you will choose your payment method. I always choose PayPal because you get paid as soon as the textbook arrives and goes through processing. In my experience, this usually took about 7 days from the day I shipped the textbook. You will then be prompted to print a shipping label. Sometimes, a packing slip will be included. Simply put your books in a box or envelope and attach the label to the outside. The buyer pays for your shipping. Be sure to drop off your package in the right place: some companies use FedEx, some use UPS, and some use the Postal Service.
Step 6: Get paid!
That’s it! Wait a few days and payment will show up in your PayPal account, or however else you selected to have your payment made. I made a little over $300 from selling about 20 textbooks- some of mine were rejected due to condition or lack of need. That’s an average of about $15 per textbook! And the whole thing took maybe an hour and a half from typing in my ISBN to dropping off my books at the post office. I’d say that’s a pretty good payout for an afternoon’s worth of work!
We used the cash from selling my textbooks to help build our emergency fund. What about you? Will you pay down debt, save for a vacation, or just stash it away for a rainy day? Tell me about it in the comments!