Finding the Best Place to Sell Books Online in 2021

an image showing the best place to sell books online

Even with the growing popularity of digital books, we are still attached to reading hard copies. Your collection of used books can contain quite a few cheap paperbacks. But what if you have treasures like expensive used textbooks, photo albums, rare books, and encyclopedias? It’s quite a good idea to sell them! Especially when there are so many places to sell books online. 

Selling online is definitely more convenient than driving to a shop with a pile of used books just to learn that this bookstore doesn’t offer any buyback for your collection. But how can you make sure that you’re getting the best deal? Are there any pitfalls to be aware of? Here is our guide for finding the best place to sell books online!

Why You Should Sell Used Books

Students often choose hardcopies as it’s easier to work with physical books when studying, on top of many other advantages. However, there is a point in a student’s life when there are too many used books per square meter, most of which won’t be needed anymore. So selling it is!

Let’s cover the basics first. What do we get from selling books online?

Profit 

Some editions might have a buyback price of a cup of coffee. But there are those pretty valuable books that you can sell for around 50-100 dollars — these are mainly used textbooks and rare old books (or first editions). Check our blog post on how to determine the value of a book.  

Positive environmental impact

When selling used books, you give them a second chance by prolonging a book’s life cycle. That’s a small but solid contribution to the principles of sustainable consumption. For the same reason, you should also consider buying used books when you have such an option.

Decluttering 

It’s always pleasing to free some space, right?

For some people, rare book hunting and flipping books (that is, buying for cheap and selling for more) is a solid side-hustle. For most of us, it’s simply a sustainable solution to getting rid of used books and earning a bit on that to cover the cost of the coming batch of textbooks

Criteria for Finding the Best Place to Sell Books Online

By now, you’re persuaded that selling books is a neat idea! But you should make sure that a solid price is offered for what’s on your hands. Here are several crucial parameters you need to consider when looking for the best place to sell books online.

Buyback price 

Online marketplaces let you check the price offered for your book upfront. You can immediately compare the available offers from several vendors and find the best one for that specific book. 

This strategy will work if you have just a few books. Otherwise, selling three books here, five books there (and so on) might get confusing and end up being too much work. Moreover, some vendors give you additional bonuses or special shipping conditions for bulk selling, so it makes perfect sense to only go with one or two vendors.

Immediate sale

Is your sale guaranteed? With online vendors like BooksRun or Textbookrush, if there is an offer for your book and you go for it, the deal is guaranteed (but your book should meet the conditions, see below). On platforms like eBay or Amazon — you often need to wait until there is a suitable seller (if there is one at all). 

Website

The convenience of the website won’t influence the price you’re getting for your used books, but it’s crucial for the overall experience when selling books online. Can you search by subject category (check BooksRun’s example) and by title/author? Or are your options only limited to ISBN codes (like on BookDeal)? Is there a personal seller’s cart with a chance to review your order and policies presented to you up-front? All these and other little things add up to a pleasant experience.

Payment options 

Most of the vendors offer several options for online payment — your money is transferred to PayPal or other systems as soon as your books have been received and processed. Some vendors (BooksRun and TextbookRush among those) offer both check and PayPal payment options. There is no right or wrong here, but you should choose what fits you best. 

ISBN scanner app 

Such an app adds a lot to the convenience. If you need to quote many books, it’s pretty exhausting to manually type each and every ISBN code into the search field. With an app, you can simply scan ISBNs and check the price offered and then proceed with the sale in the app itself. Check the BooksRun scanner app as an example. 

Acceptance conditions

Avoid unpleasant surprises and always check the conditions. It might be that the price you initially got when quoting the book is lowered because the book is in poor shape. Water-damaged books, textbooks with excessive marks, or missing pages are not accepted at all. However, some vendors accept books with highlighting while others — don’t. So, again — take time and study the condition guidelines of each vendor.  

Shipping

Do you have to pay to ship your books to the vendor? Or are you provided with a prepaid shipping label? Or do you get a convenient QR code that makes the process even easier? With the latter option, you just pack the books (check our guide on sustainable packaging) and drop them at the post without printing a thing! 

Buyback coupons

It is not of the utmost importance when your books have already been priced relatively high, but a nice bonus anyway. Many vendors issue coupons that add up 5-10 percent on top of your quote. In the end, it can be quite a big extra loaf if you sell many books to this vendor. When hunting for these coupons, check social media and subscribe to vendors’ newsletters to stay up to date.

Customer service

Is there an easy way to contact the company? Or is there no form on the website at all? You can also check how responsive the company is on social media and whether they pay attention to negative feedback they inevitably get. This guarantees you that you will get feedback when something goes wrong. For example, you didn’t get a prepaid shipping label, so you’d better make sure it’s possible to contact the online vendor. 

Loyalty programs

As a student and an ardent reader, you might be selling used books regularly. Choosing a vendor who offers a loyalty program will give you additional benefits, be it a better quote and shipping conditions or lovely gifts. With BooksRun, for example, you can plant real trees for the points you earn! It’s a pretty nice initiative operated through ONETREEPLANTED, right? 

Green initiatives

Does this vendor care for the efficiency, transparency, and sustainability of its operations? Are the packages recycled or reused? Do they make donations? Sustainability is quite an essential factor when defining the best place to sell books online.

What Are the Best Websites to Sell Books Online

Multiple vendors offer good conditions for selling books online. While it’s always up to you to choose the one you consider the best, here are some solid options — some are suitable only for selling textbooks, others would work better when flipping rare editions. Check out these suggestions! 

BooksRun 

BooksRun offers a convenient pricing system, a loyalty program with green initiatives, and an ISBN-scanner app! On top of textbooks, BooksRun accepts a wide range of other books, including fiction, manuals, and cooking books. Moreover, all the policies and conditions are right there for you at the checkout. You’re reminded of what kinds of books are not accepted and why — no hidden rules.

BooksRun ticks all the important boxes when it comes to finding the best place to sell books online! It can indeed be your one-stop shop for selling, buying, and renting books, including ebooks!

Textbooks.com

Not a huge surprise that his vendor specializes mainly in buying and selling textbooks. Some paperbacks are accepted, but the chance of getting a reasonable quote for selling those is low. Textbooks.com has excellent deals for students: you can buy a new book and lock the price for selling it back until the specific date!

Chegg 

Chegg offers a variety of services that help students succeed in their studies (although some of those practices are on the verge of academic dishonesty). You can also sell your used textbooks to them! Be aware that it might be challenging to quote anything else than study literature. 

BookScouter

It is not a vendor but a price comparison tool for anyone who wants to buy, rent or sell books online (similar to BookDeal). BookScouter is a must-have for identifying the best vendor. However, as mentioned before, it’s better to stick to one or two vendors than spread out your efforts among 10.

AbeBooks 

This should be your first stop for antiquary and rare books. But the service is not straightforward: you need to pay a monthly subscription fee, and you ship books to individual customers yourself. Listing the first edition of The Great Gatsby on AbeBooks is worth the hustle (unless you want to keep it for yourself, I’d totally do that) — you’d definitely find a buyer for such a rarity. For textbooks and regular literature, you might consider more efficient options. 

Amazon

The world’s biggest marketplace does not need any introduction. You might have heard that Amazon has a trade-in program where you’re paid in amazon credits for books and textbooks you sell to them. It’s no cash, but you’d definitely find a way to spend it. Despite its popularity among students, the textbook trade-in program was recently shut down.  

Now your only option is to become a seller, which might be a bit too much trouble. The biggest issue is that you get no guarantee that your books will be sold any time soon.

eBay

Another giant for selling anything imaginable online. Like Amazon, you don’t get any guarantees that your textbooks will be sold for the price you’ve asked for it. In this case, vendors like Textbooks and BooksRun are much more stable. Also, check eBay’s conditions because only your first 50 sales are administered for free. Afterward, you’ll be asked for a small fee for every sale you make. 


Your Takeaway

No one size fits all, so it all boils down to your profile. What kind of books are you selling, how regularly and in which quantities. And how easy do you want the selling process to be! 

This guide makes you aware of all the pitfalls and things you should pay attention to. Now you are equipped with the best advice on finding the best website to sell books online!